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(AutoBlog)   Notes from drivers education class in 1969   ( divider line
    More: Spiffy, Michigan Secretary of State, manual transmission, road tests, time capsule  
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9837 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Apr 2013 at 7:40 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-04-04 11:48:35 PM  
This is why old folks actually know how to drive and know how not to get ripped off by repair shops.  I think any lessons on how the car actually works (suck, squeeze, bang, blow) were long gone by the time I took drivers ed.  Thankfully I had a father who made me help with oil changes, gasket replacements, clutch replacements, etc..  Although I learned on a manual I bet that is fairly rare now too.  Nowadays when most young folks climb into a car with one they just stare at it like it is some sort of alien device.  Bastards have made it really tough for me to get a decent car.  On Tuesday I was at the Toyota dealer for service (and realized they were possibly trying to rip me off, more on that later) and decided to look at some of the new cars since mine is getting a bit tired (215k miles).  Unfortunately for Toyota the only manual they had on the lot was a scion FRS.  I was looking for something more like a Venza or a Camry with a manual. Ok, maybe I was dreaming a bit there, but at least a corolla. Since none of their corollas on the lot even had manuals I decided to live with my car a bit longer.

Back to the rip-off attempt.  I almost never go to dealerships but was there in response to a recall notice and decided I might as well have them check out my dying air conditioning while I was there.  Instead of limiting themselves to what I asked for they wrote up a list of "recommended" services and repairs totaling $1500.  Some were reasonable, $20 for wipers, $40 for a battery service (although I think all this would have been was cleaning the terminals, which I can do in about 5 minutes for about $0.25 with a bit of vinegar and a battery terminal cleaner) but there were a few that seemed outrageous.  One was the answer to my air conditioning issue.  They wanted $362 for an "A/C magnetic clutch relay".  I declined everything, went back home and googled this mysterious part.  It turned out it was an approximately 1" cube, $20-$70, relay that plugs in a socket in the underhood fuse box.  With a diagram from the net, and several suggestions that the horn relay will work in its place, I went out and in about 2 minutes swapped the two relays. Air now works. Horn does not. I have since ordered the correct relay from ebay and will put things back in order when it comes in.

Who do these goons are thinking they can charge folks $362 for a $70 part and 2 minutes of work?  For $362-$70 I expect at least an hour or two of actual work.  Even an hour would be an outrageous pay rate for a mechanic.  Not only did I not buy a car that day but I will never buy a car from that particular Toyota dealership.  I will probably be a bit wary of all Toyota dealerships from now on.
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