How can you protect yourself from getting taken advantage of from a mechanic?

1. Research the business reputation! How long have they been in business? Are they associated with something like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? If so what is there rating? What do the customer reviews say, not just the rating but the reviews themselves?
2. Most major automotive repairs should come with a decent warranty. If it is less than a year you might want to check around and see if it is the same other places
3. Price shop. You probably don’t want the most inexpensive repair because you get what you pay for but you also don’t want to walk away feeling like you were ripped off. Again call around the area and get prices. Are they comparable? If they are much higher or lower there are good reasons.
4. Vehicles are getting more and more complex as technology advances so diagnosing problems is getting harder. It never hurts to have more than one diagnostic check done on your vehicle. Automotive repairs can add up quickly so it will save you money and time to do the research first and then the repair. Some repair facilities even offer a FREE diagnostic!
5. Remember, just because you have a light or a lot of lights does not mean it is something major. While it can mean that manufacturers are linking systems together and when one thing fails it causes the vehicle to think there are multiply failures when it is really just one.
6. Ask the shop what the offer that is different from others? Is there any reason there repair costs what it does? Or maybe there doing something extra that other shops don’t offer that makes their services worth the price difference.

To sum everything up, the more diligent you are finding a reputable repair shop and investing in a thorough diagnostic will save you valuable time and money not to mention your sanity. Make going to your mechanic a pleasant experience instead of a stressful one!