Car & Driver

7 Steps to Smoother Car Repairs

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7 Ways to Handle a Handle a Car Repair

When your car needs repaired, don’t get taken for a ride. Here are seven tips to deal with a mechanic and help exercise your rights.


If your car repairs didn't go the way you expected, there's a lot you can do to resolve conflicts and reclaim the results you're looking for.

  1. Ask for the parts. Requesting to see your old parts is always a good idea, especially if you have major work done.
  2. Get a second opinion. Have your car checked thoroughly by another mechanic to understand what's going on.
  3. Negotiate. Give the repair shop a chance to make amends. Ask the shop to redo the work or give you a refund. A reputable shop will want to make things right.
  4. Write a demand letter. If you're still not satisfied, write a formal demand letter that is short and polite with the expectation that a judge will read it. For tips on what to include, download this guide and look on page 9.
  5. Consider filing in court. File in small claims court in the county where the garage is located. Assert your claim based on any motor vehicle repair laws that might apply to your case.
  6. Prepare for court. Research your situation so you can explain to a judge why the original repairs were substandard.
  7. Appear in court. Get organized and bring everything with you that will make your case stronger, including all correspondence, charges, warranties, photographs and used parts.


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