Engine Cooling problem
2000 Chevy Malibu 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 170136 miles
i had a coolant leak through my main bypass hose and now the auto repair recommendd that I replace all the upper and lower radiator hose along with another couple hose replacements with an est of parts 146 and labor cost 252 at 42 an hour. I was wonderung if this was a fair price?
With the age and mileage, hoses should be replaced before they pop a leak and leave you stranded. Oh, ... Wait a minute. One already popped! Makes sense to replace the rest since they are just as old.
Where in the world did you find a shop that charges 42 bucks per hour? With all the environmental testing, government rules and regulations, insurances, taxes, fees, and other expenses, most shops can barely survive charging twice that much. Many shops are currently charging more than 100 bucks per hour just to pay all the bills.
Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to see an itemized list of what they plan on replacing. There are two radiator hoses and two heater hoses. The radiator hoses will be molded to fit the specific application regardless of where they get it from, dealer or aftermarket. Heater hose can be purchased in bulk for a few dollars per foot, although a lot of GM vehicles use specially molded hoses to prevent them from kinking where they make sharp turns. Those cost more, but I can't imagine four hoses costing $146.00. This would be the logical time to flush the cooling system and refill it with new coolant. All of this should take about two hours. If they quoted you $252.00 for labor, there must be something else they recommended. Belts maybe? Tire rotation? Oil change? Do you have an itemized list you can share?
March, 7, 2010 AT 9:55 PM
Thank you for ur answer, cause that was fairly quick anyway im not exactly sure wat sum of the parts mean as there are some with abbreviations but I will provide them for u anyway: )
upper radiater hose 26.88
lower radiator hose 23.48
pipe to tb 14.97
rad to res 12.29
heater 2 pipe 20.00
heater hose 25.50
these are the items listed for the total cost on or around 146 dollars
March, 7, 2010 AT 10:42 PM
The upper and lower radiator hoses make sense.
" Pipe to tb" I can only guess is to the throttle body. This might be something GM needed to warm the throttle body to prevent freezeup in cold or humid conditions, or to promote easier fuel vaporization. It can't be much of a hose, but if there's pressure in it, might as well change it too.
" rad to res" would be radiator to overflow reservoir. This one doens't have pressure in it. There's almost no chance of it leaking and it won't cause a catastrophic problem if it did. This one isn't normally replaced as a maintenance item.
With the cost of the two heater hoses, I would have to assume they are specially molded to prevent kinking. I have two like that on my Caravan, but they don't cost anywhere near 20 bucks. GM is known for using a lot of parts that are made just for their specific application so they often cost more than similar parts from other manufacturers.
It can be hard to get to some heater hose connections on the firewall, so that could be part of the reason for the high labor charge. Another possibilty could be if they went by the " flat rate guide". That's a standardized book that gives the time allotted to every service procedure. It allows any shop to provide you with the same estimate as any other shop without having to know in advance what is involved. Without this guide, the only way to be fair to both parties would be to do the work first, then figure out the bill and surprise you afterwards. At that point, it's too late to comparison shop for a second opinion.
The flat rate time for each hose might include refilling the system with coolant. Since it's not necessary to refill it after replacing each hose, the guide usually will list each hose as an individual operation, then at the end it will say, " add. Xx hours for refilling" so it is only counted once. I don't have a flat rate guide to look at, but it just seems that $252.00 is a little high. I would be willing to bet they are going to flush the system including the heater core. If your car uses the red Dex-Cool antifreeze, you want them to get that stuff out of there before it turns to mud, and get new stuff in. GM called it " lifetine" antifreeze, but the manufacturer never promoted it as such. Even the stickers on the car specify changing it at 100,000 miles.
March, 7, 2010 AT 11:06 PM
Youve answered my questions in a great an timely fashion I will definitly recomend u to other people now I jus have to call around for better estimates thank you!
March, 7, 2010 AT 11:19 PM
You're a wonderful human being! Much happy to help. Please don't be angry at the people who gave you the estimate. It obviously took them some time and there coud be very legitimate reasons for the charges. I would be more inclined to believe their estimate if they were charging 82 bucks per hour. That would be more in line with the rest of the industry.