Looking for a cheap mechanic for a 2009 Audi A4


My standard response to people who only want mechanics who are “cheap” is…
You can’t afford to save money THAT way.


Despite what others will tell you, there are reasonably price mechanics to find that are out there. If I knew your location to find that it is close to mine…I would send you the name and phone number of my mechanic. This mechanic is a true gem. A friend took his car to him after his own mechanic said his transmission problem was due to a needed transmission overhaul. After my mechanic jumped on top of my friends car at the front opened hood side, he peered down into that whole engine area. After 5 minutes my mechanic pulled up a wire and said this is your problem. My friend, being in disbelief said…show me how. My mechanic changed that wire, and drove the car around the block…and said car is find now. It turned out (as my mechanic explained) that whomever worked on the trans or engine last, had scraped the insulation off the wire which caused it to short the electronics of the transmission. Total cost to my friend was $10…cost of new wire. That beats paying a couple of thousand for a trans job. With this mechanic, I have many stories like that. And also I have learned how to keep a car well maintained and why certain things should be done as routine maintenance. As we got to know each other, my mechanic allows me to pick what I want to pay as labor; believe it or not he usually agrees to one third of what the dealer charges for labor…and does a more thorough and masterful job. BTW, one third of dealer cost parts is also the rule of thumb when looking for discounts on your car parts. Most discount auto parts will have OEM or better. So you would be crazy to buy an expensive part from a dealer unless exclusively sold by dealer. BTW, if anyone is looking for the best possible prices on parts for domestic or expensive imports, check out carid. You will not be disappointed. Anyway, yes…you can find great mechanics at reasonable prices. And you do not have to spend a lot of money for parts…no matter how expensive the car is. It just takes good research work. Note: the internet has listings of labor and repair work that will show the cost of a particular job for the listed shop. This is a very good way of doing comparison shopping for the work needed.

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The shop we use now has labor rates comparable to the dealer, but they know what they are doing. The staff is stable, probably because they get paid by the hour, not the job. If it takes extra work to remove items from an older car, you will pay for that. The upside is good mechanics can diagnose problems well and might save money for you by not throwing parts at a problem. I’m still getting used to their high costs, and they are still getting used to me as a customer.

Agree, but the original poster specifically said “cheap” in the title and the first post.

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Seems like a good way to go out of business and cause arguments at the same time.


My local mechanic charges–at most–2/3 of what a dealer would charge, and sometimes his price is as little as 1/3 of the dealer’s price. However, he is what I would call “reasonable”, rather than “cheap”.


I agree with @jtsanders

Good independent shops will often have a labor rate very nearly that of the dealer, but these are often old pros, not young 20-somethings fresh from trade school

There’s nothing wrong with trade school. I did it myself . . . but it was literally a 1/4 century ago

The old pros might very well arrive at the correct diagnosis much faster than the youngsters

It helps if you know a good car person. Sometimes takes a while to meet a mechanic you can trust. Most will overcharge you - but you’d rather not miss something than take a risk.

Check with the nearest State or Federal prison. Most have automobile education classes. Not sure what they charge. Just don’t leave any valuables inside the car :slight_smile:

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I think the pros and most of the DIY’ers would disagree with this. Many people measure the mechanic’s shop hourly rate with their own. That is a false comparison.

If you make $30 an hour, you may think $150 an hour for a mechanic’s time is really high. It isn’t. Your cost to your employer can be every bit of $150 hourly depending on how many “tools” you need to do your job, the rent for the building you work in and more that you never see. You can see the expensive equipment the auto shop uses but you can’t see the rent, the shop towel service, the hazardous material removal, insurance and much, much more required to own a shop.

Welcome to the forum, by the way.

In the restaurant business 33% labor cost was the goal, so paying $30 for a mechanic and charging $150 is under that, but we provided all the tools needed.

can I save money by bringing my own towels? :joy:

Thank you, and yes I agree. I had a mechanic for a while who charged a fair amount but I knew he was reliable. Always better to go for reliable

Lets not get caught up in semantics. I think by cheap, he did mean reasonable. Reasonable as compared to the dealer high prices.

Never problems and never arguments. He knows me well. He knows how savvy I am when it comes to parts prices and labor costs. He also knows that I will be fair and reasonable with him; we have that type of trust arrangement. He is a great guy as well as a super great mechanic. I would not dare take advantage of that. BTW, 1/3 of a dealer’s labor cost is okay to find outside of a dealer. 2/3 is too much to pay, no matter how good the mechanic is. If one is too timid to ask for 1/3 of dealer labor cost, then at least try 1/2. Remember though, the rule of thumb…anything outside dealer price (whether parts or labor) should be gotten for 1/3 of it. Those who know this…know it from experience.

You might be right but that isn’t the language he used. I won’t presume to interpret the OP’s post.

Hang around here a while and you might change your mind when you read the outrage about $150 diagnostic fees, asking if it is OK not to use synthetic oil or premium gas in expensive luxury cars that require it. Welcome to the forum!

The idea hat you pay for what you get…are only for suckers. I respect my money enough to not just give it away…because of foolishly thinking by doing so will get me better. Consumer awareness and the research for that, is the key to the purchase of anything…if you want your money well spent.

I avoid dealers at all cost, but sometimes it is just impossible to avoid them. Ask friends and family who they use and if you ask enough people you will find a reasonably priced reliable qualified mechanic. They are out there you just have to hunt for them and when you do find them you will find they have plenty of business, if you call a mechanic and he says bring the car right over I can get it in the shop go elsewhere. As always just my opinion

As a mechanic I would have to agree with the general consensus already given by the folks here.

I do actually understand what you meant and mean when you created this post however there are quite a few things working against you being able to find a shop that is somehow miraculously “cheap” or affordable when dealing with vehicles from that particular geographic area of the world.

Ah Zee Germans…I admire their mechanical gusto and I also admire their engineering prowess. I do not however admire over complication nor do I admire overpriced components. I also especially do not admire making things difficult seemingly just for the sake of making things difficult. The need for extremely specialized (also read expensive) tools, fastners etc etc…well you get the idea. Well lets just say that Zee Germans have a penchant for these sorts of things and it makes repairs expensive.

If you possess the technical know how to do the work yourself you will save a lot, however it still wont exactly be what you consider “cheap” but it sure does help…a ton.

I possess the technical skills and also the stupidity to expose myself to all sorts of German machines and I firmly believe that there is a cloud of expletives still floating over my home town somewhere as a result. I have many Audi specific tools that hang around collecting dust until the next time they are needed…and they are needed…when they are needed, trust me. Audi 2.8 V6 Timing belts come to mind (still have the specialized tool thank you very much)

Here is a little tip you can use to your advantage… get into the local clubs for your vehicle, become a member and they will help you save a lot of money repairing oft encountered bugaboos for your specific vehicle. They will often have the (expensive and specialized) electronic software to interface with your vehicle making diagnosis and repair much easier. They will also know where to go for service and not get taken to the cleaners. They are usually more than enthusiastic and always at the ready to lend a hand even if it is via a forum or message board…I have met many good people I regard as friends as a result of using vehicle specific forums. This is perhaps the best thing you can do to help make your car more affordable to own and drive…that is of course besides doing the work yourself…which I encourage.