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Am I getting screwed? Car maint. prices

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ColoradoXJ13

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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.
 

RichBrewer

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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.
 

bradsul

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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.
 

cubbies

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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.
 

Dr_Deathweed

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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...
 

Donasay

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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.
 

JKelley

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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.
 

homebrewer_99

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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...:rockin:
 

Bobby_M

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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!
 

Ryanh1801

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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.
 

RoaringBrewer

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I'm getting all the above, less the belt, done to my 350z this Saturday... Please note that I could easily do it myself (I've rebuilt entire engines before so fluid changes are easily doable), but I just do not have the time in my schedule between January and the end of March (external auditor). So, its worth the $ to me to have a reputable shop save me this labor when I'm often working Saturdays and trying to relax Sundays...

Anyway, my total cost for all the above (new plugs, coolant, brake, power steering, tranny fluid, etc.) is around $450. And this is at 350z/G35 specialty shop about 2 hour drive from me (Sterling VA), not a dealer or mom and pop shop. Further, I'm getting all, 'performance' fluids (read: Motul) used, as I have for a while...

Anyway, close to $900 sounds ridiculous to me as well...
 

Dude

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Take it to another shop. That is total BS.

In fact, do it yourself. Postpone brewday and spend 3 hours in the driveway on Saturday doing it. You'll feel good afterwards, you'll save a ton of coin, and FWIW, Jeeps are easy to work on.
 
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As an x-mechanic (granted 20+ years ago) at least I feel like you're getting rolled but hey, I was replacing transmissions for $350 including labor. The only thing that ever is typically "flushed" is coolant via h2o and at a good place , brake lines. I used to flush brake lines via open bleeder, pump brakes, refill, drain, refill (wasting new brake fluid) and I bet that doesn't happen often anymore.

The x-factors on this is the belt and plugs and sometimes the trans filter R&R. I don't know the ins/outs on that jeep but I remember an old chrysler where you had to remove the motor mounts, raise the engine to access two of the plugs. I'd recommend a price break-down on the things performed on the quote and then shop it. Consider doing the brake fluid yourself. $3-5 worth of fluid; just don't snap the bleeder!
 
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ColoradoXJ13

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I had a feeling I was getting screwed, but really, I do not have the few hours it would take to do this stuff. I am working pretty much 7 days a week, and the little time I have away from work is taken up with other home responsibilities. I am going to ask for a price breakdown and make sure that everything they said they were doing was done.

I have worked on the jeep a lot, I replaced the entire suspension, a rear axle (twice), installed disc brakes on the rear in place of drums, have done brakes, etc...I just have no idea what is going on under the hood...
 

rattler_mt

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i have no clue on the newer jeeps........ive got a 95 Cherokee but they changed chit in 97.......my 95 is simple to work on do believe the 2001 has coil over plugs though and ive got no clue on the labor on that.....everything else should be simple and straight forward from a labor stand point.........
 

Dude

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FWIW, that xj engine is one of the easiest engines to work on. It is an old bulletproof 4.0 liter inline 6 so all of the plugs are right out in the open. Jeep didn't go to a fully electronic distributor system until the early 2000s, so changing plugs and wires would be a piece of cake.

I also agree that most of the "flushes" they recommend are bogus. Unless you've gotten water/mud inside the hydraulics, they should be fine.

At any rate, tell that shop to suck balls and find another one that will do the necessities.
 
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cubbies said:
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 disagree. Flushing the brake and power steering fluid just for the sake of flushing it is pretty pointless, regardless of the mileage, IMHO. If it's contaminated, you probably have bigger problems than just the fluid itself. If it's clean, and everything's working fine, leave well enough alone.

That price is outrageous. If you have a sparkplug socket along with a set of VERY basic tools, you can do all of these things at home for under $100. You just need a place to dispose of the fluids and anything you use to flush the system(s).
 

Cookiebaggs

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I agree with the above posters. You're getting ripped. DYI and buy a SS conical with the money you saved. :D
 

knarfks

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I know people say they don't have time, but give me a break. I don't know anyone who can't take 30 minutes here or there to do a belt, the 20 minutes to do plugs and wires on another day. Transmission fluid ok, that may take a while.

I'm also with others, I have never heard of flushing the brakes and power steering fluid unless mud or water is involved in an open system.
 

Skins_Brew

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I use to be an avid jeep owner. I had a 92 and a 2004 wrangler. I have been all over jeep message boards and the serp belt is a huge scam. Granted, a serp belt is expensive, buts they do not wear out that quick. Many other jeep owners complained about shops trying to tell them to change the serp belt. Examine your own serp belt. Its right in front...
 

Bobby_M

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70k is about time for the belt to be changed. It's probably tried out and worn but go price it at Rockauto.com. I think I paid $29 for my Dakota.

I agree with Dude. Hydraulic fluids don't go bad, again, closed system.

You might work seven days a week but you probably don't make $75 an hour like you're paying a shop.
 

rattler_mt

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take this for what its worth.................but i had a serp belt last for 20,000 miles looking rugged as heck........they may look cracked and worn, mine looked like crap at 60,000 when i bought the Cherokee............think i had my brother finally change it at 85,000 cause he needed something to do in vo-ag class
 
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