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You brought your car in for an oil change, and the mechanic tell you that you need ___________ right?
For a lot of people, saying no in this situation feels really difficult. Would not doing ____________ damaged your car? What if it’s safety related? Or maybe the service writer is being pushy and you are having a hard time saying no?
If you don’t have a regular mechanic and are just getting an oil change or replacing your brakes, you’ve probably encountered this type of situation in the past. Maybe you are even reading this as you sit in a shop trying to decide what repairs you are going to do.
First off, I am a strong believer in having one person fix your car. Pick a shop that feels comfortable and stick to it. Developing a relationship will allow for a more honest interaction AND will stop them from pushing services that you can wait on.
BUT…. If you are in a shop and are trying to figure out A. if you should say no, and B. how to say no, this is the article for you.
Ask to see the problem that they have found. Encourage the service writer or mechanic to take you back to the car and show you the problem. Take pictures! Does what they are explaining sound right? Can you verify with google?
Safety first. Ask the writer or mechanic, “Is this an imminent safety risk?” If it is not, then ask if it’s a maintenance item or mechanical failure that can lead to a safety risk. Ask how long they think you can wait before the problem becomes an imminent safety risk.
Ask for a discount. If you are on the fence because of money, always ask for a discount. You would be very surprised by how much money you can save this way. Not all places ill be willing to work with you, but if money is what is holding you back from a repair, it doesn’t hurt to ask. I recently had a conversation with a shop owner that completely disagrees with this. In my experience, most places are willing to work with folks.
If the problem found is an immediate safety risk, but you don’t feel comfortable at the shop you are at, take the car for a second opinion. Second opinions are crucial because they will confirm that the problem actually exists AND might be able to save you money if the first shop wants to replace more then what you actually need.
If maintence is needed, generally waiting a little bit while you get the funds together is totally OK!
Would I put if off forever? No. But one or two paychecks, definitely.
The easiest way I have found to say no if you aren’t comfortable with much confrontation is to tell the person to hold on a few minutes and pretend to call a family member or spouse. When you come back to them, place the blame for not doing the service squarely on that person’s shoulders. The service adviser will know that convincing you further is useful because you “are not the decision maker” and will cut their losses.
Something as simple as “My husband says he’ll do it himself” or “My wife says we can’t afford it right now” will do the trick.
Is it 100% honest? Not really, but you don’t owe the person making the sale anything. If you need a simple out this is a great way to do with without making yourself the bad guy.