There is a difference between a shop being expensive for the sake of quality and then there's being overly expensive for the sake of a rip off. I've been at jobs and have friends at jobs that play the rip off game so I know how it's played. This is lengthy, but a lot went wrong so at least read some of this to save yourself from a crooked business. I came in for the first time after receiving a flyer in the mail some months back and I saw that the shop has a 5 star rating on Yelp (although if I would've combed through and read the 1 star reviews I would've avoided going.) I needed an oil change, a complete inspection and to have my A/C checked out. First thing that they did that is clearly wrong was they did the jobs WITHOUT quoting me a price first! Even Big O Tires has a policy in place to do this! I guess it's partially my fault for not asking but I'm not used to having to ask and I should've have to. But I can see why they didn't tell communicate the cost and you will too. The second thing that was clearly wrong is the cost of my transmission flush: $497.84! When I heard this, I pointed out that a quick internet search said that a flush could be up to $250. This was double. The man helping me, Victor, blinked a lot (which is something liars do) as he went into his wordy explanations. He said there is a difference between a change and a flush. I said, I know the difference and I looked up FLUSH costs. He then said the cost was so high due to the transmission fluid being $300 because it's a special for Toyotas. Well, I called a Toyota parts department and asked the price for transmission fluid for a 2009 Corolla for a guy off the street. He said $10.49 per quart. Transmission flushes can take up to 16 quarts to complete so after doing the math plus tax, the price is nowhere NEAR $300 and this is calculating the worst case scenario. The dealership would've done my flush for $238 total! I kept complaining about the price and nothing was being done until I said, "isn't there anything you can do?" He gave me a hundred dollars off and acted like it was a hush-hush good deal. C'mon man, do I really look that stupid? Next is the extremely questionable scenario involving my A/C. First of all, they charged $180 just to see what was wrong (well kind of found what was wrong, more on that later). For a cost comparison, I called Auto Doctor, another local mechanic on the pricey end with a good reputation. They quoted me $130, $50 less! Anyways, they did the diagnosis and said that someone has added a quick fix kit and the whole A/C system was compromised. He said it would cost $4,000 something to replace! The only problem is I'd only taken it to the dealership and never had A/C problems before. I called the dealership and there was no record of A/C repairs so was darn near impossible that quick fix has been added. Once I said there was no way I'd ever pay $4000 for a new A/C, he started backtracking on the price. He said, "that's worse case scenario and once we open it up, we may see that we don't need to replace everything." Open it up? Isn't that what I paid $180 for?? Finally, I said "since I can't afford a $4000 job, I guess I'll have to resort to a quick fix kit. Can you recommend one?" Victor said he would ask his mechanic the next day and call me. He said I was "first on the list." Can you guess what happens next? Yup, he NEVER CALLED. Maybe the fact that I came in wearing my work clothes (polo and khakis) made them think I was some hot shot business man or tech worker with money to blow and no time to do research, but they were sadly mistaken. Never have I felt so taken advantage of by a business in my life! Note: the reply below doesn't address the biggest red flags. NOT telling me the cost before doing the job, overcharging GROSSLY for fluid and NOT returning my call when they said I'd be "first thing." Please explain that sir
Transmission flush costs vary based upon the methods used. Everyone does it differently, many shops use the job as a loss leader, but we do not. As far as the A/C system goes, we identify refrigerant quality and test for sealer. Your system tested as pure R134a, but also had air. This suggests it's been recharged before, which is automatically a red flag. For this reason, we tested for system sealer, and it tested positive for sealer. Once sealer is found in the system , we can not connect our recovery and recycling equipment to it. Since the sealer hardens in the presence of air, once the system is opened, the sealer will be hard to clean out. ONE speck of dirt in an AC system will render it useless. For this reason, we can't accurately determine costs before disassembly, so we must estimate for the worst case scenario.
- Wright's Automotive Service