Saturday, February 28, 2009
It pays to do your due diligence when having your car or truck repaired - you could easily save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
Well, as I've said, "it definitely pays to do a little research or homework when it comes to repairing your car or truck." My Volvo recently had a leak in the rack and pinion. This leak originally was just a drop or two per week which really wasn't much, then out of nowhere and started leaking an ounce or two every day - that is pretty bad. I called a few people in the phonebook and through craigslist to get some prices and figure out what all needed to be done. To get some reference points I even called the local dealers.
The range in prices I got was from the high-end of $2400 at the car dealers to a low-end $500 for come to your home repair service. The problem here was that the car dealers were going to fix the actual problem of the leaking rack and pinion, whereas the at home repair services only wanted to fix the power steering pump and high pressure hoses. So the real problem here would not have even been fixed by the at home repair services. When I told him that the rack needed replacement they stated that that was never the case and all that was needed was to replace the pump and hoses.
Now by looking around a little bit and doing a little research I found the actual price on these parts and all the markups involved depending on where you bought it. The power steering rack and pinion was $1034 at the car dealerships. The same part was $675 at AutoZone, $659 at PepBoys and so on. By doing a little research I found a reputable remanufacturer that sells these racks at OEM or better condition and grade for a fraction of the cost - around only $250! Literally one fourth of what the car dealer wanted and one third of the local auto parts store prices.
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So right off the bat, by buying through these guys, I was saving between $400 and $700. Now all I needed to do was find someone to remove the old rack and pinion and install the new one. Well it couldn't be the at home repair guys because they obviously missed the mark with their diagnosis and knowledge because in this case it really was the rack and pinion that needed to be replaced. There was nothing wrong with the power steering pump or hoses.
After asking around and looking a little bit farther out side of my city I found a very reputable car repair shop in the outskirts of Kannapolis, NC. He was skilled in all things automotive from car repair to body work and his prices for labor or about half of what everyone else wanted. For instance, the car repair Bible or book that auto mechanics and car repair shops used to diagnose and determine billing for labor hours stated that the repair for a rack and pinion on a Volvo was 4.7 hours. So, if a car dealership recharge $80 an hour for repair time, that would be $376 in labor costs, not including parts or other fees.
I'm still not sure exactly how the new car dealership came up with $2400 - must be they added some bogus fees which basically does translate into extra pay cash or to help pay the highly inflated bonus and salary of the general manager and other basic do-nothing, high pay positions (general managers make on average $250,000 a year and that money must come from somewhere - usually from bogus dealer processing fees and other ridiculous add-ons and other bogus fees which they charge to the customers).
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So, basically with a little the homework I got the part $250 and that includes shipping to me in the labor was done for around $160 which equals a total of around $410. That's a savings of 83% off the dealers prices and 70% or so off the prices of the local auto parts stores like AutoZone, PepBoys and others. The dealers price to install and include all parts and fees was $2400. The local auto parts stores were around $1800 all inclusive. I, with a little research got $410 for the same service plus they threw in the free oil change and checked my car over to see if there is anything else needed repair for free.
So the point of this article is there's no reason for anyone to pay the high exaggerated prices to repair their car or truck at the local car dealerships. They have gotten far too greedy, their markups are ridiculous and in some cases they will actually literally outright lie to you about what really needs to be done to your car (see car dealer scams for more info on this). You need to be wary and need to be willing to do just a little bit of due diligence or homework and you can save literally thousands of dollars in car repairs (see save on car repairs for more info on this). No where is this more important than now during the current recession (or some talking heads would refer to it as the next great depression). Good luck, do your due diligence and save big as I did.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I think and analysts agree that Chrysler, Ford and GM are all in serious trouble. Just like some of the biggest banks and insurance companies fell and some came close (hint to the wise - others may still and probably will fall) so will at least one of the big three automakers. They are all in worse shape than the banks and have been losing money for years prior to this latest economic downturn.
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Consumers are putting off any unnecessary purchases and are finding it very hard to get approved for credit except for those with exceptional AAA credit. The dark clouds, vultures and blow flies are circling Detroit and the big three. It is most likely inevitable that one will fall, but hard to tell which one will fall first. Will it be Chrysler? Without Iacocca they just haven't been the same. It's like Limp Biscuit without the biscuit, just limp.
Chrysler had some great times with the minivan and such, but it hasn't got much left. I think they will be first. GM has some serious problems and so does Ford with their finacial numbers and there are no profits at all. I wonder what kind of pay the executives are taking while their companies are outright falling hard? Well, only time will tell and soon.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I found the body shop most interesting as it was full of badly wrecked and recently new (2006 and newer luxury cars (BMW, Volvo, Porsche, Maserati and Mercedes Benz). While I waited for my car to get serviced and then inspected (what was funny here is that the inspection place was right next to the Eiuropean service center where my car was being worked on, but the owner said I would have to personally take my car over there when it was done because he and the inspection station owner did not get along). Anyways, As I walked around the body shop manager came out and we talked a little - apparently he was taking a break and had nothing better to do - neither did I as I was waiting for probably an hour or two for my car to be done.
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So we walked around his shop and I asked him about some of the vehicles in there. One was a Volvo that had obviously been hit really hard in the front. The frame was bashed in and so were the doors and even the left rear quarter and rear bumper and frame. Apparently this car got squished really bad. I asked him why this car was being fixed up as it was probably written off by the insurance company as a total wreck. He said these are his most profitable vehicles. He has an agreement with a local franchised new and used car dealer that buys these cars from customers and from salvage auctions for dirt cheap and then they haul them with a flat bed wrecker to him for repair.
The body shop man said within a few weeks they look as good as new and the used/new car dealer just sells them back to customers for big profits. According to the bodyshop guy, he also makes out very well due to this and so he recently increased his hourly labor charge 10 dollars because he could. I asked him is these cars were properly titled in the state for salvage and rebuilt. He said he had no idea what the car dealer did with them or if the eventual buyers even knew these cars were previously involved in a serious accident and deemed a total wreck by the insurance companies. He said most likely they didn't know or didn't care. Just goes to show that you need to do a used car VIN (vehicle identification number check) like Car Fax or Experian Autocheck prior to buying any used vehicle.
Not only could Gustav become a category 4 prior to entering the Gulf of Mexico, but it could even strengthen and enlargen more through the gulf. Then it is projected to barrel down near New Orleans and Louisiana. This is an area that still hasn't fully recovered from the last one - Katrina. The city of New Orleans and the surrounding area are mostly very low lying lands or even under sea level. Last time a major hurricane hit this area, the resulting floods ruined hundreds of thousands of cars and many of those have ended up back on the streets with little to show their previous flood history.
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Flood cars are very dangerous because the water damage will cause corrosion of parts that are internal and are not meant to be exposed to the elements. These parts can easily include hoses, electrical lines, etc... The problem with flood cars is that things will break down and go wrong and usually when you least expect them too. What happens if you are driving down the road and all of a sudden your brakelights stop working due to an electrical short caused by frayed or corroded wires? What if your headlights stop working at night due to a similar electrical glitch?
That could easily result in a terrible accident.
These things and more occur quite often with previously flooded cars so they must be avoided. By purchasing a CarFax or Experian auto check one can better find out the vehicles history and avoid flood damaged vehicles. Now with Hurricane Gustav barreling down on the same area there will inevitably be another resulting sharp increase in flood damaged vehicles being resold and buyers being left out as to the vehicles true history. A CarFax is essential to any buyer of a used car or truck.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Cloudy headlights make it hard to see at night!
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Sunday, August 24, 2008
Does this car look hot or stolen to you? At least it's on jacks and not on milk crates or rocks. I would include the rest of the craigslist listing, but I cannot seem to find it. Maybe it has already been flagged off or something.