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Consumer Reports: Auto Repairs

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Car repairs can be expensive and complicated, but a Consumer Reports survey actually found some positive results.

“Three quarters of consumers are very satisfied or completely satisfied,” said Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports auto editor. “So people are generally pretty happy. Those who have problems sound like they have rather legitimate ones.

Consumer Reports auto editor Jeff Bartlett says, among the unsatisfied customers, the most common gripe is price. Thirty eight percent were unhappy with the price.

“Perhaps more troubling complaint was the second-most highest complaint, at 28 percent of people said the work wasn’t done correctly,” Bartlett said.

What’s worse, about one-fifth of those people had to bring their car back to have the work corrected.

Another complaint came specifically from women.

“It was disturbing to find that 30 percent of the women who had gripes of any kind said that they felt there was some bias against them because of their gender,” Bartlett said.

There are some things you can do to avoid these problems the next time you take your car in for service.

“It always makes an experience with an auto repair facility better if the consumer asks questions,” Denny Mascari, of Mascari Auto Center, said. “First question should concern, ‘What’s it going to cost to do the repair?'”

Consumer Reports recommends that first, you describe the problem fully to the mechanic if possible. Write down exact symptoms when they occur and give the mechanic your list.

“By communicating with the shop and with the mechanic you can describe your problem but let the experts solve it,” Bartlett said.

Second, don’t offer a diagnosis. If you suggest what the problem is you might be on the hook for repairs you don’t need.

Third, take a test drive if the problem only occurs when the car is moving. Get an estimate and tell them to get your approval before going over the car.

Last, ask for evidence. If you’re not comfortable with the diagnosis of the problem, ask to see it yourself.

“If something simply doesn’t pass the sniff test, if it doesn’t feel right, you’re certainly free to get a second opinion at another shop,” Bartlett said.

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