I own a 1998 A4 Quattro that has ~83,000 miles on it. I'm bringing it
in for service and the mechanic says that the timing belt and water
pump should be replaced. He says that the belt manufacturer suggests
replacing the belt at 60,000 miles even though the Audi owner's manual
says 90,000 miles. Is this true or is the mechanic trying to rip me
On 20 Aug 2003 11:56:04 -0700, email@example.com (Audi A4 owner) wrote:
If you believe everything you read here, you have experienced a miracle.
A bit more seriously: now that you've mentioned this in public, you are
officially Playing With The Forces Of Nature. Not good.
Replace the pump, idler, tensioner, and belts NOW, and feel good that you
cheated engine death to this point...
'00 s4 6spd
No, he is probably right, you are most likely overdue. 90.000 miles sound
far too much to me anyway. I changed mine at 90.000 kilometres, and that
cannot be too far from your present 60.000 miles. So, a change now sounds
quite right to me. My best advice to you is therefore to change your timing
belt ASAP. Maybe you have understood or read it wrong: Maybe it is 90.000
kilometres, and not miles? That sounds a bit more right to me anyway. It is
quite easy to confuse and mix kilometres and miles. Anyway, good luck.
Replace your timing belt now, to avoid likely serious future damage. The
change is absolutely due now.
No, he's right. Audi's recommended interval (at least in the US) for the
timing belt is 90K miles for that model year. What's even more scary is
that for 2001, Audi extended it even further to 120K miles (that's almost
200K kilometers) for the 1.8T engine, and 105K miles for the 2.8 engine.
And they did that knowing that these things tend to fail much much sooner.
Since Audi doesn't warrant past 50,000 miles, I guess they're free to extend
the change interval to whatever they want! ;-) I have a '98 as well with
62,000 miles and will be getting it done sometime in the next couple of
months. Changing water pump and other bits and pieces at the same time is a
firstname.lastname@example.org (Audi A4 owner) wrote in message
It is true. The manual does indeed say 90k. In addition, (IIRC) the
lastest TSB from Audi says 75k. I understand that sometimes the
waterpump can freeze up and kill the belt, which then kills the motor.
The wisdom in this ng is change it at 60k. So, do the whole mess,
right away. Idlers, water pump, belt - and you're good for another
Keep that mechanic - he's a good one.
There's been reported cases when a perfectly working water pump started
leaking immediately after TB replacement. Something to do with a slightly
different tension or whatever. The bottom line, WP should be replaced as
General recomendation - buy parts on your own on the internet and have your
mechanic install them. That should save you about half of your parts cost.
I did not have any problems getting 2 quotes from half a dozen of
mechanics - one quote just for labor and another one for parts and labor.
They were absolutely fine with installing parts I provided. This will not
work with dealers though. Chances are they will refuse to install customer's
The real downside of this approach is that if there is a problem with the
car later on, the mechanic will blame it on parts and the manufacturer will
blame it on the mechanic. So I guess it's a matter of preference, but it
sure worked for me (the dealer and independent mechanic both quoted $500 in
parts, I paid $240 including shipping for those same brand new EOM parts on
Your shop made at least $260 less that day than it would have if you
had purchased the parts through them. Some shops get annoyed by
that. Other shops simply don't want to deal with strange parts from
If it didn't bother any of the mechanics that you spoke with, great.
May I remind you that you are a mechanic, not an auto parts store. You make
a living by selling your labor, not parts. Isn't that what you tell your
customers anyway? If there is not enough money for you in this business -
raise your hourly rate. But you won't do that, cause you'll lose the few
customers you still have. Instead you are running a little scam on the side,
double/tripple charging parts to your ignorant customers. And just because
everybody does it does not make it right. And if you do believe it's right,
tell your customer tomorrow - "I am going to charge you $170 for WP. It's a
list price. You can get exactly the same WP on the internet for $70, I pay
$70 for it but I'll charge you $170, cause there is not enough money in this
business". Tell this to your customer, see what happens.
Talk about attitude problems. Who gives a damn. There is another shop across
the street and they are as good as you are, likely better. You do not do
nobody no stinking favor, do you understand that at least? If I come to your
shop to get my car fixed - I am hiring you and I am willing to pay the rate
you charge for your labor. It is your right not to want to be hired on my
terms, but please remember, you are not doing anybody any favors, shops like
yours are a dime a dozen, and with this kind of attitude no wonder there is
not enough money for you in the business.
I am sure it does happen occasionally, customers do come with parts that are
wrong, missing and/or questionable quality. And you are absolutely
justified to charge the customer for the time it took you to figure it all
out, order it and fix all the mess. But I am sure that in majority of cases
people intelligent enough to know that they can get their own parts also
know what parts they need, where to order them how much they cost and other
And you know what, you yourself know what parts they need. Why don't you
tell your customers what parts they should get. It'd take you 5 minutes to
write down the part numbers and I am sure your customers would be happy to
pay for your time and be delighted with your approach. I mean you called me
a cheapstake so you've got to be Mr. Generosity, right? Why don't you do it
to your customers, after all my mechanic did it for me. But calling me a
cheapstake I do not think you would move your finger for free. How much do
you charge to reset an error code with vag-com, $50 or $90?
> Then, there's the responsibility issue. Lets say the belt falls off
Generally speaking I agree with you regarding the responsibility issue and
this is a trade off one takes. If it's a couple of bucks as you say, you
might as well pay them, but I was talking about $200-300 difference. Quite
an expensive warranty, isn't it?
I'd also be hard-pressed to find a mechanic standing behind his work half a
year down the road (unless it's a dealership). I may be wrong but 1-3 months
and/or 500-1000 miles is pretty much tops. Never mind the fact, that if
there is a problem, 99.9% of mechanics (and people in any other business)
will try their best to weasel out of their responsibilities and blame it on
other parts, the customer or whatever they can come up with.
Buy doing what exactly in addition to being a mechanic? By calling a parts
dealer, ordering parts from him and double charging the client? That's a lot
of hard work involved of course :-) . Is it illegal? Not really, but the
fact that not only do they not advertise this activity as does every
reputable business, but do their best to cover it up and make sure customer
does not realize that he gets double charged on parts - this alone betrays
shady side of the transaction.
Cut the crap. What are you in a second grade with arguments like that? Go
tell your customers what the parts really cost you and see for yourself if
they do not care.
For your information any scam is a voluntary transaction between consenting
adults as well, but it is still a scam. And if a car has a loose wire and
the mechanic "fixes" it by replacing half the engine - it is still a
voluntary business transaction too. I am not saying that the situation with
parts is a scam or illegal, all I am saying that consumers can be better off
with getting their own parts.
Then stop whining that there is not enough money in the business.
I did not say that. One wants to rip you off on parts, the other is quite
happy to charge his hourly labor rate, I think it's a better distinsion
Yep. The mechanic sure makes more money when he overcharges for parts. He
also makes more money when he recommends unnecessary repairs, overbills for
his hours, uses rebuilt parts charging you for new ones, deliberately
breakes something so that he could profit by fixing it, lots of other
things. Do you truly believe that as a consumer I should be sympathetic to
all or any of this?
Yep, you are right again. It's about 30 seconds to reset the code, but if
the customer has no idea, why not charge him $90. That may well be
justified from the business point of view, this is indeed how the business
works. I am looking at it from the consumer's perspective, my original post
was a recommendation to a consumer to buy his own parts and not let the
business take advantage of him. Likewise it makes sense to buy your own
vag-com adapter for $70 and read/reset the codes for free.
Absurd statement, you are way off base indeed. So if there is no violence,
than it's fine, right? This would justify any scam, any fraud, let alone
"immoral" and "unscrupulous" but otherwise legal activity. You seem to be
quite ripe to get job in telemarketing.
WP $70 vs $170
TB $40 vs $80
TB Pulley $40 Vs $100
TB Roller $30 vs $60
Serp Belt - do not remember
Thermostat - do not remember, but saved about $20 i think
The numbers are aproximate, some may be totally wrong but you got the idea.
No it does not. Warranty price is supposed to be a small fraction of the
merchandise price, not 30-60% of it, more like 5-10%. At any rate as I said
before I've not seen repair warranties lasting for 6+months (other then from
Hitting machine with hammer: $20
Knowing where to hit it: $2480
You're seeing a conspiracy where there simply isn't one. Ask any
business person what their cost is on one of their products, and
they're tell you to kiss off.
I start second grade in the fall, thank you for asking.
The customers are aware that the mechanic is making money on the
parts. They're willing to pay that because they have lack the time,
expertise, and resources to determine which part they need and where
to buy it.
Most people want to take the car into the shop, say "it's making a
noise", and pick it up fixed a couple of hours later. Go ahead and
tell them about the markup on the parts, and watch them shrug.
Remember, regular people aren't like car people. They're vaguely
aware that there's an engine under there, but that's about the limit
of their knowledge.
You're saying that standard markup - and "double the wholesale" is
standard markup in a lot of retail industries - is the same thing as
fraud? Come on.
There's the point. Tie a red flag to it so you don't miss it next
time. If you cut into the mechanic's revenues by taking away his
parts profit, there's not enough money for him to continue to operate
Again, standard markup is not synonymous with fraud. The mechanic is
charging what the market will bear for the item. The customer is free
to decline to purchase goods and services from the mechanic. That's
how the system works.
I get the impression that you're being deliberately obtuse. You
should stop that.
Because the machine to reset the code, the bay to park the car in
while you're reseting the code, the insurance on the bay, and the
listing in the yellow pages that brought the customer in to begin with
are not free.
We covered this in first grade. Are you not there yet?
The consumer's perspective is that he or she is free to find another
mechanic if he or she is unsatisfied with the policies or the current
Operative word "let". I'm glad to see that you're catching on.
Really? Wow, I'm glad you caught that. You are indeed an astute one.
You should go on Jeopardy or something.
You know, I do agree with some of what you say especially regarding the way
businesses operate. I have no idea how I got dragged into this whole stupid
argument and I am not going to provide a line by line response. Here is the
essense of what I am saying though:
Most of the customers do come to get a noise fixed and happy to leave the
shop with the noise gone. I never said it was illegal or scam or fraud to
mark up parts and a doubling the price is indeed normal. We are not talking
about double mark up though, the internet store selling me the same WP for
$70 does make a profit too, probably the same double markup, and unlike
shops they have to order them, stock them, ship them etc - really lots of
work involved. In this example the true cost of the part is likely about
$35, so charging $170 for it is OUTRAGEOUS).
Anyway, they may be happy that there is no noise, but lots of them do
grumble that it cost them a small fortune to get it fixed. That's especially
applicable to Audis and other german cars which are notoriously expensive in
All I did was suggested that an educated consumer can invest a little time,
do a little research and save a significant amount of money on parts. And
it's not that hard, really. I am NOT a car man, but I did it twice
successfully and plan to do it again. (My first time was with rear brakes
pads/rotors, dealer quoted $220 for parts plus tax, I got EOM pads and
rotors for $100 on the internet including shipping). BTW stealer quoted 2
hours of labor for brakes at $90 hr, my non-audi mechanic did it in one hour
at $55. Total dealer quote - $400+tax = $425, I paid $160 for the same job.
Yes, you are right, the dealership did not make (take) extra $265 from me,
do you really think I am supposed to be upset about it. HAHAHAHAHA. I am
delighted to be an educated consumer and will spend MY money on MY kids. As
an extra bonus I learned a lot about cars in the process, so it's going to
be harder for mechanics to rip me off in the future.
And if a shop/mechanic is unhappy with customer bringing their own parts,
who cares? There are lots of equally qualified mechanics without attitudes
willing to do the job.
D O G - I hate to break it to you, but 4x marks on Cost of Goods Sold
is typical business practice for retailers. Of course, that is after
the tier-one and tier-two distributors get their share. For higher
quality parts or designs, the retail mark can go to 10x. So, a $35
part selling at $170 is a 4.85x mark...not really outrageous.
Then buy a friggin' GM. If you can't afford to maintain it, then
maybe you shouldn't own it.
It never hurts to shop around, but you seem to be of the typical
consumer mindset that price is everything and value is nothing. Good
business behavior is based on a "win-win" basis. No business man
likes a customer that constantly tries to squeeze his margins for the
same level of service.
Correction. You are a mis-educated consumer, most likely a graduate
of the Wal-Mart University. Cheaper is better - this is a poor
person's mindset. Experience and quality comes at a cost and is worth
paying for. Why did you buy an Audi to begin with?!
There won't be enough mechanics if everyone starts doing what you do.
If you make it hard to make a living at something, then that trade
will become more rare as vendors exit. Rarity eventually drives the
price right back up...and you are forced to deal with the very thing
you were trying to avoid. They may perform the job, but I'm sure they
remember exactly who you were. Don't expect any favors or any
preferential treatment because you do not behave like a good business
partner, so why should they behave that way? Give the small business
owner a break...eh?
You're kidding, right? Do you understand the expertise required?
Modern cars, and Audis especially, are very complicated with many
interdependent systems. Diagnosing (properly) a problem is 90% of
what you are buying. Any monkey can replace parts until they luck
upon the right one.
What's a reasonable mark-up? From wholesale, most places will
up-charge 100% of the wholesale price. But *you* can't get the
wholesale price, so what are you complaining about? If JPF is
charging $6 for a Mahle filter, and you can get them for $3.75, maybe
you should just change your own oil. But if he can replace a
waterpump in 2 hours (for example) that would take you all day, or
that the dealer would charge a book of 3.5hrs (or whatever) are you
going to begrudge him the extra $30 you save by buying the very same
And you feel cheated, why? If the work is hard, and you're willing to
pay someone else to do it, why not help him stay in business? I do a
lot of my own stuff. I save a ton of money by doing a lot of simple
maintenence tasks on my own. Even some repairs - ones that don't
require a computer hook-up to diagnose. So when my guy charges me $40
extra on a part, I'm not too upset, considering that to buy a computer
and the software, I might be out 2 orders of magnitude more cash. Or
Plus, he gets it done while I am doing other things. Like playing
with my kids.
Stop right there. The answer is, in fact, "no."
It's perfectly legal.
What's the markup on a shirt from, oh, Macy's? Don't know? I guess
all businesses DON'T tell you the mark-up, huh? Like "none."
Oh, please. If I can get some specific spark plugs from
www.audiquattroparts.com for $5 each, and JPF is selling them at $8, I
am not getting ripped off. If he is selling them at $20 each, and
doing that for all of his parts, then I really have to weigh how much
his expertise is worth. As do you, or any other informed consumer.
And if you don't like the way he does it, go find a mechanic whose
practices you do like. If JPF's business practices alienate enough
customers, he'll not be in business any more - that's the way
Did you actually read where this whole conversation started? I was not
talking about a $2 markup. I was talking about a water pump, which is sold
for $170 by dealerships but is available (exactly same OEM WP) for $70 on
the internet. I was talking about parts for the whole TB/WP job, for which
they charge $500, but which can cost you $250 if you buy them on your own
(And I assure you, I am talking about exactly same brand new EOM or better
I presume that the internet store is making a nice profit on the purchase as
well. Yeah, I do consider $170 for WP a rip-off. And when JPF states, that
he would not accept a customer with his own parts, cause it would deprive
him of his extra "hidden" profit all I can say is that it is absolutely up
to him and his customers, but there are lots of qualified machanics out
there willing to do the job for their hourly labor rates.
Profit. Bad word.
Marx is dead. He and his stupid idea was DOA and killed millions in
the process of learning that profit is good.
Bad DOG. Sit. Sit. Down. Stay. And shut up. Your barking is
Yes. And if you weren't a complete moron, you'd have known that JPF
and I have discussed this very topic before.
Now, get down off your high horse and listen up:
And when you take this to the stealership, they say "hey, fine - and
not only that, we'll put our most experienced tech on it, and only
charge you the time he works on it!"
Uhhh, no. If you're going to install it yourself, fine. If not,
don't take it to JPF's place. If he charges exactly what the dealer
does, then WTF is the problem? Do you think he gets free shipping?
Is the storage free? His time to order it? His knowledge on how to
get it as fast as possible? Isn't that worth something?
And if you do the job yourself, congratulations - you saved a big
chunk of money. Hey, maybe you missed a minor detail that'll blow up
your motor later, but hey *you saved $250!*
I'm not sure why you're whining about JPF's business practices. It's
his place to do whatever he wants, and if you don't like it - tough
shit. Get over it already.
Or maybe they are making a minimal profit. How in the hell do you
Fine. Buy your own and install it yourself. No big deal.
Right. So all your bitching about JPF's policy is exact what? And
does exactly what?
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