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View Poll Results: Do you trust auto service personnel ?
Yes 2 3.23%
No 24 38.71%
Sometimes 36 58.06%
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:15 AM   #41
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I know enough about cars in general to at least have some idea if a mechanic is trying to pull something on me. As often as not, I also google any problem I have so I usually have a good idea what a problem is before I go into the mechanic. A few years back I was having a problem with a warning light about the transmission. The "book" said nothing about it except to take it to the dealer. I did and was told I needed a transmission rebuild. That didn't square with the evidence. The transmission worked just fine (and just like always). The trans fluid was clean and clear. I googled the problem and found out that the warning was actually about the trans overheating due to a design flaw in the trans cooling system. I was able to avoid the problem (and warning light) in the future by not stressing the trans - e.g., shifting down on long hills to save the brakes. Several thousand miles later, no problems and no rebuild.

When the tech at the Jiffy Lube shows me the air cleaner and says it needs replaced, I tell him I'll do so when my gas mileage drops off (which it has NOT).

A little common sense and a little research can save a lot of money. Naturally, YMMV.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:24 AM   #42
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I take mine to a local independent shop that has been in business since rocks were soft. He's not the lowest priced but he's honest, several times correcting minor issues that I thought could have been more expensive. Lowest price is not always the best value.

I avoid the dealers also. My experience is they're always trying to sell services not called for in the maintenance book.

Oh, and being somewhat of a geek, I bought (and read) the service manuals. When there's an issue I look it up in the manual so I have some clue as to what the possible causes might be and what work it will take to correct it.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:14 AM   #43
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I have a little experience with dealerships. in the service department. the service manager and the service writers(the people who tell you what you need to fix) work on a small salary plus commission. commission being the operative word. the more they sell you the more they make. I think an independent mechanic is the best route. finding one you can trust on the other hand is a problem. I got an estimate for 2 lower control arms on my car for 625. from an independent and slightly more from a dealer. checked the parts price online and ordered them. I installed them myself for a total of 230. plus 4 hours of labor. When it is said you get nothing for nothing, it is certainly true in the car business. The last dealer I went to wanted 100. fee for diagnosing a problem, much less fixing it.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:18 AM   #44
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I've used this website a couple of times to get an idea of what a particular repair should cost. Not sure how reliable it is but the numbers it gave me vs. the price I paid were reasonably close: RepairPrice Estimator - Get an Estimate for a Service or Repair on Your Car
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:00 AM   #45
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Now that we own not one but two Priuses, we're pretty much hostage to the tender mercies of the Oahu Servco dealership franchise.

In their defense, they have the cool high-priced diagnostic gear and tools. Presumably they can get the training. If we have a bad coolant valve or a busted air conditioner, I'm not going to take the car to ShadeTree Mechanic. And, of course, Servco gets all the warranty work for all the Prius parts that Toyota feels need replacing... for free.

Whenver a problem comes up, though, I'll also post it to PriusChat for their review. There's at least one honest Toyota mechanic on that board, and plenty of enthusiasts.

We do our own oil changes, we have an OBDII code reader, and we'll still buy/rotate our tires at some place like Costco or the military exchange.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Question about the other mechanic. So, if one mechanic A says, you need work A that'll cost $800 and mechanic B says all you need is work B that will cost $500, if one isn't really that car repair savvy, then how do you decide which mechanic is right? The lower quote, though easier on the pocketbook may not be the correct repair. So, even with two mechanics, doesn't the decision still come down to a feeling as to which mechanic is more trustworthy?
You do what we all do on this board.

You take good notes, post the summary here, and get 40 or 50 new opinions to help with your decision.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:11 AM   #46
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I think to a certain extend trust has to do with how well you've been treated/serviced in the past. For me and most of my friends, we've all had more then one bad experience and it comes down to "once bitten twice shy".

I do all the repairs on our cars, but there have been times, when I was out of town for weeks and my wife would say, "the car doesn't seem right". I ask if it can wait, if not call up a couple friends and see who they highly recomend. Well I found out that my wife was taken advantage of, car repair wise. Over the years it happened a couple more times. When friends ask, "you know your way around cars, who do you recomend", I have no clear answer.

It's unfortunate that a few bad apples hurt the repution of the reliable mechanics, now, to find them is the next challenge.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:10 AM   #47
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I mentioned this in another thread, but I was surprised at the parts markup from my local mechanic. As my car ages, I've had to have a few parts replaced and when comparing what I can buy brand name parts for at retail to what I've been charged, it appears that the shop more than doubles the retail price. Given that I'd hope that they get a wholesale price, it is even more. Maybe this is just part of the business model, but it surprised and disappointed me.

I admit that I have been out of the repair scene for decades because I got a new company car yearly when w*rking, then bought a new car at retirement 6 years ago.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:41 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I mentioned this in another thread, but I was surprised at the parts markup from my local mechanic. As my car ages, I've had to have a few parts replaced and when comparing what I can buy brand name parts for at retail to what I've been charged, it appears that the shop more than doubles the retail price. Given that I'd hope that they get a wholesale price, it is even more. Maybe this is just part of the business model, but it surprised and disappointed me.
It did me too, until the owner of the independent shop explained how that works. Basically, I can buy factory GM parts cheaper than he can.

If I order a part online GM assumes I'm doing the repair myself and charges (what they consider) minimal markup. The independent shop however, is in direct competition with the dealer's shop and they will not discount those parts to an independent shop.

The conundrum is that while he's tried using other aftermarket parts they just don't last as well as the GM parts and then he has to eat the cost of doing the repair again under his warranty.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:54 PM   #49
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My mechanic doesn't charge any mark-up on parts. He makes his money on his hourly rate.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:41 PM   #50
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It did me too, until the owner of the independent shop explained how that works. Basically, I can buy factory GM parts cheaper than he can.........
This kinda blows my mind. Would that also be true of an auto parts store? If I'm having new brakes put on I don't really care if they are OEM as long as they are brand name - Wagner, Bendix, etc. Do you think the local auto parts store charges the independent mechanic more than me?
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:13 PM   #51
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NO, my friend (the heavy duty truck mechanic) buys the parts for me from the autoparts store at a 10-20% discount over what I as an individual can buy them for. I then take them to the shop that is working on my car. (not my friend who has no time to work on my car sadly)
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:26 PM   #52
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The conundrum is that while he's tried using other aftermarket parts they just don't last as well as the GM parts and then he has to eat the cost of doing the repair again under his warranty.
I don't know... the original GM part is what failed causing the problem

Couple of experiences I've had with "genuine GM"

Noticed some coolant on the serpentine belt. Took it in for them to look at, came back said the water pump leaked needs to be replaced. The replacement cost was crazy. They tried to calm me down by stating the replacement comes with a "lifetime guaranty" ... I looked at them and asked why the one the car came with doesn't have lifetime guaranty if they can give one on their replacement part... no answer for that.

The headlight lift motor went bad, GM dealer was $400+ to replace. Second went out, I replaced it myself, part was ~$60. The first one went out again . I started googling and found the real problem and fix. Plastic gear in the lift motor wears out, it can be replaced for $2.
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