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Why can't car dealers be honest??

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have an Acura that might need its timing chain/belt replaced. I saw online that some people were able to have this done for around $900. The local Acura dealer quoted me $1400!! Why can't car dealers be honest??

Just wondering if anyone in the greater NYC area has recommendations for an honest auto mechanic.

P.S. The rec is 7yrs or 105,000 miles; I'm at 7yrs but 80,000 miles.
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post
I have an Acura that might need its timing chain/belt replaced. I saw online that some people were able to have this done for around $900. The local Acura dealer quoted me $1400!! Why can't car dealers be honest??

Just wondering if anyone in the greater NYC area has recommendations for an honest auto mechanic.

P.S. The rec is 7yrs or 105,000 miles; I'm at 7yrs but 80,000 miles.
You live in New York, that's your problem. Can you drive outside of the city to have your work done? It will be a lot cheaper and you'll most likely get an honest quote.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
You live in New York, that's your problem. Can you drive outside of the city to have your work done? It will be a lot cheaper and you'll most likely get an honest quote.
The problem is that the suburbs around NY are wealthy, too: The closest dealers to me are White Plains, Manhattan, and Larchmont -- all $$$$$ places!! I really miss my old dealer in Maryland. (can't believe I actually miss a car dealership! )
post #4 of 18
I worked in the auto industry for 20 years daily dealering with car dealers. In my experience the smaller dealerships seemed more "honest" than the bigger ones.
Especially is the owner of the store is directly involved in day to day operations.
Just a thought for you.
post #5 of 18
One thing I know,a timing belt is cheaper to replace than a timing chain. At the price they gave you...your's must have the chain. The dealer will also probably replace the timing gears while the motor is torn down,so that may be why it's so high. I'm no mechanic...but I have replaced a belt or two myself and helped tear a motor apart to replace a chain and gears. Try and find out which one you have.....
post #6 of 18
Dealers are always more expensive, at least in my experience. I usually look on Craigslist for mechanics for looking for side work, who have their own garage. They're usually not as expensive, they'll usually get the parts for cost, or only slightly over cost, instead of the huge markup that dealers charge (usually)... or if you find a mechanic doing side work or who has his own garage.. they'll often just put it in for you and allow you to find the part yourself and just bring it with you for the repair. Ordering the part is simple enough, if you know which part you need, and you'll get it at the cost that the auto parts center sells it for. I'm not sure if mechanics get a discount or not.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post
Why can't car dealers be honest??

.
I don't know the answer to this either. I wish I did though! I am glad I know someone that is good with cars and does most of the work for me. I hate having to take it in
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
One thing I know,a timing belt is cheaper to replace than a timing chain. At the price they gave you...your's must have the chain. The dealer will also probably replace the timing gears while the motor is torn down,so that may be why it's so high. I'm no mechanic...but I have replaced a belt or two myself and helped tear a motor apart to replace a chain and gears. Try and find out which one you have.....
Didn't know there was a difference btw belt vs. chain -- the dealer actually said belt -- so I guess they're really trying to rip me off!

I saw on some Acura forums that people try taking it to Honda, since they're part of the same car-family. I'll probably try to get some local mechanics' quotes, but with such a major car repair, too, I'm a little nervous.

P.S. For some reason , I feel like they always try to rip off women customers...?

P.P.S. Thank goodness Munchie's urine crystals cleared up & he doesn't need surgery$$$ ... knock on wood, it'll stay that way!!
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post
Didn't know there was a difference btw belt vs. chain -- the dealer actually said belt -- so I guess they're really trying to rip me off!

I saw on some Acura forums that people try taking it to Honda, since they're part of the same car-family. I'll probably try to get some local mechanics' quotes, but with such a major car repair, too, I'm a little nervous.

P.S. For some reason , I feel like they always try to rip off women customers...?

P.P.S. Thank goodness Munchie's urine crystals cleared up & he doesn't need surgery$$$ ... knock on wood, it'll stay that way!!
Well,I've never owned a Honda....but the last timing "belt" I bought for a Plymouth Van only cost $40.00. A timing chain and gears run about $100. I know imported parts cost more...but surely not that much more! And you're sooo right! They do enjoy trying to rip women off. But...if you do a little research and find part costs before you take it to a mechanic and question their quotes...it can really throw them off! Especially the ones that think women have no clue about such things.
Good luck and I hope you find a more reasonable mechanic....and I hope Munchie's crystals stay away!!
post #10 of 18
For my accord , its only like $400 for timing belt AND water pump...You are gettin ripped I think
post #11 of 18
Gee I hate to tell you but I don't think they exist. I would just print a copy from your puter and show it to him and see if the price goes down...good luck.
post #12 of 18
I'd join the Acura forums and ask around about how much it cost other people to have it changed, if it is a belt or a chain, do they replace anything else on the car while they have it apart for the timing belt/chain (my mechanic/BIL also changed my water pump when he changed the timing belt on my Accord).

I did that when I had problems with my automatic doors on my van (I joined a Honda Odyssey forum- that's where all the guys are, btw- in reference to another thread in the lounge ), and got instuctions and cost approximations for the repair, and it saved me a bunch!(My BIL did it instead of me having to take it to the dealer).

Now, I am NOT advocating that you try to change it yourself! Just saying that it could save you from getting ripped off if you have other people's experiences to compare it to .
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post
The problem is that the suburbs around NY are wealthy, too: The closest dealers to me are White Plains, Manhattan, and Larchmont -- all $$$$$ places!! I really miss my old dealer in Maryland. (can't believe I actually miss a car dealership! )
My uncle in Spring Valley doesn't pay much, at least it's not like the city, you should move away from the city to there, it's much more quiet there also I can't understand how people can even live in the city, it's just cr-azy to be there lol
post #14 of 18
Some are. When I had a car I found that auto mechanics tried to take advantage of me because I am a woman. They talked down to me, found things wrong that weren't there, and inflated prices. Luckily my ex fiance (jerk that he is) knew that, so he insisted on teaching me about car engines and even insisted that I learn how to do some of the more basic (change tire, add oil, change oil, replace filter and fan belt etc) and not so basic things (change spark plugs, replace the starter) I even helped him replace an engine in an old Fargo van (the kind with the motor between the front seats). I don't claim to be a mechanic, but it gave me enough knowledge that I could talk to a mechanic and "fake" my expertise, lol

Either learn the shop talk for cars and sound like you know what you're talking about, or have a guy who knows something about cars take your car in for you. They are less likely to try and scam a guy who knows something about cars.

If they see that they are dealing with someone who knows about cars and how they work besides "insert key and press gas pedal", they tend to be more honest.

Another thing you can do is go place to place and get quotes on the cost. Once you get the quote, tell them you have a few more places to go to to get quotes and that you will let them know. If they really want your business they will ask you what you have been quoted. Throw out a reasonable price (even if that was your first stop) and wait and see if they offer to match it. Don't say that you saw the price on the internet, that doesn't go over well, hehe

Or you can try another tactic that often works! Use our feminine wyles and glamour yourself up and dress up sexy (low cut top and short skirt showing loads of leg). Chances are you will get a huge discount
post #15 of 18
The manufacturers set the cost for all repairs at car dealerships. For each repair, they "allow" a certain amount of time at whatever the current mechanic's rate of pay. If the mechanic is able to do it quicker, he can do more repairs and get paid more. If it takes him longer, he still only gets paid the amount "allowed."
At a car delarship, the customer service person is the one who writes up the ticket and offers extra repairs (oil change, whatever). It is rare for a customer to see a mechanic.
My son was/is a certified mechanic. He has an associate degree, with straight A's in all of his classes, including Physics. These are not stupid people. It is not an easy job - people usually can't describe the malfunction properly, so they have to find the problem (and they don't get paid for the time that takes) and get permission from the customer to fix it. It is not possible, nor profitable, to keep every possible part at the dealership, so parts have to be ordered. And the customer service rep tends to promise vehicles will be ready sooner than the mechanics can get to them.

Due to the long hours, poorwork conditions (cold & heat) and irregular pay, my son left the car repair business. He has an easier job, with a great salary and is working on his MBA.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Momof4 - It's the bad customer service (as echoed by the others) and the wild price variations that's heinous.

I understand that parts have a certain cost as does labor and this may be set by the manufacturer, but how can some Acura dealers (I don't think the mechanics are the $-gougers) charge $900 vs. $1400 for the EXACT SAME thing/service? That's sketchy.

P.S. Natalie_ca -- wish I had your car skills!
post #17 of 18
The last time I went to a car dealership (I had a Cavalier Z-24)... I had to have a lens replaced... so I asked them to price a replacement lens for me. They told me it was going to come to $400 and some dollars, to order the part, and then put it in. I was like.. no way... what are you trying to charge me for.. they told me the "part" was $200 and then it was like eight hours of labor. I was like, you do realize that I know how to put that part in, and I know how much I can get it for in the autoparts store??? He tells me, no no, it costs that much. I said, fine, order the part and I'll put it in. He says, no no, we can't do that. I said, okay, I'll go to the auto parts store and get the lens for the $40 it actually costs, and spend the 20 minutes it takes to install it. He kept insisting that they weren't trying to rip me off.
post #18 of 18
If you just want the timing belt replaced, find a friend that knows cars that can do it for you.

Acura's tend to be expensive all around, especially for any type of service (last time I checked at the Honda Service Center where I work, it's $40/hr extra vs. Honda cars). Also, they use OEM parts at the dealer and not cheap Autozone parts like most mechanics, so you're paying for expensive parts. If anything goes wrong they'll look at the problem again and fix it free of charge usually. Other mechanics though they may be cheap don't do that, and if things go wrong it's your loss. Some more unscrupulous mechanics will fix your car using junkyard parts and tell you it was a new part.

IMO, pay the premium at the dealer if your car is on the newer side (still under warranty), or it needs a major part replaced (axles, timing belts, water pumps, anything in the fuel system, engine rebuilds, frame straightening, etc), since you only do those a couple or few times in the life of the car.
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