Let's just say after a little instance a few weeks ago, I am not happy dealing with mechanics. The reputation mechanics have for taking advantage of young, single women who know nothing about cars must have some truth to it, otherwise it wouldn't be part of their reputation.
As a female, I am missing the gene that says, "Cars are cool!" But I may have to just resist my urge to throw up or fall asleep and learn about them so no mechanic will pull a fast one on me. Now don't worry, this isn't going to end in a big sob story like what happened on August 12. I walked away today only paying $24.57.
Like most things I buy, I shop around for an oil change. I've usually stuck with Midas but now that I'm in a big city and have lots of choices, I decided to call a few places up this morning and see what their prices are. For $40, Jiffy Lube will change your oil and vacuum your floors and wash the windows. My floors are in great need of being vacuumed, but not for $40. Midas didn't answer the phone 15 minutes prior to opening, so they're out. And Jeff told me Firestone had a $10 coupon. I called Firestone. You get an oil change for $29.99 (minus the $10). So I print the coupon and drive over.
On the phone they told me it takes 10 minutes to change the oil. But when I get there they must be busy because they say 45-60 min. I wait. I brought my book, but it's hard to read when Veggie Tales is playing loudly on the TV. First he says he recommends the high mileage oil change because I have like 136,000 miles on my car. It's $10 more. I think. Hmm... I've always gotten normal oil changes before. Maybe he's trying to mess with me. He says it's better for my car. "Well, this time let's just do the normal and maybe next time I'll get the high mileage. (Right.)"
Finally the guy comes out and says they are almost done and goes over the list of things they checked. He said my tie rod is loose (not a safety issue yet) and my parking lights (apparently 3 corner lights) are out (not a big deal unless a cop wants to be a jerk). He gives me some paper work that lists all of their "Recommended Services" I had denied:
- Steering and Suspension
Tie Rod, Inner (Parts 74.99/Labor 123.00)
- Lamps, Bulbs, Flashers and Switches
Mini Lamps, small bulbs (Qty. 3/Parts 11.98/Labor 12.99)
- Standard Balance & Rotation (All 4)
Wheel balance parts (Qty. 4/Parts 2.99/Labor 7.00)
- High Mileage Oil Change
High Mileage Seal, Oil Filter (Parts 28.99/Labor 13.50)
Lifetime Alignment Service (Labor 149.99)
System Cleaner (Parts 39.99/Labor 50.00)
- Ignition Parts
Fuel Filter, platinum plugs, ignition wire set (Parts 100.97/Labor 254.20)
- PCV Valve (Parts 9.99/Labor 9.00)
Total Labor: 726.64
Shop Supplies: 25.00
Tax (9.25%): 97.11
Ha! Are you kidding me? My car isn't even worth that much. Fortunately my tires are still in good condition so I don't need to replace those yet. The crazy part to me is that 63% of the bill is labor. The paperwork says labor is $82.00/hr. Sheesh! Is that normal?
I need to find a local mechanic who doesn't have to pay up to a corporation. Any of you Nashville people know of anyone?