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Can anyone tell me if I got ripped off by mechanic?


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02-25-04, 05:30 PM   #1  
sshiraki1
Can anyone tell me if I got ripped off by mechanic?

I'm new to this board. I know this is not a fix it yourself question (although that's why I joined it so that I could learn how to do some of these things). I just took my car in today to get the wheel alignment done (pulling to the left) and when I went back to pick it up the Goodyear mechanic told me that I needed to get my car's front struts replaced because they were bad and would cause the tires to get misaligned again within one month if not fixed. After some negotiating, he agreed to charge me $260 to replace the front struts. This was $40 off his original quote of $300. The struts came with a lifetime warranty.

My first question is, is this a valid problem or is the mechanic making it up? Second question, was I ripped off on the price? What is a good price to pay if serviced by a mechanic?

 
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02-25-04, 06:14 PM   #2  
well, I can tell you that the price was fair. As far as the need, need never gave us any info as to the make, model, mileage condition of old struts. It sounds like the need may have been a little exagerated but if you car had over 80K, you will benefit from them.

 
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02-25-04, 09:37 PM   #3  
sshiraki1
Desi501,
Thanks for your input. From your response, it sounds like I got a fair deal then. My car is a '99 Toyota Corolla and has 73,000 miles on it.

Thank you!

 
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02-26-04, 06:27 AM   #4  
It is very unusual to replace struts on a Toyota at that mileage. They start to show signs of weaking around 150k-200k.

It is very easy to test the struts/shocks......Bounce each corner of the vehicle, after you let go it should basically rebound back and stop. If it continues to oscillate after you let go they are bad. Or if they make noise internally or they are leaking.

I see a couple of cars every year that just came from the tire/undercar specialty store that were told they needed struts. I have never verified a strut bad that they claim was no good. Some times these cars are low mileage or just barely over warrantee.

Did you notice prior to the replacement poor ride like when you hit a dip in the road the car keep bouncing? I don't see how a bad strut would cause the aligment to go out after a month.

 
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02-26-04, 10:16 AM   #5  
sshiraki1
Hi Larry,
Thanks for that very helpful piece of information. Actually, I never remember the car bouncing much at all after going through a dip. From what you are saying, it sounds like I have been duped and they were just selling me a story to make more $$!! What a painful lesson to learn. I'll be sure to post here before I make any decisions regarding a mechanic's recommendation. Thank you very much!

Scott

 
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02-26-04, 10:40 AM   #6  
I would in the future not consider that shop for repairs. Post back here for any advise about any problems you may have.

 
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02-26-04, 11:09 AM   #7  
Toyataman, I'm afraid I have to disagree a little here. Although his struts were probably not all that weak, we have a difference of opinion here. All struts go through a gradual deterioration that starts about 50K. There are varied professional opinions on when and how bad they have to be to be changed. What you described in your bouncing technique was a totally blown out strut. An equal comparisan between a strut with 100K on it and a new aftermarket strut would be quite different in their ability to maintain height stability. Aftermarket struts are manufactured quite differently than OE and are usually much superior in bore size and valving thus give much more suspension stability and in turn maintaning alighnment settings better through turns with less body roll. While struts with 100K on them would not be considered "bad" or "shot", the car would realize handling and tire wear improvement by replacing them. I know dealerships are taught otherwise to avoid warranty issues but it's simply not that cut and dry.

 
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02-26-04, 11:47 AM   #8  
I think we going to have to agree to disagree.


Toyota OEM struts will outlast aftermarket replacements. We have changed aftermarket struts back to OEM because they were making noise (on a lot of those I wonder if they really needed to changed in the first place).

If they have different valving and bore size they would not be correct for the vehicle. Then you are changing the suspension characteristics that were designed into the vehicle (much the same as changing tire sizes or rim offsets). What happens when someone changes just the fronts and not the rears?

With the bounce test I can tell if a strut is becoming weak.

Bottom line here is IMO I think the poster paid for a set of struts he really didn't need..... Whats with explanation the alignment would only last a month?


I know dealerships are taught otherwise to avoid warranty issues but it's simply not that cut and dry.
In my many years working for dealerships I've never been taught to avoid warrantee issues. As long as there is a legitimate problem warrantee pays for it.

 
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02-26-04, 01:47 PM   #9  
Originally posted by toyotaman11769

With the bounce test I can tell if a strut is becoming weak.

Bottom line here is IMO I think the poster paid for a set of struts he really didn't need..... Whats with explanation the alignment would only last a month?
In my many years working for dealerships I've never been taught to avoid warrantee issues. As long as there is a legitimate problem warrantee pays for it.
You can't deny that through the years, there have been many confrontations with manufacturers concerning aftermarket parts and their quality......re Moss fergussion act.
I didn't say dealers teach you to avoid warranty, I said dealers instruct their people that shocks/struts have to be falling off the car to be considered faulty. That's simply not true. There are varying degrees of operation to a shock. It's long been known that manufacturers will build in "planned obsolescence" to many of their components for reasons of manufacturing cost. More control of suspension doesn't alter anything, merely give more control that original manufacturer didn't deem necessary. One of the other reasons for this is the fact that the only component on that car that the dealer is not responsible for is the tires and their people are never given extensive training in how to make a tire last longer. I know I will never convince you otherwise because that has always been the dealer stand on the subject of shocks and their continuing proper operation. I guess, as you say, we'll just agree to disagree because you are the most knowledgable person on this site when it comes to Toyotas but on this subject, on any brand vehicle I've seen the difference many, many times.

OH, and as for the statement about alignment, he was definately wrong.

 
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02-26-04, 05:09 PM   #10  
Desi,

I agree about Domestics planned obsolescence. Many years ago my first job was in a Chyrsler dealer and then I worked about 5 years in a Lincoln-Mercury store.

Shocks/struts on Domestics proberly not the best quality compared to Toyota.

It was normal for a Ford product to need ignition wires around 50-60k. A Toyota will need wires in 2-3x that mileage.

Hoses on domestic last some where around 50-75k. I have proberly seen a handfull of bad hoses on Toyotas. We don't stock any and I've seen 200k + cars with original hoses and they are still good.

I know all this seems like I'm one sided towards Toyota but my many years of experience with the product have conviced me. I used to be a diehard Ford person......Don't everone start throwing things! I still own two of them My restored '70 mach I and a '93 Mark VIII Lincoln that I can't pry the keys out my wifes hands (I enjoy driving it myself).

Majority of our work is service related(customer paid) with warrantee filling a small portion of it. I know my domestic counterparts can't say the same.We give as much warrantee work away as we legitimately can. Give the customer the benefit of doubt. It pays in customer loyalty and confidence. We can do this because our warrantee rate is low because we don't have big problems.

Shocks/ strut replacement for warrantee (or for that matter any part) is what any professional Technician would deem a failed part.

 
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02-27-04, 02:50 AM   #11  
Originally posted by toyotaman11769

Shocks/ strut replacement for warrantee (or for that matter any part) is what any professional Technician would deem a failed part.
That's basically what my point is. Shock/strut deterioration is so gradual that the "failure" point is far beyond the "peak performance" point. There ARE benefits to early replacement. I do get your point about Toyota quality vs others and I will say there is truth to that. Toyota does build a fine product.

 
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03-11-04, 11:42 AM   #12  
I asked a local mechanic to listen to a noise coming from the rear of my 2001 Nissan Maxima - 80k miles. Although I am not even sure if he heard it, he wanted to replace my struts. The idiot tried showing me the "bounce" on the front end. I informed him AGAIN it was the REAR where the noise was coming from. He then showed me the "bounce" in the rear. He wanted $350 for the rear struts.

Never replaced struts, but had the dealer replace the rear wheel bearing. Noise is gone, although it set me back $340. (Cheaper than the struts that I never needed!!)

I will never go back to THAT shop again!!

 
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