The High Cost of Auto Repairs


AF News Desk
08-03-2011, 01:12 PM
Perhaps even more now than in recent years, automotive repairs are becoming a serious consideration for buyers looking at new and used automobiles.

Instead of buying that car you've always wanted, you may be buying something suited more closely to your wallet's happiness and that is known to last more than a few years.

And why wouldn't these be worthy considerations when buying a car? With tightening belts due to economic downturn, maintenance on a vehicle isn't something you want to experience beyond the normal wear and tear or regular oil change.

Well, as it turns out, it's been a hard year for car owners who have faced big auto repairs.

The story from the Los Angeles Times:



Big auto repairs put drivers at financial risk

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef01543439d91d970c-pi

One in four American drivers could not pay for a significant car repair, according to a survey by the American Automobile Assn.

“Many Americans rely on their cars for their livelihood and losing access to them could be financially devastating during an already troubling economic time,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA vice president of automotive and financial services.

“It’s important for drivers to not only continue to maintain their vehicles, but also have a financial emergency plan in place should they be faced with a sudden unexpected auto repair bill,” Doney said.

AAA judged a significant automobile repair bill as one reaching $2,000 or more. The survey also found one in eight motorists would be unable to pay for a repair bill of $1,000. And, 25% of those surveyed also admitted to neglecting repairs and maintenance on their vehicles in the last year because of the economic climate.

That’s a bad move, AAA automotive experts said, because it can greatly increase the likelihood of the need for a costly, major repair later.

While repair costs can vary greatly by make, model and type of repair, a transmission repair can be $2,000 to $4,000, while an engine repair can exceed $5,000. Major brake repairs may range from $350 to $1,000, and a new set of tires can run from $300 to more than $1,000, the association said.

[[[[[[[[OUR VIEW]]]]]]]]

It's unfortunate that maintaining our vehicles has reached the point of putting us - as drivers - at risk financially. As if there weren't enough things for those already strapped for cash to worry about, now, it seems even our means of getting to and from work may be what put us on the street.

The only thing I can hope many dealerships offer is the ability to work out a payment plan for individuals who may have trouble paying their bills. It's not to say they aren't good for it, but in many cases, people don't realistically have $3,000 dollars that they can put towards a transmission job.

If anything, this should be a good reminder to drivers that the little things being taken care of on your car may very realistically help you prevent the big things from becoming an issue. If you care about your car, want it to last and want your wallet to feel as little impact as possible, don't ignore the most basic of maintenance items.

What do you think?

Hungrycat7
08-03-2011, 02:07 PM
I must agree. . . The expensive repairs usually come on due to a lack of regular maintenance or ignoring a smaller issue. I am always suprised to find how little people will shop around to find a shop with a more reasoneable price. It seems that no matter the problem people will just shell out the big bucks to the first place they take the car instead of doing some research and possibly finding it cheaper elsewhere.

zzyzzx2
08-05-2011, 11:21 AM
The real problem here is people not saving for the proverbial rainy day.

jon@af
08-09-2011, 08:47 AM
The real problem here is people not saving for the proverbial rainy day.
I can agree with that to an extent.

I honestly think there are a lot of people who STILL haven't learned the value of putting money away for that "rainy day" situation. I know when I was laid off early last year, it was very helpful that my wife and I had a nice amount of savings built up.

The problem also presents itself, I feel, in the shape of dealerships not being able to keep themselves in a good position business-wise, which reciprocates to the customer.

If you have a dealer that is struggling to maintain business akin to what it was doing 8 years ago, they're probably less likely to be sympathetic towards the customer and more realistically taking the position of "we need your money now, not three months from now."

I also think part of it is people just aren't educated when it comes to owning a car these days. They don't understand that parts WILL wear out and that in order to keep your car running properly, you have to be prepared for those things. A friend of mine recently had to drop $500 on replacing his entire exhaust system - from engine block to tailpipe - because it had rusted completely. He was caught entirely by surprise, despite the fact that the car is several years old and has never had any of the parts replaced on the exhaust.

There are quite a few things that can help soften the blow of auto repairs, it's just a matter of putting forth the effort - on both sides of the argument.

Carguy2286
08-09-2011, 09:31 PM
I COMPLETELY understand this first hand....
I've been an American/Japanese enthusiast every since I was 13 or 14 when I first saw The Fast and the Furious (cheesy acting or not, that movie had some ferociously awesome cars)....I've always enjoyed modding my aforementioned cars because they were cheap and easy to work on.
Recently, I ventured off against everything I believe in and bought my first German car; 2006 VW Golf. Due to getting my own place, not having a roommate, and not being immune to the insanely high cost of living, I had to buy a budget car that got good gas mileage. Why not get a Japanese car you ask? I'd rather not even get into that...very long story. Got a good deal on my Vdub, right place at the right time....etc etc...
I would consider myself pretty far above average when it comes to car knowledge, maintenance, how-to....whatever.
Unfortunately, I'm beginning to find that German cars are a whole new breed of monster. With dozens and dozens of miscellaneous parts that I can't even figure out why someone design, (i.e. Secondary Air Pump, a one-piece steel steering knuckle), maintenance, as you can imagine, is very frustrating and expensive.
I had to fork over something like $600 to have my wheel bearing and strut mounts replaced because I found that I didn't have the obscure tools or the know-how...
So here's my solution to the rising auto repairs:



DON'T EVER BUY A GERMAN CAR.

grider
08-09-2011, 09:37 PM
i see this all the time i have a customer she is in her 70s she drives a 93 civic she brought and has maintained it with us its like new over 300k then on the other side i get customers all the time that are 10 k over for an oil change and i hear things like i was waiting for a sale some people will sacrifice an engine for 10 bucks off you make the call 30 dollar oilchange or 1500 for an engine from a junk yard? i think most people think i will only have the car for a few years and fugure it will be somone elses problem and never give it another thought if you spend 5 to 6 hundred a year on maintainance ie oil fluids hoses belts tires and brakes cars built today will last near for ever thats a lot les than a 600 dollar car payment

PPL
08-10-2011, 06:47 PM
Maintenance is too expensive, whew! :banghead:

Chris V
08-18-2011, 07:43 AM
DON'T EVER BUY A GERMAN CAR.

:rolleyes: I daily drove my '98 BMW 740iL for almost 5 years, doing all maintenance and repairs myself. Did the top end of the engine a few months ago (the car has 185k miles on it) so that it will be ready for another 200k miles.

German cars, and even complex luxury German sport sedans, aren't that hard to keep up with. I've spent less than $2k in the last 5 years on repairs an maintenance by DIY everything. And joining an owner's association where we can share knowledge and skill.

That's the biggest thing, most people are afraid of getting their hands dirty, when most minor repairs and maintenance could be done with simple hand tools in their driveway, and save them THOUSANDS of dollars. An example: I met a guy with a BMW like mine who had just bought it. he was having a lot of oil smoke on startup. The dealer wanted $4500 to rebuild the top end of the engine to fix what they said was valve guide problems. He found an independent mechanic that would do it for $3800. I asked him a couple questions about the symptoms, and due to the knowledge base the owners group had built up, determined that the actual problem was the OSV (BMW's equivalent of the PCV valve). Had him buy the $100 part and we swapped it out in his driveway in about a half hour. Saved him $4k!

Choosing not to DIY stuff is a choice that will always cost you money, and often large sums of it. For my upper end rebuild of the BMW I used a normal metric socket set, a couple screwdrivers and a torque wrench. Same for the other BMWs in the family (my stepson's '02 325i and his fiance's '93 325i both of which now have over 200k miles on them and are still going strong). My stepson was taught how to DIY stuff as well, so that when the water pump went out on his BMW, he was able to put a new one on for $50, instead of having a shop charge him a thousand dollars or more.

Nilesh Jain
08-25-2011, 01:28 AM
Maintenance is too expensive, whew! :banghead:

Maintenance is expensive but it is necessary too...

theautopartsshop
08-25-2011, 12:19 PM
We agree with the above thoughts of regular maintenance planning of the vehicle. Regular maintenance of your vehicle at least keeps it going for a long span of time without any trouble. As per our experience fifteen percent car parts replacement is due to avoidance of regular maintenance.

BrianLee
08-26-2011, 01:16 AM
That's true. Regular maintenance is very important for long life of the vehicle. In my opinion, it is an investment rather than expense.

RedNeckerson
08-26-2011, 11:16 PM
I COMPLETELY understand this first hand....
I've been an American/Japanese enthusiast every since I was 13 or 14 when I first saw The Fast and the Furious (cheesy acting or not, that movie had some ferociously awesome cars)....I've always enjoyed modding my aforementioned cars because they were cheap and easy to work on.
Recently, I ventured off against everything I believe in and bought my first German car; 2006 VW Golf. Due to getting my own place, not having a roommate, and not being immune to the insanely high cost of living, I had to buy a budget car that got good gas mileage. Why not get a Japanese car you ask? I'd rather not even get into that...very long story. Got a good deal on my Vdub, right place at the right time....etc etc...
I would consider myself pretty far above average when it comes to car knowledge, maintenance, how-to....whatever.
Unfortunately, I'm beginning to find that German cars are a whole new breed of monster. With dozens and dozens of miscellaneous parts that I can't even figure out why someone design, (i.e. Secondary Air Pump, a one-piece steel steering knuckle), maintenance, as you can imagine, is very frustrating and expensive.
I had to fork over something like $600 to have my wheel bearing and strut mounts replaced because I found that I didn't have the obscure tools or the know-how...
So here's my solution to the rising auto repairs:



DON'T EVER BUY A GERMAN CAR.

That's an interesting point. I've never owned a German car, but I did spend a painfully long weekend helping a friend with his rediculous Audi from hell. I normally drive American made/assembled full size trucks and my wife drives smaller SUV's; Commander, Explorer and now a Blazer. I've owned more than a few Toyotas, one Honda, one Merc Sable that I use as commuting/work vehicles. All of them I cranked the miles way way up then let them go. I generally buy them several years old, and maintain them fairly carefully. I buy a lot of the obscure tools I need from Harbor Freight. Can't beat the price for that stuff you use maybe once or twice a year. For stuff I can't/wont/don't wanna do, I use one of two local non-dealership shops that I've come to trust. They know me and my vehicles. They're (mostly)straight up with me, I keep coming back. It works out for all involved that way. I also use a local mechanic who does weekend side work. I get discount everything as long as it's cash. BUT, I have to adhere to his schedule, so there's no "Crap it's broke, here fix it now". Anyway, that's all I got FWW. BTW, that VW Golf should be a reliable car with outstanding gas mileage. Never thought much about it from a wrenching standpoint.

jimken
08-27-2011, 12:39 AM
Yes it is a hard year........

Intuit
08-28-2011, 11:41 AM
There is room for conflicts of interest and dishonesty in nearly all professions and we saw the exacting toll in these recent years for the banking industry. We talk of unnecessary medications including antibiotics and medial procedures, what of unnecessary vehicle repairs ? From suspension to exhaust, I've had mechanics suggest thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary repairs to me. Depending on your gender, appearance, depending upon the car that you drive, they often bet on the fact that you know jack about your vehicle. Certainly this has some bearing on the overall problem as well. A mechanic had my Mom changing out the entire suspension for what I deemed an alignment problem. A mechanic tried to have her change out her brake fluid during a routine maintenance check. They also go for the little things, like trying to get her to unnecessarily change her air filter.

........... I also think part of it is people just aren't educated when it comes to owning a car these days. They don't understand that parts WILL wear out ...........
It goes well beyond that. People "understand" whatever is most convenient for them; convenient in avoiding personal responsibility. It's everyone else's fault and have no personal part in it. Examples of it are everywhere and all the time.

I think American cars are junk because all the used ones I had prior had constant issues. So I bought a brand-new Honda and locked up the engine inside three years because I didn't check or change the oil; literally believing the commercials showing the hood being welded shut. (-a neighbor during the 1990s)

I don't like high insurance costs, but gamed the insurance company into paying an extra $1,500 above my personal costs in a wreck last year. I also file low-cost claims when insurance should be reserved for catastrophic events.

I don't like the Walmarts, joblessness, the bad economy, but always buy the cheapest stuff (from China) off the shelf; and often shop at the Targets instead.

I don't like Microsoft because of problems, but paid $400 for a discount-branded computer, and regularly install untrusted and cracked software to get and manipulate illegally traded media content. I routinely fall for online scams, talk about buying a $1200 mac. (which also crash and get infections btw)

I don't like government taxation, but my company/employer has three radically different prices for the same service/product depending whether Joe Blow, Business X, Insurance Company Y, or Government Z is receiving it. We once charged government $500 for toilet seat installation.

I don't like government debt, ignore that federal income vs GDP is at it's lowest point in nearly sixty years, ignore the lessons of the 1920s and 30s, but will declare any representative that dares to utter anything about infrastructure-development/investment/revenue/waste/fraud, an idiot; and also want a "bail-out" for the people by the way.

I don't like public schools, but vote down every $2-$400 tax levy that has hit the ballot for the past ten years. Meanwhile I just spent $3,000 to send one kid to a private school this year; (receiving govt subsidies).

I don't like high hospital pricing, but keep eating steak, pork, beef six days a week, keep smoking, never exorcise, raise my kids on fast-food, television and ignore my own health problems until an emergency room visit is required; later defaulting on that debt, not caring that subsequent customers, employees, employer, insurances, governments will have to make up on that difference with interest. I blame extraterrestrials and unicorns... I mean illegal aliens for existence of the problem.

I could go on.

Nearly all of us are guilty of that "take no responsibility" line of thinking at some time or another. But the problem begins when we get a bunch of other folk to start to believe in our own personal line of self-diluting BS.


...... A friend of mine recently had to drop $500 on replacing his entire exhaust system - from engine block to tailpipe - because it had rusted completely. He was caught entirely by surprise, despite the fact that the car is several years old and has never had any of the parts replaced on the exhaust. .....
Awhile back, the Government passed regulations that required that the muffler be manufactured using stainless steel. After nearly 18 years and >260k miles, the muffler remains in perfect shape. Only problem I've had thus far, was related to the fact that I damaged the flex-pipe weld when pushing the exhaust around. When I told the mechanic what happened, he insisted on unnecessarily replacing the flexpipe because he knew and seen it all. He sawed it off and inspected it like he was fix'n to point to something. By the expression on his face, I knew he realized I was right, but he said nothing and quickly tossed it aside. I spent >$100 on this literally ten minute job. Well, his weld lasted about 2 years. Didn't bother adequately addressing the surface-rust on the pipe so the new weld broke. He wants >$150 for the same job. :rolleyes:

I'll save the story about me busting a dealership mechanic joy-riding in my car for another time.


... There are quite a few things that can help soften the blow of auto repairs, it's just a matter of putting forth the effort - on both sides of the argument.

ComEd123
08-28-2011, 02:55 PM
To avoid the high cost of car repairs give your car a routine maintenance check and receive yearly state inspections.

To accomplish routine maintenance on their vehicle such as oil and filter changes, tire rotation, lubrication, and radiator flushing without much expense.



:wink:
John Galt
ComEd (http://ambitservice.com/ambit-energy/comed/), Sales Consultant
Rockford, Illinois

BlueBeacon
08-29-2011, 06:32 AM
Maintenance is important for Vehicle life............

neartoshore
08-29-2011, 10:19 AM
That's true. Regular maintenance is very important for long life of the vehicle. In my opinion, it is an investment rather than expense.

Great idea. I agree with you very much.

elizabethadams
08-29-2011, 12:17 PM
I agree with ComEd123 (http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/member.php?u=684634), routine check-up is necessary to avoid high cost car repair. To make the life span of your car last longer, you have to take extra care of your car. Cleaning it inside and out, change oil, tire check-up, and so on are needed.

jjz109er
08-30-2011, 01:36 AM
I don't usually purchase extended warranties on products. If something is going to fail, it will most likely be under the manufacturers warranty. I've had 5 cars, 2 were new which includes my current ride, a 2011 Shelby Mustang GT500. This is the first car for which I have purchased a maintenance plan and a powertrain protection plan. Mainly because of the level of performance and the technical maintenance it requires. If you can afford it, it could be advantageous to pay up front for repairs you may face down the road and for regular maintenance.

zzyzzx2
08-30-2011, 10:27 AM
The repair costs also seem high until you look at the prices of new cars that are so much higher in proportion to what they used to be.

Johnnyx1257
09-12-2011, 04:28 PM
Had my cats replaced over 900 bucks

zundapman
02-23-2012, 06:05 PM
IMHO automotive engineers should thake a big share of the blame for the current situation. Designs no longer take into account labor involved in the maintanance of the complex systems they put into cars and it has become intentionally difficult for the consumer to perform simple maintenance tasks. As a consequence, systems are often run until a major failure occurs rather than maintained as required.

jeffabercrombie
02-24-2012, 05:24 AM
Maintenance is expensive but it is necessary too...
yeah , that's ture:runaround:

zzyzzx2
02-24-2012, 09:11 AM
IMHO automotive engineers should thake a big share of the blame for the current situation. Designs no longer take into account labor involved in the maintanance of the complex systems they put into cars and it has become intentionally difficult for the consumer to perform simple maintenance tasks. As a consequence, systems are often run until a major failure occurs rather than maintained as required.

It's most likely the bean counters preventing the engineers from making stuff simpler to fix. I bet the engineers want to make engine bays bigger, but the bean counters say that we can't make the hood 2" longer because the car will weigh a little more and cost $20 more to make.

Intuit
02-27-2012, 08:34 AM
To give you an example. If I would not have the car insurance I would have to pay 500 bucks for the repairment of the rear bumper. I almost freaked out that time and I probably would for real if I wouldn't had the insurance with bennefits... :runaround:
Greed actually has more to do with that.
It's not just the body shop repair industry.
The Healthcare industry including places that sell eyeglasses are another good example.

Companies generally have four radically different prices for what is largely the same service depending on whether the client is:
1) General consumer. (a.k.a. Joe Blow or Susie Que)
2) Business
3) Insurance
4) Government

The price is drastically higher from one to four, regardless of volume of product supplied, frequency of service rendered, or whether tax is included. Remember the $500 toilet seat ? http://hydeparkassociates.com/blog/?p=131 Greed is a major contributor toward the debt problems. (@ office-holders: *not* talking about the average govt worker and their unions :mad: you are a major problem not them)

zundapman
02-29-2012, 07:32 AM
IMHO automotive engineers should thake a big share of the blame for the current situation. ...

I shouldn't bash the engineering profession alone, they have been able to significantly increase the median life cycle mileage for all levels of automotive systems. Big over the road trucks are now rated for up to a million miles with only simple routine maintenance. Consumer transport vehicles, even the cheapest, target at least 100,000 miles and many achieve 250,000 with "normal maintenance."

As a point of contrast, back in the early 1970's, my brother learned techniques for pouring babbit bearings, a core skill required of Model A Ford engine mechanics. The life expectancy for a rebuilt crankshaft with hand poured babbit with good routine maintenance is probably less than 40,000 miles since so many rebuilds are now being done by relatively untrained and inexperienced workers. Now many manufacturers warrant 100,000 miles on a power train which means that most if not all power trains can be expected with normal reqired fluid changes, to go that far without any major repair.

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