Do even Honest Mechanics rip you off ??

April 2, 2014

In   my  first  Blog I decided to write about   my experiences  and  frustrations  I am feeling  about  your every day  average  typical  Garage Mechanic that  is  fairly   honest ..  (or you are  they??)

To begin  with, I  own a mini  van, I have  had it for several years now  and  outside  of regular  maintenance. ,  I  have   had to put  some   money into  repairs  only  once before, so  this  makes the second  time. so  I took  it  to my garage ( one I  have trusted   for about 4   years)  for its  yearly  State Safety  inspection,  When I  made the  appointment  I was told  I would  have to leave  it  for the morning  and either him  or  his partner would  get to it  & get it done   by Noon  Which was fine  with me,  At 10:30  he  called me and said  he  wanted  to call me and tell me that there was  a  problem…   The  problem is, is  my Steering  Rack  ( A.K.A.  Rack & Pinion  )  is  starting  to go  ( it was not entirely  shot, but the  seals  were  leaking  a few drops )  I  said  ok  what  will the  damage  be    to fix  it…   what  he  said  sent  a shock  wave   through my   body… He  said  about $800  to $850  dollars…  he  said  a  new Rack &  pinion   would  cost  about  $250,  then  a  front end alignment  would be about $60   and  the rest is  labor  to change   the Rack & pinion  in which  he said would take about 4 – 4 1/2 hours ..


Now in  my  mind  I  started  thinking… I am  no  great  Mathematician  BUT   …… that  would  mean. I  would be  paying  roughly  ball  park figure  of  $500  for  labor… which  amounts  to about  $ 100  an hour … I told  him  Sorry  I just can’t  afford that,  and  that  I would  be  back to pick it  up…   When I did I asked him   if I owed  anything, he said  no  charge as  all they did  is  look it  over, I said  OK,   and left….. NOW I decided  to do a little  investigative  homework on it  and  here is what I  found out… He  quoted  me $250  for the  new Rack &  pinion…. When I went to the  nearest   auto parts  stores (  2 of them  to get my own price  quote… The prices  were $160 and   $ $180  IN ADDITION   to  a  core exchange fee  of  $60 ( which I would get refunded  when I bring the  old one back in)  … Now  seeing as  I am  not a mechanic,  but  have a little knowledge in the way Garages   operate  I do know  that  when they  order  a part they need  for  a  customers  vehicle,  They   get  a special ” dealers  ( or  Mechanics)  discount  from the  Parts  Store    but then  they  tack on a certain  percentage  to the  part  as  a  “”handling”  fee”  which I  understand  & have no problem  with  unless it is  outrageous  as   in which case  this guy was  charging )… He  had added on $80 to it  (  to me  a $20 -$25  increase  would  have been considered  fair )  But then  I got thinking and realized  what  he was  doing .. he  was charging  me  the  full price  and  a price  mark up AND  ALSO  having  me pay the  $60  core  exchange fee  but was  not going  to refund it  to me … that is  in addition to the  labor  rate  of  $500… That  makes  their  profit  a  rough estimate of $560..   So  what I  did  was this… I  searched  around  and  found  a Mechanic that only charged $50 an hour,  and asked  him about buying the part myself,  he said sure  as  would  be easier  for  him  and  cheaper for me to get  the  part myself  So what  would have  cost me  $800 ended up only cost  me just  under $500 with tax,

Now  don’t  get me  wrong  I  understand Garages   have to make  a profit,  BUT unless the  Mechanics  are  top-notch A.S.E. certified, (  which the ones at the other  place I used to go to were not   by any means, )  I can not figure out  why  they have to charge $100 an hour..  I mean .. I know the  owner  has  bills to pay, and  so  on,  BUT   do they &  all  garages who charge  that  much   realizes the customers  have limits as to what they can afford to pay out,??  Do places  like  this  realize  that Customers  can not afford to pay their rates  &  will go somewhere else   where  they charge  less ( and  as I  found out the old  saying you get  what you pay for   is not always  true )??   The  way I always  see  it is…  I have to have  the work  done  regardless, and  at the same time I am looking  to get the job  done  at the  most reasonable  & fair  price,  so.. If  you want  to charge  $100   an hour and  I  find  someone   who will only charge  me $50 an hour  for the same  job … you  just  lost  out  and  not just on the profit, but on  any  future  business from  me   and any possible  customers i would have steered in your direction … Remember  Word of  mouth is  your best advertisement  and  if  someone asks  me  if I know  of  a decent  Mechanic that is  fair  on their  prices… where do you think I  am going to send them??  certainly  not the  Garage that  charges  $100 an hour  when  there is another one  across  town that charges  $50  an hour  and does  great  work.