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First time getting car service, not sure if normal

Hello. I recently took my 14’ Accord to the dealership for a state inspection and oil change. The oil change was free from my brother previously getting worked done there. The state inspection was $135.

I brought it in at 10. They called me at 12 indicating they found issues with the rotors, pad, and caliper. I gave them the go ahead and they returned it at 2.

I was wondering, I was charged for around 4 hours of labor. Is this normal? On my receipt, there’s no extra charge for labor for the oil change and inspection. Only the flat 135. So that means it should be 2 hours of labor on the brake issues. They charged me for 4 hours worth on the brake issues. I’m not sure if people are typically charged labor on state inspection and free oil change and that this is just an error in the receipt, or if I was overcharged 2 hours of labor through kind of a loophole by including hours from the inspection? I’m not sure if I asked this question clearly.

Thanks for any clarification

What was the total amount?

None of these questions can be answered over the internet. If you want clarification of parts and labor charges ask the service manager to explain them to you.

I thought if they were trying to use a loophole than they might also give me a run around over the phone.

Total was really high 1700. 700 on labor.

How many calipers rotors and brake pads? 4 calipers, 4 rotors and 4 sets of pads?

looks like your free oil change must have annoyed the dealer?
yes, calipers are $240 each. does not include rotors. or pads

Why do you believe that you should have been charged only 2 hours of labor for the brake repairs? Does the invoice amount match the estimate?

I get paid 1.6 hours of labor per axle for a basic brake job, replacing calipers is extra.

Welcome to our Car Talk discussions!

The amount charged seems high, but without details it’s tough to say. Were you not given an estimate and asked to sign for it, prior to the work or for any additional work? That is law in my state.

I agree with Volvo_V70. You do need to ask more questions while at the repair facility.

Since you are apparently a total novice when repairing/maintaining a vehicle, I’d find a friend or relative who is more car savvy to help you when the car goes “under the knife” or you’ll take some more lumps. Pay attention. Ask tons of questions.

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You must have bought a used Accord recently. Did you pay for a prepurchase inspection before buying it? If not, you should consider that before you buy your next car. Did you get the old parts? If not, there is no way to know whether the parts actually needed replacement. Dealers charge more thnanyone else typically. If you want to keep cost down in the future, find a good independent shop and develop a relationship.

I believed it should be 2 because they did the inspection then called me at 12 to ask if they should do the brakes, then completed at 2.

The receipt is divided into “parts” (oil change, inspection, brakes) and there’s only a labor charge on the brake part. But the labor charge for the brakes is 4 hours worth.

Then again you should ask the service manager this question . It could be as simple as the time to inspect the brakes before they called you .

Auto repair shops don’t normally charge “actual time” for labor, they charge a flat rate for labor from a labor guide or a set rate for a particular service.

If the labor guide shows 4 hours of labor and the technician completes the work in 2 hours he still gets paid for 4 hours of labor.


Oh, I get it! Car repairs are billed in “hours” of labor. However an “hour” could take far less time than an actual clock hour that you are accustomed to using.

Depending on mechanic skill, efficiency, ability, tools, etcetera, many mechanics can perform jobs quicker than the labor time billed. That is legitimate, provided everything billed is done and done properly.


2 rotors, 1 pad, 1 calipers. Parts were charged 440, 110, 543 total respectively. I realized I messed up really bad on this part and got gouged. Just happened a few hours ago. Feel real bad but just taking it as a learning lesson.

Was curious moreso about just how the labor was charged. But ahh ok, I see from Nevada and common senses posts it was predetermined and not related to the actual time. I thought they were adding in hours from the free oil change and state inspection (coincidentally adds up to 4 hours as well if I count when I dropped off to picked up).

Thanks for the help guys.

Some shops are afraid that getting a 4 hour job done in 2 hours will cause customers to question the charges, as you have. They get done early and let the car sit for a while before notification that the work is complete. However, although you aren’t as likely to question them, your time is wasted.

So, in other words, it’s better to have a four “hour” (book hour) job done (properly) in 2 hours, pay for the 4, and get notified so you can be on your way.

Now you see why I do my own brake work. I can do 2 rotors, 1 caliper and pads on my Camry for about $200 and that is not using the cheapest parts available.

Some rotors are more time consuming to replace than others. The time consuming versions involve the hub as well as the rotor. Maybe that’s part of the issue.

Free or cheap oil changes are generally loss-leaders, designed to get you into the shop. $135 for a state inspection and $700 for 4 hours of labor ($1175 per hour)?? Where do you live?

Time to find a reputable independent shop, IMO.

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@Nevada_545 is correct. Most shops are “flat-rate”. They charge you the “book time” on labor, and that’s what you pay regardless of how long it takes them to actually perform the work. For a job that books out at 2 hours. The customer pays for two hours of labor, whether it takes the mechanic 1 hour to complete or 4 hours to complete.