Repair expectations - help ?

passat TS passat_ts at
Wed Aug 7 18:47:45 EDT 2002

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With all this discussion, I have not seen the question: Have you talk with the
shop owner?

Sometimes, I nice talk with the owner can smooth things for the customer.

It seems to me that you have a good attitude by admitting that you need to pay
a mark up on parts and a decent hour rate.

However, before the talk, call a dealer and ask for the minimum cost of
diagnosys and estimated time needed to replace the hose if this is the defect
(tell the service guy that a friend told you that it's the hose).

With this information you can confront the owner with the comparison of the
shop price with the dealer's  and 9 out of 10 independent shop owners will
blush when confronted with a charge higher than a dealer.

Just a suggestion, and good luck.


>From: "Ice Cat ^. .^ ~"
>To: quattro at
>Subject: Repair expectations - help ?
>Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:03:42 -0400
>Dave C. wrote:
>>It seems like taking a car into a shop, even a reputable shop,
>>always costs
>>at least $300 and if the bill is for less than that I feel like I
>>got off
>>easy. This observation is based on limited experience since I do
>>most of
>>my own work. I suppose it isn't worth it to talk to a customer,
>>write up a
>>work order, put the car on a lift, etc, unless they can get a half
>>labor out of it. Even if there's nothing wrong with the car I
>>expect they
>>will try to find $300 worth of something to charge for, including
>>inflated parts prices that get rolled into the bill.
>Well I am from Minneapolis and I have been to a couple of shops
>during the past who charged reasonable amounts, were honest, and
>Reasonable, Honest, Competent. that is all I ask . . . suck a
>little thing ;-)
>It is very difficult coming into an area when one is new and finding
>a decent garage.
>Let's see, they have say 3 stalls, altho I didn't see the shop.
>at $300 for each .5 - 1.0 hour job, plus 200 % on parts.
>(I don't mind a reasonable markup on parts.)
>Let's see that is a bit above mechanic rate book prices and at 3
>stalls x 8 hours a day = 24 x $300 =
>$7200 for one days income if they are busy and at the end of a week
>$36,000 and a mere month =
>No wonder they are driving brand new BMW sports car and I am driving
>a car over ten years old which I cannot afford to have them fix.
>Also, I can see why someone who doesn't work on cars himself would
>hire the best mechanics to work for him as this looks like a gravy
>train to me. ;-)
>>They need to do this because they are a business with lots of
>>overhead. In the case at hand we
>>see that replacing a $30 hose ends up costing almost $200, so
>>according to
>>my $300 rule of thumb this person got off easy.
>A half hour and an $85 $30-hose should reasonably have cost me .5
>hour at $65 plus $85. Did I get that right?
>>Some people might object to the inflated prices charged for parts,
>I have never objected to a shop marking prices up a reasonable
>amount. A $30-$50 hose for about $85 is about what most shops
>charge. . . about double has been my experience. I didn't think
>they got their electricity for free.
>What I am appalled at is the attitude that I have no right for an
>explanation for what they did with that frction over an hour of
>>but the shop counts on this
>>profit along with the labor charge to pay all the costs of running
>>business. The one thing that >really< would make me crazy is if a
>>racks up a high bill by fixing things that aren't broken at all,
>>and gives
>>the car back with the same problem I took it in for. At least the
>>hose replacement was for a hose that actually needed replacement,
>>and did
>>(or would) presumably solve the customer's problem.
>>I do think these prices are high, and that's why I do most of my
>>own work.
>As do we, but I have had good mechanics during the past, but it was
>when I lived in Minneapolis. Still looking for CT mechanic !
>Thanks and take care,
>Fay, the ice cat
>89 Audi 200 Turbo non-Q
>2.2 liter engine,
>engine code MC, two knock sensors

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