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Timing belt change - unexpected oil seals and coolant pipe replacement over charge?

(1995 Honda Accord)
in Tappan, NY on February 22, 2011
I have a 1995 Honda Accord Ex sedan 4 cyl manual shift with 297,000 miles on it.
I decided to get the timing belt for $550 & tuneup $270 (spark plugs, distributor cap, rotor, air filter) done with the dealer.
Timing belt change included water pump, timing belt, and accessory belt replacements.
After they started working on timing belt, they told me I need to replace leaking engine oil seals for additional $179.
Also they said I need to replace leaking deteriorated engine coolant pipe for $354.
I spoke to a mechanic from another gas station, he said when they are doing timing belt, it would be simple to replace engine oil seal they are right there, I should have been charged only for parts which are negligible, instead of $179.
He also said the engine coolant pipe is also easily accessible; I should not have been charged $354 for it.
Could someone please tell me if I got ripped off for the oil seals and the coolant pipe unexpected repairs?
I appreciate your help.
Displaying 3 answers & 3 comments
Popular Answer
on February 22, 2011
Counterpoint: Not ALL dealerships are bad. Some dealerships are competitive or cheaper than the aftermarket, have ethical practices figuring in overlapping time considerations, and realize that customer retention and satisfaction are essential.

Likewise, not all aftermarket shop are staffed with qualified technicians. Not all of them are competitive. And not all of them use high quality parts.

That's what this web site is about - equipping yourself with as much valid information, points and counterpoints about car repair. Learning about what questions to ask, when to ask them, and who to ask.

According to ALLDATA, there is 0.4 additional labor to install the camshaft seal during timing belt replacement. This fact would counter the "mechanic from another gas station" who said that you should have only been charged for parts. Doing it properly obvioulsy requires nearly a half hour of attention according to the experts.

That said, 0.4 and the seal falls about $100 short of what you paid, so there is probably some isssue there.

Information is power...
on February 23, 2011
All I know is they are noted as oil seals on the bill, not sure if it is camshaft seal. Dealer rep said $100/hour labor charge, 0.4 x $100= $40; even on this basis I was overcharged by $130.
Thanks for the reply
on February 22, 2011
It sounds like you may have been overcharged by the dealer, You should get a pretty good discount on both those services while the engine was torn down for the timing belt, Most service writers just look up labor times to do just that job. Which is from start to finish. Well you already have the majority of the parts out of your way so a 3 hour job turns into a 30 minute job while they are in there really quickly. These are common complaints about the dealers because no one will haggle pricing with the dealers. If it is a add on haggle the price or go somewhere else for the repair. Smaller independent shops are usually cheaper because of the labor rates and there is no franchise fees to pay being an independent shop. By the way most independent shops are mechanics from dealerships at one time or another.
on February 23, 2011
Yes "Most service writers just look up labor times to do just that job", I believe that's what happened here.
Thanks for the reply.
on February 26, 2011
In talking with other mechanics it seems like youshould have been able to get the timing belt, water pump and front seals done for 600-700 bucks. The price you paid for this work is $729.00. And that from a dealer, which usually costs more than someone else. The price you paid sounds reasonable. My question is why didn't they include the seals in the first place since that is standard in quoting this job? I had this work done on my subaru by a mechanic for $650.00 three years ago. Unfortunately I have no answer on the coolant pipe.
on February 28, 2011
After some research I am finding that seals should have been included in the initial estimate. Thanks for the reply.
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