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View Full Version : Who knows about car repair prices?



Bloodwych
30th October 2007, 15:18
My cars due a MOT and had to get the exhaust fixed fast, as I'd forgot about the renewal date. It's a 1998 Honda Civic VTI (yes quite old, but I hate wasting money on new cars) and the join where the rear silencer meets the middle pipe had collapsed.

I went along to an exhaust "specialist" that had been advised by many people who I work with, but I've come back feeling ripped off. I'm thinking of doing something about it if people agree the cost is not genuine, even going as far as reporting the company if they won't reply to my cost query.

Whilst in the garage, I queried why it cost so much and said the rear silencer can't be more than 50, but he came back with "it's a VTI, specialist parts" crap. Not sounding right, I reluctantly paid the bill as I need this car and, as I said above, friends had recommended the garage.

Once I got home, I went online, something I should have done first. The cost ex VAT:

For a rear silencer is 29.66.
Springs come to around 12 and a gasket 2.50.

These are the only parts listed on the exhaust "specialist's" invoice. Ordering online, I would have paid 61.88 for the parts, including VAT and 10 delivery.

On my invoice, it lists a rear silencer for 104.62, which is my main concern, and 24.34 for the other parts EXT VAT! Inclusive it totals 128.96 and even stranger, no labor is listed on the invoice?

Now, unless I'm paying 70+ labor costs for a 30min job then something just isn't right. Can anyone offer an opinion as to whether that's a fair price for a rear silencer change? If it isn't, I'm going to war....

Thanks for your help. :)

Harrison
30th October 2007, 15:54
Average garage labour prices these days are about 70 per hour, so very expensive, and why many people do as much work as they can themselves on their cars.

Also that price for the rear box sounds about right from a main highstreet garage. The price you found online sounds really good as I would have expected around 60 at least for the part at cost price.

I don't think you got ripped off. That is just how much the normal garages charge.

A full system (front and rear exhaust sections from the manifold back) cost my Dad over 200 for his Pug 206 recently at Halfords so the price you were charged is about right.

The best way to save money, as you discovered, is to find out exactly what parts you will need, order them online at cost prices, and then if you can't fit them yourself take the parts along and get a garage to fit them.

Bloodwych
30th October 2007, 16:58
Thanks for your opinion Harrison. :)

Yes, parts online can be cheap. I would have gone this route if I wasn't so stupid and let my MOT renewal date slip my mind (been very busy recently), so I had to get it sorted fast. I got the prices from here if you're interested:

http://www.onlineautomotive.co.uk/

I would get into fitting the parts myself (especially easy stuff like an exhaust), but don't really have the space outside or tools to go to work at the moment. I definitely will in the future though.

It still seems a little steep to me. Your dad for the full exhaust is getting a LOT more kit for his 200. I'm getting a rear silencer box and a little gasket, and paying well over half the price he did for the full kit. Usually the front section and (if present and in need of replacing) catalytic converters are the most expensive parts.

Thanks for your opinion though, it makes me feel a little better. Just wish I knew someone who owns a garage.

Harrison
30th October 2007, 17:07
It definitely wouldn't have included the CAT. That would have added a few hundred to the price for sure. It was just the mid and back boxes he had replaced.

Bloodwych
30th October 2007, 17:11
Woops, sorry - I didn't read that bit correctly, you said from the manifold back. I guess the price I ended up with does sound right for a mainstream store then.

The cat for my Honda is only 70 on that online store.

I'm opening an exhaust "quick fit" business. Are you with me? :D

Harrison
30th October 2007, 17:14
It definitely seems that being a mechanic is the best way to legally rip people off!

Bloodwych
31st October 2007, 07:32
Ok, I feel like one last rant! :p

I checked the part number on the exhaust as they'd left the sticker on and it's exactly the same number as quoted on that website linked above, for 29.66 EX VAT. Also looks identical.

Whilst down there, I also noticed how little work they had to do. Simply slip the exhaust onto a couple of rubber mountings and tighten two bolts in the gasket to attach it to the middle exhaust section! It must have taken all of five minutes and that's being generous!

Yet the garage started work on my car whilst I was there, and asked me to return in an hour. On returning, they were finishing up, one guy, as if on cue, walked past me with the old removed exhaust and said "it was ready to go, we had a lot of trouble removing it but somehow we managed".

A lot of trouble? Two rusty bolts that had already snapped when the join collapsed? I now realise after looking all they had to do was release the old exhaust from the rubber mountings - should take a few seconds!

He then hinted I was being tight for waiting for my 1.04 change, which I was sure to get as I felt ripped off.

It's really depressing that these outlets give honest garages a bad name. I'm going to take this further as I've discovered how dishonest this guy was with his answers. He caught me at a time when I needed my car sorted out the same day, but I'm going to query how they can justify getting away with such charges for minor work and a cheap car part.

These places need BBC rouge traders or similar to come down hard on their practices. As if we don't already pay enough for running a car - I'd much rather pay a higher tax to help the environment than see the money being sucked up by these rip-off merchants.

Rant over.

J T
31st October 2007, 09:39
To be honest, getting anything done at a garage for under 130 isn't that bad. I don't think that particular garage ripped you off - that sounds like the going rate. What I'm saying is they are all bloody expensive, and unless you (or a mate) are handy with the spanners I'm afraid there seems little choice.

Be glad it was nothing worse, though. Our last service for the racing Puma was around 800 quid :cry:

We are seriously considering selling it on. Luckily the focus is still under warranty (handy, as the heated front screen has just packed up so they said they'd replace it for no charge).

Sometimes, I hate cars and the damage the do to our wallets.

Bloodwych
31st October 2007, 10:25
Cars are a nightmare!

At first opportunity I'm giving them up and doing my bit for the environment. Probably buy a scooter!

I agree with both of you this seems the norm, and yes it's not a huge amount in car headache terms, but it's not as if I'm being unreasonable. We live in a world where we have to fight over every transaction or we get a bad deal.

I'd say a fair price would be 100% markup on the cost price of the exhaust online (30 -> 60), in order to cover the running costs and factor in profit for the garage.

Then 20 labour for a ten minutes max job. Fair price for rear silencer change? 80-90. If it hadn't gone so far over 100, I may have accepted it.

I'd say they ripped me for a good 38 to 48. I tried to speak to the garage manager but he just blanked me and was unable answer my queries on costs, saying he told me the truth the first time round. I've put in a complaint to the head office, which will probably do nothing if it's a franchise store, but at least I feel I haven't taking it sitting down.

I sound like the customer from hell, but truth is I don't accept something if it appears unreasonable. I'll probably have to notch this one up as a bad experience, as I should have just driven away once I got the initial quote.

JT, that Puma service is painful!

Harrison
31st October 2007, 15:03
Service bills can get very expensive. I've had one over 1000 before now which definitely wasn't nice. Although a lot of work was carried out for that one including a cambelt change, front disks, plus a lot of other stuff (as I knew it all was going to need doing soon so though might as well get it all done now), so although it was a lot of money I felt I had paid a fair price for the work done; some of which was quite complicated and I definitely couldn't have done myself.

This year's service/MOT was quite expensive too, being over 500, but I had to have a new engine manifold gasket which is labour intensive to fit as it takes quite a bit to remove and fit the new one, and was a bit worrying on my car as they told me they wouldn't know if the turbo was OK until they removed the old gasket and had a look. Luckily it was OK and now runs much better than it ever has before, so there must have always been a slight leak in the gasket so the pressure for the turbo was never perfect.

I do use a main Peugeot dealer so it is more expensive than a local garage, but I've now been using them for years, they are a family run business, and they are honest and reliable. They also give a complete breakdown of all costs including the labour before they go ahead with any work which many other garages don't do.

Before that I used to use another Peugeot garage a couple of times but they were the complete opposite and I was never sure what they said was true or not. I think many others thought the same as they eventually went bust. The only good thing was they had a very large parts warehouse so if I could fit something myself I could pretty much guarantee I could get the part from them.

Regarding exhausts. I think on thing worth doing if you buy a car new or nearly new is to buy a stainless steal exhaust system. You might think they are just for boy racers and people wanting to show off, but in the long run fitting one will save you a lot of money if you intend to keep the car for a few years. I bought my car when it was 2 years old and had one fitted, which cost me about 330 at the time. The car is now 9 years old so I've been driving it for 7 years and the exhaust is still as good as new. If I hadn't I expect I would have had to replace the mild steel one at least twice by now and that would have cost a lot more in total than the stainless steel system did. Plus you do get more performance from one (more so on mine due to the turbo) and a nice sound too.

Bloodwych
31st October 2007, 15:24
Wow, I almost feel embarrassed ranting about my small bill when you guys have forked out so much cash on car repairs!

It's nice to have somewhere to take your car that you trust and you must really love your car Harrision to use a local Peugeot dealer. Sounds like a nice bunch of people though, which is always nice, and of course you have better piece of mind.

My Honda VTI had full service history by official dealers up to 90,000 miles, then I started seeking out local garages as beyond that they start to get expensive! The thing is, I'm not a cheap-skate in general day to day living, certainly don't count every penny.

My blood boils only when it comes to paying garages, solicitors and certain trade men who come to your house and charge by the hour. ;) Then I become Mr Cynical, the markup and profit margins are completely disgusting at times.

Harrison
31st October 2007, 15:44
It's nice to have somewhere to take your car that you trust and you must really love your car Harrision to use a local Peugeot dealer. Sounds like a nice bunch of people though, which is always nice, and of course you have better piece of mind.

That is very true. At least with a main dealer you have more of a guarantee than a local garage if anything they do turns out to not be OK. And actually the prices are not that different. I used to use a small family run garage near my house and although the labour charges were lower, they had to order in all the parts needed as they didn't hold anything in stock due to servicing any make of car. That meant having to sometimes wait a couple of days without a car while they got the parts, and the parts often costing more due to having to have them delivered.

And yes, I do really like the car. It was quite a rare model when I bought it and it took some time to find a good one. And so I've kept it in good condition ever since. Also I'm not one to change my car every year just to have the latest number plate or newer model. I tend to find a car I really like and love driving and then keep it until it's not worth repairing any longer. I did that with my last car, which I had until it was 11 years old, and I'm doing the same with this one, although I have to say this one is ageing better, with much less faults or issues than the last I had. I am however planning to change it either next year or the year after for a Pug 407 Coupe 2.7D.