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Apple to Orange Pt 2

Apples to Oranges: Pt II

Post on June 29, 2019 by

This month, we’re continuing in a series of discussions called Apples to Oranges. The intent is to give the inside scoop on automotive repair to help you sort through the confusion and large discrepancies when shopping auto repair. And it starts with the understanding that when you think you’re comparing apples to apples with prices and services, 9 times out of 10, you’re actually comparing apples to oranges.

Part II: Price Shopping

Another of the most common calls we get at Ultimate European Repair is, “I already know what is wrong with my car, how much is it going to cost?” This raises some immediate concerns on our end! Firstly, if you are not a professional mechanic, how are you certain what is wrong? If another shop diagnosed it, why aren’t they doing the repair? The first and biggest problem with price shopping for a specific repair is over 70% of the time, the assumption of what the vehicle needs is incorrect or incomplete. This creates an immediate problem for you, the price shopper. You’re comparing apples to oranges! You may think you need an oxygen sensor replacement (apple) so you start calling around asking how much apples are and make your decision on where to find the best apples based upon the understanding you needed apples. But when you get to the shop, and $500 later, an apple doesn’t fix your car because you find out you needed an orange….well it sure would’ve helped to save $500 and the frustration of 1 more shop you can’t trust by not assuming you needed an apple! Other common assumptions we hear are “well, the dash lights up so it’s not the battery“, not always… Or, “the code is for a camshaft sensor so it needs a sensor,” typically not, in our experience. Only trust a professional whom you’ve paid for their time, making them accountable. Anything else is conjecture.

And the advent of YouTube mechanics doesn’t make things any easier! At Ultimate European, our second best referrals are other shops incompetency. So while we certainly understand the lack of trust in repair facilities and doing research to make sure you’re finding someone you can trust, YouTube and internet forums are not the answer. The first thing to keep in mind about these places, particularly YouTube, is while common failures exist, that does not mean that is the case with your specific vehicle. Every vehicle is an individual, needing to be evaluated individually. It also does not mean the repair is nearly as simple as they make it look. Trust us that we would make a transmission rebuild look easy, that doesn’t mean it is for anyone else! Now with forums, there are a disproportionate amount of people with specific issues posting which can make a very uncommon issue seem like an everyday failure. For example, if you read forums about N54 BMW turbochargers, you won’t sleep tonight in fear that your turbocharger is going to fail tomorrow! But remember, there are 95% of other BMW N54 drivers on the road who never have a problem and are out enjoying their vehicles all over town. Guess where these people are not hanging out? That’s right, they’re not on the forums passing off uneducated opinion and amateur experience as professional fact! And a little secret…N54 turbochargers are actually an uncommon failure.

It should be clear by now that the first and biggest mistake you can make when price shopping is assuming you need apples when you need oranges. And while YouTube can be useful, places like YouTube and internet forums typically only contain more apples.

The second problem that will occur when price shopping is….price shopping! Have you ever stopped to think why one shop charges $900, another $500, and yet another $300 for the same repair? If parts are the same,(first mistake!) what could possibly equate to the difference? Well, just like no one wants to pay top dollar, no one should want to pay bottom dollar either…The old saying goes there’s good, fast, and cheap; you only get to pick two: fast and cheap won’t be good, good and fast won’t be cheap, and cheap and good won’t be fast!

Here’s the deal with repair quotes varying so much in the price: parts are never the same, the competency of the person performing the repair is never the same, and the warranty is never the same. There is far too much of a discrepancy in pricing in automotive repair to be price shopping. What you need to be doing is finding a shop you can TRUST. Do not price shop – there is a mechanic for everyone. The important part is not to find the best price, but to find someone you trust who is willing to stand behind their work with a strong warranty. If you do shop anything, shop warranties: A quality warranty for automotive repair is 2 years / 24,000-mile. At Ultimate European, we provide an unprecedented 3 years /60,000-mile warranty. We believe you deserve to get what you pay for, a repair facility offering a 6 month or 1-year warranty on a repair you have to spend your hard earned money on is frankly a joke. Be careful! If you are simply price shopping and not inquiring about warranties, that 1-year warranty repair facility will offer you a lower price point than the last place you called and sound great! But when your car makes some noise after picking it up that it didn’t before, or leaks in the same place 13 months later right out of warranty, that facility isn’t going to stand behind their work and you will end up paying even more. You will always save a significant amount of time and money opting for a repair facility your gut tells you is trustworthy in the first place, even if that is at a little more cost. Trust your intuition and don’t let the emotional stress of your car breaking down get the best of you!

To make sure you’re getting oranges when you need oranges and not apples, follow these steps:

1. Understand that competent repair facilities will not be willing to trust your or another shop’s previous diagnosis and you will need to bring it into the shop for a quote. This is because of over 70% of the time, it ends up being something different or incomplete and a good repair shop wants to keep your best interests and the correct facts first and center, instead of assumptions over the phone before verifying your individual vehicle case.
2. In your attempt to narrow down shops over the phone before investing your time going down there, shop warranties and reputation, not price. Ask yourself, if you think you can trust this person and will they be looking out for your best interests?

Posted in Auto Repair

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