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Free online auto repair estimate

carrepairWhen the mechanic comes out with the estimate of how much it will cost to fix my car, I am nearly always stunned. Can it really cost that much?

If you want a second opinion, check RepairPal, which provides free estimates on repairs to most cars, customized by ZIP code. You can access RepairPal on your computer or get the freeiPhone app.

RepairPal joins several similar services: DriverSide, which is also free, and FairRepair, which charges $9.99 for an estimate once you enter your VIN number but gives you that cost back as a rebate if you use one of their participating mechanics, who have promised to honor the estimates.

RepairPal launched last year. In addition to providing repair estimates, it explains the purpose of the repairs, outlines problems specific to your car’s make and model and has a forum where you can get answers to questions. You can even keep your service records online.

Some local repair shops are listed with reviews, but that part of the website isn’t yet complete.

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