When it comes to a major auto repair, get a second opinion … and a third and fourth. If you are quoted a price that seems high, shop around. Comparing shops and prices can also help you avoid being charged for unnecessary repairs. Before authorizing work, go online to research various repair shops to read reviews, get ratings, etc., and call to get several quotes over the phone. In a nationwide analysis of repair shops by AutoMD.com, mystery shoppers uncovered dramatically different price quotes for the same repair job on the same vehicle. Furthermore, the mystery shoppers were able to shave on average nearly 14 percent from the quoted estimate given by the majority of the shops by countering with online information, such as specific "fair" job estimates based on labor rates and labor hours required, as well as true parts cost.
– Ray Cox is a senior ASE certified technician with AutoMD.com, an online automotive-repair service owned by US Auto Parts Network.