Who do you trust? Study finds it’s not your mechanic.


As repair costs rise, so does skepticism

These days, cars are full of computer chips and remain a mystery to most drivers. Consumers hope for a trouble-free experience, but as cars are driven longer there could be some trips to the repair shop.

And that’s where doubts begin. A new ConsumerAffairs study found that 78% of drivers don’t always trust the mechanics who work on their cars. Only 22% of drivers said they had full trust in their mechanic while a small minority – 9% – said they never trust a mechanic.

There’s also a pretty sharp divide between men and women, with 32% of men saying they trust their mechanic but only 15% of women do.

"I think women, in general, are skeptical of things like that," said Lauren Fix, the editor-in-chief of Car Coach Reports and a member of ConsumerAffairs’ advisory panel. "They'll do the research. They tend to be more in-depth in finding out the answers."

There may be a number of reasons for the mistrust, but perhaps a contributing factor is the rising cost of auto repairs. When consumers are asked to pay a lot of money for something they tend to be a little less trusting.

Could costs be a factor?

In August, we noted that the June Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed that car repair costs were up over 19% in the last 12 months.

Inflation has made everything more expensive but why is it that car repair costs are surging? Gareth Boyd, editor of the automotive website RangeRoverFanatic.com, told us that several factors were contributing to car repair inflation.

“Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains worldwide, resulting in parts shortages that drove up prices,” Boyd said. “Secondly, due to the same supply chain issues, there's been an increase in demand for used vehicles, which typically require more maintenance and repair than new ones.”

Boyd also says labor costs have risen as there simply aren’t enough skilled mechanics at auto repair shops. Those who are working are demanding, and getting higher wages.

Add in the fact that replacement parts for recent model cars and trucks are more sophisticated and expensive and vehicle owners might be suspicious of the bill.

In the ConsumerAffairs study, around 80% of survey respondents said they felt like they’d been overcharged by mechanics in the past. Only 17% of people said they thought their auto service was always fairly priced.

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