When your vehicle breaks down in an unfamiliar area, your first (and wisest) instinct is likely to call a tow truck for assistance. However, once your inoperable vehicle has been hooked up and the tow driver asks you where you're headed, you may feel indecisive -- is it worthwhile to pay high mileage costs to have your vehicle taken to a mechanic you trust, or should you simply have your car or truck towed to the nearest auto repair shop that can get it running again? How can you be sure the price quoted is fair? Read on to learn more about some tips and tricks to ensure that you'll always receive the most competitive price for vehicle repairs.
When is it worth it to have your vehicle towed to your regular mechanic?
There are a few situations in which it may be worth paying a bit extra to the tow truck driver in order to have your vehicle delivered to your regular auto repair shop.
First, if you're in a state that borders your own but has significantly higher sales taxes or a higher cost of living, you may be better off having your vehicle taken back to your home state where costs are lower. For example, a driver who lives in Massachusetts and is traveling to Connecticut could find that the average repair costs are nearly 30 percent higher in Connecticut than in his or her home state. If your auto insurance policy covers towing costs, you may also want to seek a tow home to avoid having to make multiple claims on your policy.
However, if you're far enough away from your regular mechanic that additional towing fees would more than consume any difference in repair costs, keeping your towing distance short is usually the most cost-effective measure.
How can you be sure the repair price you're paying is fair?
You may worry that once you've committed to having your vehicle towed to an unfamiliar shop, it will be difficult to get a second opinion on what repairs are needed and how much they should cost. Fortunately, the internet can provide you with more price-checking opportunities than ever before thought possible. With a few clicks on your smartphone, you should be able to confirm the retail price of the recommended parts to determine whether you've been given a fair price.
If you don't have the ability to do internet research while waiting for your car to be repaired and are feeling unsure about some of the recommended repairs, you may opt to tow your vehicle to another nearby mechanic for a second opinion. In some cases, a mechanic eager for your business may even cover the cost of this tow for free.