My battery salesman told me a scary story a few weeks ago. He delivers batteries to garages around the state and has one garage up north that sells ten times more batteries than any other garage. He asked the owner of the garage how he was able to sell so many batteries. The owner pulled out a sharpened screw driver, held it up, and proudly stated “this sells me batteries”. What the garage owner was doing was opening the hood during a routine service, looking at the battery to see if it was at least a few years old, checking out the customer (I would imagine he preyed on women), and then poking a hole in the battery. He would then go to the customer, explain that the battery was leaking, and sell the customer a new battery. I expect this crook will get caught if he’s dumb enough to brag about his exploits.
It is common to take your car in for some basic service and have a garage recommend repair work. How can you be certain that you need the recommended repairs? I’m sure most of the customers who had holes poked in their batteries didn’t question the need for repair. We are not all technically savvy about automobiles. I have only seen one leaking battery in the last twenty years and it leaked after I accidentally dropped on the floor.
The best defense against being sold unnecessary repair work is to ask questions. Ask to see the loose, worn, or broken part. Ask how much longer before the part will fail. Call and ask someone you trust for a second opinion. Most garages and mechanics are honest but there are some that will recommend services that you might not need.