How many times can a mechanic charge a diagnostic fee for...

Q: How many times can a mechanic charge a diagnostic fee for the same problem?

asked by on August 12, 2017

I used a mobile mechanic to try to fix my car so that I could pass emissions. He charged about $400 for the work. I asked if my car would pass emissions and he said yes. I told him that my check engine light came back on the next day and asked if he could come back out. He said to take my car to autozone to get the codes read and then he would. If he had to come to me to read the codes he would charge another diagnostic fee. Is it normal for him to charge another fee when the problem wasn't fixed in the first place?

The fee charged, $400, does suggests a "significant" repair which obviously you hoped would cover everything and would result in the light staying off. To answer your question as to the appropriateness of "new" diagnostic or repair charges, I would still need to know exactly what the original trouble codes were, exactly what was replaced or repaired, and why, and what the new codes are. The problem is there are many, many different and unique scenarios that can arise in repairing vehicle systems and one of those possibilities is that the "new" codes have absolutely nothing to do with the original issue but rather represent new malfunctions. Obviously, if new malfunctions are occurring that’s not the mechanic’s fault and "new" diagnostic charges would be reasonable. The bottom line is much more information is needed to understand your circumstance and guide you. If you wanted to resolve the issue using a certified mechanic dispatched by YourMechanic, the recommended service is a check engine light diagnostic. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic because we want you to make the most of your repair dollars and help you to get the best possible results.

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