I recently was a victim of a gender discrimination crime. That’s right, gender discrimination I say. I honest to god believe that most women, at least %80, do not know a thing about car repair or how to keep up a car, and they get taken advantage of by mechanics all over the world! I’m talking beyond oil changes and putting gas in the car, more like when it’s time to buy new tires, or the difference between a good thump and bad thump noise.
My parents believed in taking their car to get regular maintenance by an official dealership service center. I watched my dad take our cars in every once in a while for checkups, oil change, batteries and etc. So, when I grew up and got a car I followed the same school of thought, yes it costs more than your average joe car shop but at least I know they’re not using crap pieces on my car.
This is how I became a victim………I love my car, a beautiful Volkswagen, 6 years old and only 64000 on it, that is apparently good. Back in May I called my service center to see if my car was up for any checkups, “don’t worry, you haven’t put on too many kilometers since your last checkup, bring it in before winter.”, said the woman over the phone.(traitor!!! hahaha) Being a clueless person about cars I went “Super, so call you in November!”.
Well, November turned in to mid December and I felt the need to make that appointment the day before the first winter storm. I made the call and the woman said “bring it in, you’re up for a type 1 maintenance and its $150”, so I did. I went in and a different person told me “oh, your last major checkup was in 2006, you need a type 4 now.”
me: how much is that?
the guy: $500, but with that, we check everything in your car.
me: wow, expensive! Ummm, ok I guess I should do it to make sure my car is in working condition for the winter.
the guy: yes ma’am, so we be done with it in 2 hours or so.
2.5 hours later, I’m chatting away on my phone trying to work on my laptop when the same guy walks up to me with a concerned look.
me: its done??
the guy: I need to talk to you about somethings.
He pulls out a report filled with all these things I need to change on my car, NOW! Brakes (all 4 of them), battery, 2 tires, some light somewhere, something about exhaust pipe. The list goes on and on….
me: how much is all this gonna cost me????
the guy: well, $2200, but you still have to pay the $500, plus tax.
me: *cough* but, I don’t get it. I have to do this all now? I can’t, it’s A LOT of money! (remember I’m a student, I barely make any money at my full-time job)
the guy: I made a list, only do important stuff..brakes, battery and….
I tuned him out…..
So, I made a deal with the guy to only do only urgent/important stuff and only up to $1000, that’s including tax and the $500 fee.
Then he went off to do the changes, meantime after about 20 mins, I realized something, if I had brought my car in for a checkup in May like I thought I should I wouldn’t have been blind sided like this now. So, I went and talked to the service center manager and told him what happened and how because of their staff’s bad advice now I have all these things I need to do right before winter. I did not doubt the need to change the items on the list, normal wear and tear of a car. Following their staff’s bad advice put me in a bad situation and a grumpy mood.
So I manged to get some discount for the work I was getting done that day and when I take my car back in for the rest of the stuff I would get a discount then. So YAY!!!!!
Now, things I learned from my 4.5 hour stay at the waiting room of VW service center:
– Make note of the times you take your car in for checkups and maintenance
– keep all your paper works, you can’t always rely on people’s knowledge of your car’s history
– when in doubt, ask questions
– shop for different prices, if you don’t mind going to a normal mechanic, it’s worth the time to look around
– ask friends to help out, I called my guy friends who know stuff about cars to get their opinion about my situation, some referred me to their personal mechanic!
So don’t feel the pressure that you need to do everything they tell you right away, take a day sleep on it and make your decision!
I still have 6 more items to cross of my list, I’m gonna start with buying 2 new tires and then changing another set of brakes…..sigh…money outta my pocket!