I got screwed at the auto repair shop, but what can you do.

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Dec 18, 2016
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Well a week and a half ago our 17 year old van had a brake caliper hanging up, no big deal, kind of aggravating because I just put reman calipers on 4 years and 35k miles ago, however the vehicle sits a lot and I attributed it to that. Locally the calipers are more than rock auto even if I didn't return the cores so I order them from rock auto. I start to pull the van around to disassemble everything in preparation for the parts arrival a day later and as Im pulling it around I smell a very strong fuel smell, I park it and fuel is pouring out from under the van. Ok, turns out its pressurized fuel, at first I thought the tank was leaking, luckily it was not.

So I lay there and start to think about pulling the tank down to see where the fuel is coming from since you couldn't tell. Its hot Im tired, I had enough and called a tow truck to tow it to a independent repair shop that gets many good reviews. Things have been breaking around here faster than I can fix them and its a bit overwhelming.

Long story short I have to approve the labor to remove the tank to inspect for the fuel leak, it was a pressurized fuel line leaking, possibly due to rodent damage. So I felt the labor was a bit high to remove the tank, and later on after calling the dealer confirmed it was 40 dollars more to R&R the tank at the shop than it was at the dealer to R&R the tank and replace a fuel pump....well what am I going to do have it towed somewhere else? Then they charged over 250 dollars to repair the fuel line hopefully in a professional manner.

I assume that the dealer would not have repaired the fuel line and required replacement, which if this is rodent damage insurance would have covered. This is up for consideration at this time what caused the failure.

Anyway what a frustrating experience, I should have just have had it towed to the dealer that I have used before for recalls and a timing belt job and have found to do good work at a reasonable price for a dealer.

But what the heck can you do. Lesson learned I guess, I will consider trying another shop next time that people like, but they like this one too! I just feel like they bent me over a barrel, or am I just that out of touch with what auto repair costs in 2021?

Fwiw I am a former ASE Certified Master Tech with dealership experience, I have always done my own work except for the timing belt job, which was done at the dealer for a good price and I believe they actually changed it, because that thought crossed my mind!

I am actually embarrassed we paid so much but what the heck, I would have had more in towing costs than I would have likely saved to bring it somewhere else, and what if the next place was even worse?

Next time ill just drop the tank myself, I feel like I probably dropped over 100 tanks or more in my lifetime most of the time with the benefit of a lift and a trans jack. Im getting too old for it though.

Of course now I am concerned we will have an evap code or something after the repair. Wouldn't that be great.

And P.S. Yes I know you can get towing coverage on your insurance and it costs next to nothing and its the last great bargain of our lifetimes, ,I had it at one time. When I needed it before it was useless because of the stipulations so I canceled it. I save 60 a year not having it for the past 5 years, Believe me I am ahead even if I would have paid for a tow to another shop. I dont believe they would even cover a second tow anyhow.
 
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Joined
Feb 8, 2019
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My Rule: if it fails at home, it should get fixed at home.
Shops are all over the place as far as repair costs. i.e. some want to install a complete cat-back exhaust, some will happily mount a split-flange repair & charge maybe 15% of what the first shop demanded. Shop around or take your punishment.
 

5AcresAndAFool

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My Rule: if it fails at home, it should get fixed at home.
Shops are all over the place as far as repair costs. i.e. some want to install a complete cat-back exhaust, some will happily mount a split-flange repair & charge maybe 15% of what the first shop demanded. Shop around or take your punishment.
But how do you shop around when you dont know what the problem is?
 
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But how do you shop around when you dont know what the problem is?
true, true. If the owner is currently overwhelmed, getting it to the people you have used previously is the smart move.
Nothing worse than a fuel leakage/vapor problem, I'm getting a headache just thinking about it. That stuff can be VERY uncomfortable work,
on your back with no lift, even more so. edit: If you are still $ ahead handing it off, more power to you.
 
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Ahh dropping fuel tanks. I've had 1 fuel pump go out and of course required the fuel tank be dropped and of course it was in my 2003 Denali Yukon with the 32 gallon tank that I had just filled up. 🙄 That tank was over 5 foot long and luckily I was able to get a low profile jack and piece of plywood to lower it.
But as to your situation that is a tough one. Well regarded shop what can you do?
 
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I’m convinced all auto repairs at a shop are expensive, but I just consider it a “I don’t have to deal with it/convenience fee” type of thing… to replace the fuel pump in my Durango cost $1,000. The factory dual exhaust system, rear drive shaft, and tank all need to be dropped to get at it.
 

5AcresAndAFool

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I will also say I understand all the shops are very busy, and a fuel line repair should pay good due to liability and such. I dont know, maybe I'm just out of touch.
 

5AcresAndAFool

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I’m convinced all auto repairs at a shop are expensive, but I just consider it a “I don’t have to deal with it/convenience fee” type of thing… to replace the fuel pump in my Durango cost $1,000. The factory dual exhaust system, rear drive shaft, and tank all need to be dropped to get at it.
Yes, I remember the old mn12 Thunderbirds required alot of component removal to get the tank out.

I dont believe even with the awd dropping the tank was anything overly complex on this van judging by the dealer quote to r&r the tank. It didn't look like you had to remove the drive shaft or anything.
 
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So what if you got screwed ? What can you do, demand they lower their charges ? All you can do now is take your business elsewhere.... You can't even bad-mouth this shop because you agreed to the charges.
 
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Next time ill just drop the tank myself, I feel like I probably dropped over 100 tanks or more in my lifetime most of the time with the benefit of a lift and a trans jack. Im getting too old for it though.
Saying you're too old is not a valid excuse unless you're disabled in some physical way. I mean, if it takes you twice as long as it did 20 years ago, so what? If a dealer charges $150 and hour, it's like you're getting paid $75 an hour for working on your car. At least you could afford the repair, overpriced as it may have been. Many people can't afford it AND don't have the knowledge to DIY it. Then they are really stuck.
 
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Ahh dropping fuel tanks. I've had 1 fuel pump go out and of course required the fuel tank be dropped and of course it was in my 2003 Denali Yukon with the 32 gallon tank that I had just filled up. 🙄 That tank was over 5 foot long and luckily I was able to get a low profile jack and piece of plywood to lower it.
But as to your situation that is a tough one. Well regarded shop what can you do?

I have to drop the tank on my Cherokee for the 3rd time in 3 years. I had to take it out in late 2018 to do some welding on the unibody. Thought I should replace the fuel pressure regulator but I didn't. Good thing I didn't, a few months later I caught a branch with the driveshaft and it swung up and broke the regulator off - sprayed gas everywhere. Dropped it again to replace the regulator. Now the check valve in the regulator has failed so it has to come down for yet another regulator.
 
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it is what it is!!! everything costs more today + depending on your area prices vary a LOT!! i am also older + recently had a clutch job done on my 2011 Fronty, lots of stuff in the way + 4x4 truck stuff is heavier, luckily i am in a small town + deal with an honest reasonable shop, $400 labor + i bought the parts!!! i am a happy shifter now!!! aftermarket single mass fly + clutch etc delivered was a G, but surely cheaper than any slushbox repair!!
 
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I manage a small retail garage. I’m sorry you will be offended, but I am SO tired of ‘mechanics’ - backyard or professional, telling me how much a job should cost.
$700 doesn’t sound unreasonable for a tank drop/fuel line repair, it isn’t easy work. If it was, you would have done it, but you didn’t - why, because it is hard. Hard costs money.
 
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I manage a small retail garage. I’m sorry you will be offended, but I am SO tired of ‘mechanics’ - backyard or professional, telling me how much a job should cost.
$700 doesn’t sound unreasonable for a tank drop/fuel line repair, it isn’t easy work. If it was, you would have done it, but you didn’t - why, because it is hard. Hard costs money.
I think this is a valid point. Not to say that a good shop should blatantly overcharge, but if the only job you've ever brought to their doorstep is a pain in the behind, I don't blame them for being on the high end of normal pricing.

I wonder if this job would have had a different price attached if you had been to the shop for easier maintenance-type work in the past?
 

5AcresAndAFool

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Saying you're too old is not a valid excuse unless you're disabled in some physical way. I mean, if it takes you twice as long as it did 20 years ago, so what? If a dealer charges $150 and hour, it's like you're getting paid $75 an hour for working on your car. At least you could afford the repair, overpriced as it may have been. Many people can't afford it AND don't have the knowledge to DIY it. Then they are really stuck.
You know what, I work in 100 degree heat all day, out in the sun and elements doing physical work, the washer was broken awaiting a pump, my other car needs a few things done, the van needed brakes, my mon needs a water softner, the mower needed a spindle, I obviously could have done the job but it was worth my money to pay to have it done. I just want to pay a fair price, maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But it's fixed.

When I was 20 I had alot more energy. So yes I am too old lol. I was too old that day anyway.
 

5AcresAndAFool

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I manage a small retail garage. I’m sorry you will be offended, but I am SO tired of ‘mechanics’ - backyard or professional, telling me how much a job should cost.
$700 doesn’t sound unreasonable for a tank drop/fuel line repair, it isn’t easy work. If it was, you would have done it, but you didn’t - why, because it is hard. Hard costs money.
Lol, buddy I have 10 years of master tech experience, L1 ASE master tech. I'm no backyard mechanic. I'm not saying it was too much, I was just looking for input. Fact is the "stealership" as people like to call them would have charged less labor to r&r the tank. Now they probably wouldn't have fixed the line and had more cost. Honestly dropping a tank that is 1/4 full isnt that hard of a job with a air operated trans jack and a 2 post lift on most vehicles. Maybe it is ob this one, it dont look like it
 
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