Like

How do you know if you're getting jobbed on auto repairs?

 

Gold Member
Username: Pitbullguy

The Chicago area

Post Number: 4020
Registered: Oct-06
So, my heating and cooling have been f@#$ed up for a while now. Took my 99 Jeep GC into a shop over the summer when the AC wasn't working and they quoted me like $900 to get the fan replaced, freon recharged, fix a leak blah blah blah etc. After as many questions as I could think of, the guy tells me the other option is like $150 bucks to have the freon recharged and the leak patched or w/e, and see how it holds up, so I went for that.

Over the past few months, the AC worked for a bit and then seemed to fail again. Then, mysteriously, new symptoms began as any time I turned on the vents on ANY setting (heat/fan/AC whatever), the inside of my car would get extremely fogged up.

I took it to a different shop and I'm getting the heater core replaced and cooling leaks fixed etc, for $1100!!!!!! The guy told me the price is mostly for labor because on a chrysler you have to go thru the dash just to get to the heater core and it's a big job. I know very little about auto repair, but in 5 minutes of research, his story seems to check out. - http://www.car-stuff.com/chryslerheatercore.htm


Questions:

1. Do you think I got jobbed on this heater core deal? I didn't have much of a choice, it's getting very cold out, and on rainy days driving has actually been quite dangerous because I had no way of defogging the inside of my car (any vent setting only made it worse).

2. What can I do to make sure I'm not getting jerked around? Are there any online resources or forums you guys would recommend where you can get estimates on what a mechanic SHOULD be charging you for the parts/labor on any given job?

I'm a pretty good judge of character, and I make sure to ask questions and get specific so I'm not the guy who just says yes to whatever price/job they quote me on. But seeing as I don't know much about cars, I feel like there has to be more I can do.

Thanks
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 21553
Registered: Jun-06
Seems like anytime you need work done on a car it always starts at around $1000. With shop labor at $40-$50/hr it's not hard to see that job costing that much. It almost ALWAYS takes longer/costs more than the estimate too. Shops here are scrambling to survive and are doing it by just what you are suspecting Pit. IMO I don't think you're getting shanked but I've never replaced a heater core either.

I've found lately that a good source of help is through Craigslist. I needed some things done on my camper, as well as a hitch installed on my truck and was STUNNED at what dealerships charge. $1200 for a 5th wheel hitch install! I found a guy (through CL) who works for a dealership and on the side he offered to install it for under $200. Since I don't have a clue I wasn't going to try it myself, but I wasn't shelling out $1200 either.

There's BOUND to be mechanics in your area who either got laid off or looking for side work themselves. You'll get plenty of feedback as well as offers from the same guys who work in those shops. You don't get the warranty but imagine ppl bidding on your job instead of you ping ponging back and forth between shops, ultimately at their mercy. I suppose it's all about how comfortable you feel and how much you can afford.
 

Gold Member
Username: Wolf_hound

Phoenix, AZ

Post Number: 1074
Registered: Sep-05
yup^^^^ A car i had a while back needed the heater core replaced also, and it was 200 all together including labor,parts, and 6 month warranty....
 

Gold Member
Username: Pitbullguy

The Chicago area

Post Number: 4021
Registered: Oct-06

quote:

A car i had a while back needed the heater core replaced also, and it was 200 all together including labor,parts, and 6 month warranty




.... What kind of a car was it? The thing I read, which I posted the link for, says the big pain in the azz with heater cores is specifically with Chryslers.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nd4spd18

Philadelphia, PA

Post Number: 10715
Registered: Jul-06
AC repairs tend to be expensive... and if theres a leak recharging the r134 wont fix it, it'll just leak out again, sounds like what happened to you.

And heater cores and be VERY expensive, lots of labor hours depending on the vehicle. Some vehicles can cost you 900+ just for that. So no your're not getting screwed just suffering the misfortune of not being able to woek on your own vehicles :-)
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 21555
Registered: Jun-06
^^^Or spell check your own posts lol.
 

Gold Member
Username: Pitbullguy

The Chicago area

Post Number: 4022
Registered: Oct-06
Well I can live with being dealt a big bill, as long as it's a fair bill. I'm pretty frugal with my money, so I can actually afford the $1100 just fine right now. It's the fear of getting ripped off that worries me. And I live in some REALLY CUSHY suburbs, so half the people who bring their cars into auto shops around here are driving audis and mercedes and will probably just pay whatever the mechanic says, for whatever work he says, without thinking twice about it.

I bought the truck with 83K miles on it, and it's up to 99K now, so repairs and tune ups are to be expected.

Thanks for the help Paul, Julian, MS. More thoughts and advice are welcome.
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 21557
Registered: Jun-06
Wanna fair quote/deal? Walk in there with a clip board and some papers lol. They'll suspect you're with the BBB or local news agency looking for a lead in a story on scams. Also take lots of pics of your car in their view so they think you're cautious.

Lol.
 

Gold Member
Username: Pitbullguy

The Chicago area

Post Number: 4023
Registered: Oct-06

quote:

Walk in there with a clip board and some papers lol. They'll suspect you're with the BBB or local news agency looking for a lead in a story on scams. Also take lots of pics of your car in their view so they think you're cautious.




Those aren't bad ideas actually.... lol
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 21558
Registered: Jun-06
Well we have all heard/seen the instances when they have been caught false charging and even causing damage to get more work. They can be ruthless!

Trust me. The last thing they want is a camera on them lol.
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 598
Registered: Oct-07
I replaced the Heater Core in my Ford Ranger PU which was also a thru-dash setup. Big Deal.
I think the core was 90$, and it took a few hours to do the work. I'm slow and inefficient. Filled the core w/antifreeze before mounting it up and connecting the hoses.

You can almost assume you're being gamed. Unfortunate but true. Doesn't everyone who ever got a car fixed feel..... used?
I've got a nice, reasonably honest shop staked out. They are the exception, doing a reasonably honest job. Sis in law went in and it was about 150$ for parts / labor to fix a starting problem. some sensor went south.
Stinkin' electronic cars!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nd4spd18

Philadelphia, PA

Post Number: 10716
Registered: Jul-06
Some vehicles you can do a heater core in an hour, others it takes a day worth of labour.

1100 sounds about right for AC repair and heater core replacement on that vehicle. Youd better hope your AC leak isn't the compressor though, cause if so that bill could potentially double... just an fyi... not exact sure on parts prices for that car, i work on GMs mostly
 

Gold Member
Username: Stryvn

Wisconsin

Post Number: 1185
Registered: Dec-06
Leo, heater core in a Ranger PU and heater core in a Jeep are two completely different animals. There is no way you can or should compare the two.

Heater core in Taurus requires removal of the dashboard. Chiltons says the job should take 7 hours. Shop charges 7 hours. Any mechanic who has done a few of these replacements can do the job in much less time but the shop still charges what the book says. I used to replace these in under 2 hours. Shop got their 7 hours in pay and so did I. I'm not saying it's right....I'm just saying it is what it is.

Heater core in my van requires the removal of 8 screws.

The room to work in your pickup truck is far greater than the amount of room available to work that core in Pits Jeep.

They're all different.
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 601
Registered: Oct-07
Stryvn:
OUCH. Make that 2X OUCH.

I remember changing a tail lamp in wifes Taurus which took way too long. Had to remove the liner panels and about 8 nuts just to get at it. PIA.

OTOH, changing the tail light lens assembly on my F-150 could have been done in the time it took me to write this post.

Remove DASH to get at heater core?
Don't you love book time charges?
 

Gold Member
Username: Van_man

Boston South, MA

Post Number: 5049
Registered: Mar-06
RepairPrice EstimateTM
Estimated price range for your repair

$514 - $770 » Why is this estimate range so wide?

» What's a RepairPrice estimate?

Estimate Includes:
Labor: $387 - $494
Parts: $127 - $276

Heater Core
Coolant
Estimates exclude applicable taxes, diagnostic charges, disposal fees, and miscellaneous expenses.

http://repairpal.com/estimator/results
 

Gold Member
Username: Pitbullguy

The Chicago area

Post Number: 4024
Registered: Oct-06
Wow thanks a lot Marc, that is exactly what I was looking for. Came up a couple hundred higher for me, cause of the zip code I presume.


quote:

Are there any online resources or forums you guys would recommend where you can get estimates on what a mechanic SHOULD be charging you for the parts/labor on any given job?




I believe Marc just megapwned all of you guys.


jk thanks to everyone for the responses.
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 21561
Registered: Jun-06
Way to go Marc!
 

Gold Member
Username: Van_man

Boston South, MA

Post Number: 5050
Registered: Mar-06
Thanks, Ive had alot of van issues this year, so it has been helpful to get an idea of how much I am going to have to fork out. I have found it to be fairly close to the acuall bill.
 

Gold Member
Username: Pitbullguy

The Chicago area

Post Number: 4027
Registered: Oct-06
Taking longer than originally promised. The owner of the shop called me himself to apologize profusely. Said the new core came and looked as though it had been dropped or something so they had to get a new one. He also said the job was taking longer than they anticipated, but assured me that they would stick to the original price they quoted me on.
 

Gold Member
Username: Adddisorder

Palm Beach, Florida

Post Number: 6544
Registered: Jan-06
if your old heater core wasnt leaking i dont know why you would need to replace it. the reason your window are fogging up could very well be from a vent to the outside air not opening. i dont know how it is trigged your car but sometimes its a cable lever like my old truck and some are vacuum operated.

if your a/c isnt working or isnt blowing cold for that matter there is alot of stuff that should be replaced so it will last a long time.
 

Gold Member
Username: Pitbullguy

The Chicago area

Post Number: 4028
Registered: Oct-06
Mat, good to see ya buddy!

The shops diagnosis was that it was leaking badly and needed to be replaced. From what I read, the symptoms match exactly to what they said the problem was.

Also, the fog had an odor, and you could see it coming from the windshield vents. Even if I rolled the windows all the way down so that their was plenty of air flow, as soon as the vents were turned on, fog city.
 

Gold Member
Username: Adddisorder

Palm Beach, Florida

Post Number: 6545
Registered: Jan-06
haha yeah i still hang out here once in a while. :-)

ah ok. in that case it is the heater core. like paul said if you dont want to spend the money find a mechanic who is out of work to do it.
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Facebook

Shop Related Deals

Directory

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us