Should I “Price-Shop” to Find an Auto Repair Shop?

Should I price shop?

What is “Price-Shopping”?

For the sake of clarity, I’ll define “price-shopping” as any of the following:

  1. Moving from shop to shop as you look for the cheapest price for a desired service.
  2. Returning regularly to a shop because it seems to be the cheapest. (Even if you’re not calling around for price comparisons, price is your main consideration.)
  3. Making purchasing decisions based on perceived “bargains” (coupons, specials, advertisements etc.)

I don’t recommend that you do any of these things. I recognize that you’ll often save money in the short-term, but we believe you might spend  more in the long term.

There’s that old (and true) idea that you often get what you pay for. In automotive repair, there’s a lot that you should want to “get.” Such as the following:

Quality Interaction

Does the shop treat you fairly and honestly? Do they give you good information and enough information to help you make good decisions? Do they care about you as a person?

Quality Labor

Diagnosing and repairing vehicles is a complex and demanding field. Mechanics make many decisions that affect the quality, dependability, and longevity of their repairs. Would you rather pay more for a long-lasting repair or less for one that may fail you prematurely?

Quality Parts

A repair is worthless without functioning parts. Parts are available in a huge range of prices, and while the most expensive part is not always the best option, it’s naive to assume that the cheapest part will always be “enough.”

What happens when people price-shop?

People who price-shop often wind up in shops that cater to the desire not to spend money. And then these things happen:

These shops may cater to the desire not to spend money, but that doesn’t mean you’ll actually spend less in the long run! Value is what really saves you money over the long haul. Value is presented by quality service, services, and products at a fair price.

Now am I suggesting that you forget cost? Not at all! Spending wisely requires balancing cost versus value.

I don’t recommend cost shopping, but I do recommend seeking out a trustworthy auto repair shop where you can build relationships with the employees.

Don’t go looking for the lowest cost. Look for trustworthy people who care about you, and the cost will take care of itself.

-From the Mechanic


2 thoughts on “Should I “Price-Shop” to Find an Auto Repair Shop?

  1. You make a great point about how the cheapest option isn’t always the best way to determine where to take your vehicle. I would imagine that getting a good reference from a trusted friend and family member could help. I would also imagine that you’d want to find out how long a mechanic has been in business, their licenses, and quality of work. I’m just glad that there are great people out there to help get our cars back out on the road.


    1. Thanks! Yes, we rely mainly on word of mouth, so we value when a new customer comes in off of a recommendation from a current customer. We find that these customers are the most loyal and want to do what is best for their vehicle than those who came to us off the street asking first about our prices.

      Knowing that the owner is running the business right (insured, licensed, etc) not only protects the business and the customer, but also speaks to the business’ honesty.

      However, I disagree that you should care how long they’ve been in business. Some of our best customers started coming to us within a few months of opening. Building a trusting relationship with a mechanic who charges a fair price for quality work should be at the top of your list, not whether they’ve been open 3 months or 30 years. It’s this kind of mechanic that can truly help you figure out how to maintain your vehicle at a reasonable price.


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