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

Expensive Tune Up!

1996 Nissan Altima, 4 door sedan. The garage replaced the plugs, wires and distributor cap, also oil change. Cost? Ha … $700.00. Was I taken to the car wash or what?

Unless a wash was shown on the receipt, you weren’t. You were however overcharged if that’s really ALL they did. Did they also replace the timing belt and/or head gasket?

I would suggest that you question them about exactly what work was performed, since it is possible that more was done than you think. Sometimes the cryptic wording on a service receipt can be difficult for an automotive novice to decipher, so an interpretation may be in order here. If it turns out that the work done was merely plugs, wires, distributor cap and an oil change, then you were seriously overcharged.

If this was a scheduled “periodic maintenance” visit they probably did a bunch of stuff…most of it not really needed, As VDC said, get some details. Post back.

If it turns out that’s all they did, then you got hosed. Sorry.

If that’s indeed all you got, yes, you were taken. Was this a dealer or an independent garage?

Without knowing what’s written on the repair order or the receipt It’s hard to tell, however. Could there be something missing from your list?

Did you sign an estimate to authorize the work or was there a verbal agreement on the cost?? In either case, what was the estimated cost of the job?

Pull out the bill and list what was really done.

I have a feeling coolant was changed, brake fluid changed, and transmission flushed.

One tune up per week and I would be fully employed! Ripped to the maximum.

Break down the bill here by an exact part descriptoin, labor involved, whether valve lash was inspected, any scan that may have been done, enviro fees/tax/etc. and the location of where you live and we’ll see if you were had or not.