MY MECHANIC WANTS TO CHARGE ME 850 TO REPLACE A ...
2000 Ford Focus
January, 30, 2013 AT 11:14 PM
My mechanic wants to charge me 850$ to replace a the fuel pump, fuel filter, and harness on my car. 475$ of that is just for the part- a ford factory pump with module. Without the module a pump could be as low as 100$ or so. My mechanic says it's the only way-and that it's standard- but I am doubtful. Am I being ripped off?
Labor is 2.3 hours even add another.5 to diagnose if charging 850 and pump cost 475 that makes labor rate 133 dollars an hour seems little high. As far as pump I would recommend duing ford factory pump my experince with aftermarket pumps is not good
January, 31, 2013 AT 12:41 AM
Fords are odd cars, and the Focus is an odd Ford. You can't compare anything about them to what is common on other cars. Eight years ago I saw a bill for installing a new pump into a Pontiac Transport for $650.00. No filter. No wiring harness. In that respect alone, I would not be happy with the bill, but yours seems within the realm of possibility.
That $100.00 pump you mentioned is just the pump and motor. What you save in the cost of the part will be eaten up by the additional labor cost for taking the assembly apart to install the pump into it. Then you have to hope the job was done correctly and won't have to be done over again.
Mike. Shrum is right that the labor rate seems high, but we don't know what other variables are included in the estimate. Unless the pump died completely, there could be a lot of diagnostic time included already that we don't know about. Are they going to replace the fuel filter? They should, and in this case that is included. How much gas is in the tank that they have to manually pump out? In your case, why are they replacing a wiring harness? There's something else going on that you didn't tell us or you don't know about.
Aftermarket pumps are usually not a problem as long as you stick with name brand products. In fact, NAPA pumps for Chrysler products are just as quiet as the factory original pumps because they both come from the same supplier. We've all heard the horror stories of four or five new pumps failing in short order, then a new pump from the dealer is installed and there's no more problems. The cause of that is microscopic debris in the tank and the fix is to have the tank steam-cleaned at a radiator repair shop. That debris locks up the pump's impeller. The clue there is the failed pumps all test good electrically but they won't run. By the time you're on your fourth of fifth pump, all that debris has been collected and the next one, which might come from the dealer, won't suffer that fate.
Very few mechanics are willing to install pieces into assemblies. I can repair the alternator on my Grand Caravan for $9.00 but I would never do that for a customer I like. The labor cost to do that is almost as high as just installing a professionally-rebuilt unit with a warranty. Plus, if I do something wrong, I either have to do the job over again for free, or you could be sitting on the side of the road. I'm willing to take that chance with my cars, not with yours. I question the need for a wiring harness, but besides that, it sounds like your mechanic has your best interest at heart. You should consider him your advocate in the care of your car, not your adversary. You haven't indicated anything that suggests he deserves to be accused of ripping you off, but that's the first thing everyone thinks of when they get big repair bills. As a former instructor and an impartial observer, I've been asked to explain large repair bills many times. If I was to show you the list of taxes, regulations, insurances, training, equipment cost, and all the other costs associated with running an independent repair shop, you would be unable to explain how they could afford to stay in business when only charging $133.00 per hour. We have heaped so many rules, regulations, and laws on them. Now you are paying for those laws.
As for the hourly labor rate, mike. Shrum is taking some liberties with his calculations so it's real likely it's not really $133.00 per hour. A half hour for diagnostics is pretty generous to you. If the engine didn't run, a bunch of people had to push the car into the shop, do some preliminary checks, get it up on a hoist, then make some electrical tests. Most manufacturers allow up to an hour for just the diagnosis of an electrical problem, then you have to ask for more time WHEN that hour turns out to be not enough time. When the "flat rate" guide calls for 2.3 hours, there are different times allowed depending on whether you are paying the bill or the car is under warranty and the manufacturer is paying the bill. Warranty times are always less. To come up with those times, the stop watch stops when the mechanic has to bend down to pick up the wrench he dropped, or he has to walk to his tool box. The time doesn't include diagnosis, emptying and refilling the tank, or even raising the car on a hoist. The longer out-of-warranty times take into account some nuts and bolts are rusty, electrical connectors need to be cleaned and tightened when they're put back together, or some plastic clips break and new ones have to be installed.
Most shops have been charging around $100.00 per hour for the last few years. In my city many of the new car dealers charge less than the independent shops. By sticking to one brand, they have less equipment to buy and update every year, and the very expensive advanced training is supplied free through the manufacturer. It costs more to equip and maintain a car repair shop than it does for a doctor's office, but you won't get an hour of your doctor's time for 100 bucks. On top of that, we hold mechanics to much higher standards than doctors.
What I would suggest is to ask your mechanic to explain exactly what you are going to get and what he is going to do for you for the $850.00 Use your least accusatory tone of voice. Keep in mind too that he is not earning any money, and someone else is waiting when he takes the time to do that. Here and there you'll find a mechanic who is good at showing you the old parts and explaining how and why they failed, but most mechanics don't have good communication skills when dealing with car owners. Because of that, they pretend they don't want to be bothered to avoid the perception they are talking down to you. There will always be someone in each shop who will explain what is going on. That may be a service adviser at the front desk. His job is to translate what he thinks the mechanic said into what he thinks you will understand. Often things get lost in translation, but that doesn't mean they're trying to rip you off.
If you come back here and list each item on your bill, we may not be able to justify why a specific charge is so high or so low, but we can make sense out of much of it for you. Normally we don't get involved with costs here because there's too many variables and things we don't know. After seeing how some cars are designed and the tricks some manufacturers, particularly GM, put in to cost owners money after the sale, very little surprises me anymore. If you were paying for a repair on a Volkswagen or BMW, you would be wishing for an $850.00 repair bill.
January, 31, 2013 AT 3:04 AM
Thank you for the advice. The harness is for the fuel pump- holds it in place- as explained to me anyway. I questioned the price because family and friends told me they had paid far less for their fuel pump repairs in the past 300-400$ and could not believe me when I told them my cost. Plus, the shop (which has replaced my water pump, timing belt, and muffler AND gave me a tune-up within the last 5 months) told me they could do it for around 300$ and they had the fuel pump I needed at their shop right now. I knew it was a really rough over-the-phone estimate, but I figured it couldn't be more than 500$. I was really suprised by an 850$ price tag and needing a way more expensive part. I wanted a second opinion before agreeing to a repair that I will have to finance through a line of credit offered at the shop. Thanks again for your time : )
January, 31, 2013 AT 3:21 AM
MY frustration comes from the fact most repairs are so expensive. A lot of it has to do with the unnecessary and inappropriate use of technology and is why my daily driver is an '88 Grand Caravan while my newer vehicles sit in the garage. I was not pleased when I learned my mother was charged $450.00 to replace the pump in her '95 Grand Caravan at the dealership I used to work for, (and they still liked me), but just a few months later a student showed me his parent's bill for $650.00 for the pump in that Pontiac.
The last pump I replaced on one of my own cars cost $14.00 WITH a new filter, and took only half an hour to replace. And people wonder why I don't like new cars!
January, 31, 2013 AT 5:24 AM
IMMA GONNA PIPE IN ANOTHER OPTION
ONE OF THEM----READ IT IF YOU WANT TO----CLICK ME OFF IF YOU WANT TO
SOME SHOPS DON'T USE THE OLE SHOP FLAT RATE SYSTEM. THEY JUST SORTA DO THE "LET'S SEE IF I COME OUT TO THE GOOD" IF I CHARGE "X" AMOUNT
SO FAR I'VE ONLY HEARD MENTION OF THE "ONE GARAGE"?
WE ARE ALLOWED TO GET OTHER ESTIMATES!
COULD BE THAT YOU ARE BEING RIPPED. OR MAYBE NOT!
SINCE I'VE BEEN COMPUTERING ONLY THE LAST FEW YEARS----I'VE LEARNED TO USE "SHOPZILLA COMPARATIVE SHOPPING"
FOR INSTANCE I NEED A CERTAIN FUEL PUMP FOR MY 1946 JEEPI FOUND IT AT SEVERAL SITES (TOO MUCH $$$) BUT I DID OBTAIN THE PART NUMBER. THEN TOOK IT TO SHOPZILLA.I FOUND THE EXACT SAME FUEL PUMP AT MANY SITES. SHOPZILLA SHOWED ME THAT INSTEAD OF PAYING $80ON THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM, ANOTHER PLACE (THAT IT SOMEHOW KNEW IN THE CYBER WORLD) HAD THE SAME PUPPY FOR $21. WHAT A DEAL!---I ORDERED 2 OF 'EM!
SORTA A STUPID EXAMPLE. HUH
NOW DAYS IT TAKES SOMETHING LIKE THAT FOR SOMEONE TO UNDERSTAND THE OLD WAY----BUT THE IMPROVED. CJ MEDEVAC WILL WORK TOO
LET'S GO OVER TO CJ MEDEVAC-ZILLA
HERE'S A "ONE STOP" THAT KNOWS MANY OF THE LOCAL GARAGES. MAY BE ABLE TO NOT ONLY "COMPARISON SHOP"--BUT ALSO BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU SOME INSIGHT ON "QUALITY WORK"
WE MUST SORTA BALANCE THIS OUT."QUALITY" BEING THE MORE IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTE!
THE TRICK IS FINDING A SHOP THAT IS DEPENDABLE AND FAIR. SOME ARE A LOT FAIRER THAN OTHERS
. THE STEALERSHIP IS PROBABLY ON THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM. THERE ARE SOME OPERATIONS THAT ONLY THEY CAN DO
TAKE A "SMART BUDDY WITH YOU, THEY MAY BE ABLE TO INTERJECT IN STUFF YOU FORGET TO SAY, THIS WOULD HELP YOU DECIDE WHO TO TAKE IT TO----THIS MAY BE YOUR GUY (SHOP) "FOREVER"---SO LETS NOT HAVE A 20 SECOND CONVERSATION DURING THE SELECTION PROCESS. TAKE YOUR SILVER TONGUED FRIEND ALONG, TO TAKE UP YOUR SLACK!
GO TO OTHER STORES I AM MENTIONING---WE WANT A COLLAGE OF CANDIDATES---NOT JUST FROM ONE STORE--SORTA KINDA A 2ND OPINION OF THIS 2ND OPINION
GO TO YOUR POPULAR AUTO PARTS STORES (MORE THAN ONE MIGHT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER) ASK TO SPEAK TO THE "COMMERCIAL SALES MANAGER".
HE'S THE ONE SENDING PARTS TO THE LOCAL AUTO SHOPS----SOMETIMES THESE SHOPS ARE ALL OVER, AND ARE SORTA IN THE "TURF" OF ANOTHER PARTS STORE---I MEAN THIS AUT STORE SERVES THIS SIDE OF TOWN---ANOTHER SERVES THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN. THIS IS WHY YOU NEED TO INVESTIGATE OTHER PARTS STORES
MOST LIKELY AS THE "MANAGER" HAS MADE IT THRU THE RANKS, HE HAS VISITED MANY OF THE LOCAL SHOPS AND HAS DELIVERED PARTS TO THEM FOR QUITE SOME TIME. JUST FROM SEEING THESE OPERATIONS, HE MOST LIKELY WILL KNOW WHO DOES GREAT WORK, IN A TIMELY MANNER, AND POSSIBLY AT WONDERFUL RATES.
HE'S KINDA THE GUINEA PIG THAT HAS SEEN THE DECENT SHOP vs THE "HOARDER SHOP"----HE'S DOING YOUR HOMEWORK FOR YOU. EVERY DAY HE WORKS.A REALLY GOOD ADVISOR, COMPARED WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR WHO HEARD A HORROR STORY (TRUE OR NOT TRUE) ON FACEBOOK
"I". MAYBE "YOU" ALSO, WANT CORRECT WORK PERFORMED----NOT NECESSARILY THE CHEAPEST!
YOUR KEY QUESTION TO ASK, JUST BEFORE YOUR CONVERSATION IS OVER: "WOULD YOU SEND YOUR OWN MAMA THERE?"
IF YOU HAPPEN TO TRY ANOTHER STORE. SEE IF THE SAME NAME(S) COME UP
PERSONALLY, I LIKE THOSE DECENT-WAY OUT-RURAL SHOPS.I DON'T LIKE TO PAY FOR THE BIG BUILDING. AND THE 4 "MANAGERS" WHO DO "EXECUTIVE" WORK". AND ALL OF 'EMs "BIG TOYS"
'COURSE I DO MY OWN WORK ON MINE. SO I'M SORTA A BYSTANDER LOOKING IN.I DO WORK AT AN AUTO PARTS STORE PART TIME.I DELIVER TO THE WHOLE MIX OF SHOPS IN MY AREA.I KNOW WHO I'D SEND MY MAMA TO!