Repair costs reasonable? Losing faith...

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Bill Bruck, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Bill Bruck

    Bill Bruck Junior Member

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    I've been having my 2010 and 2013 Prius's serviced by my local Firestone dealer, but I'm starting to question whether I'm getting ripped off, and would love some feedback. When we got our 2010's oil changed ($90), they told me I needed sway bar links. I said we'd probably only keep the car another 24 months; they said it probably wouldn't pass inspection. The estimate was $740: 2 K750043 Moog link kits @ $114 and $255 per side (I guess that's two hours?).

    I went to Amazon and found the exact same part for $27.99. I haven't done my own car work for 30+ years, but when I saw the video I was shocked. Remove the wheel. Remove 2 bolts in plain site to remove old link. Reverse the process with new link. So I ordered the parts and it took me 90 minutes for both. That included the time to carry all the tools outside, get the tools I forgot. Get the other tools I forgot. Jack the car, etc. There's no way a human being could take four hours to replace these parts.

    I'm feeling a complete lack of trust at this point for the shop. Doubling Amazon's price is one thing - everyone need to eat. But FOUR TIMES the price? And FOUR HOURS to replace them?

    Now I'm wondering - did I really need the new parts? When the told me my daughter's 2015 Kia Soul needed new front brakes, they said they couldn't turn the rotors - they'd get too thin. The dealership did the work (for other reasons) and THEY turned the rotors just fine.

    Any thoughts or feedback on the estimate they gave me? On "how do you know whether to trust your mechanic"? The meaning of life? Anything else?
     
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  2. mikey_t

    mikey_t Active Member

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    I'd start taking your business elsewhere. I recently had my sway bar links replaced; the dealer was asking for around $500 and a local trusty mechanic did it for around $200.
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    Toyota dealers are bad enough, at least they are trained and authorized.

    I would not go back. Start looking around for a local mech
     
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  4. spiralhelix

    spiralhelix Member

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    $90 oil change??? YIKES! Lexus doesn't even charge that much! Do they do a tire rotation with that? When I got my Toyota bulk oil a while back, all the dealers around here are only charging $20-30 for an oil change (a marketing tactic). The oil is around $30 and the filter with plug gasket $3.50. and that is genuine toyota stuff. So I don't think $50-60 is unreasonable...but $90 seems steep.
     
  5. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Back in the late 80's I worked at a firestone store for 3 weeks.
    The manager kept trying to get me to "up sell" everything! Didn't matter if they needed it or not.
    One of the last things I did was replace front pads on a car with about 15,000 miles. The rotors
    looked new, no lip. The rear pads and rotors looked new. He pushed me to sell them front
    and rear calipers, rotors and pads. I told him I would not because they didn't need it.
    I then went to the bathroom, when I had came back, he was talking to the customers giving them
    a scare story that if they didn't, they could crash and maybe kill someone. They almost bought it!
    I stepped in and told them the truth.
    I replaced the pads and told them to file a complaint with Firestone and the BBB. And suggested
    they find another place.
    After the customer left, I told the manager he was a liar and a thief, and that I would be filing a complaint
    with corporate, and then I quit!

    I don't know what happened after that.

    I would suggest that if you cannot repair it yourself, phone around and get estimates. Talk to friend and
    strangers and try to find an HONEST place. Cost is secondary because you will KNOW it will be done
    correctly the first time and they won't sell you stuff your don't need!


     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    More'n likely.

    It is kinda apples/oranges. If the dealership is doing your oil change for the the retail cost of parts, it's definitely a marketing tactic.
     
  7. spiralhelix

    spiralhelix Member

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    So you think its more likely they ARE doing a tire rotation?? I would have guessed the opposite, but I wanted to point out that if they were doing a rotation, that could account for the additional costs. The other point was that it doesn't hurt to check with the dealers and their costs. Even if they charge $60, that's $30 cheaper than Firestone and uses genuine parts, but if they are offering deals, well then there's that too.
     
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  8. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    My local firestone kept sniping at us to replace all kinds of things. I only took the cars there because they had pre-paid alignments, but they just wanted to gouge us for anything they could think of.

    Don’t tolerate that push. Find an independent mechanic, preferably one who knows hybrids. Even if he doesn’t it’s a start. He might not be totally honest, but at least he doesn’t have shareholders pushing a corporate campaign, hammering you 24/7 to get you to over-maintain your car for their benefit.
     
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  9. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    Sway bar links will never be check during inspections. Run, run far away and don't look back.
     
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  10. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    You sound like me. I haven't done my own car work for 30+ years until I started coming here and learn about how everyone does it. I had to start from zero, buying tools and finding time and place to work on my car. Yes, YouTube is my repair manual. I haven't done much more than very simple maintenance, but sure, those shops up-sell for repairs that are not necessary, parts that can be purchased much cheaper and work that can be done easily. For anything that is not mission-critical and does not require a large investment in purchasing new tools, I am willing to try DIY up to a certain limit. However, I do not have experience nor knowledge to diagnose the problem when encountering something totally new to me. For that reason, I still need to visit my dealer and local shops from time to time.
     
    #10 Salamander_King, Nov 5, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
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  11. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    After you find another trustworthy service center, might as well call up that Firestone place
    to tell them you decided rather than pay to fix it to pass inspection, you decided to get $300 for scrap metal
     
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    One issue: places offer loss-leader rates, doing service at retail parts cost, or less. They're not doing this cus they're saints: they're hoping to get the car on the hoist and THEN start the hard sell.

    So then, customers get used to the $30 oil change, demand it from on-the-level mechanics, drive them outa business.

    I also get the sense they tend to brush over essential but labour intensive maintenance, brakes in particular. It's time consuming to do thoroughly, so expensive. And it's the kind of maintenance you can neglect, and still come up smelling like roses, so both dealerships AND owners quietly ignore it. But it can come back to bite you, down the road.
     
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  13. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    That's great! Things like oil changes, coolant changes, most brakes, replacing bulbs, etc., are fairly easy to do on your own.
    And then you have money to spend on other things you can't do yourself.

    Remember, dealers and car repair shops are just like any other business. They are in the business of making money.
    They may employ many people who are their to get paid. They SHOULD be honest, but in reality, few are.
    I've worked at different dealerships and independent shops, for the most part they were honest, except for one.
    If they say something is bad, ask to see it. If that cv joint IS torn, you'll see it and all the grease everywhere.
    Same with a damaged suspension bushings. If they hesitate and/or are searching for words to explain why it's bad,
    take cation.

    Youtube is very good. Just make sure you watch several videos of the job you want to do. I found most 30 minute
    video have less than 10 minutes of useful content, or the video is poor quality or shaky. And by watching more, you'll
    may find quicker ways of doing the job.


     
  14. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    @ASRDogman has written some good info

    DIY for any owner of any car will save a lot of money, whether it be pm (fluid changes, lube, etc)
    or actual parts replacement.

    Save the dealers for warranty issues!

    I am a little too young (a bit over 40) to have experienced the good ol' days when mechanics could let you in the bay
    with your car on the lift and show you the bad stuff, but in todays terms, you wont see that at a dealer or
    most if not all shops (I understand liability) but I know they take advantage of the word,
    so you have to take their WORD about problems. And obviously once they lower your car, most cannot
    check out that problem. So it has progressed into a "load up" of unnecessary crap ton, that amounts
    to 1000's of dollars for even brand new cars. Most (and probably most) people wont bicker or question a professional.
    And for one that does, there will be 9 others that wont....

    Toyota started the 2 years maintenance, (opinion here) I think to not only provide value, but
    to get owners into the swing of things for maintenance, and to take care of their cars.
    Again, the dealers perhaps make a few bucks on sales and trade-ins, but bulk profit is made on service
    which not many can dispute.
    While this model is ok, again many dealers has overcompensated and taken (take) advantage of the majority.

    Best to do is be firm, dont act like you have no clue, but dont hesitate to google reviews on
    local shops/service centers to get the job done right and affordable, aside from the dealer.

    DIY if can, and as pointed out, this forum..along with youtube is your friend.
    20+ years ago I was into mk2 VW's and DIY work was involved.
    Since then, I strayed from those hunk-o-junks into what I believe is the brand with
    the best reliability and mass produced for cheaper cost effective parts.....along with multitude owners.
    Toyota is the name, Prius is the game!
    After making my last payment on the 2 currently I own, I decided to DIY (didnt have ANYTHING needed @ dealer, luckily)
    SO I have been doing pm myself, and from this wonderful forum and members, have done it correctly and thorough.

    I had to get me "c" state inspection/emissions and for a while was not knowing what to do.
    I had only been to the dealer for this the previous 5+ years!
    I decided to go to dealer. I set up appt online, and this is the c&p from that
    Maintenance Services:
    PA State Safety Inspection
    PA Emissions Inspection
    Repair Services:
    Tell Us More
    No fluid top off, No car wash. State Inspection and Emissions only.

    Basically, I let them know that I did not want my car to be f'ed with.
    And, NO dont wash it either. During my wait I watch those peeps and not liking what I see (although prob not that bad :) )

    It would have been roughly $80 this last time, but I test drove and I suppose the service tech didnt
    know that but knew it was like 2 hours, and he only charged for emissions, so it was $50 out the door.
    They did that full point inspection also and said everything was fine, but tires will have to be addressed soon.
    That means it went well, and my 2015 will have the same done in the next 30 days.
    Lets hope I walk out for $80 or less.
    I wont hesitate to question anything or walk out after paying for a FAIL and go somewhere else.
    Show em what you got and they may let you go, and fool the next sucker in the door.
     
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  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Maybe warranty issues and tough jobs? I like to keep in touch with my nearby dealership: let them know I'm doing the basics, but if there's something beyond my capabilities I still want to be on good terms with them, let them take over.
     
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  16. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    That is some good advice.
    Also have that indy shop on speed dial too, just in case a price check is in order (y):LOL:
     
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