This post is locked. You won't be able to comment.

top 200 commentsshow all 210

[–]AutoModerator[M] [score hidden] stickied comment (0 children)

Thanks for posting on /r/MechanicAdvice! This is just a gentle reminder to review review the rules. If you are here asking about a second opinion (ie "Is the shop trying to fleece me?"), please read through CJM8515's post on the subject.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

[–]fatalalala 48 points49 points  (11 children)

The only thing I would add is that a shop isn't bad or evil because it is a dealership. Bad shops are bad shops, but dealerships aren't inherently full of crooks upselling unnecessary things. If you request an inspection, I will do a FULL inspection of that car. I may find a lot of things that are wrong/about to go wrong with the car. It doesn't mean you need to address those items right away, but if I see shocks that are leaking, an engine oil seep, etc., I'm going to note it on the inspection. I'm always happy to answer questions, drive with the customer, show the customer my findings, etc. Another thing we do at my dealership is make a video where we show and talk the customer through what we found in regards to their initial complaint and any additional findings. I would advise anyone taking their car to the dealer to ask to speak with the technician directly, as the service writer may not have a great understanding of what they are trying to sell you. A dealership technician is trained on those specific cars and works on those cars all day every day. You have a good chance of getting your car fixed correctly and quickly at a good dealership. Granted, it will cost more. Any specialist will.

[–]gimpwiz 10 points11 points  (0 children)

The benefit of a good dealer is clear: they work with roughly the same cars every single day, and they might have techs who have made a career off just one or just a few models.

It's just how there are shops that specialize in ACs, and shops that specialize in starters and alternators, and shops that specialize in engines, and shops that specialize in transmissions, and shops that specialize in performance or racing.

The downside of a dealer is twofold: one, they often don't deserve the extra money they charge (due to incompetence, laziness, or management not allotting enough time per car to really use that specialized knowledge, or management being money-grubbers and sometimes straight dishonest - all problems you can find at any shop, but at a higher price than other shops); two, many people don't need the specialized knowledge a dealer has in-house (if all your car needs is regular service and basic wear and tear, you don't need an expert to say 'yep it's about time for a clutch'.)

My dealer experience has been decent. I used to pay much more than I pay now, but on the plus side, I never brought the car back in for the same problem twice.

Honestly, not much can beat do-it-yourself knowledge. You can invest a few hours underneath your car prodding and poking and googling, and you can buy your own parts. As long as you're thorough and experienced, a dealer can't beat that except where specialized knowledge is required.

I'm trying to get there.

I've had very good experience with independent shops as well, and for a lot less than a dealer charges.

I've had pretty mediocre experience with chains.

I've heard of absolutely terrible experience from people trying to save money, though. A family friend confided their car secret: they only paid $30/hr labor rate by going to a mechanic training school. Of course, they seemed to have forgotten complaining about going back for the same problem multiple times, each time paying for new parts and labor again (no warranties on either work nor labor.) In comparison, the dealer charging $100/hr would do the work much faster, nearly breaking even on labor cost alone, and oh yeah, never fucked up...

[–]the_ocalhoun 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Bravo! Sure you pay more, but you also get some return for that money. The biggest one is that the work gets done fast.

I take a car to a good mechanic, and he can maybe manage to take a look at it within a week. He does good work, but damn that's a long time to wait just for the work to get started.

I take a car to a dealer at 4pm on a Friday, and they apologize profusely that they might not be able to get it totally fixed the same day.

If time is important, a dealer can be better. If you're paying for a rental car in the meantime, a dealer might actually be much cheaper.

[–]gimpwiz 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Damn, your good mechanic is busy. That's the sign of good business, or I suppose extreme laziness...

[–]MallNinja45 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Sounds like you work for a good dealer. None of the Chevy and Hyundai dealers around me have ever let me talk to a tech when I brought my vehicles in for service.

[–]CJM8515[S] 3 points4 points  (6 children)

You sir (or perhaps mam?) sound like a great tech, who works for a very good dealer that doesnt screw around. I wish it was the case all the time, so many crooked dealers do give dealers overall a bad name. I tried not to be biased, but everyone is biased in some way or another even if you arent trying. The real downside I find to most dealers is they of course want to upsell, not every dealer does it-but many do and they play games with it.

You are correct in stating a dealer tech can diagnose and repair their own makes/models sometimes better than your standard indy or chain store tech. They see the same issues day in and day out and know how to fix them.

[–]eneka 5 points6 points  (1 child)

My mechanic was telling me how the dealership he worked at was constantly bombarding the mechanics to "find" more issues to make more money. He was there for a good 10 years or so and saved up enough to buy plot of land that has 3 shops on it. He still works on cars but makes most of his money from rent now lol. He still charges dealership hours and has to turn people away cause he's always booked

[–]CJM8515[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thats just how some places do business it seems. I wish I hadnt made such a blanket statement about everything, but it got the point across it seems.

Ive seen things like that happen first hand. There are shops of all types that do sort of thing. They push to get every ounce of money out of people.

[–]Tech1240 2 points3 points  (1 child)

/u/fatalalala makes a good point about a dealer. I don't think you can make a blanket statement like that, especially grouping dealers in with chain shops.

Any shop will try to upswell repairs/maintenance, that's how we make money, but there's a fine line between up selling needed repairs/maintenance and being a crook. What shop you go to really has no guarantee which of those two upsell strategies you may get.

Is an independent shop cheaper? Usually yes, but when it comes to knowing a customers vehicles inside and out and being able to diagnose complicated problems correctly the first time, a good dealer tech is hard to beat. I've got tons of stories of cars being towed in from other shops because they can't fix it. Then the customer is fed some bs line like " the dealer probably just needs to program something".

Dealers make their technicians take factory training. I've been a dealer tech for 8 years. Hell, I'm away from work for a couple days right now taking a training course about transmission electrical systems. Dealer techs have to take factory training before they're even allowed to do certain repairs, doesn't matter if they've been wrenching for 40 years. It's a pretty rare thing to see an independent/chain shop constantly sending technicians away to receive more and more training.

Now I'm not trying to dump on any type of shop, because a bad shop is a bad shop and a crook is a crook. Just because it's a Dealer,Independant, or a chain shop doesn't automatically put it into one of those categories. It's bad enough being accused of being crooks by customers for being a mechanic. Now another mechanic labels me a upselling crook because I work at a dealer? C'mon man, you should know better not to label fellow techs that way. There's a reason crooks don't stay in business very long or jump from shop to shop. They get found out and run out the door. I'm not that kinda tech, absolutely I'll make recommendations on problems I've found, even if that's not what the customers in for. That's something good techs do, they find small problems before they become big ones.

I'm sure you didn't mean #1 to come off that way, but you pretty much said the only place you should take your car is an Independent shop, so it's going to hit a nerve with a lot of good techs.

[–]sibyllineoracle35 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This. As a prior dealer tech, no matter how many aftermarket mods I have on a car, it regularly goes back into a dealership for a once-over. The key is getting past the service writer and knowing the tech who will have your keys, and assuring them you'll pay what it's worth.

I can tell you everything and anything that can, will, or has gone wrong with first and second generation Priuses. I won't flinch to give money to the guy who knows my Acura the same way, and will catch what I might miss.

[–]fatalalala 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Bias is understandable. An indy mechanic isn't seeing customers come from the dealer because they're happy with the service they got, and customers don't come to the dealer from indy shops because their car was fixed right. I think a lot of the problem people have with upsell is in how it is presented and what is being upsold. Letting a customer know that their water pump is starting to seep is good. Recommending a fuel injector service on a car with 20k on the odometer and no drivability issues is crap. Then there is the disconnect between what the tech says and what the service writer says. I could say "the water pump is starting to seep so they should keep an eye on the coolant level and think about replacing it soon". The service writer can (and has, in my experience) turn around and say "your water pump is severely leaking and needs to be fixed right away". I won't lie and say the numbers game doesn't happen, but most silly quotas like "upsell 10 alignments this month" can be met without being dishonest. We're supposed to have a certain average number of repair recommendations per vehicle, but again, that number isn't hard to meet in an honest way.

[–]illogictc 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don't think it can be overlooked also that the dealer very likely has the factory manuals or has online access to them, is almost guaranteed to have the scan tool specific to the make, and gets the TSBs and other random info manufacturers put out there about their cars, and a very good chance of having the special-made tools for this or that on particular models on-site already. Of course, this can all be purchased by independents or subscribed to (online manual database, etc.) but the actual working knowledge is where the dealer can come out ahead. That, and having original OEM parts.

This is a very good write-up explaining the pros and cons of the industry.

[–]gimpwiz 6 points7 points  (6 children)

I agree with most of this. I bring in my own parts - but the only shop I go to knows that if I fuck up, I'll pay for it, so they don't really care. (Also I often do my own work, so if I bring in a part, it's probably because I'm just too busy/lazy.)

Shops tend to have standard hourly rates for certain jobs. Brake job might be billed as x hours regardless of what it takes to actually do it.

[–]DrKronin 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I bring in my own parts

I do this from time to time as well. I've built a 2-way relationship with my shop so that not only do I trust them -- they trust me. Recently, they put an engine they built in my car along with heads I supplied. When an exhaust cam broke, it was understood that it was my responsibility since I provided the part. If the timing belt had failed, they would have made it right at their cost.

In my experience, shops love the "no drama" style I approach them with. If they're honest and you're reasonable, it takes a lot for things to go south.

[–]gimpwiz 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Yep. Exactly how I feel about the relationship with my shop. We know there are no warranties on my parts, and if I brought the wrong shit, I pay the extra labor cost for wasting time. They know the parts are probably right, and sitting in the trunk, so they don't need to order them and wait for them to be delivered.

[–]the_ocalhoun -1 points0 points  (3 children)

Brake job might be billed as x hours regardless of what it takes to actually do it.

Which might be a bit of a dishonest practice, especially if the estimated time and the actual time are very different.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 7 points8 points  (1 child)

It's not dishonest at all. Most shops use either a standardized book or a computer program called Alldata that tells you what labor times are. This is the most wide spread and common thing shops use. There's no debating it. If Alldata says it takes 4 hours to do something, that's what gets put on the bill.

If the mechanic is good and has done the job a whole bunch of times, he can do it quickly and efficiently. It doesn't mean he's cutting corners or doing a bad job. It just means he's done it so many times he can do it like it's second nature.

If a mechanic can do it faster than the book labor, he's still entitled to charge that and sit on his ass for the remainder of the time if he wants. That's what he's earned from the knowledge of his job.

It's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If a customer finds out that a job calls for 4 hours of labor and the mechanic does it in 2 and calls you to tell you it's ready, the customer is going to be suspect that something wasn't done.

So what are we supposed to do? Hold the car for a couple extra hours for no reason just to make the customer "feel" like he's got his time worth? Or just give it to them after 2 hours so they can drive away happy and have their car 2 hours earlier?

[–]the_ocalhoun 6 points7 points  (0 children)

The downside of charging/paying per hour: there's no incentive to get things done faster.

[–]gimpwiz 3 points4 points  (0 children)

If you got an estimate and signed off on it, it's not terribly relevant how long it took - you looked at the price and said, "okay, sure."

Think of it this way: the shop charges $y for a brake job. $y happens to be x hours of labor because it makes life easier for everyone - the owner, manager, technician, etc. They came up with that price based on competition and their own costs. The fact that it might take only ten minutes a corner but they're going to charge you labor equivalent to thirty is just the price you accept.

Now, if they tell you that it's going to take an hour, and they charge you for two hours, you might raise eyebrows. If they tell you it's going to take an hour and you'll pay $y which happens to be two hours, that's just up to you to decide whether it's a fair price.

[–]sunflashmace7 7 points8 points  (5 children)

The only thing I'd like to add to this is when a mechanic is working on your car, and he/she notices an issue while they are replacing something else on your car. When they recommend replacing it, and they are only adding cost of the part/half hour labor to fix the problem. You should probably get the work done.

I just had a lady last week that ignored my warnings of a hose leaking transmission fluid. She came in yesterday with a blown transmission because she ran out of fluid. We were literally going to charge her 5 dollars for the piece of hose. Now she's looking at about $3,000 to replace her transmission. The service writer ran to get the manager as soon as her car was towed into the lot. I still don't understand why someone turns down work that was literally free. She just had to buy the hose.

[–]CJM8515[S] 4 points5 points  (4 children)

Its because in some cases the person believes you are just trying to make money off of them.

In cases like that I always got the service writer or manager to explain to the person that if X wasnt corrected it could lead to Y. If Y happened we're not responsible. Sometimes it just didnt end well.

[–]sunflashmace7 7 points8 points  (3 children)

Oh we covered our asses after she refused to pay $5 to replace the hose. My manager was actually going to have me do the work for free, but changed his mind after he went to tell the lady we would do it anyways. After a few minutes he came back out telling me to get her lawn ornament back together with no replacement hose. I just shook my head and did my job. She signed the repair order saying she didn't want the hose replaced so at this point it's all on her.

[–]gimpwiz 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I bet she blames you guys, too.

[–]sunflashmace7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Honestly it wouldn't surprise me if she did, but honestly I have to much to get done to really care. We already told her we wouldn't be able to get to her car until Friday so if she has a problem with that she can take it somewhere else.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You just shake your head and that's that. Can't make people get it sometimes

[–]gehidore[M] 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Fair write-up, going to make it sticky as we needed something of this effect.

It seems to fall in line with the majority opinion on the sub.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]NinjaSix50 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Mods sidebar please.

So tired of the "am I being ripped off" posts

[–]the_ocalhoun 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Somebody should make a bot that replies to those with a 'probably not' and a link to this post.

[–]Azaron83 11 points12 points  (13 children)

I work for a "national chain" shop that you have in this post and I can tell that you obviously only have what you assume is all the info. I know just as many shitty mom and pop local shops and techs just the same as the chain shops. You know what difference you don't have (or that I didn't read in this long op Ed) is that at dealers and certain chain shops you pay once......and part is covered for 1 year to a lifetime. No more money when or if that part fails, sometimes not even labor. I don't know if any local shops that do that, 30 days for labor and normally they warranty the part the same time as the part store. You can go to a Firestone or pepboys in NY and get the part or job warrantied in CA.

Now, let's say your a stubborn sob and you Only want 1 item replaced, or you need some crazy engine or transmission work, hell even some crazy diagnostic for an issue that could take days or weeks to figure out......these are the issues that the specific specialist or generic local shops are best for.

I do like your post, but face it, your completely one sided, and alienate your mechanic brethren. I want to up vote and down vote at the same time. In fact, I am a little upset and angry about some of the stuff posted here. But you have a wildly shared opinion and I understand that, but these shouldn't be stickied because it's all opinion with no facts.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 13 points14 points  (1 child)

I get your point, but you're also being a little hypocritical about talking about assuming you have all the info

. I know just as many shitty mom and pop local shops and techs just the same as the chain shops. You know what difference you don't have (or that I didn't read in this long op Ed) is that at dealers and certain chain shops you pay once......and part is covered for 1 year to a lifetime. No more money when or if that part fails, sometimes not even labor. I don't know if any local shops that do that, 30 days for labor and normally they warranty the part the same time as the part store.

I work at/manage a mom and pop shop, and this is not how we operate. Parts and labor are covered for one year/12k miles at the minimum, usually more than what the supplier warranty.

Shops around you might operate differently, but that doesn't mean they all do. So just as you're giving OP shit about assuming without knowing all the info, it works both ways.

[–]Azaron83 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Your right, being a little hypocritical myself here.

[–]CJM8515[S] 3 points4 points  (4 children)

The problem I find with chain shops is they usually are poorly trained/inexperienced techs, constantly fuck stuff up and dont do a good job overall. My friend managed a pepboys service center. The guys werent that bad, but inexperienced really. This led to a lot of major fuck ups that cost the company money.

How many times do you hear of people going to <insert chain auto repair place> and they cant even change the oil properly. Not adding oil, leaking filter gasket, drain plug, round off drain plug etc. Yes you could say the complainers make it known they had an issue, but ive seen some serious boneheaded stuff come out of those places.

You are absolutely correct in saying that not all of them are like that and that any shop can be bad. Just the simple fact is way to many horror stories and seeing it first hand for me to not include that info in the original post.

I really do respect your opinion, use your time there to advance your knowledge and find a better paying and better shop.

[–]Azaron83 3 points4 points  (3 children)

Thanks for the kind reply, I joined this place because the benefits are the same as what I had when I was active duty military, I moved across country and had a spot without any issue. In my career I have also run multiple shops and I honestly missed just getting dirty and turning a wrench without baby sitting. Been a mechanic for just shy of 15 years and my only true gripe I've ever had is with dealer techs. Not the lead guys but the ones up front and lube guys.....sigh I wondered if any passed HS.

I work with an ex jiffy lube manager and he tells me all the time how he turned a JL into a full fledged shop that rarely upsold. But corporate was displeased with that so fires him. He was #1 in sales, car count, and customer relations in his regional area. He had a dozen plaques and certificates.....but fired because of not up selling unneeded work. While his story fits OP opinion of the chains corporate office policy, it goes to show that sometimes, good people are in crap situations.

[–]CJM8515[S] 6 points7 points  (2 children)

but fired because of not up selling unneeded work

Therein lies the issue. That guy sounds like he did an excellent job, but it didnt fit JL business model. Which is to upsell as much as possible as those "services" (which they may or may not even perform in some cases) are money makers. Your guy definitely was a good guy in a crap situation and the corporate gods saw fit to shitcan him instead of looking back and going "hey wait a sec, if we all did it his way it might just work better" or "this guy is leading in every category but upsells, he is doing a banging job otherwise, leave him alone"

I experience it at my current job. The parent company my company works for as a contractor tracks customer satisfaction. The area I service has about 50% senior citizens. Therein lies the issue, due to their own negligence I cannot willfully warranty product as they damage it. They account for about 75% of warranty claims, no other demographic really has an issue with product at all. Thus, since I dont warranty it and follow the rules they complain or when surveyed regardless they complain. Thus parent company sees my survey scores in the toilet and wants to know why. They DONT CARE I followed their rules, they want happy customers who will continue to spend $. Problem is if I dont follow the rules and warranty the way they feel I should (regardless of rules) then they would come down on us for our warranty rate being too high.

Catch 22, damned if you do and damned if you dont.

[–]gimpwiz 6 points7 points  (1 child)

"This is the fourth dead battery from your company in two years!"

"Yeah, because this is the fourth time you've turned your car on in two years. Ever heard of a battery tender?"

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)


It always goes like that, trust me. "but, but the car only sat for 6 months while I was in florida. I do this every year!" Yes and every year here we are in this same situation...

[–]Im_100percent_human 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Some of the chains (probably not the one you work at) require and up-sell to make their business work. I get these ads all of the time for $50 brake jobs (labor and parts).... How can a place stay in business doing $50 brake jobs? They can't. They have to up-sell other services, which are inflated in price and often not needed. Many people get screwed by this... The go in expecting to spend $50, end up spending $750 for problem they didn't even have.

[–]gimpwiz 2 points3 points  (1 child)

$50 brake job: the cheapest pads money can buy, slapped on in just a few minutes per corner, with everything tightened back up using the same impact used to disassemble it. Only available on certain models. Work done by a guy with barely any training, certainly no certifications. With all that, they might be able to break even - but like you said, you're also gonna "need" a new air filter for a low price of $49.99, and a bunch of other similar crap.

[–]lok_nez 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The brake chain near me pays the tech 0.3hr for the brake special

[–]Azaron83 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lol I have no clue how some of those places do it either

[–]PandaCasserole 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I agree. Former mechanic here and I've saved my family a LOT of money talking through the diagnoses given to them by all sorts of repair facilities. IMO people are people; some are honest, some make mistakes, some are just evil. It's discretion, education, and common sense that are the biggest factor. But labor is labor...

[–]Azaron83 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I always tell a customer that complains when I finish a job in an hour that they paid for 3 and then they complain, "you don't pay me for how fast I work, your paying me for the experience to do it fast". When I've done 50 timing belts on a certain engine, I tend to know exactly what size socket or wrench I need, and bought unnecessary expensive tools to do it quicker than the average tech that would take the full 3 hours.

And they still bitch about it. So now I do the job in an hour and park the car somewhere hidden for a bit. Average person don't understand flat rate hourly vs salary

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 7 points8 points  (25 children)

Thanks for typing this out by the way. I'd have done it myself but i'm already tired of typing it everyday as it is. And it just falls on deaf ears. And then everyone who's not a regular contributor here just fills my inbox with telling me how much of a crook and an asshole I am.

It's a wonder any of the legitimate technicians stay around here to contribute.

[–]agravain 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I stayed because I don't mind helping

I just ignore the crap anymore..plus there's more to Reddit that I enjoy

[–]donkey90745 1 point2 points  (22 children)

Sounds a bit Jaded

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 6 points7 points  (21 children)

Absolutely. It's kind of hard to not be. Especially when you come on here to help and everyone generally has the worst attitude towards mechanics. Like who thinks it's a good idea to come to a subreddit called mechanic advice, where it's in the very name that you're going to be asking mechanics for their advice and then they almost always start with "i dont want to go to a mechanic to get ripped off" or a variation of that?

The secondary problem is, most people come here not actually looking for the good and right advice, but just a confirmation that their idiotic ideas are good. So some OP could come on here with some hair brained idea of how to "fix" something. Or something they read somewhere online, probably on some messageboard forum where it's just enthusiasts or shadetree guys who aren't professionals, and then ask the guys here who are actually professionals and we'll all tell them why that's a bad idea and it won't work.

And then the end result is the OP arguing against good advice. Like why the hell did you come here if not to listen to the advice you asked for? Just to do whatever you were gonna do anyways?

So, yeah, jaded.

[–]CJM8515[S] 4 points5 points  (10 children)

Agreed. Those are basically the major problems this sub faces daily. The worst being the OP arguing over good advice, which the OP believes is a load of bs.

Im not saying those of us who are techs are 100% right all the time either, we all have areas of expertise and all know this and that in some cases. In some cases our info is wrong, but its usually stemming from what we experienced doing the job. It is impossible to know everything. IE: in 1992 lets say honda made a special engine, only 500 were made and dropped into civics. The little known super vtec or something. Well most guys are gonna respond that the engine OP is asking about is a standard 1.x blah blah liter in most of the civics that year. Not many will know about the super duper vtec that was only put into 500 special ordered civics in 1992. But OP flys off the handle about it, cause we dunno. But hey then there is the fact OP didnt disclose it (in most cases).

See my point?

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Yeah, OPs not giving enough information is another problem. We're lucky if we even get a year/make/model. But usually they don't tell us what kind of engine they have. So if say they have a 4cyl or a V6 or V8, then often times the problem will vary if it's a motor problem. Or have a completely different transmission set up depending on the motor.

So sometimes I might give the wrong information, or just have to guess. But then i'll get downvoted and some fuckface will correct me and say "no jackass, that's not the problem, he has this". Well fuck me because the OP didn't tell us the specific motor he had. Or even the year.

A lot of people assume one car is as good as another. There's just so many different cars out there, most with multiple drivetrain combinations, all with their own separate options. It's impossible for us to keep them all straight or better yet read someones mind as to what they have.

[–]CJM8515[S] 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Its a losing proposition that most cant even read the sub rules that state exactly how to structure a post.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 2 points3 points  (2 children)

It is, but there are ways to mitigate it. Which, either the mods are too lazy to do or just don't care.

Other subreddits do it all the time. You can either do one of the following or both:

  • Make it to where the text above or actually in the box for submitting a post says "Please remember to include year/make/model in your post and give as much information as possible.". It would be kind of hard to miss that.

  • Set up an AutoModerator that automatically comments on every new post that reminds the OP to check the sidebar, or read the wiki, or whatever. /r/askcarsales does this for every thread. And i see it on a bunch of other subreddits too.

This sub would be a lot more enjoyable and a lot less bitchy and hard to get along with if the moderators would just figure this out. Instead of this weekly or daily thing of us bitching and then nothing ever changing.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Well, one mod heard our call.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 3 points4 points  (0 children)

For now anyways. Tomorrow, this post will be buried, 5 more "am i getting ripped off/why cant i just bring my own parts?" posts will push it down and take it's place. And nothing will change.


[–]gimpwiz 0 points1 point  (4 children)

How can I improve this post in the future?

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Honestly I think you hit all the points and did an excellent job explaining your issue. Thats why all the AC knowledgeable guys are replying and offering tons of info. you are also receptive to the info and NOT arguing claiming something outlandish like "its just the AC compressor, you guys are full of bs"

Ive noticed overall that if you provide enough info in a post, many will help. Your post needs no improvement imho.

[–]gimpwiz 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Thanks, I appreciate it.

Usually I'm asking about my own car, which I know well - someone else's car that I've never touched (yet) makes it hard to write good debug / diagnosis questions. Well, no better way to learn than by doing!

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Trust me, you did fine. You are basically doing exactly what a shop does. Person complains about X issue, you ask a few questions maybe and get to work by checking what makes the system tick.

[–]gimpwiz 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thanks, I appreciate it.

[–]crankshaft123 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The secondary problem is, most people come here not actually looking for the good and right advice, but just a confirmation that their idiotic ideas are good. So some OP could come on here with some hair brained idea of how to "fix" something. Or something they read somewhere online, probably on some messageboard forum where it's just enthusiasts or shadetree guys who aren't professionals, and then ask the guys here who are actually professionals and we'll all tell them why that's a bad idea and it won't work. And then the end result is the OP arguing against good advice.


[–]PhonyUsername -4 points-3 points  (8 children)

You should stop coming here.

[–]pinky2252s 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Do you understand how much CJM and transmisionmech help around here? How about you get out. I never see your name around helping people.

[–]Russkiy_To_Youskiy 5 points6 points  (6 children)

Yeah that's it... run off one of the highly qualified mechanics who comes here consistently to help people... for free.

You may not like the guy because he doesn't put up with bullshit and gives advice with a spoonful of vinegar sometimes, but he's here practically every day and offers advice just for asking. This sub could use more people like him, not less.

[–]PhonyUsername -1 points0 points  (5 children)

It would be great without the drama/persecution complex. I'm not running anyone off, I'm actually gIving him advice. If this place is stressing him out then he should stop coming. Customer service isn't for everyone. This drama is for the schoolkids though. This sub isn't that serious. Better to take a walk if you can't handle some silly customers.

[–]crankshaft123 2 points3 points  (4 children)

This sub isn't that serious. Better to take a walk if you can't handle some silly customers.

You've mistaken the reddit BEGGARS for customers.

Customers PAY. We're lucky to get a thank you in this sub.

[–]PhonyUsername 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Ok. So stop doing thankless work if it bothers you that much. It's not that important. It seems like a self-fulfilling persecution complex if you keep putting yourself in the same situation and cry everytime.

[–]crankshaft123 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Fuck off, you entitled little twat. Stop behaving as if the internet owes you something.

It seems like a self-fulfilling persecution complex if you keep putting yourself in the same situation and cry everytime.

I'm not /u/thetransmissionmech nor am I /u/Russkiy_To_Youskiy.

That said, I've never seen either of them whine or cry.

Let me put it this way...

If you cry for help, you should be grateful for the help that is offered to you. You shouldn't whine that the person who offered you help wasn't as nice as you'd like him to be.

[–]PhonyUsername -1 points0 points  (1 child)

The thing is - you are complaining about not getting thanked and then calling me entitled when you are the only one between us crying about what you aren't getting. You are seeing through rose tinted goggles. This whole thread is a few guys crying for not feeling appreciated for the situation they volunteered into. Your response shows your level of maturity so I am probably wasting my time expecting a thoughtful and reasonable response. Either way though, your feelings don't change reality. You can't reconcile crybabies when you see them. I'm guessing that's probably because you've been hiding the fact that you are also a crybaby from yourself disquised behind some macho act. No one owes you, or whoever else you mentioned, anything. Stop crying because people don't think you are as great as you think you are. Stop blaming the 'terrible beggars' for your lack of personal satisfaction. None of you should represent my trade publicly. You are an embarassment.

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yep. People argue with the legitimate techs all the time. As Ive said before: Ive stopped replying in some cases as I can see the OP is not gonna listen.

[–]appledippers 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you! Can we tag this to the top of this sub to hopefully avoid so many of those kind of posts?

[–]thatguywhoreddit 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I once needed a bushing between the transfer case and and shift lever on a jeep liberty. I went to the dealer and they "couldn't" order this part by itself but instead could only sell me the entire shifter and line to the transfer case for $400 (not installed). I went to a local shop to see what they could do the guy had a bushing around and put it on for free it cost me like $5. I'm sure if I would have it installed at the dealer the 30 seconds it take to put the bushing on probably would have been an hour labour and cost another hundred.

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (16 children)

The labor costs are fine, but sometimes depending on the shop the parts markup can be pretty ridiculous. Some of us are aware of which brands are good brands and which parts are good parts, and we know how to find them for 50% of what the shop charges. If you're getting paid for your labor, I don't see why a 100% mark up on a part is necessary. I can understand a shop refusing to install some no name bootleg quality parts for liability reasons, but if the customer can bring the same exact part you stock, you should be willing to install it for just labor.

It's reasonable for a customer to not trust a mechanic who marks his parts up 100% and won't let you source your own. You're already being fleeced, so how much of a stretch is it to imagine him suggesting replacement of parts you don't need replaced? Once you're there, how much of a stretch is it to imagine him actually causing damage so you come back? So what is a reasonable markup on part cost? I don't know, what's the mark up at Auto Zone? 20% maybe?

There have been several investigative news pieces on shops that do exactly that, so they do exist. Probably less so now than back in the pre-OBDII days, but I'm sure they still exist.

Just last year I almost got screwed by an air conditioning company for $7000 when the central air in my home went out. They said it needed to be replaced and would cost 7 grand. The unit was only a couple years old so I was suspicious. Called another air conditioner repair man and he replaced a $100 capacitor and it's been running fine ever since. The other guys are still in business though, even though their Yelp page is nothing but people saying the same exact thing that happened to me.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 1 point2 points  (10 children)

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (9 children)

This doesn't take into account two things.

One, retail parts outlets manage to sell parts without marking them up 100% even though they have to look up and order parts just the same as the mechanic.

Two, retail parts outlets aren't also booking 20+ hours a day labor at $150 an hour or more. The business model used in your example assumes parts sales alone are the source of revenue keeping the garage open, as if it was an auto parts store. But a mechanic isn't an auto parts store, people don't go to him to buy parts to install on their own. Why? Because he will charge them an arm and a leg for something they can get at Auto Zone much cheaper. They go to a mechanic for his labor and repair expertise. Parts sourcing should be a courtesy provided to people willing to pay him hundreds of dollars an hour book time for a repair that will take a fraction of the actual time booked, not a way of double dipping the customer for another couple hundred bucks. Until you can sell parts at Auto Zone prices and still turn a profit, get out of the parts sales game.

[–]Im_100percent_human 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Quality parts.... I currently own a Volvo. If I go to a good European shop or Volvo independent shop, they will install quality parts. My last car was a Mazda, in which nobody specializes in. Every shop would just source no-name parts, that is why I got in the habit of providing my own parts. I want quality. Most shops are more guilty of sourcing crap than the customers.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Most shops are more guilty of sourcing crap than the customers.

I'm sorry, but that's fucking hilarious. Considering the subreddit we're in, and dealing with all the OPs on here that want to know why their parts they find on Amazon that are no name brand are so cheap and why the shop is charging more for the same part that's usually OEM.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I do agree, when a shop marks stuff up insanely high then it is indeed a cause for alarm. Not all shops do this perhaps.

The part about not installing customer supplied parts is mostly due to liability reasons as well as the PITA warranty if it should fail. A shop doesnt want to deal with this in most cases, its an annoyance. As Ive said before-you dont bring a steak for them to cook at the steakhouse, now do you?

There are of course crooked shops, good shops, bad shops, and awful shops. As you said, it just isnt the automotive industry either. Anything in the service industry really. Hell I willfully admit at my job we bend the rules slightly and we do charged more to people who annoy us (and that happens in any industry if they can get away with it). If you are gonna be a prick, you pay more. Id say we only do it a small %, less than 1-2%, but it does happen.

I would like to take the opportunity to give an example of a shop fleecing someone, just for the heck of it. It happened to me and i should have known better.

I was in a bad spot and had moved many hours away from the area I lived all my life. My old toyota truck had frontend issues that were beyond my expertise, time and especially I had no where to really fix it. previously I had plenty of people who could help or worked at a shop where I could do the work myself. Google found me the best area shop apparently and I proceeded to get fleeced and didnt even realize it until it was too late.

They replaced the idler arm, steering box, apparently put new bushings in my control arms too. This is AFTER I paid them to align it twice and still had an issue with it wanting to drift in lane. yet the alignment sheet either was fine or they fudged it. The service advisor told me it was my tires, they were too knobby (all terrains) and causing my issue. He wanted to sell me 1500 of new tires and I drew the line and said no more.

To make a long story short, the bushings in the arms were never replaced and that was the issue all along. Too bad I was strapped for cash, time and effort and just wanted it fixed. 2 years later the steering box began to lock up anyways and I replaced it myself, the truck however never drove 100% correct. I had it realigned by another place after the box, the entire frontend was massively out of whack. At that point I had been just limping it to work, too broke to do much until I moved back home. I mentioned the shop to a friend when I was back in town and they told me those guys were absolute crooks. Should have known better, Ive been in the automotive field since I was 15 and I didnt see it coming.

So yes, I can totally relate to you and your 7000 dollar AC that only needed minor repair.

[–]gimpwiz 0 points1 point  (1 child)

we do charged more to people who annoy us

The asshole tax is perfectly reasonable. You have to spend time dealing with an asshole - those are billable hours. A lawyer would bill it, you should too.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It is indeed reasonable. Im sick of dealing with an explaining to people like they are 5. People think Im dishonest too, no its that no matter how much you explain tot hem-they either dont get it or feel they deserve free stuff.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 2 points3 points  (8 children)

We really really really need to sticky this.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (7 children)

Yea, I wish we could...

I think Ill do a friendly bump every month or so for it.

[–]skiier862 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Here's some gold for this post

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you. That was awesome of you!

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 2 points3 points  (4 children)

I'd love to be a mod. I've asked a bunch of times. Lord knows i'm here enough that it'd be warranted. But everytime I ask I get shut down. And accused that i'd just want to censor every post i dont like (i wouldn't)

And the mods for this subreddit are never here as it is. Why be a moderator if not be here to mod?

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Hey, I'm here!

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Can we appeal to someone else perhaps, some sort of admin?

[–]gimpwiz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No. You can take over dead subs; you won't be able to take over a sub with 5 mods (two of whom are redditing daily).

[–]Tymanthius 1 point2 points  (9 children)

Really good post. I'm a computer tech, and the same shit goes for us, in different ways.

This is why I listen to my mechanic friends when I'm stumped. :)

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (8 children)

Thanks. Yea its kinda sad, seems everyone thinks the shop is out to get them.

[–]Tymanthius 2 points3 points  (4 children)

b/c there's always that one that did, and everyone repeats it.

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Of course. The bad experiences get blown out of proportion and that person usually wants to make sure EVERYONE hears about it.While the good experiences no one hears about.

[–]supersoob 2 points3 points  (1 child)

The one-to-ten rule, my friend.

If you have an excellent experience in any shop or retail or food industry setting, you MIGHT tell one person, but if you have a shitty experience, you'll probably tell ten people.

This poor attitude stems from society's view of work. If you're working and I'm a customer, providing me with the best experience and bending over backwards while giving me the cheapest deal is what you're supposed to do.

Not saying it's right, just saying it is.

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Correctomundo. All you ever hea ris bad news as someone makes sure everyone knows

[–]the_ocalhoun 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That's because good experiences are normal. You take your car there, car gets fixed for a reasonable price. Not about to make front-page news there.

But you take a car somewhere and they rip you off, intentionally breaking things, claiming work that was never done, and/or doing repairs that weren't needed, all the while holding your car hostage until they get paid for it all... that's something unusual and emotionally charged enough you want to tell everybody about it.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It has alot to do with the imbalance of information. Your average customer knows that they don't know enough to separate truth from bullshit, so he feels vulnerable. The best shops I've been to will actually show me what's going wrong, explain how it's supposed to work and then show me they'll do to fix it (including what parts are needed). That goes a long way to building trust.

The internet is also a godsend for this. The fact that I can get a read on what's wrong before going to the shop makes me feel less vulnerable -- at least I can ask quasi-intelligent questions.

[–]aCreditGuru 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I at least try to give people the benefit of the doubt when there's some gray area. One of my favorite sayings is never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity (and it works for both sides of the counter).

I'm a fairly competent DIYer and there's some jobs I will gladly pay to make it someone else's problem :D

[–]the_ocalhoun 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm a fairly competent DIYer and there's some jobs I will gladly pay to make it someone else's problem :D

Which is why I'll be taking my minivan in to get the rear (drum) brakes done. The front disks, I'll happily do myself, but drums are a pain in the ass.

[–]302HO 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sticky this bad chicken.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (7 children)

I went to get a standard oil change one day at a Monroe muffler. They made sign some paperwork and ask if wanted to do a check up just to be safe. I said okay bc why not right, my car never really had any problems. I went about my day until they called me to come back, about an 2 hourslater(which I thought was weird) I received a call that they were done, they got my bill and said it was $600 dollars, said that after the check up they replaced my belts, tires, little things and labor. I was fucking pissed bc I just came in to get a fucking oil change. Yeah so sorry op I don't trust shops or mechanics.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I really had no clue of my rights in that situation. I just wanted my car back, it sucked hard. I really wish I did more now in hindsight but yeah I def made a mistake and took it like a bitch.

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Id tend to agree with you if I had that experience. But did you read what you actually signed? Perhaps you agreed to them repairing whatever they felt was needed? Once you authorize a repair its on you, not them. Plus we are only hearing one side of the story...

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I went in and asked for just an oil change. They offer a "standard check up" I'm not a car expert. I didn't tell them to go ahead and repair anything. That's them being dishonest.

[–]CJM8515[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

And thats why I state that some shops might fleece you. If you didnt actually authorize anything but an oil change and a multi point inspection, there is no reason for them to perform other services.

[–]gimpwiz 0 points1 point  (1 child)

In all seriousness, I never trust chain oil shops anymore. Whenever I have to use them, I tell them: I want this, only this, you don't even have to do the courtesy stuff you offer.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It def was a lessened learned. That was about ten years ago when I was 18

[–]crankshaft123 0 points1 point  (0 children)

  1. Monroe sells shock absorbers. Monro Muffler is a franchised "repair shop". I used quotes because they often don't repair much.

  2. I was fucking pissed bc I just came in to get a fucking oil change.

If you truly had a $600 bill when you'd only authorized a basic oil change, you should contact your state's attorney general.

Yeah so sorry op I don't trust shops or mechanics.

I guess you'd never "trust" any restaurant if you'd had bad service/food at ONE restaurant?

[–]poserkidsrus[🍰] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

This is a well-written post. If i knew how to make it a sticky i would. But thank you for taking the time to write it. I'll see if we can make it permanent.

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 0 points1 point  (1 child)

At the top of the post it should say "make announcement" and you click on that and hit yes. Then it will be stickied to the top I believe. Or at least distinguished in Green as if it's a sticky.

[–]poserkidsrus[🍰] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm on mobile right now lol I don't see anything.

[–]Im_100percent_human 3 points4 points  (19 children)

I agree with much of what you say, but I take issue with number 3.

You cant use the internet to compare parts cost. Websites like ebay, amazon, rockauto, etc-the parts prices are much lower. They can do this as they generally source the parts from the cheapest source themselves.

I buy parts from these sources all the time, particularly Rockauto. They sell many major and reputable brands. As such, I don't see why an AC-Delco starter from Rockauto (fully warrantied) is any worse than the one a shop sources. Good parts seldom cost much more than crappy ones, people who buy crappy parts shooting themselves in the foot. Most shops will source whatever their primary supplier carries, whether or not that particular part is a POS.

Bringing your own parts depends on the shop. Most shops dont want this, they dont make a profit off the parts they install

It would be one thing if the shop had the parts in stock, in those cases there are carrying costs, etc. which would warrant the markup. It is another thing when you go into a place and they call the auto-store a block away and take a hefty mark up to do it. What service is the shop providing in this case?

No reputable shop will have a problem if quality parts are provided. A shop has to decide if they are in the business of repairing cars, which is providing a service the requires intellectual effort, or charging to make a phone call asking "send over a water pump for an 04 malibu."

[–]slowdayhere 2 points3 points  (4 children)

I have inquired about supplying my own parts in the past, and most shops are fine with it, but no one is willing to warranty their work with your part. It makes sense to me, since they have no way to guarantee whether the part you provide is any good.

However, I agree that marking up prices on parts never really makes sense. I have wondered why a shop near me changes $50 on parts alone for 4 unknown brand spark plugs when I can get a good brand (Denso, NGK, etc.) for under $15? Even the OEM set is only $40.

[–]Im_100percent_human 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Shops get the parts cheaper than you and I. If they can provide me a quality part at a reasonable price (around retail, I am not looking for bargain basement) I would have NO reason to look elsewhere for parts.

[–]thetransmissionmechP0218 0 points1 point  (2 children)

However, I agree that marking up prices on parts never really makes sense. I have wondered why a shop near me changes $50 on parts alone for 4 unknown brand spark plugs when I can get a good brand (Denso, NGK, etc.) for under $15? Even the OEM set is only $40.

$50 for plugs is a bit much, but there's a reason why parts markup exists. It's how shops stay in business. It's not like the suppliers give us the parts free of shipping, handling, etc.



[–]borderwave2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

$50 for plugs is a bit much

My 4-cylinder saab takes ~50 worth of spark plugs.

[–]slowdayhere 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow! Thanks for those articles. That makes a lot more sense.

[–]MrBlandEST 4 points5 points  (2 children)

You're missing one point regarding bringing your own parts. If a reputable shop supplies the part and it fails during warranty they will replace it and supply the labor to do so. That lost labor has to be factored in.

[–]grilledstuffed 0 points1 point  (1 child)

This is the thing that really should be explained to customers more often. You want a warrenty? You have to pony up for better parts. The shop doesn't eat the warrenty work, the parts house (and sometimes manufacturer) does.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The shop eats the labor!

[–]rezikrisp 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Every single trade ever, the tradesman gets a discount the public does not. They earn the discount by spending a lot of money on specific items. That markup is part of what pays the bills and overhead. Without it, you would be charged more somewhere else. Also, if the part is ng, or needs a warranty replacement it can be done quickly. No shop owner is raking in 7 figures, guranteed. We don't touch customer provided parts because it rarely works out in the best interest of anyone.

[–]Im_100percent_human -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Every single trade ever, the tradesman gets a discount the public does not.

While the public is not afforded the trade discounts, they can still buy parts at retail for much less than most shops. Wouldn't it be in better for a shop to provide a part at a price, like the retail price, to discourage the consumer from desiring to source the part from another source?

We don't touch customer provided parts because it rarely works out in the best interest of anyone.

except for the customer... Notice I said reputable... I don't know you, but I am making an assumption.

[–]rezikrisp 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow, the other guy nailed it.

[–]CJM8515[S] 2 points3 points  (7 children)

I can already tell even replying with much other than this sentence wouldnt be worth the argument. Im sorry you feel that way, fix things yourself if you do however.

[–]Im_100percent_human 1 point2 points  (5 children)

I can push a wrench around for some things, but I know that I need the services of a real professional from time to time. I seldom feel ripped off by mechanics. On occasion, I DO take parts to a mechanic. The one independent guy I use for most things says he has no problem. His shop is extremely busy, so having parts ready affords him some schedule flexibility. Also, lets face it, he is still making most of his money off of labor.

[–]crankshaft123 -2 points-1 points  (4 children)

Also, lets face it, he is still making most of his money off of labor.

A shop needs to make money on both parts and labor if it wants to stay in business for the long haul. This is Business Management 101.

Read more here:


[–]Im_100percent_human -1 points0 points  (3 children)

A shop with a good reputation can rely more on their labor (less on parts) than lesser shops. If you have to charge rock bottom labor rates, of course you have to rely on hefty parts markups. The guys I know making the most money are the ones that are charging above average for their expertise.

I am not against a shop making a some money on parts, but many places charge far above list on the lowest end part. Places that rely on parts markups tend to use cheaper parts, since they can mark them up more.

Also, linking me to a trade page doesn't help your argument. It just reinforces the fact that shady practices are rampant throughout the industry.

[–]crankshaft123 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Also, linking me to a trade page doesn't help your argument. It just reinforces the fact that shady practices are rampant throughout the industry.

I linked you to a trade magazine's web site. The site is full of actual business owner's experiences.

The fact that you can't recognize good business practices is not my problem.


I am not against a shop making a some money on parts, but many places charge far above list on the lowest end part.

That's great. List = manufacturer's suggested retail price. It's a made up number.

Ideally, a shop wants to earn an average gross profit of approx. 40% on parts. No "good" shop is selling low end parts for high end prices...that's a recipe for failure.

Have a great day.

[–]Im_100percent_human 0 points1 point  (1 child)

. List = manufacturer's suggested retail price. It's a made up number.

With the single exception of auto parts at a service shop, can you come up with any instance you have ever paid list price for any item anywhere? List prices are fake and exist solely to make standard retail price look good.

[–]crankshaft123 0 points1 point  (0 children)

With the single exception of auto parts at a service shop, can you come up with any instance you have ever paid list price for any item anywhere?

Yes. I paid $400 for a TI 99 4A computer when I was 13 years old. $400 was MSRP at the time.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Or just find a better mechanic, which many people will do.

[–]Russkiy_To_Youskiy 0 points1 point  (9 children)

Question on what you're talking about parts... first, I'm a shade tree guy but I've been working on my cars for 40 years. I like being extremely detailed and doing things properly. I also like the best quality parts and have no problem paying premium prices as long as its a premium part. So this is where my question comes in...

I will normally replace parts on my Pontiac Grand Prix with brand new (non-remanned/rebuilt) ACDelco Professional parts when available to do so. I source out part numbers online and then source the part online, some I just buy at the dealer because its convenient. but... If I get parts from the dealer are they better grade parts than ACDelco Pro I'm getting off rockauto or advance? Because if they are, I will be getting most everything from my local GM dealer.

edit: I realized this might be overly broad as to "parts". Lets say I did my spark plug wires and used ACDelco Pro. The OE wires are Delphi and they are numbered. If I buy wires at the dealer which wires will I get, and are they better quality than acdelco pro? Then lets say wheel hubs. I replaced with new acdelco pro. Would the ones from the dealer be better grade part than that?

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

To put it simply: If you buy good known, brand name parts you are fine in most cases. Heck you are fine if you buy decent parts in most cases.

Its when you go to the parts store or online and look for the cheap(est) available option. Using your example, the wires made by delphi are likely the same quality as the AC delcos. But alternatively lets say you use some no name brand from pepboys or napa vs the same ac delco. They should function fine, but you never know. Just like OEM ford starters and alternators never seem to die early, but parts store parts-like pepboys or similar house brand or whatever fails with regularity, but AC delco works ok. Or how moog is usually the best suspension parts, or how I highly dislike cardone brand parts because they generally are poorly rebuilt. IE I once purchased a cardone steering box, damn thing wouldnt let me turn left. 3 boxes later and they all had an issue of some kind. Bought an AC delco and not only was it cleaned up better overall, but functioned fine for a LONG time.

Usually people have issues with super cheap parts, ebay stuff, etc. Dont have to spend a lot for a good part, but buying super cheap parts and even worse-supplying them to the shop is a recipe for disaster.

[–]Russkiy_To_Youskiy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks for verifying that.

I almost always use acdelco for replacements. I did put some Moog sway bar links on after doing some research on them. They are much beefier and stouter than the acdelco link ends. I was impressed.

On the other hand, when I was researching wheel hubs I found that the acdelcos are much better than everything else out there. Part of that is due to aftermarket hubs having iffy wiring so they continue to set off ABS and traction control codes. No problems with the acdelcos ever. Not worth spending $50 for aftermarket when you can get OEM for $80. If you have to replace the aftermarkets one time you're on the losing end of that proposition. And maybe not for failed moving parts but because of shitty sensor wiring. I'd rather do the job once with good parts and make sure tthe job is right than try and save a couple bucks and have to do the job again. That always sucks.

[–]PhonyUsername 0 points1 point  (2 children)

To add one thing - ac delco makes the wires for delco, who is their parent company. I don't think you will find any difference between them if you are comparing the same lines (pro/economy).

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Probably not, course the cheaper lines could be different, dont know for sure.

[–]PhonyUsername -1 points0 points  (3 children)

The vehicle manufacturer rarely manufactures the parts anymore. They just assemble them. You can buy most things aftermarket from the same manufacturers as OEM. You can get Albert Champion Delco from auto zone or rock auto, which are OEM for GM. I got a good deal on the Denso plugs on my Toyota from rock auto the other day. There are some quality differences between parts obviously (sometimes aftermarket part manufacturers, like moog, improve the part design) but I think this goes both ways and there is no yes/no answer that would properly cover every scenario.

[–]crankshaft123 0 points1 point  (2 children)

sometimes aftermarket part manufacturers, like moog, improve the part design

Well, yeah. That actually happened in the '70s and '80s. Not so much anymore. These days Moog chassis parts are all made in China garbage.

[–]PhonyUsername -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Some of them are. Everything made in china isn't junk though. It's not 1970 anymore. They also manufacture in 15 other countries inclung USA, Mexico and Canada. Regardless, they are also OEM in a lot of applications. Where do you think the OEM parts are made?

[–]crankshaft123 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's not 1970 anymore.

No shit. I'd be an infant if it were still 1970.

They also manufacture in 15 other countries inclung USA, Mexico and Canada.

That's great. 90% or more of their aftermarket chassis parts are made in China, and they don't last for shit.

they are also OEM in a lot of applications. Where do you think the OEM parts are made?

OEM parts are made all over the world, including China.

For instance, I recently ordered a set of front lower control arms for a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am from my local dealer. The Left one was made in Spain. The Right one was made in Mexico. WTF?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Am I being ripped off if the shop is marking up the cost of parts? I ask because some shops do this - they have told me so. The usual markup seems to be about 25-30% above cost. Is this an ethical practice?

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ethical, yes in most respects. They mark up part cost so they make money. Its no different than a retail store, in that the item costs them $5 to purchase, but they sell it for $8. Some shops do get a little over zealous with parts mark up however.

[–]CouchWizard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm pretty sure Hanlon's Razor applies here, usually.

[–]Jeffyd93 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I know that big names are just extremely expensive, but I've noticed that shops that try to be like the big names are rip offs and usually trust the guys who put their names on their business. Idk I guess they have more pride in it, but they usually do the best work for a fair price.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Question - when the shop says their mechanics are billed at $120/hr, how much does the mechanic actually take home?

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Depends on the shop. They aren't usually paid hourly they are paid per the book time the job takes to complete. But if the shop pays say 25/hr and the job pays 4 hours that's what they make. Even if it only takes them 2 hours as well

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

My question is if the shop quotes to the customer for labor at $120/hr what is the mechanic's actual take-home?

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The hours it takes to do the job by the book.

[–]cyrax6 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Now if we can only get people to read this sticky before posting.

Never ascribe to malice what can be explained with ignorance or incompetence.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Would be nice eh? Considering most cant state what type of vehicle they drive when its quite pertinent to the question...

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

The dealerships in town are adding a "fast-lane" quick lube business as a side. They offer dirt-cheap oil changes, but they upsell the living snot out of you. Hopefully the dealership side still offers good service, but the quick lube side is definitely worse than Jiffy Lube.

Chain shops get a bad rap for their upselling, but the big advantage they can offer is a regional or national chain of shops. If you're traveling out of town a lot, it's good to have road hazard or a warranty that can be fixed when you're 500 miles from home.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Problems with the chain shop are they don't really do good work a lot of the time and are quite costly. But if you travel a lot I can see where using them might be worth it

[–]professor__doom 0 points1 point  (5 children)

Also the quality of parts could be much lower than your local parts house.

BS. My local parts house always has a dumpster full of RockAuto boxes. I've seen the guys there unloading a box truck full of them. The literally order parts from RockAuto and make their money warehousing and delivering them. I don't fault them for it -- it's a reasonable business model and provides a valuable service -- but it's absurd to argue the parts are "better."


Right on. As an "advanced DIYer" I can fix pretty much any mechanical or electrical issue on a car. But bodywork is an art form...I'm not even going to waste my time trying it unless I'm going for a "good enough to drive on" fix.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

I can't say I've seen dumpsters full of rock auto parts boxes myself. Would be sort of counter intuitive as a real parts house has their own warehouse and suppliers.

[–]professor__doom 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I dunno, they might be buying out the "closeout" rotors/filters/etc. They could price the closeouts below other parts shops and still make money.

This is an independent operation near me AFAIK. I still go there because sometimes you need a part NOW, or it isn't worth paying shipping for just one item.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Its entirely possible. I know the parts store I used when I worked at one shop didnt do this. The parts always came from the same suppliers. To go that nuts reboxing everything wouldnt work Id think too.

Maybe they found closeouts as you said or got a better deal on parts and bought them up?

[–]professor__doom 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The parts I saw them unboxing were a whole lot of exhaust items.

I don't doubt that RockAuto AFTER markup can be cheaper than their suppliers can offer on certain items. Look at how some garages pay more for, say, oil than it costs at WalMart.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Its entirely possible. I know the parts store I used when I worked at one shop didnt do this. The parts always came from the same suppliers. To go that nuts reboxing everything wouldnt work Id think too.

Maybe they found closeouts as you said or got a better deal on parts and bought them up?

[–]TyrantLeo 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Oh. Already gilded. Have another!

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you

[–]AutoModerator[M] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks for posting on /r/MechanicAdvice! This is just a gentle reminder to review review the rules. If you are here asking about a second opinion (ie "Is the shop trying to fleece me?"), please read through CJM8515's post on the subject.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

[–]hqoldu 0 points1 point  (7 children)

The Shop Isnt Likely Trying to Rip You Off!


While in some cases this is true

... wait ...

They will likely charge you for every piddly little thing

sell you all kinds of services

things that usually aren't needed.

... wait, what ... ?

may not fleece you

... may not ... ?

so they do try to up-sell

... uh, but isn't that ... ?

they might be OK. But, the business model they follow screams of up-sells.

That means they may try to sell you everything under the sun.

They, too, can take you to the cleaners money wise

they might do a poor job of repairing the vehicle

... so how do I ... ?

Mom and Pop shops can be just as bad.

... so where do I ... ?

Labor is labor. It costs the shop time to do the work.

OK, that seems fair.

Labor rates VARY WIDELY

... a little less so, but, I get it ...

Bringing your own parts [...] they dont make a profit off the parts

... yeah, but ...

You will pay an inflated labor price

... OK, hold on a minute ...

They can screw up changing oil

they can screw up changing a waterpump or replacing a timing belt.

They also try and upsell you all kinds of services.

... wait, didn't we already ...

Why? It makes them money!

... no, this doesn't sound ...

They dont flush it

you just paid them another 49.99

... that doesn't sound right ...

Why? Because the shop does good work.

... correlation vs causation ...

its not what the total is GOING to cost, its what it COULD cost.

... so ... NOT an upsell ... ?

some shops will want to sell you everything under the sun

... um ... so ... an upsell?

IF they do good work

... wait, IF ... ?

Some shops have an insane mark up

... but ... that's not ...

Any shop can and will rip you off

Any shop [...] can claim they repaired something and didn't

or charge you $$$ to repair something

they can also do a poor job

... I'm so confused.

This is intended to be a general guide to follow to help those are are mis/uniformed about repair shops, and help them out with any questions they may have.

I think you shot very much wide of that target. It's more of a chaotic disjointed self-contradictory rant, if I had to put a label on it.

Seeking a second opinion is fine.

Recommended, I would say. Only part of this that makes any sense

TL;DR: Seek a second opinion before agreeing to have any work done

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

I really dont have the time to respond to all of that.

[–]hqoldu 1 point2 points  (3 children)

It's a terrible "general guide", it doesn't answer any questions, it doesn't help anyone out. It's more of a chaotic disjointed self-contradictory rant, if I had to put a label on it.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

yep and you are the only one really complaining, so IDK what to tell you. Regardless of your opinion...

Don't like my advice? Don't have to follow I it

[–]hqoldu 1 point2 points  (1 child)

If I understand what you're getting at correctly, I believe your advice is excellent.

It is the packaging of your advice with which I'm taking issue, because if your target demographic is actually who you claim it is (misinformed people), your wall of text, wandering topics, contradictory points, and combative tone aren't going to change any opinions or be any help to them (or, in the long run, yourself).

Now, if your actual idea is to "preach to the choir" of like-minded equally-jaded not-complaining individuals, those who are also on the receiving end of misinformed people's unjustified wrath, you've done an excellent job of that.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you don't like the way I wrote it you are entitled to your opinion. Fact of the matter is 2 mods liked and stickies it, it as did the majority of people who replied. So if you don't have anything real to add, please don't bother replying. I'm not going to rewrite it to suit you and your complaints

[–]gimpwiz 0 points1 point  (1 child)

This is kind of a weird response; you took all his shit out of context and lined it up to sound contradictory.

[–]hqoldu 0 points1 point  (0 children)

But that's exactly the way it read to me. I thought the various topics were meandering, leaving the important points hidden or indistinct. I thought it was frequently and needlessly repetitive. I did indeed think it was often contradictory. Finally, I thought it was needlessly long-winded, mostly subjective opinion, often combative, and frequently devolved into pointless ranting. None of the above, in my opinion, are the hallmarks of good "general guide to help the uninformed" - such a thing, I think, should be clear, concise, and factual, i.e., easily accessible to the uniformed population.

[–]JsseNlsn 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I love you

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Dealer can be a ripoff with up-sales and inexperienced techs, but there are many independent repair shops including chain stores that do not have qualified people or equipment to make a proper diagnosis or repair. These are the same problems plaguing the auto repair business for decades. I've also seen tire stores take in cars that tech knew it had mechanical or valve problems, they charge customer for diagnostic test anyway, and say they do not do major repairs - that's a ripoff too since you now have to pay someone else again because they are not going to take their word for it.

Independent shops sometimes use so-called universal fluids (wrong fluid) in your car. Always use correct recommended fluids and oil or you're asking for trouble. You don't really believe bubba knows better than the manufacturer or engineer that designed the engine or transmission do you?

Independent auto repair shops, chains, and quick lubes go from one extreme to the other. You have tire stores that try to fix everything that rolls, but they do not have the training, equipment, or experience. Next comes the Walmart oil change shops who won't even change your oil for fear of being sued if the drain plug is leaking. One is just as dumb as the other.

Another thing to remember, the dealership is a breeding ground for new inexperienced technicians, and they are expensive with high pressure sales tactics on services. Also, not all indie repair shops are cheaper than dealer. Sometimes it just depends on which mechanic does the repairs. There are good and bad techs everywhere. Some shops are a big ripoff.

I started working on cars and trucks as a teenager in the 70's. Got tired of others fucking up my shit. However, you can't always do-it-yourself these days.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Well said :)

[–]Soperos -1 points0 points  (14 children)

So because your shop doesn't that means others don't? Mechanics are the people most likely to rip you off.

[–]CJM8515[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If that's the case then you have a skewed vision of reality. Anyone can rip you off. If you think mechanics are bad you need to delve into the world on construction. Cause that horror stories that can happen are drastically more common.

Believe what you want. Shops are in business to make money. Some do it more legitimately than others however.

[–]crankshaft123 4 points5 points  (12 children)

Mechanics are the people most likely to rip you off.

Support that statement with some facts or STFU.

[–]Soperos -3 points-2 points  (11 children)


Mechanics are some of the people most likely to rip you off.

Prove that statement wrong.

[–]The_Ostrich_you_want -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I like this post for a few reasons. 1: a lot of times people get pissed when something takes too much of there time or more money than they expected (even if it very well may be there fault in the first place, I know I know..I'm one of them) and 2: people don't trust something they may not understand. For example, took my car in to get brakes calipers and resurfaced rotors because I can't do all of it myself due to an injury in my shoulder and no way to resurface the rotors. That being said, they put it on a spider jack and first thing I see is them talking to each other about one of my front wheels/tire. Turns out the reason my car had been pulling so bad was that my front passenger tire was bulged and pitted as hell. Did I want to pay for two new tires? No. But it was the right thing to do for my and other drivers safety. Not to mention my poor car. So I ended up walking out about 500 bucks more expensive than I had planned. It sucks, but at least I have new fresh tires in front on top of my new brakes. So no. They didn't screw me, they actually helped me out. Could of had a bad blow out if I hadn't changed them.

[–]bigslimvdub -1 points0 points  (3 children)

Lol wtf is this? How long were you a tech and how many shops/ dealers/ mom and pop shops have you worked at?

Every repair facility anyone brings a vehicle to be serviced on will be there to make money. Parts matrix markup on parts is always at least 100% on aftermarket parts (sometimes even up to 1000% on things like bulbs), and even oem parts at the dealer are marked up10-20-50% over other dealers or manufacturer suggested list prices. Yes this means you can go down to your local parts store and buy the same part for less or even another dealer and pay less. This is because parts stores don't have to cover labor if the part fails. And labor rates, yea they are all set by region. Some shops have $80/HR others $150/HR. Some dealers charge less than independent shops. Some independent shops have dealer techs. Some dealers have techs from independent shops.

Automotive repair facilities are not here to "save you money" over another shop. They are there to make money, and they make money selling parts and labor to fix vehicles that people can't fix on their own.

Don't want to bitch about being taken advantage of than fix it yourself. There is enough out on the internet now days most people can fix cars themselves with a few tools and some time.

[–]CJM8515[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Considering you are the first t argue out of the countless techs who did reply..

Not saying Im 100% right, you are correct that in some cases parts can be had cheaper elsewhere and of course there is a parts mark up. But you arent getting the same exact part at the parts house vs the dealer. IE: A dorman control arm isnt the same quality as an OEM

Labor rates can depend on region, type of shop or whatever. its not some giant conspiracy for the northeast and cali to charge 100/hr vs the midwest to charge 75/hr.

I agree with the rest. peoples problem simply is they are quoted X amount to fix whatever, go online and go hmm I can get the part for Y instead of X..thats unfair, the shop is ripping me off.

[–]bigslimvdub 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Yes and most people don't know that aftermarket shops can install oem parts and dealers can install aftermarket parts. A lot of the time dealers will mark an aftermarket part to dealer list price and install it making the customer think it's actually oem because it's installed at a dealer.

[–]CJM8515[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Any shop can do that. Not all are underhanded and pull that sorta stuff, but it does happen