Car troubleshooting and repairs: Watch out for scams

A breakdown along the way can ruin part of your vacation and put a strain on your budget. Especially if the dishonest repair company sees you as a potential victim. Here are a few tips.

Hiccups, black smoke, the engine light comes on and nothing else… Since you have no idea about mechanics and are far from home, panic sets in. You still have to stay calm.

Car broke down on the road – Source: spm

Get help, not fleece
If you have a breakdown on a federal or departmental road, call your assistance service first. Depending on your contract, support can be material (trailers, technical repairs) and logistical (replacement vehicle, accommodation, transport, etc.). Workshops approved by insurers do not allow advance payments (apart from the deductible) and are generally quality guarantees.

You can’t rely directly on your insurance on the highway or motorway. First go to safety and then use an emergency call terminal, the motorway operator’s SOS app, 112 or the “eCall” call system if your car is equipped with it. The emergency services will send you an approved repair company to intervene on the motorway.

If it is a minor defect, he will repair your car on site. Otherwise, the vehicle will be towed to the workshop or garage of your choice, which may have been indicated by the assistance service you previously contacted. Towing fees are fixed and strictly regulated. Depending on the vehicle weight, expect to pay between 132.70 and 164.09 euros, increased by 50% between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., on weekends and public holidays.

Automotive repair – Source: spm


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Spare parts, a repair time of more than 30 minutes or a towing service over 5 km from the motorway exit will be charged in addition to the package. Find out about the prices displayed on the emergency vehicle and ask the workshop for an invoice with detailed information about the services carried out. If your assistance contract provides for this, you can have the flat rate for the trailer and, if necessary, the repair costs reimbursed.

Repairing a car on the go – Source: spm

Before making any repairs, find out about the prices
You’re in the garage. Please note that prices are free. The prices of the Services must be posted at the Facility, including all taxes. Otherwise, run away! Before you take your car to the shop, request a detailed quote (sometimes up to 10% of the repair price is paid, but deducted from the final bill) that details labor and parts costs. If you are unsure about prices, check out an online parts platform to compare. The offer you sign is considered a contract.

If the mechanic can’t give you an estimate, ask for a dated “repair order” on letterhead that you both sign. You must specify the exact type of repairs to be carried out, their expected cost and the amount of downtime. Avoid numerous invoicing disputes.

If the mechanic carries out unscheduled work without your consent, you have the right not to pay for it. Finally, ask for an itemized invoice when you pay and don’t hesitate to take your car for a test drive after the repair to check if it’s working properly. Bon Voyage!

Before the big game
To avoid stress, take a few precautions before you leave: have your car checked and check whether an assistance guarantee covers you in the event of a breakdown, 7 days a week, 24 hours a d