Being gouged on repair bill?


We have a older Honda Accord (1987) and the power steering pump leaked fluid all over the garage… so we’re getting that fixed, but now the repair shop is saying that we have a bunch of other items that need replacing. Distributor cap, CV boot, battery cable and battery… in all, about $1500 worth of repairs…

How worried should I be that we’re getting taken here? This is from the Honda dealership too…


You listed perhaps $500 in repairs/maintenance. Exactly what else is being proposed?

And why are you taking a 21-year-old car to the dealership?


We’re taking it to the dealership because we don’t really know any other dealers who haven’t been killing us on repairs when we’ve taken it in before… so, they proposed a new battery, a tune up, distributor cap, front axel (or replace the CV boot), battery cable, after market power steering unit.

I think that’s everything


Let them finish replacing the pump since that’s already begun, but then schedule an appointment with a reputable independent garage and have the rest of the car checked out. Post back with a list of what’s recommended.

On an old car like that the items mentioned would not be unexpected, but as NYBo said the work listed in your post comes no where near $1500 and an independent shop could save you large amounts of cash.


I had to check.

The axles you can get for around $80 per side. The power steering pump should cost under $100. Figure about 4 hours of labor… Yeah, $600-$700.

These are the current prices for these parts at, in case you’re interested.

Boat payment. That’s my thinking.


Ok, here’s the full list (with prices):
Oil change
battery cables ($272)
battery ($125)
steering pump ($520)
tune up, which includes cap & rotor, & air filter) for $180
left axel & boot ($301)

We need the battery and cable as the car is strugling to start and the cables are badly worn…


Yeah, the listed items would be regular wear for a car this old, but I still think you’ll save a bunch at a good independent shop.

Did they already do the pump?


boat payment. yup.

you must get over going to a dealership for repairs. (especially since this is WAY out of warranty.) try this link, and enter your zip code. look for mechanics on the list, and ask your friends, neighbors and relatives for recommendation’s.


While some of things may need replacement or should be replaced you would notice if the battery and cable needed to be replaced. This smells like winter boat storage fees.

   Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.


There’s a good chance your vehicle needs every bit of this stuff. After all, it’s 21 years old and I bet a REAL thorough inspection would find a number of other problems.

Those prices are high but you’re not being gouged. Normally, dealer prices are higher because they’re using genuine OEM Honda parts and in spite of the perception, Honda Motor Co. is not giving those parts to the dealer cheap.

Battery? Go to Wal Mart; 50 bucks will get you a good one and they will install it free. Chances are they can do the same with batt. cables. That’s almost 400 bucks on a batt. and cables; W M may get you out of there for 75 bucks or so.

Tune-up price is about right but it’s not known if this includes a valve lash adjustment. This procedure should be done about every 30k miles and unfortunately, most people either don’t know about this or choose to ignore it.

Price the power steering pump and halfshaft job around. You should be able to beat those prices pretty easily. Hope that helps.


Upgrade the car by getting rid of it and getting the next one. Wait til the tranny goes and it will really cost you. It’s at the age where it will cost you more to keep it going. Wallet to road resusitation. What they listed isn’t worth $1500 unless you live in a city of more than 10 million.


$125 is too much to pay for a battery, $272 is too much to pay for bettery cables, and $180 is too much to pay for a tune-up. You should be able to get a bettery installed for free at most auto parts shops for about $60. Find a non-dealer mechanic. If there are no independent mechanics in your area, look for tire shops that do this kind of work like Goodyear or Firestone and other national brands. The company owned shops tend to be better than the franchises.


My local Firestone dealer is bad of thieves. Went to install a set of tires and they recommended $600 of work not needed (car just had major 30k service).


Understood. I have had both positive and negative experiences with my chain of choice. However, pricing tends to be in line with the one I use and there was a time when a Firestone shop was the only one that could find the correct diagnosis on my car. It is importand to keep your BS monitor on whenever you deal with a mechanic from any garage or dealership. Any brand is bound to have bad and good apples. To the OP: If you have a negative experience at one shop, ask if they are a company shop or a franchise. Whichever one they are, try the other before giving up completely.