A local Chrysler repair shop has given me a $1300. estimate for replacing the timing belt, tensioner and water pump on my 2001 PT Cruiser. Seems steep to me after checking online prices for the parts (not much more than $500 from Carparts wholesale for a kit). They’ve also suggested additional work on the car: Lower control arm bushings replacement, sparkplugs, flushing/replacing coolant and a new rear wiper at a total cost of $2000. Question #1) Is the cost high for the parts/labor involved? Question #2) Would it be a good idea to have all the work done while in the shop?
How many miles on the PT? How long do you hope to drive it?
Since you don’t have an interference engine, I’d probably skip the timing belt for now.
I’d shop around for the work that you know needs to be done. Get a quote that includes the exact work to be done so you can compare apples to apples.
Most of the quote is for labor. Parts can be purchased pretty cheaply here
http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1398753,parttype,5759 $200 or less for timing belt & water pump job.
$1,300 for a timing belt is about DOUBLE the normal cost, even with the water pump and tensioner.
Find an independent mechanic and save some money.
I would also add that you should NOT put it off. That’s an 11 year old belt and it won’t give you a hint of warning. One moment your engine will run. The next it will be dead as a doornail and you will be stranded where ever that happens. Hopefully you won’t be stranded and at the center of a an accident that you just caused by having your car suddenly die in the middle of traffic.
While mcp is probably right about the quote, you cannot use internet parts prices to even begin to guess about actual repair costs. The front of your motor is crammed up against the passenger side frame/fender. Yet the front of the motor basically has to be torn down to change the belt & pump. That’s the reason the pump gets changed. The devil is in the labor, not in the parts.
However, I will note that you are giving $500 as a wholesale parts cost for this “kit” so there may be more involved than meets the eye. The typical parts are the belt, a new tensioner, and the new pump. There is no way that this runs $500 at an internet “wholesale” price. So perhaps you could itemize everything that is involved and then maybe $1300 might not look so bad.
The 1300 could be in line depending on the locale and considering they would be using factory OEM parts. OEM parts are almost always higher than the local parts houses. That does not mean they’re gouging you at all. Car makers (all of them) do not provide cut rate prices to the dealers on parts in spite of a general perception that they do.
As to labor, many areas have high labor rates that can run 125 to 200 dollars per flat rate hour. It doesn’t take long to hit 1300 dollars in total.
Price the job around at an independent and as to the other items you mention 700 dollars does not seem out of line for that but some details on the control arm bushings might help clear it up a bit.
If the kit is around $500 from an online wholesaler, $1300 at the dealer using OEM parts is not bad at all. Also noteworthy is that the PT Cruiser is one of the most difficult cars on the road to do this job on. The engine compartment is crammed to the max, leaving no room to work, driving up the labor necessary to do this job. The timing belt is routine maintenance, though, and to skip it would be negligent, possibly resulting in a breakdown, which is usually more than inconvenient for most people, particularly if it strands you far from home or in the middle of the Interstate during rush hour.
Thanks to everyone for all the input/information. I have decided to have all the work done on my 10 year old car - she deserves it, after all, this is the first major work I’ll have done on the car since buying it in 2001. So, it’s about time to fork up the money and bring the car back into better running condition.