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Getting Second Opinions

I always tell me people to get 2nd opinions on lots of things in life.  Especially when it comes to auto repairs, and especially in the dollar crunched environment we are in.   If you’re new to Austin (or wherever you live) and you go to an auto repair facility that you don’t have a relationship with, and they give you a “hard to believe” estimate, take it to another place for a 2nd look. 

Better yet, learn how to ask questions about the estimate before getting that 2nd opinion.  For each major item, ask questions like:  1) How critical is the specific repair? 2) How long can i drive the vehicle without repairing this specific problem? 3) What’s the downside of not doing this repair?

When people bring us crazy high estimates, its usually not a bunch of made up stuff.  The misleading element is usually the timing and criticality of the problem.  For example, the other day, we looked at a vehicle that had an “oil leak” that the dealer inferred was a big problem (and an expensive repair).  We checked it out, and found that it was a “seepage” that wouldn’t even lose a quart a year.   Given the age of her vehicle (and her budget) we felt the leak could be adequately monitored via quarterly oil changes, and that the repair was really something that could be put off for at least a year.    Hopefully, the dealer would have given her this information had she asked for it…

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