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These guys crack us up, and are also a great resource for vehicle maintenance.

For some of us, our mechanic is a trusted friend, building our confidence over years of servicing the family fleet. And for some of us, he simply takes care of us… but let’s admit it, we question his practices sometimes. Especially when he mentions the squeaking brake pads that he serviced not so long ago. If you’re not the only person that looks under the hood of your car, you should be wary about over-charging and over-complicating things.

How do you make sure your mechanic isn’t ripping you off, without sounding skeptical?

To start, incident reports from the Better Business Bureau indicate that (sadly) auto mechanics are more likely to pad the bill when the recipient is a woman or elderly. While this is upsetting and annoying, it may be a good idea to take a man with you when possible. Ask questions, be alert, and at least sound like you already did your research.

Next, brake pads are frequently a quick pitch for replacement. They need to be replaced only when they get down to about 1/4 inch. That noise they make may not indicate a replacement, for a variety of other reasons. Ask to be shown a pad that has not been torn off and make a close inspection. If they are getting replaced, check to see if you can get copper-free pads.  Also, take a look at this article before servicing your brakes.

The coolant is typically designed to stay in the vehicle for 2 years (30,000 miles) for the green color and 5 years (100,000 miles) for the orange/gold color. Consult your owner’s manual for specifications on your vehicle first. If you do feel it needs to be topped up because of loss in your vehicle’s efficiency, make sure they are using the same color of coolant. Using a different color can degrade the mileage. While you’re at it, ask if the company carries one of these green coolant products. They are better for your car and better for the environment, and make your car more fuel efficient.

The best piece of advice is to do your own research on the problem, and know that typically, chain shops will try and charge you more for a package deal than your around-the-corner service shop. If you can’t get to Tom and Ray from the car guys, remember that sources like YouTube and Yahoo Answers can be your best friends. It is important to have open communication and be knowledgable about your vehicle every step of its life to avoid potential problems and accusations. Above all, a regular at home check or service does give your car better fuel efficiency. And that’s what we’re all about.

Check out EarthGarage’s assortment of green products and at your next service, ask if your mechanic carries any of these. They will probably be impressed with your eco-friendly tactics and would possibly order these products to keep your edginess around the shop.


EarthGarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.