Every once in a great while, we run into an issue where one of our customers gets a little miffed if that have to pay a diagnosis fee when we figure out their vehicle’s problem. Something along the lines of “but your sign says free estimates,” is said. This conversation is never a fun one to have, but our guys stay calm in front of the customer and get the issue resolved one way or another. To the everyday individual an estimate and diagnosis sound pretty similar, however there is a big difference. Simply knowing the difference between an inspection, an estimate, and performing a diagnostic test can take away some of the frustration. 🙂

Let’s start with a few loose definitions:

Auto & Truck Estimates:

Coming up with an approximate cost, or ‘estimate’ of a specific repair for your car or truck.  An example would be when a customer asks us how much it would cost to repair the front brake pads and rotors.

Auto & Truck Inspections:

Taking an overall look at a vehicle or ‘inspecting’ it to determine wear and tear on certain parts throughout the car or truck.  An example of this would be our 27 Point Inspection that we perform during every oil change.  Let’s say during this inspection our service technician discovers that the brake pads are worn down and the rotors are warped.  That will be notated on the inspection report for you, the customer to make a decision and more than likely ask about an estimate.

Auto & Truck Diagnosis:

Determining what is wrong and what needs to be fixed on a vehicle based on a customer’s description of the issue or issues happening with their vehicle.  Here’s a sample scenario for you: A customer states that whenever he runs over a pothole his SUV keeps bouncing after they have passed over it.  The technician spends 30 minutes of his time figuring out the issue and determines the customer needs new struts.

Just because we do charge for diagnosis doesn’t always mean it will cost our customers an arm and a leg to get a problem looked at and diagnosed.  If it’s something simple and just takes 10-20 minutes to figure out, that’s what will be charged.  When shopping for prices, be sure to check and see what the shop’s labor rate is at.  If you have a vehicle problem or issue you’d like looked at to resolve the problem.  Just simply ask the service adviser or technician how much time and money he/she thinks ‘estimates’ it will cost to ‘inspect’ and ‘diagnose’ the problem.  Who knows, it could be a common problem.  That would make it quick and easy to inspect, diagnosis and estimate.  Before it becomes a real problem and an even larger cost to repair.

Contact Matt’s Automotive Service Center

We are more than happy to help and answer any questions you may have in regards to your vehicle with it being an auto or truck estimate, inspection, diagnosis or all of it.  At Matt’s Automotive Service Center in Moorhead, MN & Fargo, ND we are here to give you the best experience ever at an automotive shop.  Contact us today!