How much to diagnose problem?

My 1992 Toyota Camry was making increasingly worse sounds under the hood. On my way to my mom’s mechanic, something snapped and the car stopped running. I asked the mechanic to check it out and let me know how much it would cost to fix it.
He told me a needed a new timing belt, water pump, and everything else that goes along with it. The engine, because of Toyota’s design was fine. Total cost $1200 which he would do for $1000.
$1000 is too much for me to spend on the car right now. I live in Maryland. What is reasonable for him to charge me for the investigative work he did?

Well, it sounds like you broke your timing belt. That may not take too long to notice. Most shops around me charge one hour’s labor for basic diagnosis. I’m not sure what that would be in MD-$60-$100?

One hour is reasonable.
A broken timing belt is as plain as the nose on a good mechanic’s face so no doubt it figured out what was wrong on 10 minutes but they don’t charge that way,
If you’d want it fixed, ask if the diagnostics fee can go towards the repair. In other words, if the fee was 100 bucks, to repair it would be $900. If anything, maybe that will make him more agreeable to charge you one hour.

$900 could still a bit spendy, though. You could shop around to get someone to do it cheaper. It takes about 3-4 hours or so. Parts are not the most expensive items of that repair.

92 to 96 Camry. I typically have the timing belt, water pump, oil pump & seals replaced. $1500 at the Toyota dealer. you can do this your self, since the majority of the cost is in the labor. Toyota charges a little over $100 for diagnostic if you don’t have them do it. how many miles is on the car, I have 2 Camry’s, one with 165,000 and one with 230,000. if yours has around 100,000, it is worth the cost of the repair. Check Kelly blue book for the value of your car, typically you want to use the private party retail, and use that as a reference #, to see if it is worth the repair cost. oh and how must rust does the car have if you are in a rust belt, Maryland is on the border. my cars are Florida cars and my only consideration on repairs, is the cost of an upgrade to newer models. presently, I plan to keep repairing mine and go for the 500,000 mark.

If someone knows what they’re doing it should not take more than 5-10 minutes at most to diagnose a broken timng belt problem. A half hour charge should be sufficient for taking the time to fool with it on a car that the customer does not want to repair.

The question might be how much are they charging you?

OK4450, the OP said they quoted him/her $1000 for the TB, the pump, and “everything else that goes with it”, wihch I assume means tensioner, serp belt, etc. On a motor this age, a new front seal might add abit to that.

In my area, that’s reasonable.

It’s not the cost of the actual repair that is in question though. The OP is apparently not wanting to fix the car and was wondering about a diagnostic charge only. That’s the gray area which they have not cleared up.

Got it.
Minimum charge in my neck of the woods is typically $100.

I’m curious, but if you do not want to spend the money to fix it right now, then what do you plan on doing with it? One of the worse things you can do to a car is leave it in a non running condition for an extended period of time.

What was the agreed upon price to determine the cause of the engine not running? When you came in with the tow truck did the guy behind the counter say something like “We’ll check it out and call you with some news. Our standard diagnostic fee for a no-start condition is XX?”

Other than that I’d say no less than $50 and no more than $100.