Repair costs upfront

I took my 2006 Mazda 6/5 door in to the dealer last week after trying to change my low beam headlights (my hands could not navigate the tight spaces) and paid $46 for two low beam lights installed and one driving light installation.

I talked to the service manager afterwards and he said “Steve, your lucky…there’s a new Nissan that you have to remove the front bumper to replace headlights…about $500!”

If I had that Nissan I would blow my stack at the dealer at the first installation of a new headlight…

Why don’t the dealers/manufacturers give a list of “Expected repairs/maintenance costs” for new cars right up front…It would have a huge impact on my decision making when buying a car and would create some good will for the people buying them to know up front what to expect instead of finding out when your lights need replacing or some other one time do it yourself job comes up…

Why don’t the dealers/manufacturers give a list of “Expected repairs/maintenance costs” for new cars right up front

Because they don’t want to loose a sale. The ONLY time they post something like this is when the repair is simple or cheap. They’ll NEVER divulge if it’s expensive.

It seems to me quite a few years back, that some publication like Popular Mechanics would give the time involved to do different maintenance items and the cost based on an hourly labor charge on cars that it tested. I may not have the right magazine, but I remember seeing this in the past.

It would have to be an independent publication as opposed to the dealer. Can you imagine an owner’s manual stating that you have to remove the whole bumper to replace the headlight or that you have to remove most of the dashboard and discharge the air conditioning system to replace the heater core?

How about…you have to cut a hole in the firewall to replace the heater core…Or loosen the engine mounts to replace the rear spark plugs…or remove battery to replace air filter…

All of the above are true…

This is just the type of job the Techs will find a easier way to do.If the labor time reduction will be passed down will be up to Nissan and the dealer.

For the reasons you have stated, I liked the design of the Checker–the vehicle produced in Kalamazoo, MI for taxicab use. These vehicles were designed for easy maintenance and repair. Downtime in the cab business means lost revenue. I think that the auto industry today counts on the original owners trading in a vehicle long before it needs spark plugs (100,000 miles), a heater core replacement, etc.

Are you serious?! The manufacturer or sales staff who is first with this information will be the first to go belly-up.

The term “Maintainability” is now widely used in industry and the military. The Hummer is one of the few vehicles that had maintainability in the original design specification. Its original diesel engine can be changed out very quickly.

Some of the horror stories are the Ford Taurus with the DOHC engine which required REMOVAL to replace the back 3 spark plugs!! Ford’s response? Install 100,000 mile platinum plugs!

The older Mitsubishi Montero, I believe? had the heater & A/C cores installed and then the whole dashboard built around it!! It needed 10 hours of labor to replace these items.

On a Chrysler Tank, however, the 1500 HP Gas turbine engine can be removed and replaced in 1 1/2 hours! That’s a military spec!

I almost bought an E Type Jaguar once, but after visiting the service department was told by the very enthusiastic staff what maintenance work this car needed. The 12 valves each had 8 shims under the cam followers which needed adjustement every 20,0000 miles!. The 3 carb setup would need adjusting every 10,000 miles.

To adjust the rear inboard disc brakes, the whole rear drive axle/wheels, etc. had to be dropped! The cylinder head should be “decoked” every 20,000 miles. US owners usually solved that problem with the “Italian Tuneup”, taking to high revs to blow out the soot.

Before buying any car one should visit the service dept. and present them with a stadard list of repairs, and get both the hours needed and the parts costs!

Informing the customers up front will not be done because (1) it would kill sales and (2) there’s not a car made that one or more items are not a royal pain the neck to repair. If one weeded out the pain in the neck cars then one would be afoot.

Same thing applies to any discussions of scheduled maintenance, wear and tear items, and timing belts. No way is a sales rep going to sit there and tell someone who is considering a new car purchase that in 60k, 90k miles, etc. they’re going to have to spend X amount of dollars doing this or that and they’re sure not going to tell a potential buyer that oh yeah, brakes, tune-ups, filters, etc are all on your dime.

While I agree with most of the responses, what’s so hard about pulling a bumper? Its a couple bolts on the shocks and a few fasteners on the cover and the whole thing should slide out.

not very many cars use that type of bumper mounting nowadays. most are 1, plastic cover, 2, foam or plastic absorber, 3, metal impact bar. The cover is held on by various pins/rivets/screws/ bolts. book time to r&i a typical bumper is about 2.5 hours.

Warranty labor times can get adjusted downward.I have seen it with GM in the AC field.

You would like some of the GMC Sierras or the Chevy pickups where you pull out two pins and the headlight assembly comes right out where you can get to it. Twist and pull; can’t get any easier.

I’ve changed some bumpers that required half a stinking day.

except for my tempo, just pull. no twist. 5 seconds, maybe less. Spark plugs on the other hand…