Auto Repair Costs have risen for the second time, according to the latest Vehicle Health Index report by Across the U.S., average repair costs increased by 10.15 percent to $367.84 in 2012; a year later, the cost nearly broke the $400 barrier, posting an increase of nearly 7 percent. Take note that this only includes data from “check engine light” repairs.

Car Repairs

Auto Repair Costs may be a pain, but it all comes with the responsibility of owning a car. In light of this trend, it pays to look back at a law that can help you make every cent count: the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act (FMVRA).

Written Estimate

Spanning Florida statutes 559.901 and 559.9221, the FMVRA took effect on January 1, 1981 to protect car owners from unscrupulous repairs. One of the key points of this law is the need for registered repair shops to furnish a written estimate for repairs costing over $100. This must also be produced before any work on the car can begin.

William G. Morris, a business law practitioner based on Marco Island, suggests against leaving your car at the shop outside office hours. He writes:

“If the customer leaves the motor vehicle at the repair shop when the shop is not open, there is an implied partial waiver of the written estimate”

Luxury car repair bills can easily exceed $100, especially if you wait until scheduled maintenance intervals before you bring vehicle problems to the shop’s attention. The first 10,000 miles are the most expensive, according to cost-per-mile data from AAA, at almost 60 cents per mile for a compact sedan like the BMW 3 series.

Tough Protection

Few repair shops dare to challenge the FMVRA due to its clear-cut provisions. Failing to comply means waiving the right to payment, whether or not repairs were done. As such, a reputable BMW repair shop such as Auto Works of Brandon makes it a point to comply with the law.

In fact, the FMVRA was put to the test in 1986. The Third District Court of Appeal overturned a previous decision and awarded a car owner just restitution for the repair shop’s failure to produce a written estimate under the FMVRA. It was ruled unlawful of the shop to deny the owner of her car after refusing to pay.

All the same, it pays to be financially prepared for the necessary maintenance works that keep your car roadworthy. You can rest easy, though, that you both have the law and respectable Tampa BMW repair shops to protect your interests.

(Source: “It’s The Law: Car repairs require written estimate,”, April 9, 2014)


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