New customers will often ask us how our prices compare to the dealer.   People seem to think auto repair is like buying a new car.   If your buying a car, your biggest concern is the price.   If one dealer is willing to sell the exact same car for a lower price, that’s the one people choose.
People assume if they have a estimate for a repair, they can price shop for the lowest price.   There is just one tiny problem with this line of thinking.  How the heck do you know that’s the real problem?   “So ‘n so told me this is the problem.”   (We know this one by heart.)   “What if that doesn’t fix the problem?”   Click.
A recent new customer was a perfect example.  His car had the “Check Engine Light” on and he was told it needed a $2000 Catalytic Converter.  Sure enough, the fault code was for “catalytic converter efficiency”.   However, here’s what trips people up.   A new Catalytic Converter will temporarily resolve the “Check Engine Light”.   Six months to a year later, the Check Engine Light would be back on.   Six months from now, do you really think So ‘n so will fess up and admit the Catalytic Converter was a waste of money?   You don’t actually know what’s wrong, so you’ll have to listen to another excuse.   “We need to run fuel injection cleaner through the system.”    Great fun isn’t it?   All the while, the real problem is staring them in the face.   In this case, the real problem was a torn diaphram in the Oil Separator.   A torn diaphram allows motor oil to be sucked into the exhaust.   Oil coats the Catalytic Converter with sludge and reduces its efficiency.   As soon as your new Catalytic Converter falls below 92% efficiency, on goes the Check Engine Light again.  There is no fault code for a leaking Oil Separator.   When people ask how our prices compare, they think they’re comparing a price to fix their car.   In reality, they’re not comparing anything.   They’re simply asking for a meaningless number.   This is just one of many repairs that takes years of experience to recognize.   What does a leaking Oil Separator look like?  If you see oil leaking from the Crankcase Vent hoses or the air intake tubes, that’s a major clue.   Only air should be in those hoses and if they’re seeping oil, something is causing the oil to be there.   In this case, a new $160 Oil Separator allowed the original Catalytic Converter to clean itself up and return to normal operation.
People calling around for the cheapest price don’t have the patience to listen to a different possibility.   They know the price of everything and the value of nothing!