Informed Car Repair: Tip-of-the-Day #120


RepairPal offers a stress-free, web experience for consumers to obtain information about the cost of car repair. I know it’s cliché, but as a woman there have definitely been instances when I’ve questioned the cost of repair on my car and had to wonder if I was getting ripped off as a result of my gender. For example: I bought a second hand BMW a couple of years ago and I took it in to get it serviced soon after. Well, the manager at SF BMW told me I needed new tires and then proceeded to charge me $900 for two low-profile, top-of-the-line tires. I had just come off of a longstanding run with Hondas so frankly I didn’t know any better. It wasn’t until I told a friend in the industry that he confirmed I’d been ripped off.

Unlike other online resources, RepairPal provides impartial, fair price estimates (because they aren’t in bed with any of the dealers or repair shops) and their system relies on multiple sources of proprietary data.

For most repair information, the exact model of the car does not affect the time and parts required to perform a particular repair. For example, a Volkswagen Golf and a Volkswagen GTI share most mechanical and electrical systems. Estimates are customized to your car's engine, transmission, and whether it’s 4WD or 2WD. When a repair is distinctive to a certain model, you’ll be asked for the information. Plus, if you have an iPhone, there’s an app for you to enable easy access to the data you need in a pinch!

Note: In some cases, a car is too new or unique (some hybrids for instance) to create accurate estimates. And, RepairPal doesn't currently cover cars produced before 1990 because the number of pre-1990 vehicles on the road is diminishing and they focus on the most popular models and years.

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