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Auto Repair Cost
Old 12-20-2017, 08:08 AM   #1
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Auto Repair Cost

So yesterday the battery light came on with my Honda Ridgeline . I used to work on my cars but years having better vehicles and lack of knowledge I took it to a neighborhood garage . I suspected battery , because normally I use John Eagle Honda , my rep told me the battery was showing weak but not bad . But this time I heard a whirring sound so possibly an alternator.

OK they call me from the garage yep it is an alternator and battery shows bad so OK replace . First they want to charge me with a 30.00 fee for some type of stuff they put on the battery and terminals . Then they want to charge 40.00 for a new belt . I told the service tech my Honda dealer has never told me anything about a bad belt . He tells me oh ok we just normally change it when we have it down . Then he wants 76.00 for shop supplies . I ask what are shop supplies ? He tells me this is a cost they always add for floormats and paper towels and cleanup . After telling him NO NO NO NO My cost drop nearly 160.00 ........This is not right if you do not question you get hit with bogus items
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:14 AM   #2
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sounds like you need a new mechanic - shop supplies usually run about 1% of the bill, maybe
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:19 AM   #3
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Evidence would suggest another shop is appropriate. Good to hear your dealership seems like it isn't a stealership; there are good independents out there too.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:19 AM   #4
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This is not my common shop I usually use the dealer . My rep probably hides shop supplies in the ticket . This really made me mad .

Replacing a belt because we normally do , no indication he looked at it
Shop supplies
Battery cleaner dope , sells at Pep boys for about 5.00.


Forgive me but I can see ladies getting buried by people like this,


Only thing that made sense was 586.00 parts and labor for the Alternator ..( average price for the area )
Battery 125.00 , actually not bad
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:25 AM   #5
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I agree there are good independents but it is like a union . I almost feel they get together and write the same cost tickets
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:26 AM   #6
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I just looked at my last invoice when I had the truck in for some work - shop supplies were 1%
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:32 AM   #7
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Shop supplies typically 3% for me.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:49 AM   #8
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I usually use this as a reference point.

https://repairpal.com/
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:57 AM   #9
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I usually use this as a reference point.

https://repairpal.com/
great link!
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:59 AM   #10
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I agree there are good independents but it is like a union . I almost feel they get together and write the same cost tickets
In a way, they do -- a lot of shops use the Mitchell book to estimate the time it takes to do this job or that. Multiply that estimate by their hourly rate and you have the labor charge. Lots of times a good wrench can beat the book estimate by a wide margin.

All that leaves is battery cleaner and shop supplies to pad the bill! And replacing parts that aren't necessarily bad, like the battery.

Honestly, an alternator is a job I think of as a DiY, although I have no idea how crowded it is under the hood of a Ridgeline. I changed the alt in my MiL's Accord not too long ago; it cost me maybe $175 with all new belts and took a couple hours. Personally, I wouldn't change the battery "just because" unless it's five years old or more.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:13 AM   #11
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This is the case of do you want it done today or do you want it done economically? One pays astronomically for the former.

For example, a Honda ridgeline alt runs about 150. from RockAuto.com. That goes to 230 to 272 at my local Advanceauto. All of these are remanufactured parts. It should be < 1hr labor. figure ~ 100/hr for that. Plus tax, shop supplies , etc (10%?) Some shops might absorb the shop supplies. It might get you to 272+27+100=399.

if you've done some auto repair in the past, changing out an alternator is fairly simple process. It hasn't changed over the last 30 years or so. Here is one Ridgeline alt replacement video.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:23 AM   #12
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How old is the belt? Some of the newer ones do not show wear even though they can be bad...

I would change it out if it was 7 years or 70K plus miles...
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:28 AM   #13
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My independent shops would all give me a very close (or even final) estimate of the bill once it was diagnosed, and then ask for my OK to proceed (unless I gave them authority in general).

And I wouldn't be surprised, and should even expect them to do something like change the belt if it was nearing replacement, as it would be cheaper to do it at once. But they'd ask me upfront.

How many miles on the vehicle? When is belt due per manual?

I wouldn't use them again, but if I did, I'd (like always) get the communication upfront.

What was the total bill originally? $160 off seems like a lot. I would not be shocked by a $600 bill. The prices given earlier were buying at the parts store, the repair places normally add a margin on those as well. Which makes it possible to save $ on repairs within your capability.

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Old 12-20-2017, 09:42 AM   #14
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Yes , I used to do my own repairs but I don't see real well anymore and I need to be up and going soon . As I said I have this truck serviced a John Eagle Honda in Houston . John Eagle is not cheap but they are very good The belt is less than 2 years old . The guy at the shop told me ok , they just always change it with an alternator...... By the way I found a 75.00 coupon for all parts a labor over 700.00 ...75.00 is 75.00
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:56 AM   #15
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Yes , I used to do my own repairs but I don't see real well anymore and I need to be up and going soon . As I said I have this truck serviced a John Eagle Honda in Houston . John Eagle is not cheap but they are very good The belt is less than 2 years old . The guy at the shop told me ok , they just always change it with an alternator...... By the way I found a 75.00 coupon for all parts a labor over 700.00 ...75.00 is 75.00
All are valid reasons for having someone else do it. DIY is not without its own issues. My hands are currently cut up as I changed out a Blend Door actuator yesterday. a few years back, I changed out the timing belt on another car, only to find I was 1 tooth off and had to do it all over again! These things don't happen if you have someone else do it. Having a 2nd vehicle (and not commuting anymore) allows me to not be in a rush about repairs. I always enjoy working on my own cars when I feel like it.

Good luck! Don't forget to place the bill on a cashback CC for a few bucks more in savings.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:57 AM   #16
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There's that old saying, "you want it done right, fast and cheap -- choose any two." A good dealer will deliver that. A mediocre dealer, one of the three.
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:03 AM   #17
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I think you have reason to be upset. Auto repair places have a huge markup on parts and the "shop supplies" charge is just another profit maker like energy surcharges or luggage fees on an airline.

I'd look for a better independent shop, as I've never seen a dealer with competitive rates. For a really simple job, you can even find people on Craigslist who will come to your place and do the job.
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:14 AM   #18
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I'd look for a better independent shop, as I've never seen a dealer with competitive rates. For a really simple job, you can even find people on Craigslist who will come to your place and do the job.
+1 mobile mechanics are usually very reasonable, and will warranty their work

for something like an alternator or timing belt you would also save money by getting the part from rockauto or a local parts store

a timing belt is something i won't touch, like someone mentioned earlier if it doesn't line up right and you turn it over, bad juju
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:24 AM   #19
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Every time I read this kind of thread, I am glad I am still able to do 99% of my own auto maintenance and repair.

It sounds like the indi shops are taking a lesson from the Medical profession and adding in some real gravy for themselves on top of the overcharging.

Shop supplies? $76? Unbeliveable!
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:27 AM   #20
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..........Shop supplies? $76? Unbelievable!
Yea, that is a lot of kitty litter and paper towels.
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