September 14, 2011

My Frugal Sins : I didn't shop around for Car services

I just got off the phone with the buy from the Toyota shop.   The car has been due for maintenance and it had the engine light on for a while which I'd neglected.   I knew the engine light was an oxygen sensor since I had that checked for free at Autozone one time.   However the car was also leaking a fluid this afternoon so I figured I had enough reasons to stop procrastinating and get the thing serviced.    I took the car in and he figured the leak was just water condensing off the AC which they did confirm.   But they also found that my breaks were in need of new pads which is no surprise to me since I haven't had that done and I've put about 40,000 miles on it.  

The total bill was just about $1,200 which is itemized as follows:
120,000 mile service = $600
Oxygen Sensor = $325
Front Break Pads = $250
Wipers = $25

I went ahead and had them do it.   Then I got that fear that I'd just casually agreed to over pay for services without shopping around.   I know I should shop around for this kind of stuff.   But sometimes my own lazyiness and ease of just going with the shop I took it to wins over and like today I just go with the easy route.   

So I went to repairpal.com and got estimates for how much the services in question would cost : 

120,000 mile service = $580 to $864

Front Break Pads = $147 to $195
Oxygen Sensor = $244 to $412

For all three items the total range of prices in my area would be $971 to $1471.

My bill of $1200 is in the middle of that range.   Thankfully I didn't grossly over pay and I don't feel I am getting ripped off or anything as I feared.  Thats a relief.   But its just as likely that I would have at a shop wanting to charge me several hundred more than the average prices.    If you don't shop around then you run the risk of ending up at the highest priced service.

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