It's gonna cost HOW much???

alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
edited March 2014 in Volkswagen
Interested in knowing the actual published time allowances for repair operations? Post the repair here (be specific) and I'll let you know how much time allowance is given in the current Mitchell Mechanical Labor Estimating Guide, used by most shops to calculate labour charges. Just multiply the time by the shop's hourly rate. Includes domestic and import cars, vans, SUV's and light trucks (pretty thin on VW, though). Some operations may exceed the published times due to factors such as seized or broken fasteners, aftermarket equipment installed, etc. Diagnosis (includes driveability, rattles, squeaks, water leaks, etc) and wiring repairs are usually straight time, the actual time clocked on.


  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    I have found that most shops will charge more for the parts that you can buy at the local parts store. Not an extremely large up charge, and it's not really that hard to swallow, but the labor cost will usually kills it for me. I can get the part and change it my self. What I have done for several years now is if I can't figure it out I take the vehicle in to a shop and have it diagnosed , and pay the 1 or 2 hour fee. Some shops don't use that manual for some things like changing an alternator, they just take the part price and double it for the labor price. So if a alternator cost $100 it will cost $300 installed, this is only some shops, not all.

    Be an educated consumer, ALWAYS get your estimates in writing, that is your contract, if it will cost more than they thought the shop MUST contact you for approval.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Last Friday, I was told by my dealership that I needed rear brakes on my 328i (4 days before lease turn-in), and then promptly gave me a quote for $370 for the brake job. Said quote showed $176 for parts and $194 for the labor, which I have a problem with.

    So, I simply ordered new rotors, a pad wear sensor, and new pads from my local BMW parts supplier (who only carries OEM parts) for $117, and did my own brake job in an hour and 5 minutes. Given that I don't have the benefit of a fully equipped garage and a lift (and I had never even done a rear brake job on a car with rear disk brakes), I can only guess that the trained mechanic in the fully equipped service department would be able to accomplish the same job in about 45 minutes.

    Hmmmm, let's see, $194 for 45 minutes of work comes out to $258.66 per hour. Not bad work if you can find it.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    like turning the old rotors whether they had diameter left or not, tapping the rust out of the screws, and soaking the donuts in the shop coffee watching the clock tick as the penetrating oil works its way in, "just in case it's really rusty."

    seriously, that quote was padded way to Hell and gone, somebody must have had a boat payment due.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Apparently the statistics show that the percentage of young people (still mostly males) who are choosing to enter automotive repair service careers is ever going downward. I assume that is a major contributor to the problem of service prices incessantly rising, and at this point seeming to stifle the last ounces of ownership pleasure right out of every marque on the road.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The BMW brake quote was high. I think it should have been about $225, in which case having it done would have been at least a reasonable alternative. I'm having mine done for me on my Benz because it is a disgusting mess of a job and it's not worth the $100 I save by the time I do the schlepping for parts and the clean up and the clean up of the clean up.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • tntitantntitan Member Posts: 306
    2000 Accord SE? I believe the dealer quoted a price of around $80 labor. I figure I can remove the glove box for $80 within an hour even if I struggle.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yes, but can you get it BACK ON?

    Shiftright's rule for amateur mechanics:

    Disassembly occurs at approximately 6 times the speed of re-assembly.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    it's easy to put things back together, particularly when you don't care how they fit.

    it's nasty to take big rusty chunks of iron apart when bolts break off, rotors sieze like they were welded to the hubs, and on and on.

    add to this the flakes of crud that get past the safety glasses, and the detours by the emergency room when your tire iron slips and turns from a pry bar in tightening up fan belts to a forehead-gouger, and the wish-I-had-a-shade-tree wannabe-mechanic spends a lot of time cussing and whacking at things that don't disassemble.

    it does get a lot better as you figure out what you are doing wrong over the years ;)
  • silvercoupesilvercoupe Member Posts: 326
    Replacing the A/C filters on your Accord is not too difficult. Just take your time and be sure that all the screws are removed before pulling out the glove box. Took me about an hour to remove and replace the first time. Next time should take me about 30 minutes.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I gotta tell y'all, over the years, I have done many brake jobs, mostly drums though, as my career as a professional wrench ended back in the late 1970s (I discovered computers ;-)). The brake jobs that I did on my ex-328i (fronts about 6 weeks ago, rears last week) had to be the easiest brake jobs I have ever done, by far. The fronts took about 2 hours, as I did not have a shop manual on that car, so, I had to figure it out as I went, however, the rears took just over an hour.

    I am absolutely stunned at how much easier modern disk brakes are to work on than compared to my 1970 Dodge Challenger, or even my 1979 VW Scirocco for that matter. Given the prices dealerships are charging for labor these days, and how much easier things seem to work on, maybe I should leave Data Processing, and get back into wrenching for a living. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    I am working very hard on trying to get mentally caught up, to avoid further "future shock" on auto repair costs. I recently back slid again: I went to the shop I prefer, where I have faith in the people. I was quoted about $80 to $90 to replace the thermostat in my 1999 Ranger 4 liter V6. I bought a NAPA 'stat and did it myself. My investment was $6.00 and a couple hours of no-pressure time. As the host states, I had to get everything out, do the job, clean up, then clean up the clean up, etc.-- thus the extra time. I did other little side jobs while I was at it, that actually put me beyond the 2 hours, but the extra time was for other chores, I tell ya!
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    tntitan: the cabin air filter isn't listed

    fleetwoodsimca: thermostat replacement, 1999 Ranger 4.0L, .9 hrs (.7 hrs warranty). My book covers only up to 1999.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    The shop I use charges,like, $67.50 per hour, and they do love to more than double the cost of parts. That gets near the $80 to $90 I was quoted. These people are of impeccable integrity in the work they do, but they make you pay for it! The work I do for myself is on a plane even higher than that, and the time I consume doing it is "excessive."
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Unless something go's wrong. I rarely work on my own cars anymore. All you need is a broken bolt or a stripped fastener....drop a bolt into an inaccessable area. Bang knuckles etc...

    No thanks, besides, my wife hates the foul words that pour out of my mouth when something bad happens!
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Those would come under:

    Not Included Operations
    - disposal of hazardous materials
    - diagnosis
    - machining operations
    - resetting of any electrical components due to battery disconnect
    - removal of locking wheek nuts or wheel covers
    - time necessary to free up parts frozen by rust or corrosion
    - broken bolts, studs, etc
    - excessive tar, undercoating, or grease removal
    - cleaning areas of the vehicle which may have been contaminated by failure of the component on which the operation is being performed
    - etc
    - etc

    The clock's running the whole time the vehicle's being worked on and somebody has to pay for that time.
  • cutehumorcutehumor Member Posts: 137
    You tell him!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Another thing people don't think about is the tremendous overhead that a shop has to pay in order to open the doors.

    The average professional mechanic/technician has probably 30,000 or more dollars just in his toolbox. Add the costs of hoists, diagnostic equipment, brake lathes etc, the costs are staggering!

    Kinda makes the 75.00 per labor rate not look so bad.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I don't have a problem with a TRUE rate of $75.00 per hour, or even $100.00 for that matter. What I do object to are the ways that the number of hours worked is calculated. If I am not mistaken, most shops simply look in a book and say "Yup, that will take 4 hours", when in reality, something considerably less than that is normally the turth.

    Best Regards,
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Often, it works just the other way. I have seen times when I was glad to see the flat rate manual coming out, to insure a reasonable limit on my costs. Once, in Grand Prairie, Alberta, I got the reverse of this-- They charged me for several jobs at flat rate, but did them all at once, combining the work but charging me as though they had started out fresh for each job. I was in no position to complain.
    "The clock's running the whole time the vehicle's being worked on and somebody has to pay for that time." You bet! No truer words were ever spoken! When the clock is running, I pay for the time, no matter if it is me or the other mechanic that is doing the work. I am more conscientious than the other guy toward my vehicles, but sometimes I get so busy with other things (or so lazy) that I'll trade money to not have to do the work myself.
    And an afterthought: As cars have gotten very complicated, I have found that paying someone who has all the expensive equipment to do the more sophisticated jobs is a great idea!
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Flat rate can be a double edged sword, but there has to be something to provide equitable pricing for the customer AND the repair facility. Using a RWD GM rear axle overhaul as an example, flat rate calls for 5 hours. A driveline specialist tech who's done the job a hundred times, and developed techniques and obtained specialty tools, can probably knock it off in 3 - 3 1/2 hours. The customer bitches that he's being charged excessively. Now give the same job to a general mechanic and it takes him 7 hours. Will the same customer be prepared to pay that? Probably not. There has to be some standardized guideline as to what a given repair operation is worth, regardless of how little or much time it actually takes to complete that task.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    And never begrudge the specialist his speed! Many folks complain about getting fast service, thinking they have been overcharged for the time. All that expensive equipment and skill makes it happen fast, and the flat rate is defined as fair. It IS fair. The price per hour at the flat rate time allowance is the only point to debate, in my opinion.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    There are alot of things that flat rate doesn't cover. As stated in Alcan's post. Add to that, cleanup, putting tools away, getting the parts, going back and getting the right parts and customers who insist on standing over your shoulder. Those get charged an extra 4 hours.
    Seriously, there are alot of variables that can and do affect how quickly a mechanic can do a repair.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Believe me, it averages out. Sometimes the mechanic makes out really well, since he knows the car and the job and the car cooperates, and sometimes he takes a miserable beating on the job and cannot pass this on to the customer.

    I highly recommend to anyone who thinks mechanics are getting rich and making easy money to apprentice themselves to a good honest shop for two weeks and count what's left over once the overhead, government, mishaps and skinned knuckles have been accounted for.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    It's not easy and this is why there is such a talent drain in the industry. Again, the investment in tools, equipment and training is staggering.

    I happen to think if a mechanic is able to overhaul a filthy, greasy differential in less than book time and do a quality job, good for him!

    The next job he does may be a miserable one where he runs into big trouble in spite of his ability.

    On that job, he might get paid for three hours but the job took five because things simply went wrong.

    Yeah...everyone should try it!
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    The immoral, socialistic redistribution schemes of confiscatory government are painful to many in society who contribute to the national product...
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    From each according to his income to each according to his sloth.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I agree, down with corporate welfare!

    I wish the small auto shops could catch the same "incentives" as big business. I'd sign up for socialism right away. I'd like ot start with being able to write off my Mercedes repairs in order to encourage USA-EU trade exchange. And get some pollution credits on all those oily rags I'm disposing off properly.
  • ocelot1ocelot1 Member Posts: 101
    mitsibishi montero 3.5L engine overhaul 37 hours labor with 372.00 of labor to have machine shop tear down heads and put back togather. total 2842.60labor. Parts,rings,bearings,gaskets.timing belt,water pump,idler pully for timing belt,oil filter, coolant,and some other parts $1229.10. Plus the parts I will buy and have installed in the process,plugs 12.00 each ,wires 71.00 for three thats all it takes. Thermostat 16.00,fuel filter 17.00,upper and lower hoses 16.00 each,valve grind 175.00.I'm sure thats not all for its not done yet.What do you think alcan?Tony P.S,all the parts are factory mitsu,but the shop is independet. We don't have a mitsu dealer here closest one is 125 miles.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    considering that a manufacturer-certified rebuilt engine is in the $5000 range off the pallet, that is not a bad run.

    sure different from when a short block slant-6 was $800 and the full job was $1200 or so back in 1973, but them's the times, and I don't think that ratio exactly follows the inflation curve, either.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Your shop was right on target with the labour quote.

    Engine assembly, R&R & O/H
    Includes: replace rings, main and rod bearings, crankshaft and camshaft, burnish cylinders, grind valves, adjust idle speed and timing
    Does Not include fit pins or align rods

    3.5L engine..... 37.0
    where air conditioning interferes... 1.0
    where power steering interferes... .2

    The only discrepancy I see is the sublet charge to the machine shop for the valve job. Should be included in the 37 hours.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    "sure different from when a short block slant-6 was $800 and the full job was $1200 or so back in 1973, but them's the times, and I don't think that ratio exactly follows the inflation curve, either. "

    Consumer Price Index (CPI) Cost:

    Since 1973 the index is 4.015 times or $4900 pretty close.

    You should try to rebuild a Q45 V8 engine, $7,800 would be the start and a premium job [to new factory specs] would be closer $10,000.

    But then again exotics are $18-25K.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yep, Mercedes V-8 SLs run about $16,000 now in California, Dodge Viper about $13K just for the engine in a crate.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    So many reasons to not buy expensive/exotic cars---
  • ocelot1ocelot1 Member Posts: 101
    Thats nice to here.This car is only worth 10k low TMV so all most a 1/3of the value for the overhaul,a factory short block would be 2500.00 extra.I hope I can get 100k out of this overhaul.I'm going to over maintance all that I can.I'm not going to use synthic oil though.Tony
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Member Posts: 191
    I once worked on a program where we were designing a surveillance aircraft for a foreign government by sticking a big radar in the belly of an American business jet. The cost and maintenance figures we were getting from the jet manufacturer made no sense until the manufacturer admitted that the book time to do maintenance could be several times the time required to actually do the maintenance! Also, these jets are usually used by corporate execs and other wealthy types who would never consider doing the work themselves. The ultimate racket.
  • oldharryoldharry Member Posts: 413
    Trucks, In an old Chilton manual, it gives 5.5 hours to change all four ball joints on 4X2 fords. On the other hand it only give 4.5 on 4X4's that take a lot longer.

    Here in salt country, I find it takes about 5.5 to six hours to do all four on a 4X4 including changing all three axel u-joints (change the inner right on the truck with the OTC ball joint press), while I can do all four on a two wheel drive way under 2 hours. The Ford dealers chage the customers 5.5 on customer pay jobs, but Ford pays less on warranty jobs.

    Real Time Labor Guide (On disc) quoted the same times when it first came out, and I got a discount on the update for pointing that out.

    Back in the mid seventies Chilton gave 1 hour to change a lower ball joint on a Chevrolet, but 2 hours on a Cadillac. It was the same amount of work.

    In my shop I use labor guides for unfamiliar work, but set my own times on jobs I do every day. My prices are usually a little lower than the dealers, but substantially higher than Wally-World type places.

  • glenn43glenn43 Member Posts: 15
    Price includes: oil change,tire rotation and balance, tune up, belt adjustments, rear brake service,complete inspection of truck. Thus far I've logged 13,731 (highway) miles and have used the dealer for oil changes every 5k miles. I have elected to rotate my own tires (don't really see a need for rebalancing unless I hit something). My intention is to keep up with any "needed" maintenance on my truck, however I'm having a hard time seeing the need for anything other than an oil change and tire rotation at 15k. Any thoughts :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You may have a point glenn but from my point of view some human pair of eyes and hands needs to be looking over a vehicle every 15K or so, yes. Nothing wrong with inspecting brake pad wear, adjusting belts (too tight or too loose is no good) and checking tune up specs as well. Of course you can do some of this yourself but I'd certainly keep records of anything you do or someone else other than the dealer does.

    I have my friend's shop do a big 30K service on my car every two years and we find all kinds of little things wrong.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Yeah, but that's because it's a Mercedes. If it was an Olds or Chrysler, you wouldn't "...find all kinds of little things wrong."
    Ha! I just couldn't resist... (:oÞ
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That's true, with an Olds or Chrysler you get to find the defects right off the assembly line and can fix them before any miles are put on. Sort of "preventive repair".
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Olds and Chrysler tend to supply plenty!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Anyway, back to the point.

    Skipping a major service to save money might have some merit in that some of the "services" may be inflated and meaningless but on the other hand you have foregone the opportunity to inspect the vehicle thoroughly.

    I mean, how many times do you read on this board about "I was driving my new car with only 15K on it and suddenly it started to overheat. What a lemon!"

    Welllllll, maybe, but maybe there was a coolant leak that was begging for attention as well.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Yep. "I ws just driving along, and all of a sudden......." Wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard that one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Most cars in fact die SLOW deaths, but their owners just weren't paying attention to the cries for help I fear.
  • acuraowneracuraowner Member Posts: 57
    I have a couple of questions regarding CV joint replacement on a 1997 Acura Integra GS-R with a little over 100,000 miles. I am quite sure my CV joints are on the way out (3 of the 4 boots are split and have shot grease all over the lower control arms and oil pan), but they have not shown the signs of cv joint failure. They have been split for the past 20,000 miles or so.

    I have been serching around the internet for the cost of joint/halfshaft replacement without luck. I have stumbled across a few sites that say the only noise a bad joint will make is the typical clicking noise.

    Now my joints dont click. But when I do go over a speed bump or drive on a bumpy road the drivers side creaks. Should I just wait awhile till they start to click for replacement?

    Now my second question is. Would it be cheaper to have the halfshafts done while I am having my clutch replaced or my timing belt replaced (which are due soon anyways) to save some labor?

    Finally. Does anyone have an approximate cost of the entire halfshaft replacement cost?

    Thanks a million for your help.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    clutch and timing belt work is nowhere near the driven half-shafts, you won't save a thing.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    One of the steps in clutch replacement is removal of the half shafts before the transaxle comes out. Replacement of them at that time will eliminate the labour cost to R&R the shafts.

    Half shaft R&R:
    - left 1.1
    - right 1.3
    - both 2.2

    Clutch R&R (which includes R&R half shafts):
    - 4.2
    - clutch pilot bearing R&R .4
    - flywheel R&R .3
    - machine flywheel .8

    Timing belt R&R:
    - w/ A.C. 3.0
    - w/o A.C. 2.8
    - camshaft sprocket (each) R&R .2
    - camshaft seal (each) R&R .3
    - crankshaft sprocket R&R .2
    - timing belt tensioner R&R .1
    - balance shaft belt R&R .2
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You can also pull the shafts and have them inspected, since maybe changing the boots is all you need. However, this may not be cost effective for some cars. It certainly was for my Saab, where the CV joints are very expensive (like everything else on the car). Given that you've let the boots go for 20K, you've probably ruined the CV joints anyway.

    I don't know if mechanics even break down CV joints and inspect them anymore.
  • acuraowneracuraowner Member Posts: 57
    I knew there would be a way to save alittle money (with labor being almost $100 an hour it is quite significant). Now it just the parts.

    Thanks again
This discussion has been closed.