Why do dealers charge so much?

You’re exactly right about an aftermarket part being as good as an OEM factory part.
There may be a few exceptions but not many.
In fact, some aftermarket parts are made by the same company that makes the OEM ones.

I also agree that some of the parts prices are extremely high; and some bordering on obscene. This is generally not the dealer’s fault. Some people think that is a dealer gets 300 bucks for a part they’re making 275 dollars on it because the dealer got it “wholesale”. Not.

About 20 years ago Subaru started having some problems with their auto transmissions.
The first one I had to replace (not repairable at all) had a suggested price to the customer of 5,000 dollars. Ouch. The customer is rightfully irate just like I would be and blamed US right off the bat for being “thieves”. Once he came in and I explained the situation his wrath turned to Subaru of America, where it rightfully belonged. The dealer COST on that trans was 3800 dollars so I do not consider a total price of 5 grand WITH tax an excessive mark-up.

If I can get the pic straightened out I’ll post back on another thread about a faulty part (control module smaller than a pack of cigarettes) that caused the A/C to quit in one of my daughter’s Mitsubishis.
Not available anywhere in the aftermarket and a dealer item only. This rinky dink part is 983.82 and while disgusted at the price of this thing I’m not mad at the dealer over it. Chances are the dealer cost on that part is in the 600 dollar range.

Needless to say, her car ain’t gettin’ one!
About 4-5 hours with a good schematic, a handful of wire, and a relay or two, and that problem is now history for less than 10 dollars.

You’re exactly right about an aftermarket part being as good as an OEM factory part.
There may be a few exceptions but not many.

In general, I agree; but the trick is knowing the exceptions. For example each half-shaft for my car costs $750 from the dealer. There are after-markets units available for about $150, but they are real junk. There are also some very good quality rebuilt units available for about $250 each. In this case, the rebuilt part is the obvious choice, I’ve been using a set for the last 150K miles with good no problems.

Your one good point, ok4450. There IS no difference between the kid next door and the professionals, the same work got done for a fair price, not the ripoff(dealer type) price of $200. Thanks for showing SOME common sense.

WOW… Selling real estate, that makes you an expert in how a repair shop operates. I should’ve known.

You’re just another blowhard who doesn’t know jack about cars.

You’re still absolutely clueless on this issue.

You want to use that TV analogy you’re forgetting one minor detail.
A “certain” TV is made by the exact same company and either store will pay pretty much the same price (dealer cost) for it.
The only difference is how much they retail it for.

The difference in the auto business, and which you cannot seem to comprehend, is that a part (say an alternator)is NOT going to be made by the same company. There is going to be a wide discrepancy in that dealer COST.

What a dealer pays for a factory alternator is going to be higher, usually much higher, than what a company like AutoZone pays for a new aftermarket alt. or a rebuilt one.
You’re comparing apples and oranges here.

Earlier I mentioned a CV joint that COSTS the dealer 65 and the RETAIL price on the same joint from NAPA was 68.
Do you honestly think the dealer should retail that joint for 68 also?
DO you honestly think NAPA is also paying (COST) 65 for the joint they’re selling?
Go ahead and analyze this.

This is grade school level economics. Why is it so hard to understand?

I’m not going to flag a single one of your posts. They speak for themselves.

It appears that someone flagged my last one in regards to your TV analogy. Hmmm…

You state I make a “good point below” with the grass mowing analogy. However, I did not see any answer at all from you about that analogy.
Consider this one also. The last time I went to a major league baseball game they were getting 6 bucks for a cup of lemonade.
The kid on the side of the road with a lemonade stand is getting 50 cents. Is MLB ripping me off? If not, why.

My youngest son holds a business degree, an accounting degree, works as a senior staff accountant, and is a heartbeat away from a Masters in accounting.
Would you like me to have him explain how money works?

(Real estate, huh? What does knowledge in this field have to do with the automotive world?
Does this mean if a house appraises at 150k dollars and you sell it for 175 you’re ripping someone off? Are you going to say sorry, the house appraisal is much lower and in good faith I can’t take your money. Please take 25k back.)

That’s right, there IS no difference between the kid and the $200 guys, just the price.

OK-OK-OK … Please for one lets not name call please, we are all adults and all of us have our own veiws and beleives…
i do agree and disagree=
if the dealer charged cometative rates like the shop across the street then they would make lots of money hands down from sheer volume alowing them to pay for what ever over head they got and still leave some extra for the advertisments.
Yes i have seen horror stories of some dealers and i have a good friend that works as i dealer and the things he says are truly upsetting, not to say all dealers are like this, but this is what they know…so be it.
It is up to some of us that do not have the extra cash , to go and shop around,that makes this country great.
Everybody has thier own prefrance just like gas stations and type of gas…
everyone here on this board is very knowledgable and we all have strengths in some catagorys than others. and i DO thank everyone for thier imput , as your imputs are very very helpfull to me and i am sure to all others that ask you questions…
thats why we keep coming back here to learn.

heres an exmpl to why i get frustrated at times but i Do get over it…
2 dealers same one chages more than the other for the same simple oil change…?.. they say its geografical area and i see they only have 1.5 miles separating them…
I went to pep boys to check on an oil leak in my ex-wifes car and they go over the car as they always do for a comlimentary inspection , well they were telling me i needed new tires as the tread is low and they have tires on sale for a nice high price , i asked them which tires needed replacing and if they can show me they told me all of them and i for one know how to do the penny test in the tread.
I asked to see the manager and asked him if he feels they are correct and he backed them up and told me that they and himself are very knowledgable and yes they need to be replaced before i have any problems arise and do i wish to have them do the work ?..
I told him that it’s ok and i will take it back to goodyear where i got the tires JUST 4 DAYS AGO!!!. one tire still had part of the sticker stuck to it… after stating that he changed his mind and said OH… let me take another look… we could have gone over it too fast…
I told him NO THANKYOU and took the car elsewere…
Oh and my childhood friend works for pepboys but at another location, i told him what happened and he just chuckled and said yep that happens and proceeded to tell me to go to the one he worked at…that they can rip me off beter than the one i was talking about… hes funny that way…
So reported them to BBB.
on the other hand you got all these 10 or 15 min oil change places and i was getting my oil changed i was watching the bay next to mine and saw they finnished and the lady got into her car and drove off leaving a trail of oil behind her the guy that did the work tried to chase her calling out but she did not hear them and kept driving off over hearing them laugh and go “OOPPS” the other worker picked up the oil pan plug and said ’ shell be back"
things like these make you need to trust noone and always check the work or stand there and watch them…
but there are some good repair shops and dealers out there and it is up to us to just take a little more time to find them…
i can see as far as those shops or dealers that do bad jobs for the trusting people , they need to replace or repair the damage to those customers making the overhead go up and up…


You’re saying the professionals who mow for 200 dollars have no overhead and that entire 200 is all profit, huh?

As I understand it, new car dealers have several different departments, each with its own manager. These deparments are: 1) new car sales; 2) used car sales; 3) service; 4) parts and possibly 5) body shop. Each department is expected to generate a profit. I had a colleague who bought a used car with a warranty from a new car dealer. The car developed a transmission problem in the warranty period. The used car manager took the car to an independent shop rather than the service department in his own dealership. I visited the same independent shop for transmission work and the owner showed me his appointment book. He had steady customers from quite a few new car dealers. These appointments were from the used car managers. The used car managers often find in more profitable to farm out work to independent shops, rather than use the dealer’s own service department.

I have had good service and not-so-good service from both dealers and independent shops. I have had experiences where the dealer service department has bent over backward to help me out. Back in the early 1960’s, I was making the 350 mile trip home from the unversity where I was a graduate student. I was about 80 miles away from the university when my ancient Pontiac starting giving me problems. It was about 10:00 at night, so I pulled into a motel that had a vacancy sign lit. When I got in, the manager said he did have one room left, but it had a problem: the television set was broken. However, if I wanted the room, I could have it for $4 for the night. I took it and got a good night’s sleep. Since I new nothing about the town, I nursed the car to the Pontiac dealer. The service manager took me in right away and a mechanic worked on the car for over an hour. The charge was $5. I thought this was too cheap, but the service manager said that his mechanics had adjusted the valves as best he could, but the car wasn’t right. The manager told me that I would make the 270 miles home, but he wouldn’t charge a full price for a car that left his shop that wasn’t right. I did make it home without problems. More recently, the left door hinge was worn on my then 24 year old Oldsmobile. I visited a body shop and the manager told me that he would fix it if I could locate a replacement hinge, but he didn’t think I could. I then went to the dealer. The service manager said that it was a body shop issue and got the manager of the body shop. She examined door hinge and said that a new part wasn’t available. She said that the car was very old and I had gotten my money with 225,000 miles of service. I said that I thought that I should get at least 25 years or 250,000 miles. The manager went back and got a body shop mechanic. He looked at the hinge, went back into the shop, and came back with a sledge hammer, a long steel pin and a wrench. He loosened up the bolts, put the pin against the hinge and pounded with the sledge hammer. He tightened up the bolts and the door worked perfectly, and still does. When I asked about the charge, he said, “No charge. We guarantee these babies for 25 years or 250,000 miles!”
I could point out other favors that dealers have done to help me out. I’ve had independent shops that have also been just as kind to me.
Dealers are businessmen. In any market, there are good businessmen and bad businessmen. My experience with most dealer service departments is that they are good businessmen, and want their service to be good.

I read your post so I called a friend of mine at the local Toyota dealer. Retail on your hatch support shock there $129.69 + tax, my cost through my shop $118.50, He said he would need to order one in (non-stocked item low demand). I asked him what there cost was and he replied $101.22. So if you purchased it here the dealership would make $28.47 no where near 100% mark-up.

I have always enjoyed OK4450?s hypotheticals so I have a question for all you people.

You are involved in a traffic accident that is the other drivers fault. The repairs will be paid for by the other drivers insurance. The insurance company tells you to get an estimate and submit it to them and they will cut you a check.

You take your car to an independent body shop that wants to repair it with all aftermarket body parts for $3,500.00.

You take it to the dealer who wants to repair it with all genuine parts for a grand total of $7,000.00.

What would you do?



I read through this letter and would like to see your proof that OK4450 was the one that had it removed. Your derogatory remarks about other peoples character is enough for me to believe this could have been done by a number of the people that post to this site including me.

A difference of opinion is no reason to resort to childish name calling and attacking other people?s character. OK4450 has been a member of this board for a very long time. I personally highly respect his opinions and know that he has help untold numbers of people get there vehicles on the road with the least amount of expenditure.

You claim that you have been in the real-estate business since 1999. That is wonderful I hope you have had a lot of success with that. You are the type of person I would not attempt to argue real-estate with. When it comes to cars however OK4450 has more credibility with me then you ever will.

Oh and by the way I saw you posting to this board on both a Friday & Saturday night whats wrong? Do you have nothing better to do?


You’re really grasping here. I did not flag your posts - none of them.
If they were flagged someone else did it.

I actually PREFER that your posts remain visible. It gives valuable insight into the personality, or lack thereof, of the poster.

The ONLY posts I have ever flagged on this board are the ones that were posted by someone who was chronically giving very bad, and potentially health harming, advice in regards to A/C work.

So far, all you’ve done is rant and you have yet to answer any of those analogies.


Actually, if I were the moderator you would be gone from this board yesterday.

I thought our former resident A/C expert was delusional and misguided but you’re blowing him into the weeds.

What state you in? Anywhere near Oklahoma?

FWIW, I flagged his posts this time. Will you folks please quit feeding this troll?

In my area, the dealership charges less for an oil change than the quick lube place. I’m sure there are places that charge less than $25 for an oil change, but I know the dealership does good work and don’t want to give that up. Peace of mind is worth the $5~10 I might save by going somewhere else. Just like changing my oil every 3~4 months when I put maybe 7k miles on my car a year.

to get back to the OP

i believe the question was concerning the cost of dealership repairs and the honesty factor.

my problem is the stealership service managers shoving unneeded, unwarranted repairs down the gullible (uninformed) public simply to pad the bill, and add to the bottom line.

all the other comments are simply side gripes.

when you go to a small shop you deal directly with the service manager, mechanic, owner who usually all in one guy. that cuts the BS and the trust issue is easier to depend on.

Feel free to take the lower quote back to the dealer and ask how he can justify his higher price, not revealing what you may know now about his higher overhead and be nice about it to keep things civil. His higher overhead is not your problem; it’s his. Let him state all reasons including his view on why his parts may be better, before you decide. Most dealers prosper quite nicely and could lower prices a little.