Do women still think mechanics will take advantage of them?

I have been hearing an odd noise in the front left part of my minivan’s engine whenever I would shift between park, reverse and drive. I told Michael about it but he said it was probably nothing. I thought it was something.

So this morning I dropped my car off at a nearby car repair shop that we usually use. I went in and told the guy I was hearing a noise and went out to listen for it with the mechanic. (They think it’s the motor or transmission mounts. They were going to do more investigating and let me know.)

I called my mom as I walked home and told her about my car. I knew what she would say before she said it. “Oh I would never take my own car into the shop. I just know they are going to take advantage of me.”

This is something that I heard a lot growing up. My mother was born in the 1940s and was a young wife in the 1960s. She didn’t deal with plumbers or AC repairmen. She didn’t deal with car repairmen or car dealers because she didn’t want to be taken advantage of.

I don’t think it was just my mom who felt that way. I think it was generational, and I am wondering if women still feel that way?

I deal with plumbers, repair men, the pest control guys. I recently had a handy man to the house to get quotes on repairs. Originally I had planned to surprise Michael with the repairs but in the end I did tell him the guy was coming to the house only because if I got killed I wanted him to know who did it.  So I wasn’t afraid I would be taken advantage of from a business stand point but I did think about being killed.

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Update to the story: So I just finished writing this when the car repair shop called to tell me what they found. They said two engine mounts were torn and two other were tearing ($812 to repair) but I also needed two new front tires. Michael heard me talking to the guy on the phone and nearly went ballistic about the two new tires. We bought new tires there like 13 months ago that were rated for 35,000. We’ve only been 20,000 miles on them. Michael discussed it with the guy loudly and told him not to touch anything. I called two other shops to get prices on the mounts and found that I could save $200 going elsewhere and then also have them check the tires. So now I will go and uncomfortably pick up my car. So I guess I did need Michael’s help because I probably would have just paid for what they recommended.

So do you think women still worry about being taken advantage of by certain industries? (Maybe computer repair or technology now?) Do you feel confident taking in your own car to the mechanic or dealing with repairmen? Do you feel comfortable taking in your phone, tablet or computer for repairs or to purchase a new one? Do you feel comfortable with car dealers?

27 comments Add your comment

Augusta

February 16th, 2012
12:42 pm

I’m not worried. Education is key. I know A LOT about cars and we have a mechanic I trust 100%.

If you educate yourself, you won’t get taken advantage of. A lot of women don’t know about cars, so they are at the mercy of the mechanic. I grew up around boys who worked on cars, and I paid attention.

So No, I don’t get taken advantage of at the mechanics…..I pretty much know what they are talking about.

And I’ll say this, I cannot stand car dealers. I will NEVER take my car to the dealership. EVER. I don’t buy cars from dealers and I refuse to go anywhere near a dealership!

jmb

February 16th, 2012
12:50 pm

My husband is a body repair man and if anything, he tends to let women get by with a lot more than the men. They can ask sweetly if you will fix that lil dent I made so hubby will quit griping and he gives in right away. Now if a guy ask, I’ve heard him tell many of them, it’ll be an extra $100 for each dent. I have to agree on the mechanics though. Most know that women don’t have a clue so they can tell them anything.

mom2alex&max

February 16th, 2012
1:26 pm

Mechanics will take advantage of anyone who is uninformed, man or woman. I don’t care to learn anything about cars and my husband knows a lot, so that’s the only reason I would never deal with mechanics.

I think the same is also true for a lot of things: repairmen, plumbers, electricians, A/C, anything. If you don’t know anything, they will charge you more.

Jesse's Girl

February 16th, 2012
1:31 pm

I just dropped my car off the other day. My tire kept going flat…all needed to be rotated. Before I left, I looked into the dude’s eyes and made sure he understood exactly what I was saying. “Under no circumstances, short of Jesus descending from heaven, are you to commence any repairs on my car BEFORE you call me to tell me what you think any problens maight be.” I also make sure they understand that if some boob does unapproved work to my car that I will not pay for it. You get me on the phone and explain things to me or you don’t do the work. Period. I always make sure I know the basics of whatever car I am driving. I can change my own oil. I HATE it and its disgusting…but I can do it. I can also change my own tire should the most dire of needs ever arise. If somone knows beforehand that you are absolutely NOT someone to be trifled with…you shouldn’t have an issue. Regardless of whom you are dealing with:)

Me

February 16th, 2012
1:42 pm

I agree with @mom2alex&max — there are mechanics, in addition to many other service “professionals”, who will take advantage of anyone they can. Being informed to the most reasonable extent possible is always a benefit. Ask around and get recommendations from friends and neighbors and, although I’ve never used it for auto-repair, there’s always Angie’s List or other similar sites. One thing I always do – which is virtually what you ended up doing – is getting an initial diagnosis and quote and then taking the vehicle to at least two other locations and then comparing not only “root cause” but also the costs.

Lori

February 16th, 2012
1:46 pm

I won’t take my car to a place that made me feel uncomfortable. I have two car shops that I normally use. Whenever I have a large repair that needs to be made, I have one place check it out & tell me what is wrong. Then I call the other place to compare their price for fixing the same item. If I feel weird about it, I’ve even taken the car to the other place for a 2nd opinion. This has saved me several hundred dollars. But in general, you just have to shop around, get recommendations from friends and find a place you trust.

Kat

February 16th, 2012
2:16 pm

I usually say that I have visited one other place already and want to get a second opinion – leading the repair shop to think that I already know what is going on and that I am seeing how honest they will be. I use the same tactic with my kids. WHO did such-and-such? They always tell the truth.

@Jesse’s Girl: I had one tire that keeps losing air – same tire did that just before we replaced all four tires as well – turns out the wheel itself is slightly bent, which means that it will continue to do this. Mechanic said to fix it for $150 to $200 (or get a used wheel elsewhere for less than that). OR, just continue to put air in the tire every couple of months.

Techmom

February 16th, 2012
3:19 pm

I am not intimidated by much but mechanics definitely make me weary. If at all possible, I have my husband deal with them. I also can’t stand buying cars but my husband gets a high from making a deal so again, that’s his game. The check engine light is on in my car right now. We had it diagnosed at one place and then I went to the local parts store and had them run the computer diagnostics to be sure it’s the same thing. Then we went home and called around to find the best price. We also did a bunch of searches online. It’s a fairly expensive repair but not an urgent one luckily

K's Mom

February 16th, 2012
3:34 pm

I owned my home for 3 years prior to marrying and I had to deal with plumbers and HVAC people. I bought a car 100% on my own and got a good deal. I also drove an older car for many years and had to deal with mechanics a couple of times. All in all, I think I did well and was not ripped off. I did lots of research, called my dad occasionally for advice, and I was kind but firm with all of the service people I dealt with.

Like others I think some folks will take advantage of anyone. If you educate yourself on whatever issue you have you are much less likely to get taken for a ride. And I also recommend using every bit of self confidence you have when dealing with someone and if they think you know more than you actually do it gets you much further.

George Costanza

February 16th, 2012
3:51 pm

Please refer to the famous Seinfeld episode of George taking his car to the mechanic and being completely oblivious to anything mechanical.

George says to Jerry that his mechanic could say: “You need a new Johnson Rod. That’ll be $1,500.”

George has no choice but to pay.

Get a grip, people.

George Costanza

February 16th, 2012
3:52 pm

Awaiting Moderation, My Foot !

Jeff

February 16th, 2012
3:56 pm

They do it to us too if they can get away with it. One of the best investments you can make in your car is to find a great mechanic.

Bammer

February 16th, 2012
4:17 pm

George please tell us what we are supposed to “get a grip” on. You basically quoting a Seinfeld episode that states the obvious? Thanks for the enlightenment.

Independent George

February 16th, 2012
4:22 pm

Bammer,

The Blog Nazis removed the original post by Independent George about his mechanic experience, apparently due to the reference to “Johnson Rod” as it was used in the “SEINFELD” episode.

The AJC is killing Independent George!

Independent George

February 16th, 2012
4:23 pm

By the way…

ROLL TIDE!

Soccer MILF

February 16th, 2012
4:36 pm

Rooting for bama is like rooting for a more abnoxiously tacky Barry Bonds to win the home run title. Sure he is the HR champion but how many horse hormones did he take to get there?

Phil McButtcrack

February 16th, 2012
4:54 pm

I am a mechanic and people dont realize the trianing and education it takes. We may look dirty but we go through years of training and people complain on prices. What wpould you have us do? Spend years learning at gwinnett vocational academy and then charge where we make minimum wage?

I hear you Phil...

February 16th, 2012
5:38 pm

…a doctor recently brought his car to me for repair – I told him the ballpark estimate of what the repair would cost – he told me that as a doctor he didn’t make that much per hour – I told him that I didn’t make that much when I was a doctor either, and that is why I am now a mechanic…

RealityMom

February 16th, 2012
5:46 pm

I guess some it comes down to how much is your time worth? You already have the car at the shop. Do you trust them? So they are a little more expensive? Going with the cheapest is not always the best. Building a relationship with the garage/plummer/handyman , In my opinion will always get you better service.

As for the tires…..before you let hubby step in and YELL on your behalf, if yoi udoubted them, go there and get an education. Get them to show you WHY they think you need new ones. Is yoiur alignment out of wack? You did ALOT of driving this year and you could just have uneven wear that is YOUR fault.

All business try to up sell….you dont have to yell at them.

catlady

February 16th, 2012
7:02 pm

I have been almost ripped off once. The mechanic actually pretended to get on the phone and call the car parts place and quoted me a figure. I called my husband, a good mechanic, and he went to the car parts place and bought the “$45″ part for less than 4 dollars, then came to the mechanic’s place and fixed the part, LOUDLY telling any and all about the ruse the #%#@%^ had tried to pull on me. Until he went out of business, I told any and everyone to stay away from the place. It was inexcusable that the guy tried to “hold up” a pregnant lady with a small child in the summer heat! (and on my birthday!)

R

February 16th, 2012
7:41 pm

Why did you take your car to a car shop if your husband is a good mechanic? Just wondering…

motherjanegoose

February 16th, 2012
7:43 pm

comment gone and no time to retype

jarvis

February 16th, 2012
11:54 pm

It’s all ball bearings and gause pads.

camille

February 17th, 2012
11:04 am

I brought my first car at 21… as a young women everytime some mechanic would tell me something was wrong, i would ask to see it. pull it out and if anything needed replacing, i wanted the old part to take with me. I wasn’t taken advantage of.. i followed the manuel and was very clear regarding my expectations. everyone must make a living, but you will not take advantage of me (as I type in the wait room of the Ford dealership).

Wayne

February 17th, 2012
11:51 am

Couple things I’d want to know – why are your motor mounts bad (how many miles on the van)? Are you driving over logs, boulders and pot holes? Which could also explain why your front tires are gone. That’s 35K miles under optimal conditions. If you don’t get alignments done, keep the tires inflated properly, or otherwise abuse the vehicle, yeah, they are going to wear out much faster. When’s the last time they were rotated? Yelling at the service people BEFORE understanding what’s wrong is just inappropriate. Go have a Vodka and cranberry.

I’m not a mechanic, I play one sometimes, but I do ask questions. As most folks have said – educate yourself. (insert favorite search engine here) is your best friend!

Kat

February 17th, 2012
12:20 pm

Sometimes I wish a burly mechanic WOULD take advantage of me, but I don’t think that’s what you are referring to…

Me

February 22nd, 2012
5:44 pm

To begin with, not all mechanics ARE men. And no, I at least don’t.