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Maintenance & Repair Costs

cameronscamerons Posts: 1
One thing I didn't realize before purchasing a 1999 A6 (std) with 55k miles was the Edmunds site left out in it's maintenance information was the fact that the timing belt needed to be replaced at 60k miles. I went to the Audi dealership in Tampa, Fl and they indicated it would be $1100 to do the 60K interval. Wow, what a blow for getting such a deal on the car. The normal hourly rate at this location is $90 /hour. No, that does not include a girl and a room.


  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Mitchell Mechanical Labor Estimating Guide:
    Timing belt - R&R
    2.5 hours
    .2 seal, camshaft
    .2 seal, crankshaft
    .2 tensioner

    Total labor is 3.1 hours. The parts must be gold plated.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    changing the timing belt does slightly complicate the i$$ue, but I'd sure like to know if the following services are covered in the 60,000 package ::=

    (*) rotating rocks in tire treads

    (*) wash and fluff-dry all cottonwood seeds in air filter

    (*) remove, clean, lubricate, and replace all bolts

    (*) align all window stickers

    if this is something like a $800 timing belt change due to parts removal, etc. and $300 of plugs, wires, lubrications, and gyrations, that's one thing. but a lot of "dealer recommended service packages" also contain items not in the carmaker's recommended service list, some of which are traditionally laughers in their own right. and yes, parts are often more expensive than they would seem... until you remember that you replace fewer of them and further apart these days.

    with that labor estimate alcan found in mitchell's guides, I'm more than a little surprised at the final price.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    it just occurred to me... three or so hours of labor in the $140 to $180 an hour labor range would do nasty things to the price of a timing belt change, wouldn't it? that would not be a shocker to find those kind of labor rates in a factory-trained german dealer's shop, the fargo Benz dealer was asking that kind of per-hour in the late 1980s.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    still only brings you to $600 or so for the swap-out. More than $1000 sounds WAY high.

    OTOH, what about also replacing the fancy German water pump at the same time, as many places commonly recommend? That could easily bring you to $1000 at German parts prices.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jodarjodar Posts: 51
    Given the reported high cost of parts, has anyone purchased parts say, online or at some discount auto parts store, and had a mechanic/friend/aquaintence install them? I can't imagine these cars are so mechanically complex that they are that difficult to work on.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    is a lot smaller for German brands than Japanese or domestic brands. It may be that for this job there is no aftermarket alternative. I wonder if there might be a dealer willing to sell parts at wholesale on-line, though.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    I know that Audi is relatively high, but Mercedes is not nearly as high as one would expect. Simply splitting them into "German vs. Japanese" doesn't quite cut it.

    I'd pay roughly $120 in parts if I wanted to replace the water pump on my '96 E-Class. It would also be a relatively easy fix, as it sits right at the top of the engine and is accessory belt driven, thereby very easily accessible. Definitely a DIY job.

    Most of the stuff I had to replace so far (window regulator, belts, bulbs, battery) have not been outrageously expensive.

    Parts availability also depends on the manufacturer. I've had to wait for BMW parts, but had plenty of choices for Mercedes. Even the dealer parts were often competetively priced.

    Mercedes will get really expensive if one talks about a complete engine take-down or engine replacement. I believe a replacement engine would run me close to $8K. However, I would consider that a very unlikely event.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    with buying parts for German cars has been for BMW 3-series cars, and those are expensive and not always available. Thank you for the reminder not to generalize to all German brands! :-)

    I have heard that Audi is expensive though - the one Audi I owned I sold quickly - the things I did have to replace were much more expensive than they would have been on a Toyota (window regulators for one)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    I paid $126 for mine, after figuring out with the help of parts person at the MB dealer, that I would be able to salvage the motor by using a '99 model year part instead of the '96. (Otherwise, I would have paid over $200.)

    I have since found out that the price of $126 was high, and that people have bought this part for as low as $80. Ah well, it was a kind of emergency.

    Yes, Audi seems to be expensive. A friend of mine owns an Audi convertible and had to pay $400 (part only) for a replacement rear window. I believe I'd only pay around $140 for the replacement on my Z3.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    Anyone mind if I change the name of this discussion to "Maintenance Costs?" I can see it as a long-termer with a more descriptive discussion title.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    no-one minds! :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    but no complaints. the old saw goes, "fluids are cheap. engines and transmissions aren't."
  • jodarjodar Posts: 51
    For those of you who change your own motor oil. Do any of you use synthetics? And do any of you deviate from the recommended oil weight? I've seen 0w30 recommended but its hard to find. 5w30 seems to all right and Mobil 1 has an 0w30 weight that is supposedly a 'European blend', which I assume would be all right for Audis.

    I'm curious as to whether or not the Audi dealerships use synthetics when changing oil during the service intervals. Does anyone know?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    Hi jodar - your question about oil is more likely to be seen & answered in one of our existing topics on engine oil. We've got Engine Oil - A slippery subject Part 2, and a Synthetic motor oil discussion, both of which are very active.

    This discussion is more for members who are looking to check out maintenance costs.

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  • brake4mebrake4me Posts: 13
    I have a 2001 Dodge Dakota, 4.7 engine 4x4

    Can anyone tell me service is needed during the 30,000 mile maintenance/tune up.

    I would think oil and transmission change, air filter. Is there a need to change axle fluid on front and rear axle?

    Dealer wants to charge $450 which I think is high just to do basics and check fluid, belts, etc.

    Any feed back appreciated.

  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    A Dodge dealer quoted me somewhere in that neighborhood for the 30K maintenance. My other vehicle cost $134 for the same service at another dealership. I don't remember every service item but I priced them item by item. Spark plugs, auto transmission band adjustment were included.

    I agree... it's too much for what they are doing.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Look in the maintenance section of your manual. Even if you do the severe schedule it is doubtful that all of the items the dealer wants to do at 30000 are needed. Only do what is reguired in the manual never ever say do the 30,000 mile service. Most of that are inspections, not actual work. You can inspect items yourself. Only ask for and pay for actual repair, replacement items that are listed in the owners manual for severe service at 30000 mile interval. Today, plugs are usually 60,000-100,000 miles intervals.
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Dodge lists plugs and auto transmission band adjustment at the 30k interval as I recall. Don't have my Dodge anymore or I would look it up.
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Part Description Part Cost
    Automatic transmission filter(s) $ 32.70
    Automatic transmission fluid $ 11.20
    Engine oil $ 11.25
    Oil filter $ 5.70
    Spark plugs $ 21.60
    Total Estimated Parts Cost $ 82.45

    Labor Action Item Labor Cost
    Inspect/replace Air filter $ 2.25
    Adjust Automatic transmission bands $ 62.04
    Replace Automatic transmission filter(s) $ 16.91
    Change Automatic transmission fluid $ 28.20
    Inspect Brake lines, hoses & connections $ 1.12
    Inspect & adjust fluid level Coolant $ 2.82
    Change Engine oil $ 11.28
    Inspect Exhaust system $ 2.82
    Replace Oil filter $ 5.64
    Inspect/replace PCV valve $ 5.64
    Replace Spark plugs $ 39.48
    Check level Transmission fluid $ 1.12
    Rotate Wheels & tires $ 16.91
    Total Estimated Labor Cost $ 196.27

    Total Estimated Costs
    Total Estimated Parts Cost For Your Area $ 82.45
    Total Estimated Labor Cost For Your Area $ 196.27
    Total Estimated Cost (excluding tax)* $ 278.72

    In addition to the procedures for each indicated mileage interval, Dodge has identified other service operations to be performed at calendar intervals. To view these operations and their estimated cost, click on Additional Procedures.
    *This Total Estimated Cost includes the preventive maintenance items recommended by Dodge. The facility that services your vehicle may perform different, greater, or fewer procedures that can affect the cost you incur. For example, engine oil change and filter replacement are commonly performed by dealer and independent service facilities at special prices. These "special price" services do not typically include all of the additional procedures recommended by Dodge at each service interval.

    Dealer wanted $425 to do the stuff listed in the maintenance manual.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Their recommendations (based upoin my own vehicles) are not engine or model specific. Unse your OWNER'S Manual. Why looks somewhere else. At 30,000 miles it si under warranty. Forget the inspections. Note that they have change tranny flid, cnage filter then a charge for checking id level. Come on. 30,000 miles, oil if within your schedule, tranny fluid, air filter, then check manual for plugs, other filters etc. Not much needs replacing today at 30,000 miles.
  • 1) 1998 Ford Expedition with 96,000 mi delivered to Future Ford for an oil change and front brake inspection on Thursday, April 24, 2004. @ 10 AM. .. about a $55 dollar job

    2) Jim (Future Ford mechanic ) calls @ about 11AM on April 24th & indicates that the CHECK-ENGINE light is on / vehicle “runs rough” … indicates that the rear bushings need to be changed / leak in the air-conditioning system / fluids & spark-plugs should be changed since it has passed the 90,000 mile mark. – I told Jim to change the fluids (PS fluid / brake / transmission) an the spark plugs - Jim indicates that this will be about an $870 job.

    3) Jim calls at about 12:30 on 4/22 and indicates that the #3 spark plug head is rusted and didn’t come out. It has snapped in two and they (the Dealership) would like to soak it over-night, so that they could insert a special rod into the socket to try to remove the broken spark plug. They retain the vehicle over-night.

    4) 10:45 AM on 4/23 Jim calls and indicates that the spark plug remover has broken and that the broken piece of the spark plug is still in the socket. He must now pull the cylinder head… he estimates a cost of $3800 including some 17hrs of labor and a charge of $1332 for the cylinder head if he needs to replace the cylinder head. In addition he has indicated that the soonest that I could get the vehicle is on Tuesday, April 27, 2004. That is a full 6 days after dropping it off for an oil change. The labor charge at this dearlership is $98.00 an hour.

    What should I pay here ? I believe that the dealership should have to eat the cost of the broken spark plug and all the labor that goes with it. In addition, The cylinder head would be fine if they successfully removed the spark plug... also the Mechanic never called to indicate that he was having difficulty with the plug .. he just continued on until it broke

    I am also incurring the costs of not having the vehicle. I have to find other means of transportation, in order to get to work.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    sounds way fishy. you need to see the general manager, and raise some first-rate hell. you are going to want a blow-by-blow description of exactly everything that was done, and when, and by whom. I would also get on the ford zone manager to have them investigate the shop and case.

    I personally would be ready for lawyers at this point, but you would have to haul the truck out of there on a flatbed after paying for everything so far, have an independent mechanic survey the whole mess, and pay him to rectify it.

    I think monkeys worked on your car, and they keep getting it wrong. having said that, breaking a plug around 100 thousand is not unusual, and IMHO anybody who believes that stuff about plugs lasting that long should expect to buy new heads or have the plugs drilled out and helicoils installed.

    all that said, they broke something or left a vacuum hose off or a sensor unplugged to cause the $$$ light. it sounds like a pyramiding scam. I would be interested in seeing one of the professional long-term fleet mechanics who frequent these boards respond, to see how many "nothing can go right' cases they have had, so I could gauge just how likely that explaination is.

    my gut feeling is that Osama bin Laden is the lead mechanic at this dealer, and Satan is their job estimator.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,478
    Have an attorney at the ready to write letters or call. If indeed your story is accurately transmitted, the whole business stinks to high heaven.

    You should only pay for what you agreed to initially, and they need to know that or face the consequences in Small Claims Court or worse, where they will be slaughtered on this one.

    PS: Check with your attorney about how his involvement affects your Small Claims suit. Don't take legal advice online here.

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  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Personally, I would have them stop what they are doing and go no further. Then have another mechanic/shop take a look and give their estimate.
    Once you have that, then you may want to seek legal advice, as Mr shiftright indicated.
  • adibud34adibud34 Posts: 2
    I wanted to know whether the price I was about to pay on this Merc is fair or not. The car is a 1987 300E and has 101 K miles on it. The cost of the car is $4,500. D'you think the price is a fair one or could I get it for a cheaper cost? The carfax records say that the car is a clean one. Is there any other thing that I ought to check out before buying this car?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Are you aware of what its going to cost AFTER you buy it?
  • adibud34adibud34 Posts: 2
    Hi Lexusguy, I know that the cost of repairs for a Merc will be pretty steep. But I don't know exactly how expensive it will be. Can you tell me approximately how much it would cost for maintenance and repair? I figured that since Mercedes is a long living car, it wouldn't need many frequent repairs (I'm crossing my fingers there!)
    Please do correct me if my thinking is erroneous.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,478
    Well here's what I would suggest. The 300E is a great car, but the one you are looking at is also an old car that has been in someone else's hands for 101K miles.

    So next step is to take it to a QUALIFIED Mercedes outlet and have it checked out top to bottom. This might cost you from $75-150. Have that shop make a list of the car's needs and estimate what it would cost to fix those things.

    Now you have to look at this list with a certain sense of reasonable judgment. Every used car can be found wanting something. The trick is to decide what is really serious and what is improbable to cause trouble. A tiny tiny oil drip or a rear window making noise isn't critical and I wouldn't go spending money trying to make an old car like that new again. It's not a collectible and never will be, so get out of the "restoration mode".

    But if it needs new fan belts, or brake rotors, or a new catalytic, well those things are expensiv and you can then use this check out list as part of your bargaining.

    With a 300E, if you start out with a good used one, you'll have great luck and there's no reason to presume excessive costs to maintain it. Just bring it in in the Spring and Fall and throw $350-500 each time at the shop. That should do it, maybe $75-$100 a month in maintenance.

    But if you start out with a bad one, your grief will never end. You have to be sober about old Mercedes, and realize that replacing the engine or the transmission exceeds the value of the car in most cases.

    Any....ANY maltreated old luxury car will cost you money, including a Lexus. It's not cheap to work on these old luxury barges, as they are complex and can be labor-intensive.

    But you've picked a really good model.

    Value is between $3,500--$5,000 depending on condition. The high end of the range is for very nice cars with no body or interior damages and needing very little in the way of repair.

    I'd say your target price for a clean good driver with few needs is around $4,000.

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  • tom21769tom21769 Posts: 63
    Our 2000 V70 (manual trans) has 116k miles on it, and the engine is really showiing wear. It has lost some acceleration and burns oil.

    What kind of costs might be involved in overhauling it (rings, bearings, etc.)? What about used low-mi engine vs. new?

    We are trying to decide between:
    Trading in the V70 for a Passat TDI (diesel) Wagon at $26501
    Keeping the V70 for family driving, and buying a Jetta GL TDI Wagon at $19577 for everyday commuting/errands.

    We prefer the way the fuel-sipping Jetta drives and handles to the Passat, but the Jetta is crowded in the rear. We love almost everything about our V70 (like it better than the Passat, really). A dealer offered only $3800 for it.
    I'd hate to sell it to a private party for much more, and have them come back to us if the engine dies.

    So I'd like to hang on to it and buy the Jetta, but not if it's a ticking time-bomb of huge repair costs. If that's the case, we may as well replace the V70 now (in which case, we'd continue to use our '94 pickup truck on occasions when both of us need a vehicle).

    As I see it, the $7k spread between the Jetta and Passat covers a lotta work on the Volvo engine, and we've already taken the big depreciation hits on the rest of the Volvo.
    Plus, it's quite a bit cheaper per mile to run a Jetta TDI every day than a Passat TDI. This savings should cover the carrying costs of keeping the V70, especially if we're not driving it so much.
    My usual car-buying MO is to purchase new and keep for many years. Don't want to hunt for the right used V70; new ones are too expensive.
  • dolphindolphin Posts: 71
    How much for the engine overhaul for the V70? I drive a 99 S80 T6, so I know your $$ concerns, but i have a GREAT local guy who lives and breathes Volvos, but Volvo NA has not made the computers needed to work on my car available to the independant shop owners!

    I just drove the TDI Passat wagon, GLX and loaded, and they wanted 28 for it, so it sounds like you price is pretty good. Road well, but I do wish they had the Volvo seats in the passat!
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