Just as our own bodies need a full medical checkup every now and then, your car needs a regular check-up as well. The manufacturers have assigned certain intervals whereby an interim and a full service is necessary and this is so that your car will perform at its best (and safely) throughout its entire life.

For most car owners out there, they would send it back to the dealership for its first few servicing sessions (it’s usually free). Some might continue to send it through to them because they just get used to it, but others might end up seeking their own workshops while a few would opt to do it themselves (with a little help from the Internet or Youtube perhaps).

But do you really know what happens behind the closed doors of the workshops?

Recently an article was written and it detailed how a dealership has been skimming its customers in its free service offers. Instead of changing the lubricant and the oil filters, the service crew had been pocketing these items and selling them outside, making a handsome profit at the expense of the customers.

Of course that’s just one way they could take you for a ride, so to speak.

Modern cars are complex and highly technical machines. It isn’t uncommon to say that the average person has no idea how to repair or maintain their own vehicle. Heck some don’t even know where the signal light is. This makes it very easy for an unethical workshop or mechanic to deceive the average consumer.

Sometimes a mechanic or workshop might even charge customers for parts that weren’t used. To add salt to the wound, they might even charge you for the labour required to install the non-existent replacement!

Another popular dirty job is when they use counterfeit car parts instead of high-quality replacement parts. The difference in price can be significant but you won’t see any of the savings because you’ll be billed the full price for the parts and won’t be told.

This is actually very dangerous and can put your life in danger because counterfeit parts are often inferior to the original.

TIPS

So what can you do to avoid these unscrupulous tactics?

● Always get a second opinion from another workshop before sending for major repairs.

● Always ask for your old, damaged part back after it’s been replaced.

● Ask for a written estimate before you let them repair or service your car. Make sure it includes a guarantee so if anything happens, they will honour the agreement.

● Check the engine oil after servicing using a dipstick to see if the oil is clean and smooth.

● Check if the air-filter was changed or just cleaned with an air blower and reused.

● Make sure the workshop gives you back the empty bottles, boxes and even the wipers that they say they changed.