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Why is Car Repair so Expensive?

By Edited Aug 20, 2016 0 2

People spend a lot of money on car repairs every year, sometimes even more than the cost of buying the actual car. Most consumers take the expensiveness of car repair as a fact, without questioning why they have to fork over so much money every time a part breaks down. Having some knowledge of how the auto service industry works can help you understand your car repair costs and in turn find ways of bringing them down a bit.

The Labor
A good chuck of every car repair bill is for the labor. You are not paying just for the car parts needed for a particular job (which are sometime pretty cheap) but also for the time and effort taken by the mechanics to complete the job. In fact, in many cases labor constitutes most of the bill. The price of labor, however, varies a lot from car shop to car shop. Some will charge you $80 an hour or more for major repairs, but others might charge only $60 an hour or maybe even less. It never hurts to shop around before making your final decision.

But there is one thing to remember: if your car breaks down in the middle of the road and you pull into a roadside mechanic, expect the bill to be higher than usual. In such a situation, you are not only paying for parts and labor, but also for convenience. It's the same as when you buy food at concerts or conventions.

The Cost of Auto Parts
Buying car parts directly from the auto shop is expensive because auto shops are looking to make a profit. Sometimes, the parts sold there will be marked up considerably, up to 30% above MSRP or more. Also, if you own an old, vintage or luxury car, your parts, because they are harder to come by and often available only through the manufacturer, will be more expensive. A good way to save some money is to ask your mechanic to tell you what parts, specifically, will be needed for the job. Write them down and look for them at discount prices online. Order them and when they come in, bring them to the shop and ask the mechanics to use these for the job.

Basic Maintenance
Doing basic car maintenance yourself will save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run. Simple procedures, like changing your car's oil, are easy to learn and take little time to perform. You can even find detailed DIY car repair articles online. Car repair in San Diego can get expensive, but for great service and deals there are great places to check out in the area.



Nov 15, 2009 11:01pm
Just remember that when you take the part that you purchase to the shop for them to install they will not warranty that part. If it fails within the warranty period you will have to pay to have them remove the part and have you return it for another part and then you will have to pay the shop to install the new part. You will in effect be paying for the same repair twice. Whereas if you let the shop buy the part it, along with the labor will be covered by the shop. This will save you a lot of money in the long run. These days a lot of shops will not allow you to bring your own parts. Only one shop that I have worked at allowed this. (A little known secret...when you bring your own parts the shop will increase the labor price and/or time to make up the difference. You come out a lot cheaper letting them buy the part for you).
Jul 30, 2010 12:17am
I agree - I think a big part of the total cost of maintaining a car and doing repairs is the labor costs. Sometimes, that's nearly half of my bill! Luckily, I've found an affordable (and reliable) place in Austin that's great. If you're in the area, check out Leonard's Garage at http://www.leonardsgarageandmuffler.com
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