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2000 Toyota Corolla Question: Why big gap between web estimator and mechanic quote? why they keep alternator?

 

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BCinChicago, Chicago, IL, April 19, 2012, 18:00
 Rookie

I used the repairpal estimator: alternator part $235-319 and labor $53-67. Mechanic quoted $185 new alternator, labor of 1.5 hours for $144. Should I have kept shopping around? or told them an alternator shouldn't require 1.5 hours?

When I asked to keep the failed alternator (thinking I could get some money for it), they said the manufacturer needs it back; otherwise they'd have to charge me for it. Huh?

Does that mean I got a remanufactured unit? Invoice says the part is "new" and has this description "LES-13787N". Mechanic said it's OEM.

Finally, with the rest of work done, I was billed 3 hours labor. But, my car was in and out in 1.5 hours. I don't understand this.

Any advice for future reference? Thanks.

3 Answers
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  • Answer #1

    One Stop Auto from One Stop Auto Parts & Service Center, April 19, 2012, 21:05
     Enthusiast

    What did he bill you another 1.5 hours for? Didn't he show you an estimate before the work was completed. The reason he kept the alternator is because he has to return it as a core to the place he bought the new alternator from. Keeping parts for cores is a common practice, but he should be able to show you your old part to at least inspect. I still don't understand how he bumped the hours up to 3 after he quoted you 1.5 hours. Please explain more.

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    BCinChicago, April 20, 2012, 09:05
     Rookie

    Thanks for reply: what I meant is that 1.5 was the estimate for alternator. The other 1.5 was for spark plugs and adjusting and cleaning rear brakes. Total of 3 for the estimate. But I couldn't help noticing the car was only in the garage for 1.5 hours total, maybe 1.7 hours tops. I didn't challenge it at the time of pick up. Would that have gotten me anywhere?

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  • Answer #2

    Greg's Orange Auto (12947 Answers) , Orange, CA - (714) 361-9386
    globalhelper April 20, 2012, 06:24
     Master

    THE MECH NEEDS A CORE IF ITS R/B BUT NEW ALT HAVE NO CORE VALUE. SOUNDS LIKE MAYBE HE WANTS IT OR HE SOLD U A REBUILT AS NEW. THAT WOULD BE WRONG. THE LABOR SHOULD BE AROUND 1.5 HRS WITH DIAG FEE. YOUR BILL SHOULD BE APPROX 285.00 PARTS AND LABOR.SOUNDS LIKE YOU NEED A NEW MECH THAT IS HONEST

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    BCinChicago, April 20, 2012, 09:25
     Rookie

    Thanks. (Was quoted $150 new part. And then on the final invoice, it was $185 but still listed as new.)

    So, you estimate 1.5 hours plus diagnosis for replacing alternator. What do you think leads repairpal.com to estimate 0.7 hours? Is it because Corolla alternators are easier to access?

    Thanks.

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  • Medium-star Best Answer
    Jerry TC April 20, 2012, 10:40
     Enthusiast

    You were hosed, lose that mechanic/shop.

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