5 Things to Know Before You Head to the Garage

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Don’t know much about mechanics? Are you worried that your mechanic might inflate their invoice or make unnecessary repairs? Read this article to learn about your rights! 

Important! The rights discussed in this article (estimates, invoices, warranties, etc.) do not apply when:

  • the repair costs less than $50, or
  • installing tires or a battery, if the item and the installation were sold as a package

1 – More than $100? Written estimate required 

Your mechanic must give you a written estimate before working on your car if they think that they price will be more than $100.  

The estimate must mention the nature of the repair, its price, the replacement part, and its condition (new, used, refurbished). 

If you accept, the mechanic must respect the estimate and can charge no additional fees without your consent.  

If the mechanic asks you to pay for the estimate, they must tell you how much it will cost before doing it. Otherwise, it must be free.  

You can opt out of a written estimate by writing and signing your own document. If the repair is free under a warranty, a written estimate is not mandatory.  

2 – A detailed invoice 

Once the repairs are done, the mechanic must give you a detailed invoice that will show: 

  • the repair made 
  • the part installed and its condition (new, used, refurbished)  
  • the cost of any replacement part  
  • the number of hours worked, the hourly rate, and the total cost of labour 
  • taxes  
  • the total  
  • the conditions of the warranty 

3 – Repairs are covered by a warranty 

Repairs come with a warranty (for the work done, not for the whole car). The warranty starts the moment you pick up your vehicle.  

The warranty applies to the parts and the labour for three months or for 5,000 kilometers. For a motorcycle, the parts and labour are covered for one month

If the repairs were not done properly or did not fix the problem, the mechanic must make the necessary corrections for free. This only applies during the warranty period.  

4 – Hold your car 

The mechanic has the right to hold your car until you pay for the repairs.  

However, they cannot hold your car if: 

  • they did not provide a written estimate before working on your car as required by law 
  • they want you to pay more than is written on the estimate and any other fees you had agreed on 

You must pay the full price of what was agreed before you can take your car back. 

5 – Leaving with the replaced part 

Upon request, the mechanic must give you the part that they replaced when they return your car or motorcycle to you. 

However, they are not required to do this if:  

  • the repair was free (for example, covered by a warranty) 
  • if the part is replaced by a refurbished part 
  • they must return the part to the manufacturer or distributer under a warranty 

To learn more about your rights concerning estimates, invoices, or other issues, read our article Solving Problems: Options for Consumers.