Secret password for hiring a plumber?

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wrote in message

I pay $29.95 for an oil change. My mechanic checks or greases all the fittings that Toyota recommends for my 4 wheel drive vehicle. They check brake pads and give me an idea of when to start thinking about service. He greases hood latch, tailgate latch, all door hinges & latches, checks brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and tops them off at no charge if they need it. At 12000 miles, he noticed some rust on the rear bumper, underneath where I probably wouldn't have noticed it. That enabled me to get it replaced under warranty. At 18000 miles, he noticed that the tires were wearing unevenly. Back to the dealer, since alignment is covered by warranty. They said it was within spec, and didn't adjust. My mechanic did some research and found, IIRC, that this truck wants its front wheels dead center within the range of spec, not just "within the range". He probably saved me having to spend $500 on tires a year or two too soon.
Sounds worth it to me.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Yeah, that may look good on the surface, but when you realize that your time is no longer occupied with your car and you can work/play on something else, you... Hmmmm. Nevermind. ;)
R
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Believe me....we agree on that. Give me a choice of working on my car on a Saturday, or fishing, gardening, phuquing, practicing bass guitar, or just watching a good movie with my excellent son, I am NOT gonna choose "car". However, I will never allow anyone else to wash it, wax it, or detail the interior, for reasons too dumb to mention. And, it *is* goofy to not change your own wipers, unless you forget to do it until it's 7 degrees outside and you can't feel your fingers, or hold a tool with heavy gloves on.
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I get that for $24.95 at a local guy, not a big franchise. He does not do any of the other work that you mentioned , so he has no reason to try to scam anyone for a brake job or ball joints. But, as you point out, he is able to spot stuff while under the car.
I used to change my own oil but when I bought a new car in 1991, that changed. I bought the oil, bought the filter, drove the car up on ramps and could not find the filter! It was mounted off the engine on an auxiliary block that was difficult to reach fun underneath. Easier if you jacked the car and turned the wheels to one side. That was my last oil change. As I get older and less agile, I have less interest in crawling under a car. I find it easier to earn the money and pay to have it done.
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wrote in message

I forgot to mention (in response to Mr. Example) that the first time I asked this mechanic why he didn't recommend an air filter, he said "Check it yourself. You don't need us for that". Another time, he said that 99% of the time, they find the filters aren't ready to be replaced when the car maker says they should be. So much for ripping off the customer.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

I guess to you. I just go out in my driveway and slide under the car. Takes about 10 minutes out of my dar. How long do you spend sitting the lube place? :)
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We all have different values. I go during the work day so no time lost (yes, I'm getting paid to sit there) . I can sit and read the paper for the 20 minutes so it is a nice break. Better than crawling under the car.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Small town advantage...I call and they come pick it up and bring it back/ Oil/lube/wash for $18.95.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Will they pick up from out of state? Tell the guy I'll give him a $20 and he can keep the change for his efforts.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Actually, some they do... :)
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In ten minutes you get the car up in the air, change the oil and filter, inspect and grease everything... SURE YOU DO!
I doubt you can do it properly in less than an hour. Actually, I doubt you can do it properly at all.
Then there's driving to the autoparts store to buy the oil, grease and filter at retail, and driving again to properly dispose of the old oil and filter. How much time and gas for all of that?
You are a clown
rusty redcloud
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Red Cloud wrote:

I think you are right about the time. It takes me about 45 minutes. Run the car up on a ramp (2 stacked 2x6's), get the tools, get the drain pan, take the drain plug out. Let it drain for 10-15 minutes, during which time I have coffee or read or watch TV. Put the drain plug back. Put in 1 quart and let it drain, (do that 5or 6 times). dump the oil in a container. drive off the ramps and put the boards back. Yep, about 45min maybe an hour.
But I think you protest to much about the rest. I buy oil by the case, enough for 2-3 changes (depends on the vehicle). If I went specifically for the oil, it would take me 10 minutes and a cup of gas (the auto parts is about 1 miles away). I buy filters at Walmart when I am there, so there is no added time. Our garbage service picks up oil, so the time value is about 1 minute to walk to the curb.
The cost to me is $6.50 to 8.50 depending on the car.
BTW, I bought an oil change contract, when I bought my truck. The minimum time I have ever spent was 1 hour for an oil change when I stay there and wait. It is always much more time when I have them haul me home and then come get me when the oil change has been completed. So far the cost has averaged $16 for each oil change. I figure I need another 4 years to get the average cost below $10.
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Now....that involves the dealer, right? Hmmm.....I don't know about yours, but I've found that with most dealers, whatever is done to your car is relayed back to you via a service writers, and they're not always the sharpest knives in the drawer. I like talking directly to the mechanic. No smoke & mirrors that way.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Do you mean they outsource it to someone else? It is through a dealer and in my case the dealer has three bays specifically for lube jobs (and tires). I can watch the mechanic through a glass window and I walk out into the bay to pickup the vehicle if I am standing there when they finish. If I wanted to I can yell at the mechanic and talk to him. The service managers (guys at the counters seem to know quite a bit) the actual oil change guys are pretty much on the bottom of the totem pole and pretty much a mixed bag. Doesn't bother me that they may not be the sharpest minds since they are just changing oil, filling other fluids, and checking for visible leaks. Anything more serious goes to the regular maintenance bay.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

I was talking just about the inspection part. Not the oil change part. Also, I change the oil in all 3 of my cars at the same time. I go right down the line. This way I do all 3 cars in about 1 hr or less. I take the used oil to the auto parts store the next time I buy some. Usually on the way home from work. So, I don't really spend any "quality" time buying or returning oil.
If you can take 3 cars to your oil change place and get them all changed within an hour and have quality work done at the cost I pay, then you have got me beat. But I bet it costs triple and the time is at least double.
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User Example wrote:

Yep, three vehicles going to an oil change place would be a riot and expensive. The two vehicles that I change oil have highly varied usage and since they are no longer under a guarantee program I don't have a regular timed change program but change oil based primarily on usage. The oil changes times seldom coincide.
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wrote:

Same here. It takes about 10 minutes of my time. Replacing brake pads takes less than a half hour. I check tire pressure and fluid levels while filling up at the station.
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About a half hour. I talk shooting with the guy who works on my car. The other mechanic wanders over for a few minutes and we talk fishing. There's a fine trout stream about 5 minutes away on foot. It's a bitch.
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How long does it take you to get to the place where you turn in your used oil? Or, do you pour it into a hole in the ground because all environmentalists are wrong (not to mention leftist elitist hippies)?
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On 08/27/05 03:43 pm Duane Bozarth tossed the following ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

But according to the post that started all this, the plumber had quoted his rate per hour, the material cost, and the length of the job, but the total estimated price for the job was far more than the sum of these, even allowing for it taking longer than estimated.
When we were living in NY and getting our car fixed and they told us that the parts would cost $200 and it would take 3 hours labor at $90/hr., do you think we would have been happy to end up with a bill for $850?
That's the kind of thing that the OP was complaining about.
Perce
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