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....err...:unsure:...no pun intended but I just received an interesting call. One of my customers just phoned because a friend of hers has a '13 Escape with a coolant leak. She'd gotten an estimate from another garage, they think it's the water pump and gave her a price of $2000. Yeah...:blink:...sounds a tad high. I looked up the labor time, just to be sure 'coz everything on those is labor intensive but figuring an extra 1 1/2 hours above book time for rust and such and with the pump running about $76 list, I came up with an estimate of $300-$375 tops. :dry:...somebody needs their ___ kicked.
 

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Thats why you have to shop around, because 5 of the 10 shops you call will try to do that to you.
 

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Call them and tell them you have a diesel. That adds a huge mark-up right there. :mad:

My son blew the clutch in his Nissan 300Z while home on leave. He called 3 local shops, and cheapest estimate was $3K with a Stage 2 racing clutch. Clutch kit is ~$300 shipped from Rock Auto, and it's a RWD Z, not an AWD. He talked to his Sgt(who he got the car from), and he told Jr, "Get the car back over here, and I can help you do it in 4 hours plus whatever the repair bay rental is."
 

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Thats why you have to shop around, because 5 of the 10 shops you call will try to do that to you.
Only half??

There's lots of honest mechanics in Dallas.

There's 2 shops I'll let touch my vehicles. Used to be 3 but the old man retired and his son is a rip off artist that ruined the shop's rep in about a year and a half.
 
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Here in PA, there are an awful lot of "Shade Tree Mechanics". What is worse than getting a high estimate is getting a low-ball price, agreeing to the work, and then, when the machine is disassembled, being told, "Well, we ran into another problem and it is going to cost you one month's mortgage ad your first-born son."
 

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Call them and tell them you have a diesel. That adds a huge mark-up right there. :mad:

My son blew the clutch in his Nissan 300Z while home on leave. He called 3 local shops, and cheapest estimate was $3K with a Stage 2 racing clutch. Clutch kit is ~$300 shipped from Rock Auto, and it's a RWD Z, not an AWD. He talked to his Sgt(who he got the car from), and he told Jr, "Get the car back over here, and I can help you do it in 4 hours plus whatever the repair bay rental is."
Good LORD, what I'd give to still have access to Army repair bays.
 

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Only found one local shop that I trusted and I would actually spend a saturday over there turning a wrench to help out because I enjoyed it. He sold the shop about 2 years back so now I have to sign all sorts of release forms so I can use our fleet bay to do the work. If it's something simple and our fleet guys have time, I'll spring for lunch for them and we'll get the problem knocked out over lunch. Last time it cost me about 50 bucks for a pair of amazing pizzas. I also work on their personal computers for cost of parts so we help each other out. I am however regretting what's coming up. I have 2 axles to replace and shocks and struts all the way around. Then I have a check engine light that shows up as being EGR related and I've already put 2 EGR valves in it (OEM parts) so the leak is elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here in PA, there are an awful lot of "Shade Tree Mechanics". What is worse than getting a high estimate is getting a low-ball price, agreeing to the work, and then, when the machine is disassembled, being told, "Well, we ran into another problem and it is going to cost you one month's mortgage ad your first-born son."
The big problem here is that since the refineries and most other heavy industries moved out, there aren't a lot of jobs so every kid that got a screwdriver and hammer for Christmas has started up auto repair shops or some kind of contracting business. Unfortunately, the majority of them have little to no experience or any idea what they're doing. Most don't even have the basic tools/equipment necessary for minor repair work on newer vehicles, let alone any specialty stuff so they're often taking on jobs that're way over their heads. I've actually been in a few local garages where all the tools they had, wouldn't fill a single Craftsman mechanic's toolbox. Worse yet, their shop rates were at least $20/hr more than what I charge.
 

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Only found one local shop that I trusted and I would actually spend a saturday over there turning a wrench to help out because I enjoyed it. He sold the shop about 2 years back so now I have to sign all sorts of release forms so I can use our fleet bay to do the work. If it's something simple and our fleet guys have time, I'll spring for lunch for them and we'll get the problem knocked out over lunch. Last time it cost me about 50 bucks for a pair of amazing pizzas. I also work on their personal computers for cost of parts so we help each other out. I am however regretting what's coming up. I have 2 axles to replace and shocks and struts all the way around. Then I have a check engine light that shows up as being EGR related and I've already put 2 EGR valves in it (OEM parts) so the leak is elsewhere.
Did you check the EGR solenoid? Does it have a DPFE?
 

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Well that's one advantage living in a small county. Word of mouth for a business here takes literally no time at all to get around. You won't last long at all doing shoddy work or overcharging. I actually have two mechanics I completely trust. They'll drag me under the car to show me what's wrong and why it needs to be done. I've had both of them at times tell me "You can do that yourself". Sometimes I will, sometimes I decline. And they both consistently charge me at or less than expected. And although I've never needed to ask they will both work with people who can't afford to pay all at once. That's how you stay in business around here.
 

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Well that's one advantage living in a small county. Word of mouth for a business here takes literally no time at all to get around. You won't last long at all doing shoddy work or overcharging. I actually have two mechanics I completely trust. They'll drag me under the car to show me what's wrong and why it needs to be done. I've had both of them at times tell me "You can do that yourself". Sometimes I will, sometimes I decline. And they both consistently charge me at or less than expected. And although I've never needed to ask they will both work with people who can't afford to pay all at once. That's how you stay in business around here.
I don't advertise, I don't even have a sign. It's all word of mouth and I work with folks who can't afford it, I've never turned anyone away for that. Of course, I've been burned a lot too so I try to at least get paid for the parts by the time I have to pay for 'em. I rarely take on new customers unless they're family or friends of my regulars. Most of my customer base is made of a few generations of several families and their branches. Many of them, I've been taking care of all of that family's vehicles for 20 years or more. It seems like if I get one, I eventually get 'em all. I like it that way and bein' a one man show, that still usually keeps me somewhere between busy and backed-up. :unsure:...guess it's kinda' like Wally's Garage.
 

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My guess is that estimate included more than just the water pump. But in general you can always ask the shop what labor time guide are they using to come up with the labor.

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I believe if a man took the same car into the shop he would get a much different estimate. This appears to be another case of a jerk trying to take advantage of a woman's naivete.
 

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I believe if a man took the same car into the shop he would get a much different estimate. This appears to be another case of a jerk trying to take advantage of a woman's naivete.
https://www.cartalk.com/radio/letter/effect-gender-car-repairs


For your edification and amusement:

I teach an experimental psychology class and ask our not-brain-dead students to design and run an experiment. One came up with the idea of looking at the effect of gender on car repairs. Tammy disconnected the ground wire for the "check engine light" on her still-under-warranty Kia so the light was on. She then took the car to 10 different repair shops, and then had her 6'4" macho boyfriend Corey take the car a week or two later to the same shops. Here are the results:
ShopDiagnosis for Tammy w/costfor Corey the Male w/cost
1alternator$385wire loose$0
2O2 sensor &
catalytic converter
$320*same diagnosis$135
3fuel injection$565wire loose$10
4transmission$2400wire loose$0
5wire loose$0wire loose**$0
6water pump$765water hose$25
7O2 sensor$283?? "return to dealer"
8head gasket$300loose wire$0
9faulty exhaust$1345loose wire$0
10bad starter$375loose wire$0
* the mechanic offered to cut her a deal if she would go out withhim. When she said she was married the mechanic said "So? You're still good looking"

** the mechanic said he recognized the car from before (which lead Tammy to increase the time between visits).

These were the same mechanics/service writers. The first was evena female (no honor among the same sex). What Tammy is going to try next is to see if a female with knowledge of auto mechanics will be as vulnerable as a naive one (before she first got her drivers license, she had to help her father rebuild an engine).This is probably well known from anecdotal evidence, but here is the same conclusion from a more scientific study.

Peter Gram
Dept. Behavioral Sciences
Pensacola Junior College
Florida
Seeing the part about the "transmission" made me recall something that happened to my wife once. She told me her cars transmission was acting up and she took it to a local shop, where they told her she needed a new transmission, at about 2 grand. They never put it up on the lift, just tested it in the parking lot. The shop owner told her, "I see this all the time with these particular cars, bad transmissions, fail after the warranty is over."

I said lets get a second opinion and I had it towed to a shop I was familar with. The tow didn't cost me because I used my AAA. The second shop said it was a problem in the linkage, inexpensive repair. They could tell this right after getting it up on the lift. I asked if there was any way another shop could've mistakenly said it was the transmission bad and he doubted it. He wouldn't outright say it but he implied that they were either incompetent or crooked but he was hesitant to offer an opinion on which it was against another shop. Oh and btw, about her make and model having lots of bad transmissions? The second shop disagreed with that as well, in his opinion the opposite.
 

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I'm lucky, my neighbor across the alley does all our mechanic work, has done it for over 25 years, and has done repairs on our three kids cars when they were still living at home. He usually gets a good tip when I ask what the charges are, and I share my garden tomatoes with him also.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
I'm lucky, my neighbor across the alley does all our mechanic work, has done it for over 25 years, and has done repairs on our three kids cars when they were still living at home. He usually gets a good tip when I ask what the charges are, and I share my garden tomatoes with him also.
Most folks truly appreciate you when they think you're honest, fair and do good work (which I vehemently deny) and can be overly generous in expressing their gratitude. I've often received tips of $100-$300 for jobs when the total bill wasn't even half of that. Oddly enough, more than half of my regular customers are female and the larger part of them are also elderly. Often, they "just happened to be passing by" and will bring me home baked treats or a homemade lunch because they know I usually can't leave to get anything and for some reason...:unsure:...they seem to think I "look awfully thin". That's kinda' always been a tradition that began while my Dad was still alive. We often did work for those folks when they really couldn't afford it, for "parts and a plate of cookies".
 

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Well, I know whose name and number I'm gonna get before heading east for a driving/touring vacation. "Parts and a plate of cookies," huh? Sounds fair to me!

Really, though, if I need your help, I'll pay full price and buy dinner.
 
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