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MetroMPG 12-30-2008 10:09 AM

After seeing what "regular" people pay for repairs, glad I can fix my own car
I was reminded recently how freaking expensive cars are if you don't know how to diagnose & repair them yourself...

A friend of the family called me a couple of days ago because her car (2001 Pontiac Sunfire / Chevy Cavalier clone) wouldn't start. Would I come over with some jumper cables, she asked. "I think my battery is dead."

When I got there she mentioned that her lights had gone dim driving the car home the evening before, so right away I suspect she's got a bad alternator AND a worn out battery (date on it shows it's 5 years old). Plugging the ScanGauge in her car confirms the system voltage is already below 12.6 and falling while the car idles, after jumping it.

Figuring I'll save her the towing costs, I put a charger on the battery and say I'll be back later to follow her to her independent repair shop.

Turns out the towing would have been the least of her concerns!

She showed me the repair bill today. The total was just over $600 (Canadian pesos) for name brand parts: alternator ($250, lifetime warranty) and battery ($140, 3 years). $140 for labour, and taxes on top of everything.

I know there's nothing remarkable about this story. But I've been maintaining and repairing my own vehicles long enough that I was shocked at being reminded what it must cost the average person to own a car.

Frank Lee 12-30-2008 10:15 AM

:eek: !!!

That's just nuts. No wonder I have a steady stream of people wanting to tap into my nearly free repair services.

Saw a TV commercial the other day advertising car warranties. They were saying "$800 alternators, $3500 transmissions, blah blah blah" and I was nearly ROFLMFAO! Maybe it's true??? I dunno. Haven't had a garage do anything substantial for me in over 20 years.

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