I took the car in today to inquire about the engine light–I knew it needed to be off in order to pass the IL emissions test. In the past, the mechanics would just turn it off free of charge if there weren’t any serious problems that needed to be addressed right away. From my usual mechanic, I knew the car didn’t seek an immediate mechanical attention: he had mentioned that the catalytic convertor would need to be re-welded at some point in order for the engine light to stay off but that I could in fact drive the car without worrying about any damage to the car. I just happened to see a new mechanic recommended by a friend, who offered the same advice and turned off the engine light, the whole of which couldn’t have taken more than 20 minutes (I wish I had stayed put at the shop, but I was initially given 2 hours to stick around the neighborhood, so I went away for about an hour) but I was charged his hourly rate of $75. As I was handing over the money, I simultaneously recalled the past three times when two other mechanics had done the same for me (granted, during oil changes and/or other services) where the engine light was turned off free of charge. I wish I would’ve said something, but I was so dumbfounded that I instead said, “Oh, that’s not so bad.” My friend seems to think what happened today was unjust, as she believes that he wouldn’t have charged her anything at all for the same “service.”
What’s the norm here? Is what the mechanic did worth the $75?