Americans are keeping their vehicles longer in order to save money, recent studies find. This is thought to be a result of the troubled economy that has put a strain on many American's finances. Considering many more drivers might be headed to auto repair shops to improve the performance of their vehicles, auto experts released tips to avoid being scammed by mechanics.

The auto industry is known for being filled with scams, from the moment potential owners sign papers at the dealership to when they have to first take it in to be serviced. Mechanics can exploit an auto owner's lack of repair knowledge and attempt to charge the more money.

Scams that have been pulled on auto owners are false estimates, replacement part tricks, tire bait, switch deals and maintenance tricks.

Replacement part trick
The replacement part trick is often referred to as one of the oldest scams in the book. In this scam, the repairman informs the auto owners the problem that is causing the vehicle issues is a faulty part. The mechanic also informs the auto owners that the part will need to be replaced when in actuality, the part is in good condition and the problem is very simple to repair.

Auto owners should ask to see the faulty part and receive a full explanation of why it needs to be replaced before agreeing to any repairs being made. If the auto owner is still confused about the reason the part needs to be replaced, they should look to another mechanic for a second opinion.

The false estimate trick
Anybody who owns a car has been warned about the false estimate trick in which a vehicle is taken to the shop for a minor problem and the mechanic gives a quote that sounds fair and inexpensive, but ends up costing more money as a result of more serious problems that were discovered.

When mechanics pull the false estimate trick on auto owners, the drivers should explain that the original price is what they agreed on and consult with a lawyer if the mechanic refuses to comply with the original contract.

Maintenance scam

When car owners bring their vehicles in for routine maintenance, the mechanic might say they discovered a problem with the vehicle and that its in need of an immediate repair the that would hike up the price of the car being fixed instantly. In reality, the vehicle doesn't have a problem and the mechanic is just trying to increase the bill for the owner.

Mechanics have also been known to repair a vehicle that needs a new part with a used part unbeknownst to the owner. The best thing to do is to asked for the used part in a box to ensure that it can't be used for anyone else's car.

Auto owners are encouraged by experts to talk to family and friends to find out where they go to have their vehicles repaired in order to know if they've had any problems with their mechanics and if they would refer their repair shop. Also, getting everything in writing is important, just in case it needs to be used at a later date as proof of what the two parties agreed on. Auto owners should always get a second opinion to prevent any confusion from occurring.

According to Ken Amaro, auto expert, drivers should spend extra pennies to get the best gasoline to ensure the best performance out of the vehicle.