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Buyer Beware: Sneaky Mechanics

Andrew Cilio

Andrew Cilio

 / Jul 14 2023
Buyer Beware: Sneaky Mechanics

Are you tired of feeling taken advantage of at the auto repair shop? Wondering if that pricey repair bill was truly necessary? You're not alone. At AmericanTrucks, we understand the frustration and skepticism that can arise from dealing with mechanic scams.

To uncover the truth behind these deceptive practices, we surveyed 1,000 individuals about their experiences with mechanic scams. Let's look at the most common scams, what they cost innocent car owners, and what you can do to avoid becoming the next victim.

Most Common Scams Reported by Victims

Key Takeaways

  • 75% of mechanic scams occurred at auto repair shops, and 25% occurred at car dealerships.
  • 34% of drivers say going to the auto repair shop gives them anxiety; women were 65% more likely than men to say so.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 car owners do not feel confident in their ability to identify an auto repair scam.
    • Gen Z was the most likely generation (24%) to not feel confident identifying an auto repair scam.
    • Women were over 2 times more likely than men not to feel confident identifying a scam.
  • 44% of drivers have either already gone on a road trip this summer or plan to.
    • Of those who are going on a road trip, 21% have gotten their car checked for maintenance or repairs, and another 57% plan to do so before hitting the road.
  • Men who were scammed lost an average of $145 more than women.
  • Luxury car drivers who were scammed lost an average of $1,275, compared to mainstream car drivers, who lost $764 on average.
  • Luxury car owners (20%) were most likely to fall victim to a false diagnosis scam, while mainstream car owners (24%) were most likely to fall victim to upselling unnecessary repairs.
  • Gen Z (52%) was most likely to have fallen victim to a mechanic scam, and Gen X (44%) was least likely.

Car Owners Offer their Advice on Avoiding Scams

Automotive Knowledge Is Power

Car repairs are costly enough without worrying about dishonest mechanics and their scams. To protect yourself against falling victim to mechanic scams, research potential costs before visiting a repair shop, get second and third opinions, and ask for cost quotes in writing. Additionally, educate yourself about your vehicle, common repairs needed, average costs, and likely scams mechanics might try to get away with. With forethought and knowledge, you can walk into any auto repair shop with confidence and assurance.


AmericanTrucks surveyed 1,000 car owners about their experiences with mechanic scams. The breakdown of those surveyed was as follows:

  • By generation: 13% baby boomers, 27% Gen X, 51% millennials, 9% Gen Z
  • By gender: 50% women, 49% men, 1% non-binary.
  • By vehicle: 85% mainstream car (Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru or Toyota), 8% luxury car (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla or Volkswagen), 7% drove something else.

About AmericanTrucks

Whatever your truck preference, AmericanTrucks has the tips, tools, and equipment you need to keep your vehicle looking good and running smoothly.

Fair Use Statement

If you want to help others avoid falling victim to mechanic scams, feel free to share this article for noncommercial purposes only. You must provide a link back to this page so readers can access our full findings and methodology.