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Car Talk Points to Common Mistake Repair Shops Make Leaving You with an Unsafe Vehicle

This is not a scam, but more of a misfeasance issue recently pointed out by NPR’s Car Talk series on a common “mistake” made by repair shops that could leave you with an unsafe vehicle.

A Repair Not Completely Repaired

How many times have you taken your vehicle to a service center or dealership garage for a repair only to discover afterwards that your car still has problems? It boggles the mind…right?! Because the expectation is that the mechanic who did the job will actually test the repair to ensure that all is right with the service.

Related article: Repair Scams Only Another Mechanic Could Catch

However, this expectation is unfortunately one not met when a mechanic or service tech does not do their job and it turns out happens quite often when a post-repair test is often skipped.

Case in Point

In a recent Car Talk newsletter, a car repair customer reports that after having their car taken care of by a garage for front end damage due to a collision, the car shook badly immediately after picking up the car and going 60 mph on the roadway. The repairs included a control arm/strut assembly replacement followed by a frontend alignment.

Related article: Concealed Collision Damage and Car Seller Impersonator Scams

So, what went wrong?

Turns out that after returning the vehicle to the garage, the mechanic inspected the front wheels and determined that one of them had been damaged from the collision and was in need of replacement.

The car owner asked why they had not checked the front wheels to begin with and was told that checking the front wheels was not part of their assigned job and is not an easy problem to spot during the repairs they were hired to do.

Were the mechanics correct? Yes and no.

According to the Car Talk automotive experts, a bent wheel can be missed during a frontend repair; however, they were wrong in failing to ensure that the repairs resulted in the car being safe to drive after having been in a frontend collision.

After any repair -- especially one that involves steering, suspension, wheels or tires -- we always take the repaired car out for a test drive…Had they done a proper test drive, they would have felt the car start to shake at 60 mph and would have known instantly that there was more work to do,” they explained in the newsletter.

The Take-Home Message

The lesson here for car owners is that not only is it important to inspect the repairs a mechanic or service center performed, but it is also important to ask if the vehicle had been test driven to ensure that all was right with the repair and the vehicle. While it may seem like a bother, consider what could have happened had the tire failed afterward while the owner was on the way home.

And finally…

For additional articles about automotive service mishaps, here are two selected articles titled “The Biggest Red Flag You’ve Taken Your Car to the Wrong Mechanic” and “Car Repair Scam Outed by Mechanic is a Lesson to Car Owners.”

COMING UP NEXT: Engine Compression Test Demonstrated After 280,000 Miles

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash

Reference: Car Talk: Repair Shop Fails Test by Failing to Test