Is Your Repair Estimate Fair?

Ford-EscapeWe received an email from a concerned car repair owner about the prices she was getting, as well as the explanations, for her repairs. We’ve re-posted it here as it is helpful to all car owners who are trying to navigate car repair costs, and wondering if they can trust their particular car repair shop.

She writes (some details changed to protect identity):

I’ve recently had problems with my 2001 Ford Escape, such as needing to change my water pump (I have over 150,000 miles on my car)  an axle because the rings for the ABS are cracked and its apparently cheaper to just change the whole thing. I’ve also already changed my timing belt and intake valve. I live in North Dakota. I know you’re located in MA, but I’m trying to figure out if I’m being overcharged for these repairs. The water pump is like $400 and the axle is about $500.

Does it matter that I’m in North Dakota?  Should I confront the auto repair shop with the figures you have on your website? Also do you have any insight on how much this should cost? I appreciate your response and hope to hear back soon. I had to take my car to the shop today since it is an integral to my daily commute. Thank you.

Our response:

Thanks for your email. I can feel your frustration and appreciate the position you’re in. The prices and trouble you’re experiencing do not sound out of the ordinary. The reality is that you’re driving a 1st generation, 13-year-old car with 150,000 miles on it. As far as pricing, again, it sounds within reason. The figures on our sites may or may not reflect your specific concerns – and things can get tricky with age and mileage.

As a tip to try to save some money, remind your repair shop the amount of money you’ve already had to spend – do it nicely, respectfully. And then ask if they could knock $100 bucks or so off the repair.

It also may be time to think about a newer vehicle, especially as a commuter – I’m partial to Hondas (Civic is a great value), but there are lots of options.

I hope this helps.

Best to you,
RT

PS…it often is cheaper to replace the axle versus replacing the ABS ring

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