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Cars.com invests in RepairPal to try to keep mechanics honest

I may not be a licensed driver, but I have mooched enough rides off other people to appreciate the value of a good mechanic.

RepairPal.com, which simplifies the process of car maintenance, has received $13 million in funding fuel to expand its network.

“RepairPal is doing for auto repair what Cars.com did for car purchasing,” said Greg McGivney, Cars.com’s vice president of strategy and business development, in a statement. “When transparency, expert advice and high standards reign, the customer wins. RepairPal has its priorities in the right place and we believe they will transform the auto repair industry.”

Cars.com and Castrol innoVentures led this round and will support RepairPal with expertise and strategic resources as well as financing.

Servicing a car is generally an expensive and stressful process. The average person does not have intimate knowledge of a vehicle’s inner-workings, nor a strong sense of how various repairs should be priced, especially as cars have become more complicated with on-board computers and other electronics. As a result, many consumers are easy targets for being overcharged, as they’re unaware of subpar work and are likely to sign up for unnecessary services.

To protect against these sorts of swindles, sites like Car Talk and Angie’s List collect user-generated tips and reviews. However, like any crowdsourced forum, the content comes from the opinions of strangers and is not necessarily trustworthy.

RepairPal uses data analytics to give consumers objective and legitimate information. Its system collects data from surveys, repair invoices, manufacturers, and so on to estimate the cost and time requirements of common repairs and services.

“We arm consumers with all the information needed to ensure they get the right services at the right price,” said the company on its site.

Once they have obtained all the relevant information, users can also search for trusted, certified, qualified mechanics in their area. The technicians who service the cars then write reports with “essential insights” about associated repairs, details about parts and procedures, and other tidbits to keep in mind. RepairPal also provides a centralized online location to maintain all car records and advice.

So far, there are 200 shops in the RepairPal network across 35 states, with multiple locations in California, New York, Chicago, Denver, Texas, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Miami. The funding will add shops and markets as well as accelerate product development. Features in the pipelines include reminders about upcoming oil changes or other services.

RepairPal was founded in 2007 and is located in San Francisco. This brings its total amount raised to $20.35 million.

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