Repair bill question?

ford
f150

#1

hello, i have a 2001 f150 2wd with the 5.4l v8. after a “routine full-synthetic oil change and car care package”, the mechanic informs me that the left rear shock needs to be replaced( but i should replace both rear shocks at the same time), and that my sway bar links( as well as bushells) need to be replaced. as of this moment, my sway bar links are improperly jammed into the coil springs, a potential hazard. as part of the quote which was for $1,000, $ 400 was for parts and labor just on the shocks and sway bar alone. i also need tyhe fuel filter replaced, sa fuel injection cleaning and a tune-up which makes up for other $600. this quote was from tires plus. the mechanic explained all this to me after the oil change and after he took off all four tires. the tune up is 30,000 miles overdue( ive only hasd this truck for 5,000 miles) and the truck only has 85,000 miles. the carbon smoot from the intake is bad, as he was able to leave a black fingerprint on the quote indicating the carbon buildup. am i being ripped off here? i believe him about the sway bar links (as he showed me everything). i can go to a local mom and pop shop for much cheaper, but it will take much longer to get done, and makes me consider spending the extra dollar or two more to get out quicker.


#2

The most important thing to keep in mind about any business is that its actual purpose is to produce profit. Re: the car repair business, its not to take care of your car. I’m not criticizing that. Its just something to keep in mind.

Corporate “car care” places are quite a bit more aggressive about it all and do a lot of upselling. Just don’t go to them. In a general sense they tend to do substandard work, make a lot of mistakes and sell a lot of unneeded services.

Go to the local mom & pop shop that isn’t a corporate chain (even for oil changes from now on). Have them look at it. The fuel injection cleaning is pure hogwash (unless the truck is running funny). There was plenty enough carbon in your intake to make a fingerprint about a week after it left the dealership lot new. At 85K on a 2001 vehicle you are not 30K miles overdue for a “tune up” (partly b/c such a thing doesn’t really exist anymore).

If you need shocks & sway bar links then you need them. For the rest of the gunk, dust off that owner’s manual (or find one) and look at the regular schedule for routine maintenance. Use that as your guide rather than the word of an upselling corporate chain. Before you know it they’ll be charging you for a quart of blinker fluid.


#3

Tires Plus is typical “chain” shop. Their techs work on commission, to a point. The more they sell, the more they make. I’d definitely get a second opinion from Mom and Pop. There doesn’t sound like there is anything there that you can’t wait for them to do IF it really needs it.


#4

I’m not a fan of chain type repair facilities but the price and what’s needed sounds legitimate other than the black fingerprint part of this.

The black fingerprint may or may not mean much so I wouldn’t read anything into that. That could be a deliberate scare tactic. Any vehicle is going to have intake and exhaust soot at 85k miles and it would be entirely normal; within reason of course.
At 10 years of age and 85k miles it’s quite likely the induction system needs to be cleaned.

Just my opinion, but if you trust the mom and pop shop I’d say sacrifice a bit of time and save some money.
You could just have the chain store do the sway bar links (that is critical) and then save everything else for the mom and pop operation.


#5

Since this is a lightweight 2wd pickup, if you have carried a moderate weight over a long period of time (a few months, maybe 400 to 800 lbs.) in the bed, sure, you may have weakened the rear shocks. And you would want to replace both shocks. Same if you carried too much weight anywhere. That part could be real.

Everything else is fiction. By way of example, the sway bar and it’s links are as far apart from the coil springs as the front tires are from the tailpipe. They have nothing in common. They are not related. And carbon smoot from the intake?
Get out of there.
go online and find an honest local mechanic in a garage.


#6

Take the truck somewhere else for another opinion. Even take it to a Ford dealer too. You can be shown something that is really normal and a mechanic can build the story.

The shock should be leaking or actually broken and hanging off the truck. If it is replacing both shocks is the general practice. Do you carry monster loads, as in overloading the truck? Is the truck’s rear suspension rattling and banging over bumps? It sounds like you had no “symptoms” other than the tech pointing out all kinds of problems.

The soot could be bogus, all motors have soot even relatively clean ones.

Forget this place for service of any kind. I was a sales manager for years managing reps with company cars. One rep called me with the tale that his car needed major work, like $2,000 when he took it for an oil change. New CV joints, new shocks, yadda yadda. These fleet cars are replaced every 55K miles so it wasn’t that old of a car. I told him to go somewhere else, another place said the car was fine. This is why most fleet vehicles have to be called and major repairs pre-approved to avoid rip offs.

Your shop seems very suspect to me. I don’t trust them.


#7

I go to tire places for one thing only, TIRES. Don’t let these guys do anything else to your truck. They are way over-priced and will probably do a crappy job.

The sway bar links and rear shocks are easy jobs on these trucks. I just replaced the sway bar links and bushings on my 2000 Ford Explorer in the driveway using only my hand wrenches. Took me less than an hour. The entire kit to replace the end links and sway bar bushings was $30. The shocks are also as easy, but easier with an impact gun to get the stud nut off. They run about $25 apiece. $400 to do the job is way high.

Fuel filter and tune-up? For $600? RIP_OFF!!! Plus, the interval for spark plug replacement on this truck is 100,000 miles. I usually use 75,000, but that is a personal preference. This truck only requires spark plugs, air filter, and PCV valve as a ‘tune-up’. Plugs are $5 apiece for Motorcraft platinums (OEM) at Autozone, air filter is $25, and PCV valve is $5. To get the plugs out, you remove one screw to remove the coil-on-plug, then take a spark plug socket on a long extension to remove the plugs and replace them. Air filter and PCV valve don’t require tools and can be done in 5 minutes apiece. Fuel filter is under the truck on the frame rail, needs one bolt to hold it in place and quick disconnects that requires a $10 tool. It is a 10 minute switch-out.

Black soot in the intake is a known issue with this many miles on it. But, a spray can of throttle body cleaner ($7) and a rag can clean it out pretty good without removing it. I know. I’ve done it. Takes maybe 15 minutes, but makes the throttle work so much better.

$1000 for work that can be done in the driveway with hand tools is totally outrageous.