You're suffering from what costs you the most money in the long run and results in the least maintained car. Do you take your own food to a restaurant and ask them to cook it for you? Do you whine and snivel when food there costs more than in a grocery store? Why do you suppose all parts cost more at a repair shop? It is not uncommon for new parts to fail; that's why they need to come with a warranty. When you supply the parts, you WILL pay for the labor a second time if one needs to be replaced. Your mechanic is betting the parts won't fail but if they do, he is going to eat the additional labor costs. That is part of the cost of doing business. You are trying to save a few pennies and betting you won't have to spend a lot of dollars later. That is common among people who don't understand what you're getting for your money and who don't have a clue how businesses are run and the huge costs they incur doing that business.
As for "unneeded parts", mechanics have your best interest at heart. You need to look at them as your advocate, not your adversary. They do not want you sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. What possible reason would they have for that?
If you are that unknowledgeable about your car and that distrusting of the advice you were given from a professional, instead of assuming he's trying to sell you unneeded parts, get a second opinion, but do it the intelligent way. If you go to a second shop and say someone tried to sell you a wheel bearing, an unscrupulous person will do everything possible to say there's no need and the first guy was lying. Now that this new guy has your confidence, he can try to sell you anything. An honest mechanic, which most are, may double-check the bearing, verify it needs to be replaced, and neglect to check anything else. That also doesn't do you a good service.
Instead, just tell the second mechanic to inspect the steering and suspension systems because you're hearing a noise in the rear or feeling something unusual. DO NOT TELL HIM what someone else found because that can inadvertently limit the scope of his investigation. If he also comes up with a bad bearing, you owe the first guy an apology.
There is a published legal minimum thickness that brake rotors can be machined to when truing them up during routine brake service, and there is usually a slightly thinner thickness they can be allowed to wear to after that service. No professional will risk sitting in a courtroom due to cutting them undersize. Also, replacement brake rotors that typically cost $100.00 in the 1980s cost about 15 to 30 bucks today. Given the cost in labor time, expensive cutting bits that wear out quickly, and the machinery needed to resurface rotors, most shops today just install new rotors. You get a better finished product with proper braking action for just a few dollars more. It sounds like you're willing to forgo safety and comfort to save a few dollars. Lawyers and insurance investigators love to find undersize brake rotors, worn tires, loud stereos, and especially altered ride height. They WILL convince a jury that you were partly at fault for the crash when the other guy ran the red light because you were less able to avoid the crash, and they will be right.
You are perfectly welcome to buy your own parts, but then install them yourself. If you get the wrong part for your application, make a second trip to the parts store. That won't cost you anything if you walk there. You'll need to buy any special tools needed for this job. Your mechanic is not charging you for the use of his tools he has had to buy over the years. There are a lot of things you can do wrong to damage a new part. You'll have to do the job over again but think of all the money you will have saved. Trouble is you won't be able to blame it on your mechanic. We read here every day about the things do-it-yourselfers do to cause problems. Most of us are more than willing to help people who take responsibility for their screw-ups, and I especially love helping people who want to learn about their cars. In this case there isn't enough time left in my life to explain all the hardships mechanics and shop owners go through to make your car safe, and because of that lack of knowledge, you have no appreciation yet for what you're getting for your money. That is more common among people who do not work in the trades. I ran into many other teachers I used to work with who had no clue what it takes to be a business owner or work in a business. With time and an open mind, I can correct that.
Thursday, February 21st, 2013 AT 4:39 PM