Mechanic charging for diagnostics?

If they are going to charge unreasonable cost, DIY baby. DIY.
We have been fixing our own cars for 50 years

Here a question - is it knocking?

NO? clean ternimal and re-make the connexion.

Code comes back? You have a harness issue or a sensor issue.

Harness too hard to diagnose? Replace the sensor; it's usually somewhat accessible

Might thread into a water jacket though - be cautious

Use recommended sealant if any and torque to spec.

I do mine a bit under - it raises the threshold where it would pull timing.

- Ken

Is engine knocking? Yes
Isolate cause of engine noise.
If you DIY, use only Honda OEM replacement. There are a ton of fakes.
I thought it wouldn't be hard to build an aftermarket one, but the piezo element and the cavity its mounted in are tuned to react at a specific frequency. The aftermarket will sell you one that isn't a correct match. Also, if the pigtail to the sensor is replaceable, replace it.
It does. Because the diag fee from an Eric O type is going to pretty much guarantee that what is replaced is actually bad and not a wiring issue / grounds issue / etc.

If it's a regular shop just plugging in a scanner and firing up the parts cannon, then it's possible you're not getting the problem fixed.
So you agree that the result is ultimately what matters. 👍
Only paid for work twice in the last 10 years - both times I just told them - please replace X (once was a heater core, once was the entire timing chain setup). I paid only for the work and parts as asked, no diagnostic. If it didn't fix my problem - then shame on me.

Did you ask them to fix your car, or did you tell them you wanted your knock sensor replaced? Diagnostics cost money, so they have a right to charge for it.

I admittedly haven't been to a shop in a long time outside of warranty.
The owner has invested tens of thousands in tools and has years of experience.
Pay the man and throw in an extra $20 to buy lunch for the crew. Shake his hand and say thank you. Just my 2 cents.
Which by now has most likely be depreciated down to $0. IJS.

But ya it takes time to properly diag an issue and nobody is short of work in Chicagoland.
Diagnosis is half the game in repairs. when they charge for diagnosis, you filter out the freeloaders that would come in and you figure out want is wrong and then go home and fix it themselves .
This made me think of something else.

The two repair shops I normally deal with are usually running at capacity and their average customer tenure is decades.

All the ones I have called in the last day or two, have next day appointments and are getting a lot of their business through coupon driven advertisement. Guessing they get a lot more people who walk away without getting the repairs done.
My local guy charges a diag fee if I don’t have him do the actual repair. If he does the repair as well, he considers that part of what he was going to have to do anyways and does not “add” that to the total. Just a plain diag fee is 1 hour labor, or $65 in my case. If I’ve made the diagnosis and simply want him to change parts, I get charged book time for the R&R and any parts I supply are my responsibility if there’s any warranty issues. I’m good with all that.

I have never paid for a diagnostic on a car that I wanted to have repaired. I can honestly say though that I have never brought a car in just to have them tell me what the problem was. If I am going through the hassle of bringing the car down to the shop and dropping it off, I want it ready to go when I pick it up again.
So you agree that the result is ultimately what matters. 👍
But how many trips does it take to get that result?

I had an old Taurus that pinged awfully. It had a LOT of work done under warranty to stop the pinging. The dealer even agreed something was wrong.

Eventually it threw and EGR code and they cannoned a DFPE sensor at it and it was good. An actual diagnostics shop would have been able to take a look at fuel trims, egr and all sorts of stuff to fix it the first time without costing Ford thousands in warranty work and me many trips to the dealer to stop the pinging.
Wanted to get some opinions here to see if I'm crazy or not.

I have a 2006 Honda CRV and deal with an independent mechanic and have a backup for when the primary is booked up. Both of them are backed up for weeks.

It is a throwing a P0325 knock sensor code and I need it fixed before my kid takes it back to college with him. So I start calling around and every place I talk to wants $150-$200 in diagnostic fees to even look at it without any of that cost going towards the repair. While I appreciate that they spend time for diagnostics and many times the customer will choose not to get the repair done, an hour or more of labor seems excessive. I've been getting cars repaired for more than 30 years and have never paid for someone to just look at a car.

Is this the new normal or have I just been lucky for 30 years?
It's to prevent people from getting a free diagnostic, and then going somewhere else for a cheaper repair.

A real diagnostic is more than just plugging in the OBD-II scanner and replace what it says, the OBD-II tells you the symptom, but a trustworthy mechanic uses that piece of info to trace and makes sure what the real problem is. It could be something as simple as a damaged connector.
Brakes and steering/suspension are generally done at no charge, that's easy gravy work. Anything drivability is generally billed hourly.
I always charged a diagnostic fee for plumbing issues. Most of the time i would tell the customer that he would get a percentage of the diagnostic fee applied to the job if he had me do it within two weeks or so.
If I have ever had a drivability issue I couldn't figure out I have always payed a diagnostic fee. You have to pay for their time and the amount of years they have spent troubleshooting to get to a point where it is easy for them to figure out the problem.

It has been a long time since I have had to use a shop, or repair any of my stuff except the Buick. Around here labor rates are any where from 130 to 200 bucks an hour. Seems reasonable to me to charge that for a diagnosis without repair. Maybe I am bias as I spend my time troubleshooting faults on submarines.
Just like the guys that do Kitchen and Bath design, they charge for the work. Because people would take their layout and get someone else to do the work. So now they charge $150+ that's taken off the bill if they get the job. There's a guy on YT I think he's called the Car Wizard out of the Mid-West that posted a video a few months ago that he's no longer working on really old cars like those built the 1950's-1970's . He was spending so much time hunting down parts that he was losing his butt on the job. Try telling a customer I have to add in $700 -$800 to your bill for my time searching for almost non existent parts for your car.
It's very reasonable for a shop to have a charge on labor for any diagnostic work. Many times the diagnostic fee is waived if you proceed with the repairs.
Last time I paid for diagnostics was about 15 years ago. Ford dealer scoped my car and confirmed what I suspected - I had a bad valve. That setup was very difficult to do a blead down test on. Not sure what there scope told them but there diagnostic was correct. There solution was a new engine, and mine was a rebuilt head, so I paid them for their diagnostic - which IIRC was 1 hour shop time plus a shop fee, etc. and went on my way. I felt treated fairly - they did what I asked.
Think about this scenario: you take it in for diagnosis. Lets say he does everything 100% by the book to diagnose the issue and has 2 hours in it. He quotes the repair and now that you know what the issue is you decline the repair and choose to either fix yourself or live with it. That technician generated no revenue for 2 hours using thousands of dollars of equipment and tools to diagnose the car. That bay generated no revenue while the vehicle was sitting in it. This doesn't even include the hours and dollars spent on training and experience to allow him to do what he does.

I'm a firm believer that every bay needs to be generating dollars during normal business hours. Primarily because of what I posted above.