What's Your Worst Mechanic Rip-Off Story?

Photo:  National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I’m willing to bet that all of us, regardless of mechanical skill or inclination, have visited a mechanic at some point. You may be the most astute DIY wrencher in the world, but sometimes a job just requires tools, time, or patience that you simply don’t have. But whenever you visit a repair shop, you run the same standard risk: Getting completely ripped off.

That’s the subject of today’s question, the times you’ve been ripped off by a mechanic or dealer who “fixed” your car. Whether they charged you for services not rendered, or simply made mountains out of molehills to try and con you into shelling out more parts-and-labor money, it’s something we’ve all experienced. Tell us your story.

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My issue with mechanics is that I always do the heavy lifting to rip myself off. On my old FR-S, I managed to ring up a nearly four-thousand-dollar repair bill from a local race shop, all to fix the car’s habit of grinding gears in the Rochester cold. Well, the carbon transmission synchros were meant to fix the grinding, as was the stiffened transmission mount, but at that point you may as well firm up the engine mounts too. And if you’re that deep into a Subaru, why not throw spark plugs at it? You see where this is going.

The “while we’re in there, might as well” approach has cost me thousands at various shops. Mechanics that know me well even use it to their advantage, tossing in the phrase to imply I’d have to spend for the same labor again down the line if I forego a fix now. I’m an easy mark, really.

My biggest mechanic rip-off was taking the “while we’re in there” approach to transmission rebuilds.What was yours? Leave your story in the comments below, and we’ll pick the best answers tomorrow afternoon.

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