CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Cost of repair

I have a 1992 Chrysler Concorde that apparently needs a #6 wire replaced to a spark plug as well as need the remaining 7 spark plugs replaced and a tune up. How much do you think this will cost in total? The place I took it to to have it checked out to see why my car was running rough quoted me in writing that it would cost me a total of $476.17. Does this sound right to you. I am mechanically illiterate. I possibly have need of PHD buttons on my car as I have them on my monitor for my computer. You know? PHD buttons as in Push Here Dummy. Anyway, I am just wanting to see if this is correct and all. If so, I am going to have to save up the money on this, for I do not have it. I do not own a Money Tree. :>)

$500 for new spark plugs, one new spark plug wire, and a tune-up isn’t out of line. I assume the tune-up they will hook the engine up to the ignition analyzer to verify no misfires, and check and reset the timing as required. If this car has a distributor, a tune up would often include a new cap and rotor along with new spark plugs. Ask if they do this too as part of their tune-up, unless those parts have been recently replaced. When I do a tune-up on my car, I usually replace the air filter too. If they’ll do all that for $500, that’s a good deal in my opinion. (You may have to pay extra for the actual replacement air filter, but they may well throw in the labor as part of the tune up as part of customer relations.

I’m not really familiar with your car, but what does the shop include in their “tune-up”?
The shop should be recommending ALL the plugs and wires. If one of them is bad, the rest can’t be much better. If you’re going to be replacing all the plugs, that means you have to remove all the wires, anyways. Best to replace them, while you’re there.
What’s the mileage?
Is the check engine light on?

You only have six spark plugs. This is a business transaction. If you want a new TV, do you buy the first one you see at what ever the salesman wants to charge?

Go to other garages and get more estimates. You do not need to tell them what the first garage diagnosed, or that you went to another garage. Just explain what the symptoms are and let the mechanic tell you what they think the problem is and how much it will cost to repair. After three or four estimates, you should have an idea of who you want to do business with.

BTW, what are your symptoms, we can give you an idea of what the problem could be.

Thank you GeorgeSanJose and to db4690 the milege is over 149,000 miles and there is no “check engine” light on. I was just driving along smoothly when all at once my car started running rough. Based on other vehicles I have driven in the past and how they would “act up” from time to time, I thought it might be the spark plugs but was not sure. Thank you two for your comments. I appreciate you. :>)

I think they found that you had a bad plug wire and they’re going to replace all of them. Any mechanic worth their salt would do this. And they would also replace the cap and rotor.

So a complete secondary ignition tune-up with parts and labor at that price is fair.

Tester

The Chrysler Concorde has a V-6, not a V-8, and the first model wasn’t sold until 1993. As best I can tell, the 3.3L OHV engine is laterally mounted, not transverse like most FWDs. The wires and plugs seem easily accessible under the hood. In this configuration, the $467.17 seems quite high. The car uses a coil pack, so there are only the 6 wires and plugs, no distributor or coil wire.

I’d get a second opinion and not mention the first. Also, you may need to learn more about your car, at least the type of engine and model year. The first shop may be taking advantage of your lack of knowledge.

WOW! All you people out there make me feel I have FAMILY I didn’t even know I had. :>) To “keith” the symptoms are as follows: The car engine seems to jump a lot whem going up hill and when in idle. Once I get over a hill and get past 40 MPH it seems to smooth out in running. There are no warning lights of any kind. I thought this odd. Should there be? I thank all of you who have responded to me. You are such a big help and I appreciate your all’s comments and advice on as to what I am to do. I am checking other garages and I thought I would Google what I knew so far and in doing so I discovered cartalk.com and you good people. Hoo Doggie! The model year is a 1992 and as for the engine type I have no idea BustedKnuckles.

Now, seeing as you all are somewhat more knowledgable than me I wonder? Laugh if you want and I will not be offended but is there ever any place in a town or city that anyone can go to that most likely won’t take advantage of you and may even give a discount, especially if you are not a Mr.Money Bags and will work with you if you don’t have all the money up front?

I can hardly wait to hear back on this part from you all. :>)

I too question the model/year. I don’t show a 1992 Concorde in my parts catalogs. Perhaps an early 93, manufactured in 1992.

If so, the 3.3 liter engine is fairly simple to replace plugs and wires. The 3.3 liter engine requires removal of the upper intake manifold to replace plug wires. The cost you listed above sounds fair for that.

BTW, your car is too old to turn on the check engine light for a cylinder misfire when it’s running rough.

When you go shopping for discount auto repairs you can get into more trouble and end up spending more $$$. If you haven’t yet found a good independent mechanic that you can trust, now is a good time to start searching. AAA has good references, and there is a mechanic finder on this web site.

With an exact list of the work to be done and parts needed it isn’t really possible to tell you if this is a fair price or not. It is likely the shop might replace the air filter for instance and you didn’t mention it. Some spark plugs are less than $5 each and some are over $15 each. Replacing the plugs on this car isn’t that hard, so a hour of labor will cover replacing them. $80 for labor plus about $60 for the plugs and another $50 for a good set of wires. But I suspect the shop plans to do more work than this.

There is no harm in taking it to another shop for a price.

As to whether or not that charge is reasonable, a lot depends on where you live. If you live in a place like Toledo, Phoenix, Tulsa, or Durham, then that sounds like an awful lot of money. If you live in a more expensive metropolitan area, like, say, L.A., NYC, or Boston, then that sounds about right. But beyond cost, my main concern is whether or not they are fixing the right thing. Spark plugs don’t tend to die suddenly, the way you described. They wear out gradually. Given the symptoms, I’d ask someone to check the throttle position sensor and the cam angle sensor. Given how the car is behaving, it will be giving off a trouble code. Just ask any garage with a scanning tool to look at the trouble codes. They should be willing to do that for $50 or so. A really nice shop might even do it for free if they have confidence that you’ll let them fix it afterwards. The recent trouble history is stored in your car’s OBD, so that should be a good place to start.

Since the car is OBD1, I’m not sure that just any shop has the correct adapters to pull DTCs and data from that car. There are MANY OBD1 adapters out there, for the various makes and models.
And remember, OBD1 cars are at least 17 model years old at this point. They’re not necessarily the most common cars anymore.
But it can’t hurt to ask.
Just remember that OBD1 vehicles don’t have to meet the same criteria as OBD2 for turning on the MIL check engine light or storing codes. So there may not necessarily be any stored codes.
FYI . . .

I echo the others. I had a bad plug wire, with the symptoms of an intermittant miss under load. The estimate was $325 to replace the whole set. They don’t just do one wire anymore. I had already replaced plugs so the total is in the ball park but no problem getting another quote-just not from Pep Boys or someplace.

To pull codes from an OBDI Chrysler vehicle, cycle the ignition switch on and off three times leaving the ignition switch at the on position. The Check Engine light will start flashing any codes stored.

Here’s the code list. http://www.extreme-check-engine-light-codes.com/check-engine-light-codes/Chrysler-1983-1995-OBD1-Decoder.html

Tester