Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
miamivice
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by miamivice » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm

Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!

User avatar
fortfun
Posts: 770
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by fortfun » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:45 pm

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!
What year, make, and model is your car?

SlowMovingInvestor
Posts: 731
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:27 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:52 pm

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!
If your car's maintenance manual doesn't recommend changing the power steering or brake fluid at this mileage, I would not go ahead with it. Ditto for Spark Plug replacement. The exception might be if the car has been through some exceptionally rough usage.

I know there are people who replace coolant hoses regularly, but I've never done so. My (perhaps misguided) take is that I'll replace them if they start leaking.

miamivice
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by miamivice » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm

fortfun wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:45 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!
What year, make, and model is your car?
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7373
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:01 pm

I'm a do it yourselfer so will make my own recommendations geared towards you doing some of this yourself.


1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150

Locate the power steering fluid reservoir. Buy a turkey baster for this operation which won't be hard. But the proper fluid for the car which should be in the owners manual. Don't just buy power steering fluid.....find out what you need. Subarus use automatic transmission fluid, for example. With the turkey baster, take out what you can from the reservoir. Add new fluid. Every few thousand miles do this again. This will replace the fluid pretty much with zero labor cost and with under $20 cost.

2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170

This should be done annually as brake fluid absorbs moisture. Have them do this. It's more involved than #1.

3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170

How many miles on the car? What's the owners manual or warranty and maintenance booklet tell you? Go by that and if you bought the car used and don't have maintenance history, assume they've never been done.

4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

You can feel this when the car is cold (so you don't burn your hand). Grab a hose and squeeze it. If it feels like it's new rubber, then they may be ok. If they feel like you're breaking potato chips inside the hoses, they need to be replaced. This tends to be something that happens when the car is quite old with lots of miles. If they do feel like potato chips, they all need to be replaced which can get fairly involved. Proper coolant replacement and getting all the air out of the system is important and depending on the car, this could be difficult.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

marcusb
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 10:56 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by marcusb » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:09 pm

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm


For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
:confused

Maintenance requirements vary by car.

User avatar
fortfun
Posts: 770
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by fortfun » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:15 pm

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:45 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!
What year, make, and model is your car?
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
I'd check the user's manual and see what it says. Doubtful that any of them need done, unless you drive on dirt roads frequently. User's manual will suggest when sparkplugs should be changed. Coolant hoses should last a long time under normal circumstances.

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 3230
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by munemaker » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:20 pm

I drive a 9 year old Honda CR*V with 210,000 miles on it, and I never did or had any of these things done, except I just had the spark plugs changed for the first time at 205,000 miles, and even that did not seem to be necessary. My car is in very good condition, runs great and everything works.

I think you need to find a new mechanic.

AntsOnTheMarch
Posts: 610
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 5:47 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:30 pm

Agree with others, follow manual. My manual has clear recommendations for everything from brake fluid to air cabin filter. I don’t recall if there is a mileage recommendation for hoses and belts other than inspect and replace as needed. My car is 8 years old and I haven’t replaced any yet.

Spark plugs on my car are not due for replacement until 105k miles. If the shop says to replace them at 35k, I say no thanks and find another shop. It’s a dead giveaway that a shop is ripping you off if they are always recommending maintenance more often than per manual without good reason. An exception might be made if the car is driven in extreme conditions.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:52 pm

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
If you are unwilling to disclose the year, make, model, and mileage of your car, then we can't tell you much other than "read the manual" or to get a second opinion from a different mechanic.

User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 5662
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by bottlecap » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:53 pm

I would ask another mechanic.

That much is suspicious. And I don't buy that the hoses are bad.

JT

denovo
Posts: 4228
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by denovo » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:13 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:52 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
If you are unwilling to disclose the year, make, model, and mileage of your car, then we can't tell you much other than "read the manual" or to get a second opinion from a different mechanic.

+1
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

User avatar
Raymond
Posts: 1262
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:04 am
Location: Texas

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Raymond » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:21 pm

In the absence of specific car information - "Read the owner's manual."

I drive a 2017 Honda Accord LX sedan (silver with black interior), coming up on 12,000 miles.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2077
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:35 am

denovo wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:13 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:52 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
If you are unwilling to disclose the year, make, model, and mileage of your car, then we can't tell you much other than "read the manual" or to get a second opinion from a different mechanic.

+1
+2
Seems like a strange limitation to place on such a question, but whatever.

clown
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:04 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by clown » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:11 am

I agree with most of the previous advice. Check the manual, see what it advises. Get a second opinion.

But there is one exception. While three of the four symptoms could result in inconveniences, brake failure could result in a collision, bodily injury and even a fatality. Water in the brake lines can mean you can't stop. Forget about the money. Get the brakes fixed asap and be sure there are no leaks allowing water into the brake lines.

User avatar
jharkin
Posts: 1664
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by jharkin » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:36 am

marcusb wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:09 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm


For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
:confused

Maintenance requirements vary by car.
Yes, AND it depends how recently these services where previously done.


You cannot generally tell the condition of most fluids visually. That’s an old garage trick to sell you service you don’t need.

Most car service manuals don’t provide power steering fluid change intervals, or if they do they are very long. You can do it for piece of mind if you want but it’s probably not necessary.

Brake fluid does get dark with age. Change interval is based on years not miles. The “one year” mentioned above is excessive and only appropriate for track cars and high end vehicles with silicone fluid. Most cars with conventional brake fluid should have this done every 2-3 years or so.

Coolent hoses have been covered. It they are stiff or crunchy replace. European makes seem to go through them every 60k, Japanese cars they seem to last forever.... must be better quality rubber suppliers in Japan. Some cars it is hard to get all the air out, but on many it’s very simple... a big factor is he engine bay layout. If the radiator is lower than the engine is when it’s going to be a challenge generally. need to refer to the manual.

Spark plugs are generally by mileage. Industry averages are 30k for copper plugs, 60k for platinum plugs and up to 105k for iridium plugs. Most cars use iridium now.
Last edited by jharkin on Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 1351
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by jabberwockOG » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:39 am

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600
Prices seem pretty high. Get another couple of estimates and at least a second opinion.


1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150 - check manual for correct type of PS fluid to use and diy by draining the PS reservoir 2-3 times for about $10.

2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170 - This is a critical maint item. Fluid should be completely replaced and brake fluid lines bled every 2 years. Make sure shop actually bleeds the lines and does not just drain and fill reservoir. Price is typically $120-150.

3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170 - Replace spark plugs per the manual. Most modern plugs only need replacement @100k miles or so. diy order online and replace for 1/5 the cost quoted.

4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600 - If hoses look and feel weak and may be shedding particles internally it is critical to replace hoses and flush and refill engine coolant. This is more typically a $300-400 job including coolant flush. Most hoses are pretty easy to buy online at a discount and diy replace. I'd have a shop do the coolant flush and any hoses that are tough to get to or will make a mess.

User avatar
midareff
Posts: 5641
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by midareff » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:44 am

Without make, model, age and mileage or mileage from last work of this type it is an unanswerable question, as asked.

User avatar
linuxology
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by linuxology » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:28 am

Don't understand privacy reasons. Unless it's a rolls royce, ferrari, or lamborghini not sure someone would profile you here (even then).
Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you? Change the plugs and Call it a day.

andypanda
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by andypanda » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:54 am

As far as brake fluid goes, I know it depends on the maker. Some VWs say every 3 years. Some Chevys say 3 years and some say 10 years. I don't believe the dealer every changed the brake fluid in 2010 Highlander Limited during the 7 years I owned it. Heck, I tried to get them to replace the front brake pads at 60,000 miles and they laughed at me and said they looked nearly new.

When I was a kid in the '60s it was common to change brake fluid every year or two or three, but that was then. We also did an engine tuneup every six months - once for summer and once before winter - mostly to adjust the carbs.

Of all the things you listed, I would be the most concerned about the hoses on a 10-year-old car - radiator, power steering, etc. They aren't expensive.

Read the manual. Don't listen to the dealer - and I take my vehicles to the dealer. Read the manual. It's worth it to get things done right the first time (most of the time anyway.)

FRANK2009
Posts: 349
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:16 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by FRANK2009 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:03 am

I think the recommended services may reasonably need to be done. I'm not sure but the prices seem a bit high. $600 for coolant hoses? Probably too high, but maybe that's what it is on a Mercedes, BMW, etc.

Maybe the tried and true second opinion is warranted.


Frank

carolinaman
Posts: 3134
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by carolinaman » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:32 am

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:52 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!

If your car's maintenance manual doesn't recommend changing the power steering or brake fluid at this mileage, I would not go ahead with it. Ditto for Spark Plug replacement. The exception might be if the car has been through some exceptionally rough usage.

I know there are people who replace coolant hoses regularly, but I've never done so. My (perhaps misguided) take is that I'll replace them if they start leaking.
Waiting to replace coolant hoses after they start leaking is a big mistake. Due to high pressure, when the rupture, they burst and you lose all of your coolant. I have had coolant hoses burst on me a couple of times on the road. The first time I tried to drive a few miles to get to a repair shop and ruined the engine. The second time I was on Interstate and stopped immediately. It took 3 hours for AAA to get a tow truck to me on a Saturday night.

That said, $600 for replacements seems pretty pricey. This is something any repair shop can do for you. Also, the hoses may not be that bad. I would opt for a 2nd opinion from an independent repair shop you trust. I would rather replace them sooner than wait too long, but this sounds like a scare tactic to me.

I am a little suspect of that many items. Transmission and brake fluids typically do not have to be replaced very often. It sounds like you need to find another repair shop.

ralph124cf
Posts: 1952
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:41 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by ralph124cf » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:28 pm

Coolant hose problems are more of an age and climate change out number than mileage. If you live someplace hot and with significant smog/ozone (LA, Phoenix, Mexico City, Beijing) your hoses will die faster.

Don't allow the shop to put on "universal" hoses. These never really fit right, but they are what many shops have hanging on the wall. Ok to get you going again after a problem on the road, but should be changed out as soon as possible. Order a complete set of new preformed hoses, either from the manufacturer or an aftermarket provider. Don't forget the heater hoses, the mechanic may not be including these in the quote, but they will disable your car on the highway just as surely as a radiator hose. Depending on the car, they may be much more work to replace, so some shops are unwilling to do the work, and will tell you that it does not need to be done.

Ralph

squirm
Posts: 1368
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by squirm » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:59 pm

$600 to replace coolant hoses? Wow. I usually do most fixes myself. I have never needed to replace brake or steering fluid. Maybe find yourself another mechanic.

User avatar
Blueskies123
Posts: 379
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:18 pm
Location: South Florida

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Blueskies123 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:02 pm

You need a new mechanic

dbr
Posts: 27207
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by dbr » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:45 pm

Second getting a second opinion. Seems high for coolant hoses but that is one repair I would do any day before getting stranded fifty miles outside of town.

Swansea
Posts: 551
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:16 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Swansea » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:52 pm

My coolant hoses on my 1998 vehicle are original, and when inspected a couple of years ago, still good.
The tech writer for the marque says that the hoses are good up to 150K.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 5089
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:50 pm

Like the doctor's.
Get a second opinion from another shop.
j :D

User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 3977
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:20 pm

The environment your car lives in influences this. Does it live inside a "heated" garage most of the time? Or outside year 'round where the engine compartment temps run from +150F to -20F through the year?
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

GreatLaker
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:19 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by GreatLaker » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:27 pm

fortfun wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:45 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!
What year, make, and model is your car?
Based on the OP's username I'd guess it is a Ferrari, either a Daytona or Testa Rosa. :D

User avatar
MP123
Posts: 667
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:32 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by MP123 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:36 pm

RTFM :P

None of that sounds super important < 10 yrs.

VGisforme
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:08 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by VGisforme » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:18 am

Silly that you won’t tell us the make, model and mileage/year of the car. Unless you have an ultra rare car it is hardly personally identifiable.

Brake fluid is fair game to change based on time as it does absorb water... if car is older than 5 years might make sense but really consult owners manual for your usage profile.

Did mechanic pull a plug or just guess based on time/mileage?

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 18819
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:02 am

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:45 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!
What year, make, and model is your car?
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
If you value your car and it's engine, you replace coolant hoses first - you can drive a car whose power steering isn't working - difficult, but still doable. You can not drive a car whose coolant is missing without leading to an overheated engine and a lot more problems after that - $$$. $600 for hoses though? Shop around, if the hoses cost $100, why is it taking 3+ hours to change them, fill up the radiator and let the car run for 20 minutes? See if you can get a better estimate elsewhere.

#2 - does it really look dirty to you?

#3 - notice any change in the gas mileage you are getting, any change in performance? Check your air filter while you are at it.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Luke Duke
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:44 am
Location: Texas

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Luke Duke » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:12 am

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:45 pm

What year, make, and model is your car?
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
lol

spammagnet
Posts: 900
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:42 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by spammagnet » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:14 am

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
Unless you're Jay Leno and you own the only surviving example in the world, how could the make and model of car possibly reveal too much identifying information?

alfaspider
Posts: 1426
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by alfaspider » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:15 am

squirm wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:59 pm
$600 to replace coolant hoses? Wow. I usually do most fixes myself. I have never needed to replace brake or steering fluid. Maybe find yourself another mechanic.
Really depends on the car. Some cars (German luxury cars especially) can have very high $$$ coolant hoses and pipes with unusual bends that are hard to reproduce with a generic part. Some may also have significant access issues that raise the time to do this job considerably. As to whether they really need to be replaced- I'd check yourself- sqeeze the hoses and see if they seem pliable. If the car is under 5 years old, I highly doubt replacement is necessary.

Power steering fluid: this is a once in a blue moon sort of thing. If the car has less than 100k miles, probably not necessary.

Spark plugs: Replace at manufacturer specified interval or if there is an issue such as misfiring at high RPMs. Cost is going to be dependent on what plug the manufacturer reccomends, how many plugs the car has (usually one per cylinder but there are twin-plug designs), and where the plugs are located (a boxer engine like a Subaru creates access issues compared to a flat or v engine).

As for brake fluid: really depends on the age of the car. The fluid is "dark" doesn't really tell you all that much, but it's it's not a bad idea to replace every few years. There are actually test kits out there, but few mechanics bother. Old fluid will absorb moisture, which lowers the boiling point of the fluid (greater risk of losing brakes on a long downhill) and also increases internal corrosion (shortening the lift of the braking system). That being said, many cars go 10+ years without a brake fluid flush without problems. Cars that are driven on the track will need a brake fluid flush annually or even more often as keeping the boiling point becomes critical under hard usage.

wrongfunds
Posts: 1728
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by wrongfunds » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:39 am

The OP has "mystery asset" as indicated in his previous postings. We all tried to guess it at that time. May be this is it? I recall he insisted that he expect it to appreciate it over years and if I recall it was over $100K.

BUT if that is the case, these mechanic services are dirty cheap aka they are Honda prices and NOT Ferrari prices. I give up!

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3315
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:54 am

miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:45 pm
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:43 pm
Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional.

Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the following recommendations. Which of these would you pay them to perform, and which would you ignore?

1) Power steering fluid was dark. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $150
2) Brake fluid appeared dirty. Recommend flushing and replacing fluid. $170
3) Spark plugs should be replaced. $170
4) Coolant hoses getting crunchy. $600

Thanks!
What year, make, and model is your car?
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
Due to lack of information, I cannot disclose an answer!

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by azurekep » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:26 am

spammagnet wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:14 am
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
Unless you're Jay Leno and you own the only surviving example in the world, how could the make and model of car possibly reveal too much identifying information?
Guys, I'm not the OP, but I'd do the exact same thing.

Anyone interested in investing and finance is likely to eventually find their way to this board... as the board is heavily indexed by Google. The more specific information we provide about ourselves, the greater the possibility one of our acquaintances may recognize us. So, if one of your colleagues is thinking hmmm... that sounds like my friend in the next cubilcle, then seeing the year, make, model and car sort of clinches it.

Why is that bad? Well, for starters, it can make one more hesitant to pose personal questions about financial or other issues. You may not want your colleague to know that you're in debt, or considering a divorce or planning on leaving the company, etc.

Given that people post the intiimate details of their lives on Facebook and don't care who knows, maybe that's not a concern for the vast majority of people. But not everyone has given up on the notion of keeping things private.

As for the topic of the thread, I go only by the owner's manual. Car shops are always trying to sell services that aren't needed, let alone mentioned in the manual. The only good they do is to fatten up the shop's bottom line.

miamivice
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by miamivice » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 am

azurekep wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:26 am
spammagnet wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:14 am
miamivice wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm
For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information.

I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands.
Unless you're Jay Leno and you own the only surviving example in the world, how could the make and model of car possibly reveal too much identifying information?
Guys, I'm not the OP, but I'd do the exact same thing.

Anyone interested in investing and finance is likely to eventually find their way to this board... as the board is heavily indexed by Google. The more specific information we provide about ourselves, the greater the possibility one of our acquaintances may recognize us. So, if one of your colleagues is thinking hmmm... that sounds like my friend in the next cubilcle, then seeing the year, make, model and car sort of clinches it.

Why is that bad? Well, for starters, it can make one more hesitant to pose personal questions about financial or other issues. You may not want your colleague to know that you're in debt, or considering a divorce or planning on leaving the company, etc.

Given that people post the intiimate details of their lives on Facebook and don't care who knows, maybe that's not a concern for the vast majority of people. But not everyone has given up on the notion of keeping things private.

As for the topic of the thread, I go only by the owner's manual. Car shops are always trying to sell services that aren't needed, let alone mentioned in the manual. The only good they do is to fatten up the shop's bottom line.
Thank you. You explained very well why I cannot disclose specific information that others might use to identify myself. My car make, model, year, and mileage is specific information that (combined as a set) would identify me to people that know me well. It is not an exotic car, but few people out there will have that particular combination of data and it would allow someone who had a hunch of who I was to confirm that.

Yes, I have posted detailed financial information on here, and for those that have followed my posts, you know that I am not typical financial health. I do not wish to lose friends or relationships in real life due to concerns over apparent differences in financial health, and value my privacy.

The moderators and administrators here frequently encourage folks to guard their privacy. If anyone has further concerns regarding my insistence on privacy, please discuss your concerns with an admin/moderator.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 17087
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by dm200 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 am

I have zero mechanical knowledge or skills.

One question I would ask/investigate is the risk if you do not do these things. It is one thing for the car to break down - yet another to rung an expensive engine. I also think the type of driving done is relevant, as well as plans of how long the car is kept.

For example, we have a 1998 Toyota with under 90,000 miles (purchased 3 years ago from original owner - we have known for 40+ years). The timing belt has never been replaced, so we will have the timing belt and water pump replaced in the Spring or early summer since we plan to keep that car for many years. On the other hand, if we planned to get rid of it within the next year, we would not spend the money.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:26 pm

miamivice wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 am
Thank you. You explained very well why I cannot disclose specific information that others might use to identify myself. My car make, model, year, and mileage is specific information that (combined as a set) would identify me to people that know me well. It is not an exotic car, but few people out there will have that particular combination of data and it would allow someone who had a hunch of who I was to confirm that.
Information security gal here. Just by posting anything on this forum, you've probably posted enough information for someone to determine where you are and for someone who knows you to narrow in on who you are. Time zones can be deduced from the timing of your posts, unless you have a sleep phase disorder that radically shifts your sleep cycle away from the norm for your time zone. But someone who knows you would know if you have a sleep disorder and could use that to circle in on the likely candidates from the pool of posters. And those with intimate knowledge of your whereabouts and actions can line up gaps in posting with known vacations or work trips. And this is without even getting into analyzing the contents of your posts, we're just talking about the timing of your posts here.

If you truly want to stay anonymous from those who know you, you have to radically change your patterns and obscure your data. This goes far beyond just refusing to disclose the make and model of your car. You have to consciously edit the content of your posts and choose carefully when you post to best hide yourself within the crowd. I've often found myself deleting a post I am in the middle of composing because it would just reveal a little too much about me.

But do keep in mind I do this for a living, and accidental information disclosure is one of the arenas my group guards against. I've even used these skills to select my co-workers cars from the parking lot, just to show them the extent that social engineering can be used to find out real, actionable data from what seems to be one-off conversations.

User avatar
samsoes
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:12 am
Location: Northeast Rat Race

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by samsoes » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:37 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:26 pm
miamivice wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 am
Thank you. You explained very well why I cannot disclose specific information that others might use to identify myself. My car make, model, year, and mileage is specific information that (combined as a set) would identify me to people that know me well. It is not an exotic car, but few people out there will have that particular combination of data and it would allow someone who had a hunch of who I was to confirm that.
Information security gal here. Just by posting anything on this forum, you've probably posted enough information for someone to determine where you are and for someone who knows you to narrow in on who you are. Time zones can be deduced from the timing of your posts, unless you have a sleep phase disorder that radically shifts your sleep cycle away from the norm for your time zone. But someone who knows you would know if you have a sleep disorder and could use that to circle in on the likely candidates from the pool of posters. And those with intimate knowledge of your whereabouts and actions can line up gaps in posting with known vacations or work trips. And this is without even getting into analyzing the contents of your posts, we're just talking about the timing of your posts here.

If you truly want to stay anonymous from those who know you, you have to radically change your patterns and obscure your data. This goes far beyond just refusing to disclose the make and model of your car. You have to consciously edit the content of your posts and choose carefully when you post to best hide yourself within the crowd. I've often found myself deleting a post I am in the middle of composing because it would just reveal a little too much about me.

But do keep in mind I do this for a living, and accidental information disclosure is one of the arenas my group guards against. I've even used these skills to select my co-workers cars from the parking lot, just to show them the extent that social engineering can be used to find out real, actionable data from what seems to be one-off conversations.
Then the OP shouldn't be posting *anything* online. Ever.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren at Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

ClemsonBogle
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:11 am

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by ClemsonBogle » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:41 pm

As others have said,

You can change power steering fluid easily. Changing it keeps your rack, power steering pump running better. Turkey baster and proper fluid means this will cost ~20 for you to do and say 15 minutes. Make sure to turn wheel lock to lock.

I would flush your brakes every 3 years or 36K. Price is fairish for something that is a hassle. 20 in fluid.

I know of no car that doesn't recommend removal (inspection) and replacement of spark plugs at ~100K but with the parts costing so little who would put a 7-8 year old part that you just removed back in. So before 100K leave them more than 100K i would replace them. Based on the price i bet on a 4 cyl and relatively easy to change. 40 in parts.

Hoses are age based IMHO so every 6-7-10 years... most people never need to replace any and i included probably wait until there is a problem here. At a minimum you should do this with a coolant change and if your car as a water pump i would do it at that time at around 150K. 2-300 in parts.

Your mechanic is charging around 100-125 an hour. and all these jobs but coolant hoses are more labor than parts.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:53 pm

samsoes wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:37 pm
Then the OP shouldn't be posting *anything* online. Ever.
Pretty much... it's not very fun or very social, but it's very safe. I can only imagine how many lawyers try to get this point across to their clients during proceedings these days. Just by interacting online, you open up the avenue that you might be identified. It's a risk that should be acknowledged so you can make a conscious decision to take that risk, rather than falling prey to the human nature of denying that the risk exists.

wfrobinette
Posts: 670
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by wfrobinette » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:38 pm

Raymond wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:21 pm
In the absence of specific car information - "Read the owner's manual."

I drive a 2017 Honda Accord LX sedan (silver with black interior), coming up on 12,000 miles.
Nice on the car reference. Vehicle registrations at the block group level can be purchased quite easily. If someone really wanted to profile that's where they'd go. Surfing the internet, obtaining an IP address and trying to pinpoint to a residence isn't worth the trouble.

wfrobinette
Posts: 670
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by wfrobinette » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:45 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:53 pm
samsoes wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:37 pm
Then the OP shouldn't be posting *anything* online. Ever.
Pretty much... it's not very fun or very social, but it's very safe. I can only imagine how many lawyers try to get this point across to their clients during proceedings these days. Just by interacting online, you open up the avenue that you might be identified. It's a risk that should be acknowledged so you can make a conscious decision to take that risk, rather than falling prey to the human nature of denying that the risk exists.
For a few dollars I can find out your purchase patterns, your last X addresses, where you went to college, income range, age(possibly DOB) and a whole host of other info. Now if I went to the darkweb, i'd likely have your SS# very quickly.

Privacy no longer exists unless you never obtained credit of any kind and only purchase with cash and in person.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:47 pm

wfrobinette wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:45 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:53 pm
samsoes wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:37 pm
Then the OP shouldn't be posting *anything* online. Ever.
Pretty much... it's not very fun or very social, but it's very safe. I can only imagine how many lawyers try to get this point across to their clients during proceedings these days. Just by interacting online, you open up the avenue that you might be identified. It's a risk that should be acknowledged so you can make a conscious decision to take that risk, rather than falling prey to the human nature of denying that the risk exists.
For a few dollars I can find out your purchase patterns, your last X addresses, where you went to college, income range, age(possibly DOB) and a whole host of other info. Now if I went to the darkweb, i'd likely have your SS# very quickly.

Privacy no longer exists unless you never obtained credit of any kind and only purchase with cash and in person.
If you're paying money to find out my income, you're paying too much. I'm a State of California worker. My pay is right on Sacramento Bee's website. And you'll notice that I do post here, so I'm not concerned about this info. I'm just trying to inform the OP that his caution, however well-intended, is probably misplaced.

soccerrules
Posts: 767
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by soccerrules » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:41 pm

we have 2 foreign cars in our family "fleet". A mechanic that I trust indicated they cost about 20 cents a mile for routine maintenance/repairs throughout the year.
12K miles = $2,400. I am not sure what the per mileage maintenance cost would be for american made cars.

Many times I ask -- "Do I HAVE to do it ? or is it just recommended ?" My mechanic will tell me the difference. I usually only repair the have too's and on occasion I will do a recommended. Most of the time I don't have the time to do even simple car tasks, so I pay someone to do it. Also the time and energy to take the car back and forth from the shop and arrange for alternate transportation is a beating.

The other day I replaced a battery in one of our kids cars. I think it saved me about $10-15. To be honest- not worth my time.

I think also cars if taken care of properly will last you longer than those that aren't. If you don't spend the $1000 for repairs what is the cost of a bigger repair down the road ? or damage to larger priced components because you did not take car of maintenance. Risk mgmt.

Not know anything more about your car I would opt for the hose repair. In my mind the other 3 items are probably not major needs and wouldn't stop you from driving. You blow a hose- you may be stuck somewhere. Then you have a wrecker fee, lost work time and still a $600 repair or more.
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

wfrobinette
Posts: 670
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Post by wfrobinette » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:23 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:47 pm
wfrobinette wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:45 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:53 pm
samsoes wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:37 pm
Then the OP shouldn't be posting *anything* online. Ever.
Pretty much... it's not very fun or very social, but it's very safe. I can only imagine how many lawyers try to get this point across to their clients during proceedings these days. Just by interacting online, you open up the avenue that you might be identified. It's a risk that should be acknowledged so you can make a conscious decision to take that risk, rather than falling prey to the human nature of denying that the risk exists.
For a few dollars I can find out your purchase patterns, your last X addresses, where you went to college, income range, age(possibly DOB) and a whole host of other info. Now if I went to the darkweb, i'd likely have your SS# very quickly.

Privacy no longer exists unless you never obtained credit of any kind and only purchase with cash and in person.
If you're paying money to find out my income, you're paying too much. I'm a State of California worker. My pay is right on Sacramento Bee's website. And you'll notice that I do post here, so I'm not concerned about this info. I'm just trying to inform the OP that his caution, however well-intended, is probably misplaced.
I'm right there with you.

Post Reply