auto repair: do mechanics typically charge for an estimate?

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    auto repair: do mechanics typically charge for an estimate?


    I'd like to get my brakes checked/serviced. Do mechanics typically charge a fee just to estimate the necessary repairs? If so, what do you think they charge in your area JUST TO COME UP WITH the estimate?

    Thanks.

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    What kind of car? If you are mechanically inclined, I suggest you do it as its very easy. Maybe you have friends that can help? Is it all 4 brakes? Are they all discs?


    Chances are you can count on Mechanics charging you anywhere from $70-100/hr. Usually, they don't charge for estimates so you can shop around. What kind of car are we talking here?
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    brakes are not something you want to mess with if you have no mechanical skill sets especially if the car is anything newer.
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    I have a 2002 Nissan Pathy (4WD). As a first-time homeowner, my handyman skills are at their early stages. However, I don't have many handy neighbors/friends, so I'm a little leary of taking on this job myself. One concern is the rotors: How can I tell if they're warped? If they are, what would I need to resurface them?
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    Depends - if they have to do work to give an estimate they will charge you for that, e.g. taking the wheels off and stuff like that. I've never payed for an estimate itself however...

    Most important thing IMO, ask all your buddies, better - ask everyone you ever meet - for a shop that you can trust.

    And don't be afraid to say 'no', pay the estimate fee and take your car to another shop to have it checked if you think there is something fishy with the estimate. Also, ask to let them show you what is wrong before they attempt to fix it and always ask to see the parts they (supposedly) replaced.
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    How many miles are on it? I got 80k out of mine and I rode my car very hard and actually took it to the track a number of times but........ some manufacturer's rotors can be funny. You could have enough material left to refinishing them (need to take them to an auto shop like Pep Boys or Auto Zone and they can measure them and let you know if you need new ones). Most places like that offer lifetime replacements as long as you have the receipt.
    I recall Nissan's and Toyota's used to have a special brake tool for the calipers, not sure if they still do though.



    Quote Originally Posted by heftylefty58
    I have a 2002 Nissan Pathy (4WD). As a first-time homeowner, my handyman skills are at their early stages. However, I don't have many handy neighbors/friends, so I'm a little leary of taking on this job myself. One concern is the rotors: How can I tell if they're warped? If they are, what would I need to resurface them?
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    Most mechanics won't charge for an estimate. Take the thing to two or three different places, if they tell you the same thing then have the repairs done at the place that you felt most comfortable with.
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    Estimate for repair and brake inspections are two different things.
    Also while the rotos may not look warped it's usually a good idea to take them in to get lathed(sp). I'd suggest paying the cost vs. doing it yourself if you're not sure what you are doing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk
    Estimate for repair and brake inspections are two different things.
    Also while the rotos may not look warped it's usually a good idea to take them in to get lathed(sp). I'd suggest paying the cost vs. doing it yourself if you're not sure what you are doing.
    Oh! Didn't know that--thanks J.
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    I was a mechanic for 6 years and am ASE certified.

    Typically what we would do at the dealership (I know, everyone hates dealerships) is when you bring your car to come get looked at, we charge something to look at it. To look at brakes we would charge something like $25. If you did in fact need brakes, we would apply that money towards the repair. If you didn't need anything at all, all you would pay is that small amount.

    On a larger repair or diagnosis you may pay a good bit more to find a problem. Typically 1hr of shop rate time. If the labor rate is $75, you may pay a $75 diagnosis. Again, if you decide to fix the car there, some or all of that diagnosis fee should be applied to the repair.

    As far as rotors being warped, some car manufacturers recommend turning your rotors everytime you get brakes put on. I worked for Honda, and we did not turn rotors everytime. If you do, you prematurly make your rotors too thin. You should know if your rotors are warped by if the car or steering wheel vibrates when you come to a stop.

    You can differentiate between the front and rear rotors being warped by pulling the E-brake while driving down the road. The E-brake only operates the rear brakes, so if you pull it up while driving and the car shimmys, then you have a problem in the rear brakes. Pull the brake up slowly, don't go jerking it up.

    If you do need to resurface your rotors, get them measured to make sure there's enough material to shave off. And you need a special machine to cut them straight.
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    Oh, one more thing. If you get your car in the shop, and they recommend repairs, ask to go see the problem yourself. Don't let them tell you any bull**** about insurance not letting you back there. That is your car on their lift, and they are recommending repairs. Any trustworthy shop would not hesitate to take you back there and show you what it needs and why it needs it.

    I guarantee if you take your car in to get looked at for brakes, something else will get recommended. Most mechanics are paid on a sort of commission, the more work they upsell and perform, the more money they make.
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    Thumbs up


    Great--thanks for the advice, brothers.
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    Everything he said was correct, i'm ase certified too. Midas and a couple nation chains usually have a free brake inspection deal going on. It's really not hard to do I just showed my friend how to do it and all he did was get the chiltons out from the library and did most of it himself, he just didn't know why the piston wouldn't go back into the caliper, i thought he needed to open bleeder screw but it was froze.

    Good luck, it's not so bad to do it yourself. With rotors from china being 20 bucks a piece and pads 30 for a set it's hard to understand paying 200+ for brakes but that's from my side.
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