Am I being ripped off?


#1

I drive a 99 lexus Rx 300 and need to get all brakes and timing belt changed. Dealer has quoted me a price of about $1500 but willing to give a 10% discount. Is this a fair deal? Thanks!


#2

It depends on a few things. Do you need new brake rotors or just new brake pads? Are you getting the brake lines flushed? Are you getting just the timing belt replaced or are you also getting a new water pump and replacing all the other belts? Honestly, when you drive a luxury car, you should expect higher maintenance costs. So it doesn’t really sound that outrageous to me.


#3

Since you’re being told the price up front, you’re not being ripped off.

There is no need to go to a dealer for this. Get an estimate from an independent shop. But $1350 (after discount) sounds like a pretty good deal, depending on what is included in the timing belt job (waterpump and tensioner should be done) and brake job (rotors?).


#4

as the others said, if this includes the timing belt, water pump and tensioners and guides, as well as the brakes, with new pads and rotors (NOT re machining or turning the rotors) then its a great price.


#5

They said water pump is not included and would be extra if needed to be changed. And also they will install new brake pads only and a not a new brake rotor although they would resurface it. I guess it is not a bad deal with the 10% discount.


#6

Find out how much extra the waterpump will cost. It should be changed at the same time if it is driven by the timing belt.


#7

he said it is another $400! That’s out of my budget :frowning:


#8

Is that the price of a normal water pump replacement or is that the cost to do it at the same time as the timing belt? Since he will already have access to the water pump, he should not charge that much labor. Maybe the Lexus water pump costs $325? Ask for details.

Break this apart so you can budget this work. Ask the mechanic to determine wich part is more urgent. If he says the brakes are more urgent, do them now and the timing belt as soon you can afford it. If he says the brakes can wait a few weeks, do the timing belt now and do the brakes as soon as you can afford to.


#9

Okay, now the deal doesn’t look so good. Here’s a listing for the part from AutoZone:

Note the notation that it is in fact driven by the timing belt and should be replaced when doing the timing belt.

Some markup from this price is to be expected (and they are probably giving you a price for a factory-fresh Lexus unit), but that’s not wise for a vehicle this old. How much of the $400 is for labor? 95% of the labor is done when the belt is done, so the extra should be minimal.

Time to find that independent shop I mentioned earlier.


#10
Why not get an estimate from a local independent mechanic.  Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics, but they often charge more.  They are also no more honest or dishonest.

#11

Yes, find yourself a good local mechanic using the Cartalk reliable mechanic reference. I found one for my ES, MUCH better and cheaper than the dealer.


#12

You’re being told the price up front and I don’t think you’re being ripped off at all.

As to the water pump that should be changed along with the timing belt. There should not be any extra labor involved, or very little, and the price on the water pump could be about right. One cannot compare the cost of a water pump from a local auto parts house against the price of a new factory OEM pump. That’s comparing apples to oranges. The dealer cost on that pump will be far higher than the retail price of the one from the parts house.

Example? Subaru had some problems with their automatic transmissions (transaxles actually) and the retail to the customer was 4800 dollars. Horribly high in my opinion and many car owners thought they were being robbed worse than if the Dalton Gang was behind it.
The kicker was that the dealer COST on the transmission was 3750 dollars so the 4800 doesn’t sound so bad when the smoke clears.


#13

I agree with Joseph 100%. A Lexus isn’t some exotic vehicle that only Lexus dealers can work on. Any DECENT independent will have no problem doing the work…at a much cheaper rate.