$600 Maintenance time to change the car?

i recently take the car to my trusted mechaninc for the scheduled maintance usually i spend no more than $100-$150 every 6 months on it but this time the bill was gorgeus i am thinking that maybe my car has reach that point that every maintance you made is no chepear than $500

Some of the work done in my car this maintance was this:

- new brakes and pads

- the rotors and drums where resurfaced

- thermostat and coolant liquid was replaced

- brake system was bleeded completly

- new belts for the engine

- left outer cv joint was replaced

- the washer nozzles where replaced ( they where damaged by using a windshield fluid )

- the fuel and air filter where replaced

- the car was aligned , balanced and the tires rotated

- the interior of the car was cleaned and the paint was restored with robin compound mechanic said paint needed restoration

i am worried cause i dont want to pay $600 everytime i drop the car just for a OIL Change what if the next time the bill goes up to $1000

the car has 115K miles on it is a toyota echo

Most of those items listed are regular maintenance items and are good to have done to keep the vehicle in good working order. Only the last item (paint and interior) did not need to be done. You will not need to have all of those fluids changed every time you go to have an oil change, but at 115k I would guess that all of them were necessary.

Look at it this way, if you bought a new car you would be paying easily that much in car payments and increased insurance. Cars cost money to operate, yours is not costing any more than a different car would.

Sounds like everything done is of benefit for you and your car. The question is did the shop call you speak to you about these things that they say need to be done,give you a estimate as to the total cost and then stick to their estimate. Your post makes it sound like you droped the car off,gave approval for a oil change. But when you came to pick the car up there were hundreds of dollars in unauthorized work performed. What is the case?did the shop do work without your consent? We talked about this last week in a blog call “Implied Consent”

For the amount of work done, and the new parts, $600 sounds very reasonable and fair. I agree with the first response, that the paint restoration was unnecessary, unless you really want to preserve the look of the car and live in a desert climate where the hot sun constantly beats down on the car’s finish. It was probably a polishing compound, not rubbing compound, as the rubbing compound would destroy the paint job!

Besides… its a Toyota Echo which gets very good gas mileage and will probably go over 200k miles if you take care of it. Just remember to have the timing belt replaced at the recommended intervals.

If the work is required rather than preventative maintenance, go ahead with it. Otherwise, plan the preventative procedures to spread the cost out. If you like the Echo, keep it.

on one hand the cost for what was done is reasonable.

on the other hand you say you took the car in for scheduled maintenance. that means more than an oil change!

if you don’t want to do the scheduled maintenance next time tell the mechanic beforehand.

you should NOT need all these things next time. but just in case you are worried, TELL them next time, OIL AND FILTER ONLY.

In this case and since i was used to a $80 -$150 maintance i just drop the car in the morning and authorized the mechanic to do all the respective work on the car but my surprise was in the night when i went to pick up the car i look at the bill i first tought it was a SCAM but the mechanic show me all the parts that where replaced and the reason why there where replaced i will apreciate if the mechanic call me first and told me the regular $150 maintance was raised to $600 but i mean the job was done i didnt have another option but to pay ! my concear is this will get into a routine everytime i make a “OIL CHANGE”

Frankly the charges sound reasonable and likely they were all due to protect you (safety) or your car (maintenance). All those things would not be even a little unusual for a car with that mileage. Most would not need to be done every time, but they may have been put off and this was just catch up time. I would expect the next stop to be less expensive, assuming you don’t wait 50,000 miles or two years. Likely around that $100 mark.

I would suggest in the future, give the mechanic a ceiling price and if he finds that it will be going over that, then he should call you for approval.

That list looks like it was a lot of catch up work that maybe should have been done 5 or 10 thousand miles ago.

It is the law in most states, if not all, that a written estimate of the cost be given before any work is done. The mechanic should have given you that but as a customer you should have asked for it. However, all that work plus a wax job is more than reasonable for $600.00.

What you listed is just as you said–maintenance. Every vehicle requires maintenance, so I fail to see how a different vehicle would put you in a different situation.

If you were talking about an excessive number of REPAIRS, that might result in a different recommendation, but as everyone has stated so far, maintenance is a necessary part of car ownership, and it is possible that you deferred vital maintenance for too long a period of time. That may result in repair costs down the road, but it is too early to say for sure, based on what you have told us. For now, if you continue to maintain the car, hopefully you can use it for its full design life.

The only thing that I might question is the use of “robin” compound on the paint. Sparrow compound is far cheaper, and is less likely to leave red streaks on the paint.


the problem with the paint of the car was that i hit some oil on the road and left on the paint for about 2-3 weeks and i try to clean it myself with Scour Pads and shampoo and i end up scratching all the side so the mechanic use some sanding and rubbing compund to restore the damage done / and according him the car will need new rear hub hearings and as they are sealed you need to change the assy. so thats why i am starting to think that this is getting way to expensive

All of that is routine wear and tear. Any car you drive is going to require those same things and will cost you accordingly.
The only repair I don’t really understand is the one about the washer nozzles being damaged by ws fluid; unless they were clogged solid by hard water deposits.
The price on all of that is fair.

Yeah you did have a option not to pay. If you didnt authorize the work,needed or not,fair price or not. You dont have to pay he needed to call you and make sure there was a "meeting of the minds. There are laws to protect people from these kinds of things. The shop has to document who they talked to, what time he talked to you, and what was agreed on. What would have happened if you didnt have the money. In California the Bureau of Automotive Repair would jump right on this.

As JorgeT stated that he “authorized the mechanic to do all the respective work”, I don’t see any reason why he would not have to pay. None of these regular maintenance items are costing so much extra that the shop owner would think that he would need to re-authorize what was already authorized.

I would be willing to bet that you had mentioned the paint job before you gave them you keys.

exactly on the old times i will need to leave the car on the shop until i gather the money and be ashemed of my misfortune but in this case i luckly it was my pay day and i manged to pay for it otherwise probably i will got a headhache cause of this i am still thinking if i should report this or not but part of this was my mistake by saying in advance in the morning go ahead and proceed with the maintance again cause i was thinking about my regular $150 ones not a $600 one

I think it was a learning experience for you. I do most of my own maintenance so know exactly what I will be putting into the car. What you can do is write the prices next to the recommended services in your owner’s manual, then when the mileage comes up for you to have one of those happen again, you will know how much it will cost next time.

Once again I think the mechanic was within his rights. The services are part of the scheduled maintenance that you brought the car in for.

Since when is a brake job part of scheduled maintiance? No a brake inspection may be part of scheduled maintiance. But as soon as the inspection showed brake work was needed a call to the customer was called for. Quote me a car whos maintiance schedule says "replace brake pads every x amount of miles. Brake pad life varies the factory doesnt say "pads required every 20,000 miles. These intervals are left up to an inspection

Left outer CV joint replaced. You consider this part of scheduled maintiance?. Many cars never need CV joint replacement

I consider it an item that does wear. I also consider brakes a wear item. I have replaced both brakes and CV joints. If those items needed replaced, he got a very good price for having them done, I would consider him a fair mechanic. Without knowing the EXACT words that JorgeT said to the mechanic when he dropped off the car I would not start chastising the mechanic.

If you like having a lawyer following you around making sure everything is stated completely correctly then please do so but expect to be turned away when you make people uncomfortable. If you take people to court for minor things you quickly lose good mechanics and friends.

I don’t consider a CV joint normal maintenance. I do consider a CV joint a normal wear item just like brakes and ball joints and the length of a CV joint’s life depends a lot on if the boot develops a tear/crack or if the boot becomes loose and allows water or dirt to enter.

The car has 115k miles and if it’s been tooling around for the last 20k miles with a hole in the boot then it was likely bad.
In some cases design has a lot to do with boot failure. Some are low slung and easily accessed by rocks, sticks, etc. and in the case of some older Subarus, the right side inner boot was about 6" away from the catalytic converter. This often cooked the rubber and caused premature boot failure.