How to Understand Your Auto Repair Invoice and Estimate

Monday, December 9, 2019

The average age of the vehicles on the road in Pennsylvania is 11.8 years old.

You've invested a lot in your car, so you want it to last as long as possible. The way to do that is to have your vehicle brought to a mechanic for regular maintenance and repair.

When you bring your car to a mechanic, they'll present you with an estimate before performing any work.

Keep reading to learn how to interpret your auto repair invoice and estimate.

What Is an Estimate?

When you bring your car to a mechanic for maintenance or repair, they'll inspect your vehicle and provide you with an estimate.

This estimate will outline the work required.

The best estimates are detailed and itemized so that you, the car owner, understand what you're paying for.

The Information on Your Estimate

The exact information included on the estimate will vary from one shop to the next.

However, there's some basic information that you should see on your invoice.

Your Information

You should see your contact and your vehicle information.

This will ensure the invoice you're looking at is meant for you and for the vehicle you brought in.


The estimate should list out all the parts needed to repair your car.

There are different levels of quality when it comes to car parts.

You need to know what the mechanic uses to know if you're getting charged the correct price.

  • New OEM parts
  • New aftermarket parts
  • Remanufactured parts
  • Salvaged or used parts


You should see a charge per hour and an estimation of how many hours the service will take.

This is usually a set price per hour.

Check that the labor estimate is clearly outlined in the estimate. This is one area where an unsavory shop can fudge the cost.

If you're having multiple services done, the labor should be itemized by service.

Other Charges

There might be several miscellaneous or flat fees included in the estimate.

The shop might charge for materials other than vehicle parts or for the removal of hazardous waste. For example, it's common to charge a fee for the disposal of old tires.

These additional charges should be outlined, so it's clear what you're paying for.

What Is an Invoice?

The invoice is the billing paperwork you'll receive after the repairs are completed.

This total on the invoice could be different from what was on the estimate. The difference in price shouldn't be a surprise since the mechanic should discuss any changes in service with you.

Keep in mind that estimates are just that: an estimation of what it will take to repair your vehicle. Mechanics often find further damage once they start making repairs.

If more repairs are necessary, this will inflate the price for the additional parts and labor. It's up to you whether you approve of the additional work.

Understand Your Auto Repair Invoice and Estimate

You should now have a better understanding of what to expect the next time you bring your vehicle into a mechanic for repair.

If your mechanic doesn't provide you with an auto repair invoice and estimate, they aren't a trustworthy business.

Schedule your auto service in advance through our pick-up and delivery service.

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