Knowledge Is Power
Many workshops these days are real 'swindlers' as I have heard of many stories from many people on how these 'professionals' convince customers to buy or pay for something unnecessary.
I myself have met a few 'characters' who often want to sell you something you were not there for in the first place. I mean, if you went into the pharmacy to get some vitamins, the last thing you would want is to walk out convinced that you needed Viagra!
Put it simply, if you went to a garage for an oil change, you shouldn't be upgrading your rims or slapped with a huge bill unless something was really wrong with your ride.
I am very sure that this is not new but let's face it, not everyone is an automobile genius. While we cannot change the fact that there will always be the selective few 'cheaters' out there who prey on customers, we can always strengthen our knowledge in the related field to ensure that our money is well spent. As most of us are daily motorists, it would be a good idea for all vehicle owners to have some basic knowledge on cars or at least what is necessary to keep it on the road.
Some of the methods I use even as a seasoned car enthusiast is to get more quotes from other alternative workshops or by checking out how much a particular component is online. When it comes to modifications, it may even be worth it to get a quote directly from the manufacturer and factor in some shipping charges to the total cost. Technically, the price of the product should not defer too much from the cost from a manufacturer.
Of course, there would be acceptable cases where specialised expertise is required for tuning but generally, if a component is a bolt-on, much price deviation is not to be expected. Especially, if it is a small job like installation of sway bars or an air intake for that matter. Respectable forums are also a good source of information and some times, advice from the more experienced can really save you money.
While one should always be on his/her toes to ensure that their rides are safe and well maintained, there is more than often a more economical way to achieve this. Knowledge is power!