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 Post subject: Auto Repairs
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:54 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:09 am
Posts: 466
I have mastered the art of purchasing daily goods and cheap entertainment. Frugality in those areas have not reduced my quality of life but I must admit; mastering the art of frugality with auto repairs is difficult.

For instance: Today, what started off as $34 oil change turned into $330 in Auto Repairs. I had the money and the car just passed the 100,000 mile marker and thus needed some maintenance. Plus, I would rather pay for preventative maintenance than a major repair due to neglect. So, has anyone on the forum considered the art of finding a great deal on auto repairs? Also, when do you allow the mechanic to replace the items that he recommends replacing?

I will break down my bill and tell what I have come up with so far.

Fuel Service Oil Change $26.99
Oil Filter $5.99
Cabin Air Filter $29.99
Tire Rotate and Balance $34.99
Fuel Filter $39.99
Synpower 3 Part Fuel Cleaner $59.99
Left Tie Rod (Part) $60.00
Tie Rod (Labor) $37.50
Shop Supplies $10.99

1) I know just about everyone who posts will recommend that I do my own oil change. I will eventually start doing this but I just purchased the car and quite frankly just wanted someone else to do it first.

2) The fuel filter is WAY overpriced as I have changed a fuel filter before ($6.99). However, the only time that I changed the fuel filter, I spent several hours trying to pry the part loose and eventually (I am not joking) had to cut the fuel line with a hacksaw. I ended up purchasing a new fuel line from the dealer ($80). Upon receiving the fuel line, I cut off the end that screws in to the fuel filter and reconnected both the line and end with a rubber hose. I spent nearly a week dealing with the car and spent close to $150 for tools and parts so $40 dollars seemed like a drop in the bucket to avoid another similar nightmare.

3) The mechanice did show me that the tie rod bent easily so I had no problem allowing him to replace it.

Having the money relieved some stress concerning the repair but I don't want to develop a care free attitude on a major income drain (Auto) just because I can "afford" the repairs. What wisdom have you developed in dealing with car repairs over the years?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:01 am 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 11:23 am
Posts: 859
Location: Portland, OR
Find an independent mechanic and become friends with them so they'll let you provide the parts and they just charge you for labor. As you said, the parts you get from most dealers/mechanics are SO marked up that if you find someone who lets you get the parts you can save a lot of money.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:53 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
Posts: 243
sdogg1m,

Great posting. I especially appreciate the breakdown of your bill. Here are the parts I would question from the bill:

cabin air filter -> I believe with a little bit of research, you should be able to figure out how to purchase and change this part on your own. I don't think it's especially difficult to change.
tire rotate and balance -> A lot of places these days offer free rotations on tires for life when you purchase the tires from them.
synpower 3 part fuel cleaner -> I would seriously question the necessity of this component. I've never heard of a manufacturer requiring "fuel cleaners".

My two cents...

squished


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:53 pm 

Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 8:25 am
Posts: 520
Location: Santa Barbara
Costco for tires and they'll give you free rotations. I'm sure other places do that as well.

If you can't change your own oil for whatever reason, find someplace inexpensive and/or use a coupon.

Keep a record of everything you do to your car, so it gets done enough, but not TOO much.

I gather the same thing about fuel filters. Last time I was offered one, I said, "Dude, I'm sure I can do that myself" and the mechanic replied "Yeah, but it would take 3 hours and you'd probably completely strip it and have to take it in to the shop anyway". Blunt, but true.

Always drive a reliable car. (Check out Consumer Reports for reliability records.)

Drive less = less maintenance. (Trite, but true.)

I found this link about car preventive maintenance you can DIY.
http://autorepair.about.com/od/doityourself/Do_It_Yourself.htm


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