I've been going to a repair shop here in LA for a while that I found through the Car Talk fora, but have been increasingly unhappy with them. I took my girlfriend's 2002 Ford Focus in to get an estimate on replacing the mirror, and got back a quote of $175ish, $100 for the part and $75 for the labor (meaning, an hour and a quarter for them at $60 per hour). The thing is, there are third-party mirrors for about $30, and from doing the same thing on a car years ago, I remember it taking about 20 minutes with the right tools. Are they trying to rip me off? Is this a reasonable ballpark for what seems like pretty minor work (the whole assembly pops on and off)? I don't have the tools to do this now (I'd need a deeper socket), so should I buy the part and take it to them? Are dealer mirrors really that superior? (It's out of warranty by now, obviously.) Should I take it to someone else? [more inside]
My car has 130K miles and I think I'm going to stop going to the dealership for repairs despite a great deal of trust in them; it is just too costly. I plan on going to an independent mechanic near my office, but it's one of those tire shop/muffler shop places who also seem to do other repairs/maintenance. Do these places actually fall into the category of an independent mechanic or are they simply rolling the dice when they are out of their area of expertise (like tires, brakes, or mufflers)? And second, where can I get the recommended maintenance *activities* for my vehicle based on mileage. I always followed my dealership's recommendations, so I need a better idea on what might be needed bringing it into an independent shop.
Remember the Manimal? Well his buddy Big Bird is in a bit of a pinch... Any classic Dodge mechanical types out there? [more inside]
Car-repair-filter: Any mechanics got a trick for freeing a stuck brake piston? [more inside]
When buying exhaust flex pipes like these, to fit over an H-pipe with a diameter of 2.5", would you buy the flex pipes with the 2.5" outlet diameter or do you need something bigger? [more inside]
What is the REAL life span of auto spare parts compared to what the manufacturer or the auto mechanic tells you? Is there some sort of graph showing risk of failure of parts versus time out there? Specifically I am interested in Peugeot cambelt life spans. How dead am I if it fails? [more inside]
I want to fix a couple of things on my car. However, looking under the hood causes to me to collapse with the vapors, forcing me to go purse shopping for an hour to mitigate the effects. Does anyone have an online walkthrough-to-fixin-up-your-car for guys like me? (Details inside.) [more inside]