Car Service RipOff


The exhaust on my Toyota needs fixin’. I got two quotes. One from a local Toyota Dealership and one from a locally-owned ‘Mom-n-Pop’ run auto shop that my dad referred me to. Dad told me he takes his car to the Mom-n-Pop place all the time, has for several years, and wouldn’t think to take it elsewhere.

I took it to the local Toyota dealership first. This is what they tell me: “The exhaust system on a Toyota is all one piece. The flex pipe on your exhaust system got punctured somehow – which is why it’s making that noise. Unfortunatley, in order to fix the flex pipe problem – we have to replace the entire piece, which includes the catalytic converter. There’s no way around it – the whole thing needs to be replaced. It will cost you $1700.00.”

Russ Darrow Toyota, 1999 Toyota Solara, Camry *Gasp* OK. I call my Dad, he gives me the referral to the local “Mom-n-Pop” that he always uses. They tell me this: “The Toyota dealership was right, and wrong. The Flex Pipe is punctured and needs to be replaced. We can replace the Flex Pipe for you, without having to replace the entire exhaust assembly. It will cost you $159.95 plus tax.”

Let’s be honest here. My Toyota is not brand new. As a matter of fact it’s a 1999 Solara with 103,000 miles on it. But, it’s a Toyota – – so if you know anything about Toyota’s .. as long as you take care of them with regular checkups, oil changes, etc… you can drive those babies to 200,000 with no problem. I love that car and the thought of getting a newer one never occurred to me. Do I really need a $1700 brand new exhaust system on it? No.

Yea, so I just saved $1500.00 by getting a quote from a local shop. The dealership didn’t even give me the option of just replacing the Flex Pipe versus the entire exhaust assembly. They didn’t even provide any lubricant with that quote!! The nerve!

Let this be a lesson to you – don’t take your car into the dealership for repairs and servicing, at least not without getting a second opinion from a local shop first.

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5 thoughts on “Car Service RipOff”

  1. I’m sayin!

    So, Dad tells me “Like it or not, it’s because you’re female”

    Seriously?? Or is my dad just an old fart? (Love ya Dad – but facts are facts :p )

  2. The dealers also tend to add a lot of unnecessary repairs and maintenance. For example, if you look in your vehicle owner handbook, it probably recommends oil changes every 7.5k – 15k miles. There is an accelerated interval for driving under “severe conditions.” Dealers and the evil Jiffy Lube cabal have convinced the public that “severe” is not “pulling large objects, uphill, in the Mojave desert during summer time,” but rather “taking the car to the local Starbucks and/or driving on any road that requires you to stop,” that is, the most common use cases.

    Case in point, my spouse’s piece of crap Chevy Cavalier’s 30k tune-up was priced at $695. When I inquired what, exactly, costs so much, I got this laundry list of extra work they’d do including power flushing stuff the factory doesn’t recommend. So like your dad, I found a Mom and Pop shop.

    (p.s. “pop” in this case doesn’t refer to post office protocol 😉

  3. Right, better ask for opinions before bringing it to a dealership. Fortunately, my dad’s a mechanic and he do all my fixings like installing my new dynomax exhaust. Some friends would ask him first about their cars before wrenching their own cars.

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