Have you ever walked out of a mechanic shop, having spent thousands of dollars to repair your vehicle, only to find out later you definitely overpaid? Wished you had some kind of advance warning, or more information, about what that repair should have cost? RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook shares this RepairPal review, a company that helps to demystify car repair costs and find you a reputable car mechanic, below.
You’re on your way to work when suddenly you hear a noise coming from the engine of your car. You have no idea what it is, the car feels fine, but it’s an alarming, loud noise, and you’re certain it shouldn’t be making that noise.
You know you’re going to have to get this fixed, but how much will it cost? Will the auto shop try to rip you off?
In the past, you may have called your friend or family members that “know about cars” and ask them how much they think it will cost. With services such as RepairPal though, you can go into the shop with the confidence you’ll get the best price.
What is RepairPal?
RepairPal is a car repair estimate website.
You put your vehicle information in, your city, and then what repairs are needed, and RepairPal gives you a range that it will cost.
RepairPal can give you pricing estimates on everything from alternators to water pumps and more.
How RepairPal Works
Plugging in your information and seeing the price seems simple, but the process to get those prices is actually very involved.
First, RepairPal uses the same labor cost estimator table that mechanics have used for years. They then use this data to give consumers the range of costs for repairs.
However, what makes RepairPal more unique and, frankly, helpful, is that they take it a step further and find shops that will stick to that price.
Not every shop is allowed on their list, however. There is an application process, and RepairPal verifies the parts the shops will be using are not inferior, and RepairPal follows up with recent customers of the shops to ensure that they meet the standards to be RepariPal Certified.
Even after a shop gets on the list, they have to continue to provide the same high quality service that got them there to remain on the list, and they are charged a monthly fee.
Typical RepairPal Costs
My Hyundai is in need of new brake pads, and while I’ve already priced it out, I was curious to see how RepairPal would match up. My mechanic that I’ve gone to for over a decade told me it would cost around $320 to do all brake pads on the car.
RepairPal had about the same price, but the only thing I didn’t like was that there was no way to add both front and back brake pads. I had to do it as two separate estimates.
The front estimate was $120 to $150 and the rear estimate was $120 to $135. It ended up coming to $240-285 – around $35 less than my mechanic quoted me.
The next thing I wanted to see was the blower motor. Mine has been acting up for a while, and I looked into getting it fixed but was told by my mechanic it’s a simple fix and something I could do on my own and save a ton of money. Finding and sticking with an honest mechanic is one of our top tips on how to save money on car maintenance.
The cost to do it myself will be less than $80, but for my mechanic, it would be around $150 to $200. RepairPal was actually a bit high this time, giving me a range of $295 to $305
However, RepairPal is great for those of us who are busy, don’t know much about maintaining or fixing our cars, or would just prefer to hire a pro.
One great feature RepairPal has is being able to pick “scheduled maintenance” and then the number of miles your car has. With this information, RepairPal can show you exactly what needs to be done on your car, and gives you the opportunity to save money by doing some of the work yourself if you want to!
We’ve covered a RepairPal alternative in our RepairSmith review, and the good news is that RepairPal and RepairSmith’s prices are comparable. If you want to compare prices, it’s definitely a good idea to look at both companies.
The main difference is that RepairPal doesn’t own any shops. RepairPal certifies mechanic shops and help you find one that will do the work for the amount they estimate. RepairSmith, on the other hand, has their own mechanics who do the work. They allow you to drop the car off, or they come to you and do the work.
RepairSmith is currently only available in most cities in California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Another alternative to RepairPal is YourMechanic. From my experience, YourMechanic has slightly lower prices than RepairPal, at least in my Florida market.
Not only that, but but YourMechanic also comes out to you and does the work wherever you are, saving you time and money.
Who Should Use RepairPal?
RepairPal is great for people who need to know how much a repair will be before they go to a mechanic shop. If you’re like me, you have no idea how to fix your car or how much it will cost for someone else to fix most things on your vehicle.
It’s perfect for those who are worried they might be taken advantage of by a shop, and those who want to go into a shop with as much information as possible. RepairPal is perfect for you if you would rather have an idea of what things should cost before going into a mechanic shop.
If you’ve ever had work done on your vehicle, then were told by someone later you overpaid, you know the helpless feeling of walking into a mechanic shop, feeling like you have to accept whatever they say because they’re the experts. With the help of RepairPal, those days are over.
You can have the confidence to make sure that never happens to you again, and you can get back on the road in less time, spending less money.
Readers, what do you do when it comes to maintaining your vehicle?
-Tyler @ RSG