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car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

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  • #16
    Re: car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

    Originally posted by seafoodlover
    Thanks to all for such great info. You all help me out alot here. One more thing I wanted to ask was, I know this sounds stupid. But do the 2002 corollas have brakes in the front and back? I know the front has them. What about the back 2 wheels?
    Disc brakes on the front and it will have either drum brakes or disc brakes on the rear too. All cars have brakes on all the wheels.
    It is a fairly simple job to replace your own brakes for under $100.00 if you have some basic tools and knowledge.
    If you do not have a pedal pulse under braking and do not have grooves worn into the rotors you can leave them and only replace the pads.
    http://jimdinner.wordpress.com/

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    • #17
      Re: car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

      Originally posted by jdinner

      If you do not have a pedal pulse under braking and do not have grooves worn into the rotors you can leave them and only replace the pads.
      I've done this same thing for decades on my vehicles and have never had a brake failure because of it. I've even had slightly warped rotors and still just changed the pads. It caused them to wear out faster, but at the time it was all I could do.

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      • #18
        Re: car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

        In my experience when a dealership or large repair shop quotes on the original post and the job is approved it is handed out to an apprentice or someone with minimal experience. The experienced guys in the shop are doing bigger jobs or they have moved on to specialty shops.
        I have seen places like this put wheel nuts on backwards, break off new bleeder screws, put on brake pads backwards (steel facing rotor and pad facing caliper), put motor oil into the brake reservoir, put brake fluid on the top side of the master cylinder cover gasket, strip the oil drain plug MANY times, over tighten and break bolts, watched them torque wheel nuts in reverse mode, add coolant to the windshield washer tank, add motor oil to the windshield washer tank, rub their dirty hands on an air filter to make it look old and dirty, spread silicone on anything that leaks and many more. This is just off the top of my head.
        I want my students to remember a few basic things; ask why it needs it, prove it and get a second opinion.

        So in conclusion, many of these high end large shops usually do more damage than good when they attempt these routine jobs. The response is always, "well it needed it anyway" or "it broke as soon as I touched it". Not my opinion, rather my experience - since 1979.
        It's ok though, if the car owner can afford the car then they can afford to repair it no matter the cost.

        I have a local GM dealership that donates used parts to my school. I see electronic or electrical parts mainly. Things like wiper motors and switches. ALL of items that I have tested either worked or required minimal repair to make it work or it was a technician that damaged it. Obvious worn items excluded.
        http://jimdinner.wordpress.com/

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        • #19
          Re: car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

          Originally posted by jdinner
          In my experience when a dealership or large repair shop quotes on the original post and the job is approved it is handed out to an apprentice or someone with minimal experience. The experienced guys in the shop are doing bigger jobs or they have moved on to specialty shops.
          I have seen places like this put wheel nuts on backwards, break off new bleeder screws, put on brake pads backwards (steel facing rotor and pad facing caliper), put motor oil into the brake reservoir, put brake fluid on the top side of the master cylinder cover gasket, strip the oil drain plug MANY times, over tighten and break bolts, watched them torque wheel nuts in reverse mode, add coolant to the windshield washer tank, add motor oil to the windshield washer tank, rub their dirty hands on an air filter to make it look old and dirty, spread silicone on anything that leaks and many more. This is just off the top of my head.
          I want my students to remember a few basic things; ask why it needs it, prove it and get a second opinion.

          So in conclusion, many of these high end large shops usually do more damage than good when they attempt these routine jobs. The response is always, "well it needed it anyway" or "it broke as soon as I touched it". Not my opinion, rather my experience - since 1979.
          It's ok though, if the car owner can afford the car then they can afford to repair it no matter the cost.

          I have a local GM dealership that donates used parts to my school. I see electronic or electrical parts mainly. Things like wiper motors and switches. ALL of items that I have tested either worked or required minimal repair to make it work or it was a technician that damaged it. Obvious worn items excluded.
          Jim, I don't disagree with you, and you have me by about 6 years. But my point was not all of these services are a bad thing just because there have been bad experiences. Some shops do take advantage of people. But not all of these services are "bad." Large chains and dealers are trained to "sell" services. The techniques used to meet thier quota are unethical in my opinion. And yes most experienced guys have learned what jobs turn the most hours for the least effort or have moved on to specialty shops. Experienced techs are not interested in tune-up , brake work, or flushing and changing fluids.

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          • #20
            Re: car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

            Update, ive decided to go buy my own parts at advance autoparts ( a local auto shop) and I was shocked at the price differences. Looks like the just tires place charge me alot of mark up prices just for the parts. Heres what I bought today. I guess the shops must earn from the parts to make money, then earn from the employees to keep the place running. Way too much mark up for just parts. I forgot they also added in an extra 35.00 for misc towels, screws, etc that they may need for the work.

            toyota corolla 2002 model,

            front brake pads paid 33.99 auto shop wanted: 75.30 w/ 90.00 labor

            air filter paid 14.79 auto shop wanted: 18.25 w/ 30.00 labor to put it in. (just to snap it in?)

            gasket valve cover set paid 16.99 auto shop wanted: 47.46 w/81.00 labor

            I also need to do the serpentine belt, and the belt is cheap, but the belt tenioner assembly is still expensive at 115.00 to buy myself. The shop wanted ( 223.00 for this part then 277.00 labor)So I wanted to know if I get the belt change, how do I know if I must change the belt tensioner assembly as well? How important is that part?

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            • #21
              Re: car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

              You probably DON'T need the tensioner unless it's weak, or your belt kept coming off.

              It's basically an extra pulley on a spring loaded arm that keeps the belt tight.
              Think of it like this:
              Imagine a screen door with a spring to keep it closed.
              If the spring is weak or removed, the door would only partial close, or not close at all.
              The belt tensioner works just like that.
              It keeps the belt pulled tight so it doesn't slip off the other pulleys.

              USUALLY there is a square hole in the pulley arm that will fit a 3/8 socket wrench (sometimes it's a torque tip, or I've even seen a bolt) and you just use your rachet and a "cheater bar" (piece of pipe slipped over the handle of the rachet to give you a little more leverage) and turn the rachet. Depending on the car, you either turn it clockwise or counter clockwise to release the tension of the belt. When you let go, it should spring back into position. Sometimes this can be a pain when you're trying to route the belt around all the pulleys AND work the tensioner arm without the belt slipping off somewhere. But, it aint THAT big of a deal.

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              • #22
                Re: car repair questions from todays shop, worth it or not?

                Originally posted by jntramey
                You probably DON'T need the tensioner unless it's weak, or your belt kept coming off.

                It's basically an extra pulley on a spring loaded arm that keeps the belt tight.
                Think of it like this:
                Imagine a screen door with a spring to keep it closed.
                If the spring is weak or removed, the door would only partial close, or not close at all.
                The belt tensioner works just like that.
                It keeps the belt pulled tight so it doesn't slip off the other pulleys.

                USUALLY there is a square hole in the pulley arm that will fit a 3/8 socket wrench (sometimes it's a torque tip, or I've even seen a bolt) and you just use your rachet and a "cheater bar" (piece of pipe slipped over the handle of the rachet to give you a little more leverage) and turn the rachet. Depending on the car, you either turn it clockwise or counter clockwise to release the tension of the belt. When you let go, it should spring back into position. Sometimes this can be a pain when you're trying to route the belt around all the pulleys AND work the tensioner arm without the belt slipping off somewhere. But, it aint THAT big of a deal.

                Great! Thanks so much for the very helpful info. Since I own my corolla in 2002 up to now 2011. I never had any issues of any belts falling loose. I only see cracks on the belt so I wanted to change it. But then like most of the shops. They recommend the tensioner be change too. Yeah right for about 500.00. I think I will take your advice and wait for now, since I never had any problems with it yet. I will just change the surpentine belt. I will have a private mechanic look at it, if he says it must, then I will do it. Otherwise I will wait. Thanks again for the very helpful info.

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