Service Me!

ServiceRecently we were forced to purchase a vehicle because we’ve had vehicles die and the one that was left running was unsafe for winter conditions and reaching a mileage that only the Flintstones car could compete with.  So I purchased a newer vehicle, a 2006.

My hopes were that because it was only a few years old it would not start to fall apart until later.  I mean, the 1998 Mustang that I purchased in 2004 or so was 6 years old and only had a few issues over the 6 years we owned it, one being the mechanic’s fault.  But only 4 months after purchasing the vehicle, the actuator for the heater door went out.  Now, this isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a vehicle.  Though it makes it damn cold to drive and unsafe if I need to defrost, not to mention not passing inspection.  But it is quite the inconvenience.  Also, it may not be the toughest job to fix, but I don’t trust myself with modern vehicles.  Give me my old Ford pickup and I will work on it any day of the week… and generally had to.  But I digress.

I researched about how long it would take to fix and about how expensive the part was.  In the past, I’ve had my vehicle fixed and cried over the bill only to find that somewhere along the way I got charged WAY too much.  So I’ve tried to research these things before-hand.  I found that it should not cost more than about $150 for parts and labor to do this job.  So I gave my wife the information and told her if it was more than $200 to go elsewhere.

I woke up this afternoon and my wife told me that she took it to the dealership and they had quoted her over $400 to fix it and $40 just for running the diagnostic.  First of all, I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT!  We told the dealership exactly what was wrong, why the hell am I being forced to pay $40 so they can tell me “Your actuator is shot,” when they were told by us what was wrong with it when we first brought it in?  So luckily I had given explicit instructions to my wife so she paid the useless diagnostic fee and went elsewhere.  The next shop we went to charged her $140 to repair it, and it works just fine now.

Now I know quite a few mechanics.  I know it isn’t something that everyone does, but why do I feel more and more that these people who can basically charge what they want always attempt to get the most out of it?  It takes about an hour at most to do this repair, and $80 at most for the part… so why are you trying to charge me hundreds of dollars to do this?  I understand a business is in the business of making money, but by ripping off it’s customers?

I recommend (and most of you probably do) to always research things before you get it done.  And if you have a neighbor or friend or relative that can do it… have them do it.  Never take the first price you are given and run with it if you feel it is too much, and don’t let them bully you into thinking that you are wrong when you disagree.  Despite what the mechanic might think, there are a few others around.

Now if only I would stop buying Fords.  I can’t quit you!

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2 Responses to “Service Me!”

  1. OK, so the phrase that caught my eye on this (and yes I know you know this ….just sayin) “she took it to the dealership”

    This is why I don’t go to dealerships, period. My Acura has an air hose that the dealer charges 150.00 for. simple air hose that goes from the filter to the body. I can buy it used for 20 bucks on eBay or from someone on an Acura forum.

    I’m not disagreeing with you on this at all. I was just making a point, but you would think dealerships could try to be more competitive with local garages. They can make a lot more money that way, especially in an economy where you have to choose food over things like new brakes.

    • Well, the reason we took it there is because they’ve treated us great before. We had an issue with a small crack in the rear brake light assembly that was causing water to leak in and they replaced it for free, and that part was more than double the cost of the actuator. So I figured I’d take a chance and see what happened. Guess they don’t care if you’re loyal after you’ve had the vehicle off the lot for a few months.

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