Help A Sister Out

29 Jan

Like many women, I am clueless when it comes to car repair.  All I know is that when I take the car in they manage to overcharge me and I never understand what the hell I’m paying so much for (you’d think I’d get a discount for having a set of hooters).

My check engine came on the other day and I just called the dealership to schedule and appointment so they can take a look at it.  They want to charge me $117 to do the diagnostics on it.  Then they’d give me an estimate of how much it would cost to repair whatever is causing the problem.

Does that seem right? 

I’m thinking not, but I d0n’t know of any good mechanics in the area.

Help me out here, people!!

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15 Responses to “Help A Sister Out”

  1. AlwaysAllah January 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    Is the car under warranty? If not try calling around to different mechanics…the DMV might have suggestions? Usually dealerships charge up the ying yang per hour. At least that is how it is up here in the Great White North =)

  2. Anna January 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Try calling an auto parts store like Auto Zone or something. Tell em your check engine light is on, and ask if they can read the diagnostic code. They might be able to give you an idea of what the problem is for free, or at least give you the code so that you can google it.

  3. kristina January 29, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    Depends on if it’s still under warranty – if it is, they should not be charging you for the diagnostics, but the repairs may be chargable if they are not covered; if it isn’t, well then you are screwed, so just bend over already… or, buy a new one! Yeah, that’s it!

  4. jon January 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    All the above is good advice. In this economy all dealerships are being even more agressive that ever about trying to “make money” on the repair side of their business. that also means that they are willing to be flexable for your business. tell them that you would be glad to pay a reasonable dianostic fee, BUT that you want that amount credited against the cost of any repair, should you choose to have it done there. or you could flash them a boob….that will get the price down also.

  5. cinnkitty January 29, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    Only if they credit the $117 towards any repairs if they do them. 🙂

  6. Tony Alva January 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

    There is nothing more cost effective you can do than to find a good trustworthy independent mechanic. I’ve driven exotic sports cars since I was a wiley teenager and I’ve always had a great mechanic to work on them. It’s the only way to make owning a Prosche affordable to drive every day when you don’t make Porsche money. I’ve found these mechanics by asking friends for recommendations. I also make sure to bring them a six of some decent beer when I pick my car up.

  7. ExPrincess January 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    As Anna suggested AutoZone can read the code off the computer for you. I would avoid dealerships as they tend to charge more. If you have AAA call them and ask for a recommended repair shop. I have had luck with NTB when the starter in my car died, the guy there was honest with the pricing and managed to get one for me that day. Also when I later killed that car due to a bad radiator, the repair shop recommended by AAA told me up front it would cost more than it’s worth to fix and then he couldn’t guarantee it for more than 4 months.

    First step to to get the code read for free (I think even NTB will do that if there isn’t an AutoZone or Pep Boys or whatever near you) from that you will have more to go on.

    Also Edmunds.com (I think) has information about common repairs for your kind of car.

  8. Mike January 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    Never take it too the dealership. They will always overcharge you. Get someone to give you the code like Autozone. Hey Jiffy Lube will do it too. Once you have the code and googled it you can shop around for a good price.

  9. Teri January 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    I have a Saturn and always go to my dealer but they don’t gauge me like other dealers. I know my dealer does charge to run a diagnostic but not that much. Cripes.

  10. Detail Medic January 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    The only reliable mechanic I know is a bit far for you to drive, but if you’re willing to travel, I can help you out. The guy is HONEST AS HELL. He’s always given me a fair deal and taken great pains to explain every little thing to me. As a matter of fact, once he figures out what’s wrong with my car, he’d take me out to the car and show me. I’ve been going to him for years.

    Excel Auto Care
    9571 Washington Blvd
    Laurel, MD 20723
    (301) 776-3774

  11. Bunc January 29, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    You sound like a woman with possibly a number of the medical afflictions that Bloggers suffer from. I am compiling a list of medical conditions suffered by Bloggers and I am sure that you will find a number of your conditions already listed. If you have an as yet unlisted syndrome or condition we would very much appreciate you telling us about it. 😉

    I am afraid I can’t be of much help in your search for a good mechanic though as I live in Scotland.
    Bunc

  12. Rachel January 29, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    Go with AutoZone. And trust me, a nice rack goes a looong way there ; )

  13. Del-V January 30, 2009 at 7:27 am #

    I know a guy in Ellicott City. Is that too far for you?

  14. Justine January 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    I like Comprehensive Car Care downtown. It’s by City Cafe (900 block of Cathedral): http://www.comprehensivecarcare.com/

    I know, it’s in Baltimore, but they’re good! They had to replace two rear seatbelts a little over a month ago, and every place I called was at least $100 more — and they did a good job.

  15. Heather February 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    Put some black tape over the light; problem solved.

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