Expert mechanic exposes the biggest scams in the auto repair industry

@royaltyautoservice/TikTok KANGWANS/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Biggest scam IMO’: Expert mechanic exposes the biggest scams in the auto repair industry

'I never take my brand new car to the dealer.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Mar 9, 2024   Updated on Mar 9, 2024, 3:52 pm CST

According to an auto repair technician in a viral TikTok by Royalty Auto Service (@royaltyautoservice), the biggest “scam” in the car repair industry isn’t a con that’s done on purpose. He claims its more so a business deciding that it doesn’t want to cover the costs of a mistake that they made when diagnosing a vehicle.

The service tech gives an example of a check engine error light showing up on a car owner’s vehicle’s dashboard. The owner brings their whip into a garage asking them to assess the damage and give them an estimate for the necessary repair costs.

What can happen, the expert explains, is that auto garages will sometimes purchase parts they believe are needed, and if it turns out that there are additional problems, or the garage was flat-out wrong and won’t own up to their mistake, they will keep charging the customer for additional service visits.

He gives an example of a type of repair that could be incorrectly diagnosed the first time.

“And let’s just throw one out there–it needs an oxygen sensor in it, OK?” he says. “So the shop tells them it needs an oxygen sensor, so they put an oxygen sensor…Oxygen sensor gets put in it, and either they drive the vehicle out and a day later the check engine light comes back on, or they don’t even get the vehicle back and the shop calls ’em up and says hey the check engine light’s still on and this is where it goes bad.”

The repair tech explains the shop may now tell the customer they need another part to fix that repair.

“I don’t think it’s like a shop purposely trying to do something wrong,” he continues. “What I think happens is there’s a lack of training, or they’re not charging for the diagnosis properly so the tech doesn’t spend any time, they just pull the code and throw a part at it.”

He says he understands people make mistakes, but that the client shouldn’t get charged for it.

However, if the check engine light came on months ago, he says it’s another story.

“I would tell people watching this if your check engine light came on in the last six or seven days maybe even two weeks, there’s one thing wrong with the car,” he advises. “Five things, two things, four things didn’t break on the car at one time. If it came on six months ago, all bets are off, there could be lots of things going on with it.”

@royaltyautoservice Have you had this happen to you before? #automotive #mechaniclife #mechanic #technician #advice #tips #autorepair #autorepairshop #cartok #jeep #honda #bmw #fyp #foryou #viral #stitch #scam ♬ Storytelling – Adriel

In addition, the TikToker says customers should be given error codes to ensure they are having the correct problem associated with their vehicle addressed.

If you’re a car owner and want to make sure that the auto repair shops you’re bringing your vehicle to aren’t trying to pull the wool over your eyes, a car diagnostic tool could benefit you— just make sure you’re purchasing the right one for the make and model of your vehicle.

Numerous commenters shared plenty of their own scams that they’ve run into in the world of car servicing.

“Paying a diagnostic fee,” a user wrote

“I’d say a transmission flush JMO,” another wrote.

“Nitrogen in tires,” a third commented.

For others, their issues are with cabin filter replacements, and one user made a good point about a common move many garages pull on customers.

“Biggest scam is the cabin filter,” they said. “If the shop has already pulled it out and said it’s dirty why does it cost $50 labour to put a new one in , but free to put the old one back in ??”

For other folks, it was vehicle warranties, with one sharing, “Biggest scam IMO is all of the added warranty the sales manager tries to convince you to purchase.”

“I think the biggest scam is car warranties. Huge scam,” another echoed.

“Charging 1800 bucks for brakes,” someone else mentioned.

And there was one user who was told a unique solution from their mechanic.

“My mechanic told me to ignore the check engine light so I covered it up with a piece of electrical tape,” they shared. “Never had a problem.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Royalty Auto Service via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Mar 9, 2024, 5:00 pm CST