My sister, Cathy, has a 1997 Ford Contour inherited from our parents,
who don't drive anymore.
Last week the engine light showed yellow and she took it to a car
place who charged her $90 and ran diagnostics and came up with about
$2,000 worth of repairs needed. Since that is about the book value of
the car now, she is in a quandary about what to do.
The car place prioritized the work that needed to be done and said the
O2 sensor was the most critical. That, and some other sensor
replacement, with labor, comes to about $500. Priority 1 and 2 stuff
together come to about $1200.
I know zero about cars. What is the O2 sensor and is it really that
The yellow light has since gone out.
The dealer says if this stuff is done the car is good for another
100,000 miles. Could that be true? There are 98,000 miles on the car
now - lowish for a car that old.
The car was bought new in 1997 and has been meticulously maintained by
my parents and now by Cathy. So that is a consideration too, when it
comes to considering trading it in and getting another used car of
unknown providence. (Buying a new car right now is not financially
I wish we knew somebody locally who knew about cars. I think Cathy
gets ripped off a lot as a woman walking into car places where they
assume, correctly, that she knows nothing about cars.
The labor costs are what makes it so expensive. And it seems they
don't "consolidate the labor charges" - so even if they do 5 things
and because they do it all at the same time they get done quicker they
don't charge less. It is "this much labor charge for this job" period.
Is that common car repair practice?