Despite living in an age where female CEOs can make more than their male counterparts and female soldiers can enter combat, some believe that the car industry is still very much “a man's world.”
For as long as I can remember, I've been advised to take a man with me when visiting auto repair shops or car dealerships — and I know I'm not alone. Women getting worked over or even ripped off seems to be a common concern in the automotive industry.
I recently partnered with RepairPal (the auto repair estimator site) to share with you some of the real data behind this very real issue. They released their RepairPal Institute Gender Bias Study, which found that uncertified shops routinely charge women more than men for auto repairs—sometimes by as much as 73%.
*** Nationwide, women are overcharged by an average of 8% compared to men.
*** In big cities like LA, San Francisco and New York, women are overcharged by a whopping average of 66%.
*** In smaller cities, women are overcharged by a lower amount (average of around 3%), but it's still significant.
*** The greater New York area is the worst, with women overcharged by an average of 73%.
The most likely scenario is that shops are taking advantage of what they believe to be a general lack of automotive knowledge amongst women. It's stereotypical and unfair, to say the least.
Luckily, RepairPal has given us some helpful strategies to help women get a fair price and avoid falling into the overpriced trap set by uncertified shops:
* STRATEGY #1: GET A VISUAL
A picture is worth 1,000 words, so ask your technicians to show you the problem area on your car or give you before-and-after photos as a great way to educate yourself.
* STRATEGY #2: USE AN ESTIMATOR
After getting the problem professionally diagnosed, use an online estimator tool like htttp://repairpal.com/
estimator to get an accurate idea of what a fair price should be.
* STRATEGY #3: THE MANUAL IS YOUR FRIEND
Blow the dust off your owner's manual and start to familiarize yourself with it. Understanding what warning lights correspond with what systems puts you at an automatic advantage. (If your battery light is on and the mechanic starts talking about motor oil, you'll know something's fishy.)
For even more tips on how to make sure you're getting a fair price and using a trusted, certified mechanic, please visit http://www.repairpal.com
. They have information about why you should choose certified repair shops and where to find one in your area.
I am lucky. I have not been ripped off (that I know of at least.) I actually have a regular mechanic and I get great deals from him. I am still a very firm believer that you should do your research before, and shop around. Don't forget to ask for discounts as well. You never know how much you could be saving, unless you ask!!
I'd love to hear if you've ever visited an auto repair shop and got overcharged or if you've been to a RepairPal shop and was impressed by the fair price! Tell me what you've experienced in the comments below.
This post is written by Sarah Coulsey. She is a Wife, and Mother of two boys living in New England. This post may contain affiliate links.