Avoid Overpricing: Automatic Transmission Repair Cost Estimating

When repairing transmissions, prepare yourself with a simple techniques to make sure you get great service, and don't get over-charged.

In simple terms, an automobile transmission is the component that allows the power of the engine to drive the wheels of a car. An operating transmission is a finely tuned dance between the mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical systems controlled by a computer. There are gears, pumps, valves, seals, gaskets, cables and other parts that all must work in concert. In other words, this is a complex mega-system that quite simply makes the car move. Without a transmission, the car goes nowhere under its own power.

With all of these potential problem points, it is clear that the repair of an auto transmission can smite a royal blow to anyone's budget. The often unexpected cost can be traumatizing: your car may be literally un-drivable, requiring an immediate repair whether you had it planned in your budget or not. For example, the Auto Warranty Group estimates that the repair of a transmission can cost as much as $1,900.

Given that the transmission is one of the most complex arrangements in a car, it may difficult for the average consumer to know what seems reasonable in repair costs - and what actually needs repair and what does not. Fortunately, if you use a number of simple techniques when it's time for this monstrous repair, you can increase your chances of getting a fair deal.

First, just like getting any repairs done to your car, ask your friends, family and colleagues if they can recommend a car repair garage. This is your best bet for getting an honest appraisal of your car's transmission problem and fair quote for repairing it.

Second, check to see if the repair shop belongs to organizations such as the American Automobile Association (AAA), the Better Business Bureau, or the Automatic Transmission Builder's Association (ATRA), an organization that requires its members to adhere to ethical codes when dealing with consumers. ATRA and AAA can provide you with a listing of car repair garages in your local area if you don't get a recommendation from friends or family.

Third, check to see if the garage conducts business professionally. Is it clean and well-maintained? Will the garage provide you with a written, detailed estimate of the repairs it will perform? If you don't get a written estimate, you will run the risk of getting a bill for more than you agreed to verbally.

There are several additional steps you can take to ensure you reduce your chance of overpricing:

* Ask whether the garage specializes in the transmission of the make of your car.

* Ask if the garage has references: when customers are ecstatic with their service, it is not uncommon for them to write letters attesting to the fact. Ask if the garage if you can read the letters; they may have them posted on the wall of their office.

* Try to locate local recommendation web sites online. Some cities now have a way for consumers to rate local services, and car repair is usually among them. To find these web sites, try searching on the name of your city, "car repair" in parentheses, followed by "recommendation" (without the quotation marks).

An educated consumer is the least likely to pay more for a service. If you are so inclined, delve into the subject. The more you know, the more you protect yourself. Finally, just one note of caution: try not to choose a car repair garage simply because their price is lowest: you may end up with quality to match.

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