Buyer beware and, of course, beware the upselling service writer when appropriate. Unfortunately, there are some shops where the recommendation is exaggerated or possibly fabricated. That is the fear we all live with when we take our car in for service. Choose wisely, there are many formats for service recommendations on line or from people who you may know and trust to give good advice on automotive repair providers. But don’t fear the prospect of an upsell as much as being careful, informed and applying common sense. Don’t hesitate to ask for a thorough explanation of the recommended repair. Ask to see the replaced components, inspect them for their wear and condition. Use common sense, this goes a long way to affirm or reject a repair recommendation. If there is doubt, get a second opinion.
Allow me to relate a second opinion experience we recently had at the shop to illustrate the value of a second opinion. A customer asked for a second opinion on a service recommendation made by another shop. They had told the customer he would require a new transmission. Based on the age, mileage and normal operating performance of the car, this recommendation seemed out of place to the customer (common sense). As it turns out, we found that the transmission was not out of specification and was operating normally. This second opinion cost about $100 dollars here at Bryan’s and it was money very well spent based on a common-sense observation by the customer. The expense of a second opinion can be some of the best money spent in the repair process, in this case, about $5,000 dollars.
Getting a second opinion is a reasonable thing to do in any circumstance, but with a repair recommendation that does not comport with normal wear or personal experience that you know to be factual, a second opinion is a smart move. When you go to a shop for a second opinion, let them know your purpose. Bring the other shop’s estimate and repair justification. With a confirming second opinion, you will have a greater level of confidence in the needed repair and may have benefited with a price comparison as well. If as in the case presented above, you may save a significant amount of money.
So, if there is an upsell effort, receive it as a recommendation for your best interest. But use common sense, ask questions about the purpose and impact on your cars safety and performance. A professionally concerned service writer will provide information and support for any up-sale recommendation. He or she will provide a level of importance and immediacy in a descending order, from most critical for safety on down to convenience and appearance. Always, always, get that second opinion for repairs that appear over expensive, seem counterintuitive, or don’t pass the common-sense test.