Car Time – November 2022


Expensive versus Good Value

    How is an auto repair job determined to be expensive or a good value?
    Unfortunately, many people look to the Internet to answer the “expensive” side of that question. They often look up what they think a car’s failed part is and how much it should cost. Do most people really know what has failed on their vehicles when diagnosing them?
    Others might try to diagnose their car’s problem based on very old information because that’s what they remember when they used to work on cars. Such information, however, is outdated with the advent of computer technology. Today’s modern vehicle can have a dead cylinder, but the vehicle’s computer can smooth the run condition to the extent that only trained professionals could identify there is a problem and what it is.
    Should inexpensive parts be used to repair an issue with a car? Doing so could leave a driver stranded. It is better to have the issue professionally diagnosed and repaired with the best quality parts available.
    Certainly, some replacement parts are available through the Internet, but many professional quality parts are not.
    Then the question becomes what is a reasonable mark-up for those parts?
    It is important to note in most cases mark-ups ensure the practicality of extended warranty periods. If a part subsequently fails, it is warrantied by the facility working on your vehicle.
    Also, keep in mind labor rates and mark-ups are based on the costs of doing business in well-run facilities. Before looking solely at price, ask the repair facility about the warranty period for its parts and service.
    Expensive does not always mean good, but inexpensive generally means being stuck on the side of the road. Alternately, value for your money should mean getting a good-to-great warranty to ensure against something failing. Value also comes knowing the repair facility will be there if an issue arises.
    Ultimately, the best advice is to look for a facility that makes you feel safe and secure in your decision to use it. Price should not be a sole determinant because you are not buying the same thing from one facility to another.
    And for those who may think auto-repair is easy, think about this for a minute – there is more computing power in most newer vehicles nowadays than there was in the Saturn rocket that sent a man to the moon!

Ray Kunz can be reached at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.