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Cost of Alternator replacement

So last week my 2003 mazda protege had the engine cut out as I was pulling out of my driveway. Unable to restart the vehicle I called a local repair shop to ask if they could take a look at it.

After having the car towed to the dealership I recieved a call from the service department. They indicated that the car needed a new Alternator and estimated the cost to replace it at $608.00.

I told the service manager that that seemed kind of high. He said that it was due to the diffulty in getting to the alternator (later he said it was due to the fact that their was alot of rust in that area).

Because I had already had the car towed I decided to have him do the work.

In the meantime I called two mazda dealers and three smaller repair shops to get estimates for the same work. They all quoted me significnanly less money, from $150.00 to $200.00 less.

So does $608.00 seem a bit of an excessive price to pay to swap out an alternator in a 2003 mazda progege with a 2.0 liter engine?

I have replacing an alternator that had some rusted hardware. It seems to me that all they would need to do is to spray some WD-40 or Break Free prior to removing any rusted hardware.

Anyway am I wrong to think that they charged to much money for the work they performed? They installed a refurbished Alternator which cost $279.00 and billed me for $311.00 in labor costs, plus $20.00 in shop supply fees.

Any Opinions?

Never did one,can’t see rust complicating things that much,did he say there were frozen bolts?

I find it odd the Dealer used a “refurbished” alternator

Why did the repair facility change from “local garage” to Dealer? Local garage was the correct first choice.

like me, I sometimes forget to take the sign on my forehead that says I have too much money…you really got ripped.

Offhand, I don’t think you were ripped at all for the following reasons.
One is that WD-40 or Break Free is not a very good product for freeing up anything.
The other part of this comment is that rust is probably not an issue at all. The service manager was just blabbing this as part of the “Pacification Program”.
Most service managers are mechanically clueless and often lack a backbone. It’s easier for them to yak BS rather than be blunt and upfront about things.

Two is that you cannot compare one dealer to another and especially not to an independent shop. Each has their own set of expenses to cover and a dealer’s expenses are far higher than an independent shop. That’s comparing apples to oranges.

Three is the prices you did pay. The dealer, and independent shops, all mark parts up some. They HAVE to or they cease to exist. Here’s an example.

The 279 is within reason and the 311 in labor can also be about right. Figure flat rate X the shop flat rate hourly charge and keep in mind that labor rates are far higher in many areas than others. The coasts are generally far higher than the country’s mid-section.

Shop supply charge? Most shops charge this and some bury it in other places where it’s not so noticeable. This covers the incidentals and supplies used in a shop, and believe me, there’s a ton of them.

The only thing out of kilter IMHO is the “refurbished alternator”, which I agree with oldschool is somewhat odd for a dealer to do. They will generally use a brand new factory alternator and of course, a new OEM alternator is pricy for almost any car.
If they did not have the alternator in stock and either you or they wanted to get the car done as soon as possible then I could see the reman alternator.
Just my opinion anyway.

He did not get ripped off. He agreed to a person’s assessment of costs.