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Old 02-27-2008, 06:56 PM   #1
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Default Am I getting screwed? Car maint. prices

Dropped my jeep off at a reputable 4x4 shop to get some work done I have been meaning to get done for a while, 2001 cherokee with ~70,000 miles, haven't really ever had it in a shop for much other than oil changes, had a tranny flush at 30k miles, done my own transfer case and diff fluid changes and brake work. Never had a problem with the vehicle.

I dropped it off asking for the following:

new spark plugs and wires
tranny flush and fill
coolant flush and fill

they called and additionally they say I need:

new serp belt (old one is cracked)
power steering flush and fill
brake fluid flush and fill


How much should all of these things be costing me? I got quoted $865 for all this, seems ridiculous...

edit: I know I can do some of this myself, but I a just too darn busy these days.

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:05 PM   #2
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It is the auto industrie's duty to rake us over the coals at every opportunity!

I agree that quote seems outlandish but if you check around I'll bet you will find that is right in line with other shops.

I'm no mechanic but at 70K miles all those things are probably due.

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:09 PM   #3
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Depending on the type of spark plugs you need that COULD be within the realm of realistic pricing. My SIL's Sebring uses those stupid coil-over spark plugs which are about $110CAD each and it takes hours to change them because you have to take half the engine apart.

If they're regular plugs and easy to get to that's a really high quote though.

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:11 PM   #4
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I was going to say the same. If you have had the car for all 70,000 and have not had your brake fluid and power steering fluid flushed, then yeah, it is time. I think it is recommended every 40,000 or so.

I am no mechanic, and I admit it does look a little high, but I bet it is going to be similar anywhere else.

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:11 PM   #5
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I honestly dont see that list costing over $400-$500 at any mechanics. That is easy, non-time intensive stuff you could do one Sat. morning yourself for ~$100 of parts and fluids.

I would say a ~$700 savings is worth doing yourself even if it takes you an entire day...

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:21 PM   #6
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The thing about getting that flushing done is that some places actually "flush the system out" while others drain everything and then re-fill it. I don't know if there are any benefits to flushing vs draining and replacing the fluid.

The other thing is the belt, it should probably be done at 60k but they are designed to last longer. They charge quite a bit to do the belts on newer cars, and might just be pricing your car the same way they price the plastic filled other cars. You should go in and ask them to see the cracks in the belt, if they look bad replace it, if not it can probably go another 20k, but you will have to do it eventually.

It doesn't help your situation that you walked in the front door and basically asked them to do all of the things that they try to sell you as "extra" when you go in with a real problem.

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:27 PM   #7
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Valuable information here would be what the going rate is for mechanics in your area. Here in Jersey (and Pennsylvania when I lived there a few years ago), pretty much every shop in town charges $68-$72/hr for labor. So by that standard (which I'd be willing to bet is not the same in CO), alloting $100 for parts, they're charging you for between 10-11 hours of labor- which by any standard is ridiculous for those jobs.

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:46 PM   #8
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I've had several vehicles that I've performed the majority of the maintenance on that had over 200K on the engine and have never flushed a thing or had to change timing belts...

I just did a brake job on my Grand Prix yesterday...all ceramic pads under $80...

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Old 02-27-2008, 08:22 PM   #9
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Ah, the old "while you're here you also need....." upsell call.

This "flushing" thing is total BS. First, they throw the word around but you'd be lucky if they do anything at all besides top up. The slightly more honest places will at least DRAIN the system before adding the fluid. Flush? What exactly is in there that needs flushing? Hair? It's a closed system.

You wanna flush the brake system? Open up the bleeder on each wheel cyl and have someone slowly apply the brake to the floor. Repeat twice per wheel making sure that the fluid never falls below the minimum line. Once it does, refill. Done and done.

Serp belt? $30 in parts, 20 minutes labor.

Plugs and wires? Even if you have individual coils on top, they don't have to replace the coils and there are no "wires". Then it's $25 in plugs and 20 minutes labor.

You're getting ripped.

I had my truck into the dealer service dept for a rear end squeak and I got the same call telling me I needed front brakes and new rotors (at 28k miles mind you). I told them to fix what I asked them to and don't touch anything else. I checked and the front pads had 5/8" of pad left (this is a pickup truck). Yeah OK!

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Old 02-27-2008, 08:30 PM   #10
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Yep your getting screwed. I bet they don't even do half the things and just tell you they did. Their are only a few people I trust with my car and a car shop is not one of them.

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