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Heater hoses


I was recently driving my 2000 VW bug and the light came on indicating my engine was overheating. I pulled over and it wasn’t smoking or anything so I drove it two short blocks to a mechanic (Firestone) that happened to be open on a Sunday. He said it would be $80 just to run the diagnostics so I said okay thinking it would be nothing big.

It turns out some hoses were cracked and coolant was leaking out (I did see some fluid on the windshield but did not know what it was while driving). The mechanic told me it would be $700 for the labor and hoses. On the receipt the labor, coolant flush, and anti-freeze were all normal prices but the hoses ( 18272 Heater Hose) was $432.

Was I ripped off?

I don’t know your car, but after looking up heater hoses for a 2000 VW Beetle on Rock Auto and the most expensive thing they had listed was $45.89, I’d say probably so.


Did he mean heater CORE ?

Wow! Did he kiss you afterwards? $700 for heater hoses is crazy! Maybe a heater core might bring the price up, but that’s a lot of money. Itemized bill? Rocketman

I am a college student and this car repair shop was the closest one to my apartment and I also had no other choice because I was worried about wrecking the engine since the light was on.

The receipt says, under hoses,
18272 Heater hose: 432.99
Remove and Replace, one each: 68.80
Additional: 17.20

I should have prefaced this whole conversation saying I know nothing about cars so I feel like the guys at this shop probably knew that.

Is there anything I can do?

Go to the VW dealer parts department and ask what that part # costs if you buy it from them. The price of the part seems out of line, but it depends on the car and what part exactly it is. It may have special connectors on it for example, which could make it more expensive.

The labor charge of $68.80 each seems reasonable.

For future reference, here’s a couple of suggestions:

  1. Ask friends, co-workers, relatives, etc for a recommendation of an independent mechanic who specializes in VW. Visit a few of them, and choose one. Tell him/her who recommended you. Then take your car there for all the routine maintenance it needs. Next time you have a problem like this, you’ll have someone on your side.

  2. If you notice your car is overheating, the first thing to do is turn the heater to full “HOT” and turn the fan to “MAX”. This will often offer some engine cooling and might prevent a blown head gasket, a very expensive repair.

I expect even if you had the best of mechanics do the work, you’d still have a bill of $400, so your weren’t totally robbed in any event. And it may well be the case the mechanic had no choice but to use the expensive VW part and no other mechanic could have done it for any less. But I think it might be better for you to have your own mechanic going forward. Best of luck.

You are in a precarious situation. It might be dangerous to make any accusations while they have your car. I would suggest that you immediately shop around for an independent shop with a good reputation and arrange for that shop to get the car away from there. It is impossible for me to condemn the Firestone shop but when I consider the reputation of their stores nation wide and the information you have given it leads me to believe that you are not being treated fairly and the shop could mysteriously lose all the coolant from the time you made an accusatory call until you arrived to pick it up.

Honest and ethical shop owners are fighting a battle to build and keep good reputations and when there is an unethical shop many independents will discreetly take care of a bad situation for the car owner. Good luck.

I might suggest that you call a local independent parts distributor and without mentioning any details of the situation ask what local independent garages they recommend.

Well unfortunately I have already picked up the car and paid the bill… I think I have learned my lesson about finding a proper mechanic. I was just wondering if that was a ridiculous price or not.

I don’t have access to all sources of parts but if you have a non turbo charged engine I have seen no coolant/heater hoses that were priced over $30. I would suggest that you find an independent that is recommended by a local independent parts house to inspect the car before driving far.

Also, you might scan and post the bill that you paid. Myself and several others here like to know what shops are doing to better advise troubled posters in the future. TIA.

It is a turbo engine. The part listed on the receipt is 18272 heater hose. What kind of sites do you search to find these parts?

Maybe it was an honest mistake. You listed the cost of the heater hose # 18272 as 432.99. Now, if you hit the shift key, the $ symbol appears instead of the 4. Perhaps someone forgot to hit the shift key and what was intended was $32.99.

Go to an auto parts store like Advance Auto Parts, NAPA, and the VW dealer and ask for the price of the part. If it is way out of line from 432.99, then go talk to the shop. Perhaps there was an errorl

The water hose assembly to the heater core for the 1.8 L engine MSRP is $270.00.

The link didn’t go to the correct page in the catalog, you will have to look it up.

Just google the part number. It is a Gates # 18272 hose for about $4.00. I would check at NAPA or some place and get the price for a Gates hose of that number, then go back and get about $400 back. They obviously keyed in the wrong price or the parts place did. You gotta consider who would be taking the Sunday shift in the first place.

I’ve done the same thing and taken the first place available and glad to have it but you always have the option of having it towed somewhere.

O’Reilly Auto Parts carries the Gates brand and their site

is not difficult to deal with. Part #18272 is on the page I linked.

Consider it the cost of an education and never darken that dealer’s door again.
Or, you could write a letter of complaint to the dealer. Triedaq may turn out to be right.

All is not lost. You could go back to the shop and explain (tactfully) that friends have told you that the price of the heater hose seems to be too high and could they check to see if someone made a mistake. The mistake could have been an unintended keystroke by the supplier on the invoice and the shop is overpaying as well. If they find that is the case, they will surely get their money back from teh supplier and refund the difference to you. It doesn’t hurt to ask, politely.

18272 is a Gates part # for a VW hose and you where over charged by about $400.00 . the hose fits your Beetle i would be very angry with firestone i think a phone call to there head office is in order

OK, I was wrong. The hose price is not $4 but $7 at Oreilly. Just print the page and go back and talk to them. Not the kid at the counter, but someone with clean finger nails. They’ll do a little key punching on the computer and do a refund.