How to find out if you're getting a fair price from the car repair shop

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Whether you need a tune-up or a new timing belt, when the repair shop tells you how much the job will cost, most of us have no idea if it's a fair price.

Now there are a few resources you can check to make sure you're not paying too much. 

You don't need a membership to use Consumer Reports Car Repair Estimator. Just plug in your car's make, model and year and your ZIP code to see the average price of some of the most common repairs.

It shows a serpentine belt replacement for a 2011 Toyota Sienna should cost between $136 and $223. All of the data on this site is from Repair Pal. 

If you are looking for a mechanic that will honor those prices, head directly to the Repair Pal website. This site will give you a list of shops that will honor the estimate it lists for services in your area. 

Openbay.com lets you type in what service you need, and repair technicians will contact you with quotes. 

Even if you already have a mechanic you trust, you can use these websites to try and negotiate a lower bill by showing them what other shops are charging for the same service.  

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