By Kendra Williams
It’s sad to say, but people treat females differently when it comes to car buying and repairs. Single females have it even worse. When women show up at an auto shop or dealership alone, they often are overcharged for car purchases and maintenance. These scammers may think women buy cars just because of the aesthetics and not because of the Hemi under the hood. They try to sell monthly car insurance for bad credit rating checks preying on the unsuspecting and ignorant. They may think we are uneducated about gaskets, starters, and transmissions. But many of us do know what needs to be repaired on our vehicles without being hustled into replacing parts that need no maintenance at all, and it’s time we prove it!
Here are a tips for when you’re out purchasing or getting repairs for your car:
If You’re Purchasing a Car
Know its value. Visit Kelley Blue Book to see if you are being overcharged. This will give you room to talk the seller down. If you’re being undercharged, that is also a red flag. The car may have been in an accident, may have flood damage, or worse. Always check the CARFAX! Never take the seller’s word, whether it is a dealership or an individual seller.
Take a test drive. It always feels weird when driving a new car, but if you feel any jerking or hesitation in acceleration, if you smell fumes, if the check engine light is on, or if the brake pedal sticks then your car purchase should be a no-go. In the long run, it may cost you more to maintain the car than to purchase one that doesn’t need major repairs. While you’re on your test drive, stop by a mechanic to see if they can run a diagnostic test to tell if there are any issues with the car that the seller isn’t telling you.
Check under the hood. Yes, this may seem obvious, but believe it or not, some people never consider looking under the hood before purchasing a vehicle. This is especially important when purchasing a used car. Check for rust around any caps, oil dripping, acid buildup on your battery, worn belts, and any frayed and exposed wiring. Some of these issues can be easily remedied, but others may become a headache to fix.
If Your Car Needs Repairs:
Get several quotes. Never go to the first person who gives you a quote. Sometimes you can find a more affordable repair shop without sacrificing the quality of your repair. Get a break down of how much parts and labor will cost to see if the shops are charging about the same. If the shops are using the same part for repairs, but one charges an exuberant amount for labor, but they both are certified, then go with the one with the cheaper labor. However, make sure the replaced part has a warranty.
Call around to get information. If you’re not exactly sure what is wrong with your car and you don’t want to pay a house note worth of repairs, then call three to four repair shops. Explain your issue and see if they can offer advice over the phone. They’ll all say they really won’t know what’s going on until you bring in your vehicle, but they will offer suggestions. From the information you’ve obtained over the phone, you can contact another repair shop and confidently explain to them what the issue is while incorporating the information you received from the other shops. The repair shop will think that you know more about your car than you actually do and will be less inclined to suggest repairs on parts that don’t need replacing.
Buy your own parts. Some repair shops, especially mom and pops, will allow you to purchase your own parts and just pay for labor. They will inspect your vehicle and then will tell you exactly which replacement parts you will need. This will save you tons of money. You can go to car part shops, such as AutoZone or Advanced Auto Parts, to see if they have your part in stock. If you find a shop that allows you to bring in your own parts, make sure they are certified mechanics and have good reviews.
The “Single and Taking on the World” series will give single women insight to overcome issues some women may face, whether it is with car buying and repairs, maintaining relationships with married friends, treating themselves to a date, or dealing with questions like, “Why are you still single?”