Yes, you can -- but here’s why it’s not in your or your wallet’s best interests.
It can be tempting to try and get an auto repair quote over the phone because after all, just about every other product or service you can think of wants you to do just that; call and get a price quote.
You may see ads asking you to do this very thing, but when it comes to servicing or repairing your vehicle, it’s not a very good idea. But why?
You depend on your vehicle to get you to work, to the grocery store, to transport your kids to and from their events, or to get you safely to and from the great outdoors when the mountains are calling. It’s a complex piece of machinery that’s increasingly dependent on very sophisticated software, hardware, and other electronics to operate correctly, and for most families, it is the second-largest investment that they will ever make (after their home).
Properly diagnosing your vehicle requires training, experience, time, and often times, some very expensive and specialized equipment and software.
A reputable automotive repair shop knows this, and here’s a list of reasons why a hands-on, in-person diagnosis is important when it comes to getting an auto repair quote.
No two vehicles are the same.
The way it’s driven, where it’s driven, past accidents, maintenance and more all impact the condition of your vehicle, and may impact the time it takes to repair it, and the cost of the parts involved. The only way to accurately assess its conditions and provide an accurate quote is to assess the vehicle in person. What is an example of this? A rusty, oily, or dirty component will take longer to remove and replace than a non-corroded, leak-free, or clean component.
A code will only tell you part of the story.
If you recently took your vehicle to an auto parts store and had the check engine light read by their code reader, you may be only uncovering the symptom and not the problem. Many, many different issues can cause one code, and each of these issues will vary in their complexity. The only way a technician can give you an accurate quote is by making an accurate diagnosis, in person. For example, a misfire on cylinder number 6 could be caused by no less than a dozen different things, but the code will reveal nothing more than the symptom, which in this case is the misfire.
Cheaper isn’t always less expensive.
Often times when people are trying to get an auto repair quote over the phone, they are attempting to find the cheapest alternative. This can create a lot of problems down the road for you and your wallet when sub-standard work was performed, corners were cut, and when the real issue is uncovered. Having your vehicle properly diagnosed and repaired will always save you money in the long run. The old adage that you get what you pay for is just as true, and there is nothing cheap about having the same problem repaired twice, or needing to calling a tow truck from the side of the freeway.
Is it clanking or banging?
Your vehicle is a complicated piece of equipment, and that’s why a code reader, your cousin, that guy on Youtube, or your intuition alone may not be able to accurately diagnose any problems that it may have. Sometimes a problem in the rear of the car can cause a noise or sensation in the front, and vice versa. Sometimes really bad noises are just little issues, and sometimes a component can be on the verge of catastrophic failure and barely make a peep. An example of this might be a bit of grease between your brake caliper and pads; it sounds bad but isn’t very serious. The only way for us to properly diagnose your vehicle’s issue is by hearing it, seeing it, testing it, and experiencing it for ourselves, so that we can give you an accurate auto repair quote.
Now that we’ve discussed the reasons why getting an auto repair quote over the phone isn’t such a great idea, how do you find a reputable mechanic that will give you an accurate diagnosis?