The Auto Repair Thread (Or, How I Learned to Stop Getting Screwed by the Dealership)

So my heat stopped working in my truck last week. After a couple basic diagnostic steps I figured out it was the blend door actuator. I took it to the dealership to see how much they’d charge to fix it, and I shit you not, here is the actual quote:


So how much does this ultra high tech and rare part cost?


So surely you’d have to take half the fucking vehicle apart to get to it, right? Well actually, I needed to remove 12 screws. And it took me about 30 minutes.

Here’s the bad part:

It looks like it jumped a gear, and the gap was no longer aligned properly. I popped the new one in and everything works fine now.

So instead of paying close to $1500 for them to fix it, I paid $15 and did it myself.

Fuck dealerships.

Fuck dishonest mechanics.

Educate yourself.

I’ve literally never been to a dealership with honest mechanics. Not a single time.

It kind of makes me wonder though if the parts guy told the customer guy, “that’s thirteen forty-seven” and the customer service guy went the wrong way.

I had the same thought at first. Surely a decimal was put in the wrong place! But she explained to me that it costs so much because they have to “remove the entire dashboard and drain the HVAC system” (which no, you don’t).

I’ve never done much myself outside of oil changes myself and haven’t even done one of those in over 10 years out of sheer laziness. But recently I had a check engine light come on and after about 10 minutes of research I learned you can buy a really nice odb reader for $40 these days.

Read the code, 10 more minutes of research pointed me to a bad thermostat, 1 YouTube video, a $20 part from amazon, and 20 minutes later and the problem is fixed. Hardest part was the awkward location of the thermostat.

Last week the dealer wanted $80 for an oil changed because my coupon had expired. So I’m going to get back to doing those too. Also they wanted $500 to flush the brake and power steering fluid. YouTube tells me that’s perfectly doable too.

Yeah; there’s a lot of car work which can be done by one’s self with youtube and a little bit of time investment. SOME stuff is just insane thanks to how specific vehicles are designed; for instance, the cable to the hood latch broke on mine. Everywhere I checked, it was a $500+ repair job because of labor exactly because they needed to dismantle so much to get at it. I checked online, and got the same response there with a lot of acrimony about the idiot engineers who came up with the layout in the first place. But yeah, I’ve learned to always check to see if I can do it myself.

This reminds me. i need to see the feasibility of fixing the tire pressure sensor failure message my 2010 Ford fusion is giving me. They want $80 just to diagnose it. Wonder how accessible that is.

Which is complete bullshit because that would be a labor cost and not factored into the part cost.

Ive been lucky enough to have found a local mechanic, who has a shop just a few blocks from my house. He has always done right by me and his prices are always the lowest I can find. Also he never up charges on parts. He sold me when I had my radiator in my Lexus leaking and the first few mechanics I checked told me it was shot and needed to be replaced. Both quoted over $1k. My neighbor told me about this mechanic just around the corner. I went there and he looked it over. He said he could replace it for $400 but he felt that he could repair it as well for $80. I told him to give it a shot. Its worked perfectly for 4 years now. I have told all of my friends in the area to use this shop and several of my friends are now loyal customers as well. Yes I found a mechanic who runs a honest and fair priced shop. Thats like finding a unicorn!

Our 2008 KIA Sedona has AC issues. The quotes we get for recharging it are always ridiculous. I do it myself. Just gotta remember to connect on the low pressure line. NOT the high pressure. That would be… bad.

Two Toyota’s don’t really need a lot of repair work. But I do the oil changes, pads, and rotors myself and save a ton of money that way. $900 for a brake job, no thanks.

Turns out replacing a smashed passenger mirror assembly is pretty easy.

Of course I wasn’t paying attention and I never realized my mirrors were heated glass so of course I ordered the wrong one, which I only noticed after I installed it and went to plug it in (I live in Florida, I probably don’t need heated glass but the car’s plug is too large to fit so I don’t really have a choice). Good thing I got it on amazon so I can return it.

So aren’t you going to tell us where you live, and the name of the repair shop?

That appears to be a bit farther than I am willing to drive.

Hazel Park, MI, a place called Right Way Auto Repair on Dequindre.

So I got four new tires on my 2008 Honda Fit. A few days later, the TPMS light pops on.

Then it goes off.

Then it’s back.

Then it’s off.


Have you physically checked the pressure on the tires? One of them may be just low enough to trigger it.

Also, it’s a good idea to physically check them all to make sure they’re reading properly on the dash. My mom got her tires rotated and they forgot to reset the TPMS, so it wasn’t reading the correct wheels. So it said her driver side rear was low, so she kept putting air into it, not realizing that the tire that was actually low was on the front passenger side now. Thankfully she stopped around 65 PSI, before it exploded.

I checked them and they were all the same. I’m not gonna worry about it, just annoying.