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

Looking for a cheap mechanic for a 2009 Audi A4

,

I want to find a cheap mechanic to diagnose or service or repair my car . usually when I go to a mechanic I get billed a lot just because it is a German Audi car.for instance , a light bulb for headlights costed a labour of 200$ and 150$ for the part.

No, you don’t. You THINK you do, but you REALLY don’t. Good repairs are NOT cheap, especially on a German luxury car and Cheap Repairs are no good.

And Audi parts don’t come cheaper from a budget repair shop. You don’t have to use the dealer but stay away from the chain stores.

9 Likes

This might be the time to ask yourself if you really need a European luxury vehicle . Notice I did not write Audi as all vehicle in that category are expensive to maintain . I know because I have a Volvo.

1 Like

European cars and “cheap” generally don’t belong in the same sentence.

A friend of mine had a Volvo once. It seemed like the minimum shop charge was $500…and it was in the shop frequently.

1 Like

Your car probably uses hid bulbs . . . those aren’t cheap, and judging from the labor cost, there was probably some work involved, such as removing the actual headlight assembly?

As a general rule, cheap mechanics are not skillful and skillful mechanics are not cheap.

Driving an Audi and trying to find good cheap repairs and parts is what I call a Champagne taste on a beer budget.

I’m quite certain that what you are experiencing is what causes many Audi (or other non-mainstream brand car) drivers to switch to a different brand vehicle.
CSA
:palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

1 Like

I regret that I have but one “like” to give. Listen to this person, OP. If you wanted a cheap-to-maintain car, you shouldn’t have gotten a luxury car. Either dump what you have for something more practical, or absorb the prices as part of the cost of luxury.

3 Likes

Considering modern headlight construction and the difficulty of repairing or replacing the units the cost does not sound excessive to me.

Quite some years ago a gentleman needed to replace one HID on his 98 Lincoln Mark VIII and it was 2800 dollars; just for the part. You’re getting off cheap at that price on the Audi.

Cheap doesn’t work well with most cars anymore.

Yeah, HIDs came way down in price. When I first got my old Acura replacing an HID was over $1000 per side. When I sold it last month you could get 'em for $150 or less.

And while even $150 sounds expensive, considering they can last more than 12 years (I never replaced mine), you’re actually saving money over halogen.

I’ve seen some of those LIncoln HID bulbs only sell on eBay for 350 dollars each; used. The Mark halogen headlights are total garbage and the HIDs somewhat better.

Unfortunately the halogen units can’t be swapped for HIDs on the Marks because Ford in their design wisdom manufactured the housings with just the slightest bit of difference so that it also requires changing the fenders, hood, grille, and front valance. I fail to see how that is helping manufacturing costs on the production line. Seems it would have been easier to keep the lamp housing the same rather then redesign from the windshield forward.

They probably figured it would make them money on the back end by preventing people from swapping housings when they found out how much the HID replacements were.

Actually $350 is inexpensive. To replace the bulbs each headlight assembly has to be removed, in addition to a couple plastic shrouds that cover the radiator. $150 for one bulb would be a touch high. If both headlight bulbs were replaced you have decent and fair deal. Two halogen bulbs for your model go for about $100 retail.

If you go to your closest jr high school, you can probably find someone who will work on your car for under $100.
and when that doesn’t actually fix your car, then perhaps you can ponder the pros and cons to actually paying someone knowledgeable to take a look at it.

2 Likes

I agree with @eddo

It’s often cheaper to pay more . . . sometimes significantly more . . . upfront to a real pro that is familiar with a particular vehicle, versus paying less and then having to go to the specialist in the end, anyways

At this point in my life, I’ve realized there are 2 kinds of people: ones who value their time, and ones who value their money. Sometimes there’s overlap.

Folks who value their time are the ones calling the plumbers to do certain jobs, as the time folks have better stuff to do.

Folks who value their money are the ones digging up their yard trying to find the water leak on a Sunday night, and will likely take off Monday to finish the job (if at all).

Both approaches have their appeal. I think the same logic applies to using a “cheap” mechanic vs a professional one.

You could always try one of the guys hanging out in front of the parts store. And after he’s done then take it to a real mechanic.

1 Like

Some cars have more expensive labor and part to replace especiallly headlights. Your is one of them. Peek at repair pal .com as place to get rough idea of costs.

You talking about those guys who will throw the old parts in the bushes, along with the 40 that he’s guzzling while working on the car . . . ?!

:laughing:

3 Likes

those are the guys !!

2 Likes

Ya think George out on highway 2 will be able to get that headlight bulb cheaper? Maybe. Give 'em a try. The sure fire way for many of us though, when faced with repair bills, is to get a service manual and do it ourselves. No appointment necessary and satisfaction guaranteed.

2 Likes