Cost to replace actuator

  • 88,000 MILES
Cost to replace actuator. Please separate labor & parts. Also cost for two corroded battery cables.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 AT 6:46 AM

1 Reply

We don't get involved with costs here because there's way too many variables. Labor rates vary all over the country and you are in a better position to know yours than we are. There's lots of actuators on all vehicles. You didn't even say what it's for.

Usually when people ask us for costs it's because they're surprised at the high estimate they just received. That's the price we pay for insisting our newer vehicles come with all kinds of toys and gimmicks. Those require the use of unnecessary technology in the form of unreliable and expensive computers. Mechanics need continual update training, and shops are bound by countless government regulations and taxes. If I were to show you my list of expenses incurred by all repair shops, you would wonder how they can afford to stay in business when charging only $100.00 per hour.

We never needed a computer to run the heater controls until we got the silly dual-zone systems. Automatic transmissions worked just fine and didn't cause many problems until we went to computer controls. Power sliding doors and lift gates require computers and now we have all kinds of problems with closing doors that we never heard of before. Even power door locks and windows involve computers, and they too are causing problems we never had before. All of those systems have actuators.

If you want to know what a repair will cost, there's a person at every repair shop whose job it is to figure out an estimate. They usually go according to a "flat rate" guide so they all charge the same number of hours for the same job, even if they get it done faster or they take longer. That labor time is for the procedure only. It doesn't include any diagnostic time to figure out what repair is needed.

If you assume your shop is being dishonest, as too many people do, visit another shop for a second opinion. Some will give you a quote based solely on what you tell them is needed, then they get surprised when they find something else is wrong, and they have to surprise you with a revised estimate. Some shops don't take anyone else's word because they want to avoid those surprises. They will want to either diagnose the problem themselves or at least verify someone else's diagnosis. You can be expected to be charged for diagnostic time at each shop.

I can't find a listing for the battery cables, but I do know they are uncommonly expensive. I don't know why that is, but I used to find them on eBay because they brought such a high price. A less expensive alternative is to install universal ends that clamp onto the cables. Those are intended to be temporary fixes but a lot of people leave them on because they do solve the problem. Many mechanics won't use them because they ARE meant to be temporary solutions.
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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 AT 7:51 AM

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