It's sad that there are so many unethical mechanics and technicians who are
taking full advantage of people's ignorance. It's easy to blame the
customers for being ignorant/gullible, but hell they never took any
mechanic classes and thus don't know what to look for to avoid getting
ripped off. You shouldn't have to become an expert in an area (this case
auto mechanics) to avoid getting ripped off by "professionals" who do it
for a living.
I'd say that what is really sad....is that on the basis of one post
by Harry telling us what his friend paid for some services, you
start talking about unethical mechanics and technicians. Hey,
Harry.....go get the actual receipts for the work done, and
post a list back here of parts costs, labour costs, and the
explanations of what work was done. Then maybe we
can make an informed decision about who is ripping who
off, or if anyone is ripping anyone off. Otherwise, it's all
just hearsay. Maybe it was a rip-off, maybe not, but
until we can actually see the receipts....it's just someone
spouting their opinion.
Hell, you guys must think everyone ought to work for
free. Except yourselves of course, in whatever your
chosen line of work is.
Here's some prices from autozone.com
Pre-Converter O2 $169.99 US
After Converter O2 $199.99 US.
That's $369.98 US, for the cheep Bosch Units auto-zone sells. OEM Toyota
parts probably cost more. From my experience with late model Toyota parts.
Yet the OEM part is a better part.
I get sick of that same crap too. While I don't work at a dealership
service department, I do use top quality parts. They tend to cost more.
Compared to discount brand auto parts. My name is on every car I fix, and I
Not to mention, people seam to think our tools are free, shops are free,
equipment is free, as well as shop supplies. When it's all said and done,
how much do we really take home? Not much.
If you look, outside of Major Hot Rod builders, how many Mechanics are
more then middle class in income levels?
My friend did tell me the oxygen sensors were both over $200. I know he
pays $25 for an oil change. His check engine light came on a month ago
and was throwing the Ox Sensor code. The mechanic reset the computer &
told my friend to drive it for awhile to see if the light comes back on,
which it did last week enroute to Ohio.
The car run fine on the trip.
All work is performed by a small independant shop near my friends
office, so it's within walking distance.
I'm not sure I can get the receipt and post all the actual prices as one
I did see one receipt last week in the glove box for services totaling
around $678 which included a tire rotate, oil change, Injector cleaning,
trans oil change & other routine check up items.
My friend has been dealing with this shop for over 20 years because its
near his place of work. He makes a 6 figure a year salary & can afford
to pay for services he otherwise can't perform himself. He knows
absolutelty nothing about cars. And I mean nothing. A seven year old
girl knows more than he does. Most of the features on his car are not
used. There are things the car does he is not even aware of. He's never
read the owners manual, nor is he interested in reading it.
A girl in his office set all the preset buttons for the radio stations.
I had to adjust the bass, treble, fade & left /right controls.
He's never used the cruise, doesn't know about the reading lights on the
mirror bottom, He didn't know the armrest on the console lifts up and
has a storage area underneath it. He didn't know he had a fold down
back seat, He didn't know you could turn the dome light on without
having to stop the car & open the door.
He also didn't know the heat & air came out at the floor. He always had
the lever set to the dash vent position. He's affraid to change it.
After I drove the car, I had to reshow him how to reset the power
mirrors & seat back to where he had them set. His parking lot plackard
that hangs on the rearview mirror was blocking my view so I took it down
- he doesn't even know how to hook the plackard over the mirror stem.
I took the iginition key off his key ring so I didn't have all his keys
with me. He said I would have to put the key back on the ring because he
doesn't know how to even do that.......this is all very laughable among
all his friends here in Illinois but its really amazing the man really
is smart in other area's He must be he's an appelate prosecutor.
1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE
3800 V6 ( C ), Black/Slate Grey
~~~The Former Fleet ~~~
89 Cavalier Z 24 convertible
78 Holiday 88 coupe
68 LeSabre convertible
73 Impala sedan
Hey Harry. Your friend makes a 6 figure a year salary and he drives a
Man, he must be cheap or he doesn't enjoy driving.
If I was making that kind of money I would be driving Cadillac CTS-V and if
he is into imports a Infiniti G35, BMW 530i.
I think the only real blame that can be placed here is on Toyota for the
high parts prices (even for the aftermarket parts, they probably wouldn't be
as much if the OEM parts weren't). For those prices those had better be some
wideband/zirconia oxygen sensors, if those are just normal HO2S then that
truly is a ripoff..
Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
To email, remove "nospam" from email@example.com
I never said ALL mechanics are unethical crooks, did I? Also, the
prices mechanics charge (esp. independents) are very subjective.
Example: someone's tranny dies. The mechanic tells them I can get you
a rebuilt T350 tranny from a tranny rebuilder for $500 and then I'll put
it in your '84 Caprice for $700 for my labor. Total $1200. $700 for
maybe 4 hours work (at the most)!?!? This happened to my aunt. To the
mechanic, he of course simply sees this as "making a healthy profit, I
don't work for free", etc., so on and so forth. See my point? Prices
are highly subjective. I'm not saying mechanics don't have a right to
earn a living, but they should instill some ethics into the equation.
It's a buyer beware market, but when the customers don't know what
they're dealing with, it's real easy for them to get swindled. I've had
friends who've paid $700 for new carbs for engines that were worn out
with low compression. When the $700 should have gone toward an engine
rebuild or a used engine or something. Quit painting with huge, broad
generalizations like I'm out to attack all mechanics/techs. I'm not.
Let me add to the above: I am not out to attack mechanics. A lot of you
are ethical/upstanding citizens. Don't be offended by what I said. I
am talking about a few bad seeds. My point is: sometimes the prices are
out of whack for the services performed. Of course, mechanics should
make a great living because it is VERY difficult and hard work. All the
reaching, the crawling around to get in the back of engines, etc..
Besides physically hard, it's mentally hard. Those service manuals are
2000 pages. But let's admit, sometimes the prices are out of whack.
$700 for 4 hours would be $175 per hour. Book time comes out to around 5
hours for that transmission in that car. Which at $700 would be $140 per
hour. Which is an excessive labor rate. The standard labor rates are
between $60 to $80 per hour, right now. At $80 per hour for 5 hours you
would pay $400 at $60 per hour you would pay $300.
A lot of independents on stuff like your aunts car will do it for a
flat rate. We charge $175 right now to R&R that transmission, from that car.
Probably will go up soon. Which takes us around 2 hours.
If you think your being over charged for labor, ask them what the book
time is, and what they are billing a hour of labor at. Then ask if they
have any added charges for shop supplies, or incidentals. Some shops
will charge every customer a flat fee for shop supplies. The charge for
specific supplies they had to use exclusively on your vehicle.
Irrelevant. You jumped all over Harry's friends mechanic
assuming that he had over charged for the services without one
shred of evidence or any actual knowledge of the price of the
parts or the actual diagnostic time involved.
A 1984 Chevrolet Caprice wouldn't have come with a TH-350
transmission to begin with, so either the mechanic was working on
some cobbled together piece of crap, -or- the transmission
actually involved was in fact a 700R4 and $1200 is pretty much
the going rate for a rebuild.
No, what is seen is -your- limited understanding of automobiles.
No, actually it's pretty hard to get swindled, however, it is
very easy to get the _impression_ that one is being swindled when
one doesn't know the difference between a TH-350 three speed
transmission and a TH-700R4 four speed overdrive with lock-up
torque convertor transmission or a relatively cheap GM one wire
oxygen sensor versus a wide band oxygen sensor such as is used on
late model Toyota vehicles.
And odds are that you weren't privy to the whole conversation
between the mechanic and these friends of yours. Odds are that
it was your friend who suggested or demanded the new carb to
begin with. Hell, I see stuff like that from customers at least
twice a week. Seems that they're more intent on impressing the
mechanic with their technical skills (that they don't possess to
begin with) than they are explaining the problem that they wish
That hasn't stopped you in two instances from jumping on
something that a mechanic has done when you clearly do not have
your facts nailed down.
I agree completely with you, the facts must be presented before opinions
mean anything. I can tell you that when I don't fix something on my own
vehicles (I probably do 85% of my own repairs) I ussualy take them to the
same Chevy dealer that I have been dealing with for about 5 years.
But about a year ago I had the automatic transmission rebuilt be them in my
Z34 as they had a good warrenty and wasn't all that much more in cost than
the indipendant shops. Long story short the transmission need replaced again
under warrenty, they said a torrington bearing went bad. Well they call me
and tell me that my car needs lower ball joints and outer tie rod ends. So I
stop by to look at the car after work and they are correct the parts are
worn. How ever they want $700.00 and some change for parts and labor.
So I can stand there and see the ball joints as the sub frame is out and
ball joints are loose of the spindle. All that needs done is 8 rivets either
drilled or air chiseled off, then new ball joints bolted on. Remember they
already have it apart and have to reassemble it for the other job.
The two outer tie rod ends simply need knocked loose and replaced, and they
are right in front of them as well. So OK here is the parts and labor that I
know is needed.
(2) ball joints $145.72
(2) tie rod ends $165.68
parts total $311.40
four wheel alignment $69.95
sub total $381.35
shop labor rate $65.00 an hour
That's almost 5 hours labor to install the ball joints and tie rod ends,
ridiculous as the parts are basically in their hands and the car on the
Needles to say I declined, I did the work my self and then had them align
the car. It took me the best part of 6 hours on my back in the garage, but
then again I could have done it in 90 minutes or less on their lift already
Now that's the first time that I was ever treated that way there, and I will
still go there when I need to but if one isn't aware of what repairs are
worth one can be taken advantage of.
Again I'm not saying that Harry's friend did or that all shops are crooked.
But my particular situation where they were making zero dollars due to the
warranty work that couldn't be charged back to GM they tried to hook me.
You see..this is where you (and many others on these newsgroups)
show a simple lack of knowledge about what's involved on
working on a car, and what time it takes to do particular
jobs. Right off the bat, I will say that 5 hrs of labour to do
two ball joints and two outer tie rod ends is excessive. I don't have
the Mitchell time guide in front of me, but I'd say that the ball
joints run about 1 hr a side, and a fair time for out tie rod ends
would be 1/2 hr a side, though I have seen outer tie rods price
out at .9 each, which is high. I'm not sure where they get their
times on those items. So let's say 3.0 hrs to do those items.
You are complaining that they are giving you no deal because
the subframe is out. That would actually make almost no
difference timewise to an experienced tech. On your vehicle,
the amount of time it takes to get the ball joint out of the
lower control arm is very little. You remove the wheel, you
remove the cotter pin, you zip off the ball joint nut, you
separate the ball joint from the control arm....all this would
take me 5 minutes. As far as the outer tie rod ends, there
is no advantage when the subframe is out, as they are left
bolted up to the front struts. So the maximum time advantage
for an experienced tech...by having the subframe out is
10 minutes. Big deal! That's part of flatrate. People often
talk about "overlap". Let me tell you what's really legitimate
"overlap" Let's say that you have a 2000 Blazer, rear main
seal is leaking, let's say it pays 6 hrs to R and R the rear
main seal. You take the trans out to do it, and notice the
front pump seal on the trans is leaking. Book time for that
operation is 6.0 hrs. Nobody in their right (and ethical)
mind is going to charge 12.0 hrs to do both seals. That is
a case where you have legitimate "overlap". You would
simply charge the customer the appropriate time to remove
the torque converter and install a new trans front pump
seal. Probably all of .5 hrs. Having the subframe out of
your car doesn't entitle you to having 1/2 the labour cut.
But you wouldn't realize this, because you don't do this
for a living, so you would not be able to make this type
Brian, please....I could do the job on jack stands in under two hours.
If it took you 6 hrs on your back, I doubt that you would have made
up any time on a life. And.....YOU DON'T HAVE A LIFT...do you?
Why don't you go out and buy one so that the next time you can
do your repairs faster? (hopefully, the light goes on here, but I
doubt it). While you are at it, go grab yourself a 500 dollar impact
wrench so that you can be even faster....and then perhaps a 400
dollar air chisel so that you can whack off those rivets in 3 minutes!
Don't spend too much though, or you will be closing in on what
we have to spend to "make money".
If your story is correct, the 5 hrs of labour is excessive, but it
has absolutely nothing to do with whether the subframe is in
or out on your car. Most people aren't like you and they
would consider spending 6 hrs on their back a waste of
their valuable time. Can you imagine a lawyer that bills
out 150 dollars an hour? 6 hrs is a lot of time to waste
putting ball joints in when you could be paying the meat
puppets down at the shop 1/2 the money.
> Again I'm not saying that Harry's friend did or that all shops are
This is total and utter bullshit. Newsflash!!!! We MAKE MONEY on
warranty work. We make a lot of money on warranty work. Nobody
tries to hook you because they are doing warranty work. This is urban
mechanical myth. They might try to hook you because they are dishonest
and unethical, but it won't be because they are losing money on warranty.
Well, anyway...no matter what anyone else thinks about you, Brian...
I still like you....(grin)
I expect that you are correct about my ability to accurately judge the flat
rate times and overlap. No argument there, the time that they wanted to
charge and my describing where the car is at in disassembly is merely part
of the storey that I'm telling about this experience.
My point about the subframe out and the lower control arms hanging there was
that the ball joint were almost out.
I didn't take the subframe out to do the work.
Of course you can do the job on jack stands in two hours, your a
professional mechanic that would be working at your best pace to make that
time. I was not in a hurry at all. I took my time, cleaned everything good
and checked other suspension parts whie under there. No I don't have a lift
nor am I going to buy one. I'm not complaining about my repair time, just
comented on the tome it took me. If I opt to do my own repairs it's either
to saved money or I just don;t mind doing it.
By the way I work for Ingersoll-Rand, I have a VERY nice 1/2" impact wrench.
Again I opted to spend my time rather than my money. I have two cars one
truck and a motorcycle, also a riding mower, I have plenty to drive. So I
planned the repair time and was not in a hurry or was my free time
You are probably correct here, I don't have any facts to base that on. Also
you will remember that I said I took the car back to them for an alignment
afterwards. I wasn't mad at all about any of this, I just wasn't going to
pay that amount when I know I could have done it faster from where I saw it
on the lift. As far as the time quoted that's correct, and you even said it
was high. That's why I didn't pay it. I didn't expect my labor to be cut in
half, it just was to much money for the amount of work.
I like me too!
Your not so bad your self....
Most people who don't do this for a living do not have time books
either. So right off the bat, they do not know that book time is broken
down not only by part, but by how far disassembled a vehicle is, on some
items. Such as transmissions for example. It gives the time to R&R separate
from the time to remove the converter, separate from seal replacement
Lifts are starting to become affordable. Here in the US you can get a
6000 pound capacity lift for around $2500 new. A lift like our ALM 2 post
A-Symmetrical 9000 pound capacity for $4000 new. I know a few people who
have lifts that are not professional mechanics.
Isn't it The dealer files a claim with the warrantee insurance. Then
collects money from them for the repair, then gives the Tech his pay for it?
Well the Tech probably gets paid for the work before the dealership
collects. And from what I recall most dealers only pay their tech's around
1/3 of what they bill their labor at.
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