Need your opinion

No matter what you pay for . . . car repair, ac installation, new kitchen, etc. . . .

Someone will ALWAYS say you got ripped off

In my opinion it’s a decent idea to shop around and get a few quotes before pulling the trigger

But after that, don’t bother telling anybody how much you paid, because someone will always say you got ripped off

It’s better to just accept you paid a fair price and don’t kill brain cells thinking about if you got ripped off or got a great deal

Life’s too short

And there are more important things to kill brain cells on


Around here that price would be a bit high. Labor rates, parts markup, and so on varies a lot from one area of the country to another.
The cost of living here is also a lot lower than other areas.

Just curious though. You say lower ball joints AND lower control arms. Lower control arms normally come with ball joints in them.
Did they charge full labor operations for both jobs or what? If so, no labor overlap?

he is picking the car up today after work so not really sure about the bill. its a little too late to worry about it now anyway. on that car the ball joints are not on the lower control arm. they are in the upper. he said one of the control arm was frozen and had to either be torched or cut off. my son was outside at work and there was a bad connection when talking to the guy. they also had a alignment done.

this is a 2010 but the same as his

I would assume most intelligent people evaluate the cost of a repair based on whether or not the work was done properly using brand-name parts, or if instead it was done poorly, or using cheap knockoff parts. A repair that might be fairly priced at $1500 using genuine OEM parts could be a major rip-off even at $1000 if done using cheap knockoff parts. It is one thing for you to tell me that an OEM widget for my car costs $800; it is quite another thing for you to tell me that a Duralast widget costs $800.

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Well, yeah, but you greatly overestimate the general public.

For example, last week a car was towed in. A guy hired a mobile mechanic to replace the starter and battery in his 03 Lincoln Town Car. He paid the mechanic, then when he tried to start the car it made funny noise, smoke came out from the hood and the battery cables started melting. The guy grabbed some cutters and cut his battery cables.

I get the OK for a basic $70 electrical inspection. We find a starter that is directly shorted, all the cable and wire connections are melted and insulation burned off the positive cable in several spots. He needs a starter and replace all the battery cables (which we will have to fabricate since they are discontinued) and maybe a battery. I give him an estimate north of $900 and he says “Wow, I didn’t think it would be that much.” I tell him at this point he only owes us $70 and he is free to take the car if he likes. He approves the repair.

We finish the car, I tell him the total is $920, and he again complains how expensive we are. I say “Look, you paid someone else for this job once. Not only did they not fix your problem, they set your car on fire, and charged you for the experience. And we’re the expensive ones?”

As for using quality OEM parts, the unique circumstances we’re in today make that hard. I have a 2017 Explorer at the shop that needs a rack and pinion. Been there for 3 weeks, and the Ford dealer still can’t tell me when the parts will be in.


It sounds like this customer is a major a-hole then, as quality parts plus a few hours of labor would come to that much. And a 2003 car is certainly worth putting that much money into, unless it’s a total rust bucket.

The point I was trying to make is suppose for example I needed the fuel pump replaced on one of my cars, and for whatever reason DIY is not an option. If I brought it to a shop and they quoted me $800 (just making up this number) and they’re going to put a Denso brand fuel pump, that would be reasonable. If they’re planning to use an Airtex or Duralast fuel pump, that would be a major rip-off. The cost to the consumer is the same, but the quality is very different.

Nah, I don’t think people like that are a-holes, just uninformed and short-sighted. Very often the first thing people ask is “How much does XXX cost?” because they don’t know what else to ask, or what they really want.

Very few people ask what brand parts we’re going to use when servicing their car. They trust us to use the appropriate items to keep their cars in good running order. Sometimes that’s OE, sometimes that’s aftermarket.


Lower ball joint wholesale $103.79, retail $146.61.

Lower control arm wholesale $241.24, retail $349.63.

Source is a dealer web site.

my son got his car back. did not really get to talk to him long because he is working but he said he charged him 6 and change for parts, about the same for labor. $142 for a 4 wheel alignment, a diagnostic fee, which he thought he would of waved being he had the work done there and brings all the work trucks their. and tax. like I said I have not brought a vehicle to a shop in at least 10 years and didn’t realize the prices went up so much in labor costs. thanks all.

If they used genuine Acura/Honda parts, then you son got the parts at their cost, which would be $690.06. At Rockauto, a moog ball joint is only $28.89 each and the lower control arm, Moog right $75.79, left $75.89.

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Good example of why “price” doesn’t mean the same thing as “cost”. I think we’ve all learned this the hard way at times. Sometimes its fun to take a gamble though. That’s the reason for Las Vegas holidays … lol …


Why would he think that? When I go to the dentist with a toothache, I still pay for the exam even though he does the root canal. When my heat pump isn’t working I pay for the service call and inspection even though they replace the compressor.

When someone brings their car in for service we always advise them of the cost for what we are doing, be it a $49 oil change, a $70 suspension inspection, or a $149 check engine light diagnosis. If the customer asks if they still have to pay the check out fee if we do the repairs, the answer is always “Absolutely!”


The shop I have been a customer at for many years never has charged me for a diagnostic fee. They go by the book for repair costs, what book I do not know. The one that killed me, had it in for an oil change, asked them to do the gas filter also. $63. I said this is a 10 minute job, and it was already on the lift. 03 Trailblazer, snap cage and 2 clips. They gave me a $35 credit, I am thinking That would be the price for that 1 service item only.

I’ve had it both ways. I think it depends on your location. In my town, I’m usually told if the diagnostic fee will be included in the repair or not. At the dealer it was something like “we’ll check it and if it is a warranty item, no charge, but otherwise the diagnostic fee will be $135.” OK, go ahead says I.

Then again son’s car didn’t start on a Saturday night in the big city. The starter didn’t work. The place he was at will go unnamed but is a repair shop also and open on Sunday. (The initials would be BS) We pretty much determined it was the starter so I picked one up and drove up there. The kid at the counter insisted we needed a $90 diagnosis first before they would put the starter in. We argued a while and I said just put it in and if that’s not it, I’ll pay the $90. Obviously they make money from the diagnosis fee, whether necessary or not. I suppose most people would have listened to the kid and paid the fee, but I’m a gambler and was ready to crawl under the car an put it in myself. Worked fine.

If you can’t verify the labor time, how do you know how much of the labor was for replacing the part and how much for diagnoses?

For example, many techs will charge 1.5 hours to replace an oxygen sensor. Book time might be 0.4 or 0.5 hours, the rest of the labor is diagnostic time.

Yeah, I’m going to side with the shop on this one. How long a mechanic spends working on a car isn’t directly related to how much the charge is. The shop I work at charges $149 for a check engine/driveability diagnosis. I often have it done in 15 minutes. The fact that I’m experienced and efficient at my job doesn’t mean I should get paid less to do it.


Thanks for your input. Not here to cast dispersion on a good shop.

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Oh I didn’t take it that way at all. If a shop is willing to give away money and work for free, that’s not your fault.

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