Friday, March 23, 2007

Miscellany: Car Maintenance

My sister's RX300 has a problem. The "check engine" light is flashing on and off, and there's a subtle vibration (more of a pulse) that can be felt from the steering wheel when the car is stopped at a red light. According to the code, it's two misfiring cylinders, and Clyde's Tire & Brake tells me that replacing an ignition coil, $170 each for the part.

That seems pretty darn high to me, so I leave the car with them and search the net. Sure enough, you can find these coils on the Web for ~$90 apiece. I even called JM Lexus, the freaking dealer, and they can replace all six coils for $700. Now, I understand mechanics have to turn a profit, but a near-100 percent markup on ordered parts smells kind of fishy to me.

I suppose since I've already left the car at Clyde's and since they've allegedly already ordered the parts, there's not much I can do. The mechanic in charge, when questioned, claims he doesn't know why the parts are so expensive, nor what the price will eventually be when he gets them in hand (whatever that means).

Well, if the outcome eventually turns out to be sour, I won't be going back there again.


At 3:02 PM, Blogger B&N said...

That markup percentage you mention is pretty standard practice on parts.

I ran counter at an auto parts store when I was in college, for five years, and most shops get a discounted price for their parts and then charge "List price", while Joe Blow Walk-in can come in and get the same part for marginally more than the shop price.

Just another way of making a quick dollar for the shop and owner.

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course mechanics will make a profit from you.That is why you should search for reputated and well trusted auto service shops to do the repair for you,that is you can't DIY.


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