OKLAHOMA CITY - We trust them to keep one of our biggest investments in working order. Yet mechanics have one of the worst reputations. 

Consumer Reports found more than one quarter of Americans have a gripe about a mechanic.

We found some sound advice on avoiding cars repair rip offs.

  • Start with asking friends, co-workers and relatives about their positive experiences.
  • Understand why the repair bill got so high. It's happened to all of us. We go in for an oil change and walk away paying hundreds more. The extra repairs may be legit, but if the staff is paid partly on commission, be suspicious.
  • There's an easy way to avoid unnecessary maintenance. Dust off the owner's manual in the glove box and stick to doing what it says.
  • It never hurts to play inspector either. If we don't want to take the mechanic's word for it, ask him to show us the problem.
  • If they replace parts, make sure they give back the old ones.

Bonus Web Tips:

  • Shop Around. We can price-shop car repairs the same way we price-shop cars. Find out per hour labor rates, the price for parts and basic services.
  • Cheaper is not always better. Dealerships typically charge more but may have more technical knowledge or resources, since they have a stronger connection to the manufacturer.
  • If the price isn't right for the work performed, complain to the owner.