Auto maintenance estimates vary widely from shop to shop. The reasons for these variations are as diverse as the estimates themselves. There are no set standards for cost of maintenance services and no standards regarding which items a given maintenance service should include.
Each shop sets their own pricing for the services they offer. They determine the type and quality of parts and fluids used. Some fluids may include additional additives to promote longer life of the system being serviced, which increases the unit price of the service fluid. Each shop also determines what hourly rate they charge for the technician’s labor.
Our recommendation regarding auto maintenance estimates is to find an auto repair shop that is convenient, honest, and reliable in the service and repair they provide. Once you decide which shop meets those criteria to your satisfaction, stick with them for all your maintenance work. Of course, we hope you will consider Tune Tech Downtown as your maintenance service provider!
In support of the above recommendation, below is a list of several reasons for choosing one shop:
- They will have records of which services have been done and when
- As you consider them trustworthy, you can be confident their auto maintenance estimates will not include unnecessary work
- Establishing a relationship with the repair professionals enables you to trust their rationale for any recommendations that may fall outside the manufacturer specified service intervals
What are some specific differences from shop to shop that can influence an auto maintenance estimate?
Some specific items that commonly factor into the estimated total for a service:
- Use of a generic versus manufacturer specific fluid
- The quality and price of replacement filters used
- Hourly rate charged for technician labor
- Special maintenance service pricing for “first-time” customers
- Service procedures that include more covered items than another provider
What is the price difference between OEM and generic fluids and oils?
While there are enough variables to make this impossible to answer, it is probably safe to say that OEM (original equipment manufacture) oils and fluids can easily cost double the price of generic oils.
What is different about generic oils?
Generic oil manufactures and specific ingredients to average quality oil to bring it up to OEM oil or fluid specifications. If they state in writing that their oil meets the OEM standards for that vehicle, it is probably safe to use.
It should be pointed out that the warranty for some Asian and European manufacturers specify that only “their” oil can be used in gear boxes and cooling systems. If one of these vehicles has a breakdown while under warranty and is taken to a dealership for warranty repair work, the oil currently installed in the vehicle may be tested. If test results indicate the oil is an aftermarket variety, the warranty claim may be denied.
Do auto maintenance estimates vary because procedures vary from one shop to another?
Definitely. One example would be varying auto maintenance estimates for a transmission flush because one shop includes 10 quarts of transmission fluid while a second shop includes 12 quarts. The second shop justifies the extra 2 quarts used during the flush procedure because a better result is obtained for the customer.
Here’s another example of varying auto maintenance estimates for the same service performed in two different shops. One shop’s maintenance service procedure includes removing the differential’s rear cover, cleaning the magnet, and then installing a new gasket before installing new fluid. Another shop’s procedure simply extracts the old fluid and installs new fluid. These shops may charge the same price for the service, but one procedure produces a better quality result than the other.
As another example, some foreign car automatic transmissions have a screen in place that catches contaminants. One shop will clean that screen during a transmission service while another shop will just drain the old fluid and install new fluid without cleaning the screen.
As you can see auto maintenance estimates can vary widely for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the quality of work or materials is not standardized, so the end result will not always be the same from one shop to another. This is the reason we recommend you find a shop you can know, like, and trust. Then, let them provide consistent maintenance services and repair work for your vehicle. We hope you will consider allowing Tune Tech Downtown to earn your trust with the honest, fair, and excellent service we can provide for all your auto repair and maintenance needs.