By Kurtis Ming

You pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for work on your car, but do you know if you got what you paid for? The Bureau of Automotive Repair will check it for free.

It was about two years ago, when Lynn Hernandez, of Sacramento was rear-ended on the way to work.

“Everybody kind of had to break hard,” she recalls, “I come to a stop and I could hear the car behind me is shrieking.”

After the crash, the repairs to her bumper, trunk and exhaust system totaled $3,900. But a couple weeks after she got her Acura back, she had a feeling something wasn’t right.

“I wasn’t quite assured that he car was fixed correctly,” says Lynn.

Her sister, who works for the state, told her about the Bureau of Automotive Repair’s free auto body inspection program.

“Most of the people that call in it’s just for peace of mind,” says Jaime Ramos, a Program Representative III Supervisor at the BAR.

Ramos says inspectors will come to your home or workplace and do a free inspection on your car to make sure the auto body work matches the work you paid for.

Lynn learned during her free inspection there was a problem.

“He said, ‘Apparently they didn’t change your muffler, it’s the same muffler,'” Lynn recalls.

Her invoice clearly states the shop would “remove and replace” her muffler.

“She could have gone a year or two down the road and had problems with the muffler and thought it was replaced, when in all reality, it wasn’t,” says Ramos.

When the BAR finds problems, they’ll fight for you to get the shop to do the job right. The Bureau talked with Lynn’s auto body shop and her muffler was replaced in a matter of days.

Lynn says she never would’ve known, without the program.

“For me, I’m a commuter, I’m a mom and I want to know my vehicle is safe for my family,” says Lynn, “It’s a great relief to me.”

The BAR says most of the time, when problems are found, it’s oversights on the shop’s part. But the state will take action if they think fraud is involved.

In order to qualify for the program, your auto body job has to be recent, and you have to have your invoice. The BAR will not inspect mechanical work, since those repairs are much more invasive and harder to investigate.

Details of the program can be found at this link.


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