Demystify Car Repair Prices With RepairPal.com

Now you never have to wonder if the mechanic is scamming you on repairs. RepairPal.com lets you punch in your make, model, year zip, and repair and then they’ll tell you the normal range of prices for it are. A graph shows the range of costs, broken down to whether you are going to an independent shop or a dealer. The source data, which the site has never been publicly available before now, goes back to 1990. A good resource for getting general numbers for what you can expect to pay for basic auto repairs.

RepairPal [Official Site]

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  1. snoop-blog says:

    another good way to determin if you are getting ripped off is to call a part store, find out the price of the parts, and then find out what you mechanic charges by the hour.

  2. cool site. too bad a week ago i dropped $2K on my 8 year old car. granted, the site isn’t perfect, but i still get the feeling i got screwed.

  3. snoop-blog says:

    @whiplashchick: It depends, what did you have done? and who did it? the dealership, or joe’s garage?

  4. se7a7n7 says:

    bookmarked

  5. TangDrinker says:

    I just had an oxygen sensor replaced – and according to this site I paid $50 too much ($310 at dealer, $265 as “highest range” according to this site).

    I wonder how old their data is. I wonder if prices are higher now because of our non-recession.

  6. Oh… most awesome. Thanks for this site. It’s always nice to have a guestimate before taking the car in for an estimate.

  7. @snoop-blog:

    i had it done last week at a local independent shop.

  8. VicMatson says:

    I’ve used it before and it seems too much add related, I wonder who owns it and where their revenue comes from. Try using Alldata and you’ll see what I mean. They give part cost and labor time.

  9. snoop-blog says:

    @TangDrinker: $50 is not a rip off. $200 or more is. Even though the site says you paid $50 too much, if it was quality work done by trustworthy individuals then I’d say you got a fair deal.

    As much a part of our lives that cars are, I think everyone should take an automotive class in school. Not so you can work on your own shit, but so that you at least have a basic understanding of the different car systems and how they work and are related to another. Then your not so in the dark when you need repairs, and every car owner will need repairs. Heck when I was in school, I got a science credit for the class.

  10. krom says:

    It just told me that it would cost me more to have one strut replaced rather than both.

    It clearly is not multiplying the parts cost by the quantity, but the higher labor cost for one strut versus two is obviously wrong.

    That, and it came in under half what I’ve previously been quoted.

  11. stacye says:

    I just tagged this site on del.icio.us and it didn’t even give car or auto as a suggested keyword.

  12. Dobernala says:

    @whiplashchick: But WHAT did you get done?

  13. Thanks for this. Too often I’ve felt ripped off because I’m a woman who doesn’t know much about cars. At least I can have an inkling of what my repairs are supposed to cost.

  14. @snoop-blog: I’m inclined to agree. I know general stuff (like how to check my tire pressure and put in more coolant), but my dad discouraged me from getting too involved lest I grow up to be “unladylike”. And I’ve met too many guys who know less about cars than I do.

  15. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Neat and all, but it’s missing some key info. I decided to look up some random matinance on my car (a 2007 Honda Fit) and you would think that it would mention somehwere on there that the 2007 Fit has a recall out on it because in northern states where they use road salt to melt ice, water from the drivers boots can cause the air bag controls to malfunction. I mean… it has a section for “commonly reported issues”. Shouldn’ that be one?

  16. viewsource says:

    [www.kbb.com]
    +
    [www.dealerrater.com]
    +
    [www.repairpal.com]
    =
    Finally customers can stop getting screwed….maybe.

  17. If you click on the “Do you see something wrong or missing?” link, it leads you to a comment form. The form lets you select from a drop-down list of feedback categories. One of the items in the list is “RepairPal Sucks”. Gotta like a website/company willing to accept criticism.

  18. mherdeg says:

    Yeah! I’ve been using this ever since I saw it on Lifehacker in June.

  19. Most shops use a rate table that computes the time to perform a specific task (say 0.9 hour)

    So the hourly rate is the hugest variable in pricing the service provided.

    The second variable is the combined task rate versus single task rate. For example replacing the alternator and drive belt is 0.9 hour for the alternator. The drive belt is defined as 0.3 hours. The high profit margin shop will charge you for 1.2 hours, while the low profit margin shop will charge you for 0.9 hour of labor because they had to remove the drive belt in order to replace the alternator. The 1.2 hour charge is legit (no fraud involved), but the neighborhood shop struggling to attract business is most likely to charge you for just 0.9 hours.

  20. snoop-blog says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: Aw come on. You make it sound like you hate to agree with me.

  21. chrylis says:

    @WiglyWorm: They have a link to report additional information on your model of car. Since your car is a 2007, it’s entirely possible that the recall (which must be recent) just hasn’t been brought to their attention with all the other models out there. Let them know.

  22. Half Beast says:

    Bookmark’d like whoa.

  23. Carbonic says:

    If you have an older car, id say its best to do your research and stick with a local non dealer mechanic who has a good track record with the locals, they tend not to charge the $90+ an hr labor dealers do.

    New car on the other hand, and if you are leasing, concerned about warranty issues, or just plain anal, keep it with the dealer.

  24. Dresarius says:

    Windows? Glass repair?

  25. FairMarkets says:

    Well I hope this site gets better. It says it is in beta testing so hopefully they will work out the kinks. Regrettably it has too many bugs for me to place it on a permanent bookmark list now.

  26. @snoop-blog: No… just trying to expand a one word post into many lines, lest I violate the commenter rules. ;-)

  27. @FairMarkets: I’m sure the site is very sad to hear that. ;-)

  28. spikespeigel says:

    @WiglyWorm: You should have gotten a letter in the mail about the recall. I know that’s what happened with my 2007 Civic and the tire issue. I thought that was right decent of Honda.

  29. ???/??? says:

    Apparently Mercury Cougars don’t need repairs

    pft, newsflash to me

  30. TeraGram says:

    How bizarre this post comes up right after I had a weirdo problem on my car! As usual, I took my vehicle to my regular mechanic and he fixed it faster than anticipate and although the problem seemed very ominous, it turned out to be rather easy.

    I checked what I paid for the total job to the RepairPal and had my suspicions confirmed:

    My mechanic is a gem. He’s honest, hard-working, spot-on in all his repairs and fair (maybe even a touch on the cheap side) with his prices.

    I think I’ll keep him!

  31. RvLeshrac says:

    @Corporate-Shill:

    As with computer repair (*disclaimer: I work for a company which does computer repair*), A/C repair, TV repair, locksmiths… hell, anything that requires any training at all (and in most cases, just a page of well-written how-to instructions [with pictures])… people will frequently just charge a stupid amount of money for even the easiest tasks, mark up parts by 500% or more, and generally rip off the consumer.

    Whose fault is this? We’re tempted to say “The business, because they shouldn’t be ripping you off,” but that’s actually not the case.

    The problem is that most people see an inexpensive service offered and assume that the person offering the service has no idea what they’re doing. I’ve done independent work in the past, and have been turned down in favor of places charging 10x as much as I do because people think that “high price” == “high quality.”

    In one specific case, I was called to fix what the “high quality” company managed to botch. It took me twice as long to do the work (undoing what they had screwed up), and it STILL only took me half as long to complete the work.

    The moral of this story is that people just need to wake up and stop relying on pieces of paper (“Our technicians are all graduates of the National School of Transmission Repair!”) and start relying on people who know what they’re doing (Bob’s friend Jim who works at a fast-food place has a hoist in his garage, has been driving the same car for 20 years, and rebuilt his own transmission with junkyard parts for $200).

    If more people frequented the little guys, the big guys might stop gouging.

  32. RvLeshrac says:

    Oh, on that note, actually, and more to the point of the article, I had a tranny rebuild done on my Bonneville at a local shop near my parents.

    Well, the work didn’t take (I’ve been told since that the tranny in this car is notoriously difficult to work on), and I started having the same problem.

    After checking local towing companies and finding out that the tow would cost $200+, I called the place (100 miles away) and asked them when I should have it towed back down there. Instead of telling me when I should have it dropped off, they told me that they’d send someone here to pick it up! A 100 mile tow, completely free. I had to have someone bring the car back up to me, but hey, getting a working car back is the easy part.

    Try getting that kind of service from a dealership on an 18 year old car.

  33. Brain.wav says:

    No Beretta listed under models… how do they skip such a common model of car.

  34. @Dobernala: let’s see…

    mass airflow sensor $473
    battery $88
    gaskets, seals and pre-catalytic converter $750
    catalytic converter assembly $248
    various diagnostics and resets $215
    sublet and supplies $75

    i hate car repairs. i’m getting a horse.

  35. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    @chrylis: @spikespeigel: I did get a letter (though I still haven’t found time to get my car serviced).

    Also, I did e-mail them, and I was shocked at the responce! I got a real, friendly, and sincere letter the same day from a real person! I’ll share it with you guys.

    Dear wiglyworm,

    Thank you very much for contacting us. We thrive on feedback and are constantly working to improve our site!

    We especially love receiving emails like yours! We spend a lot of time working with experienced auto technicians to make sure we update our database with the most current and accurate data on the web. Looking up the 2007 Fit on Safercar.gov (NHTSA website), I see you are absolutely right! There is currently a recall on approximately 34,000 Fit’s. Here is what the recall states on the website (sorry their site is all caps):

    IN AREAS WHERE ROAD SALT IS USED, SALT FROM THE SNOW ON THE DRIVER’S SHOES WILL MELT AND MAY PENETRATE THE CARPET AND LEAK INTO THE WIRE HARNESS. IF THE HARNESS IS EXPOSED TO SALT BRINE, CORROSION MAY OCCUR AND THE WIRE MAY BREAK CAUSING THE SRS INDICATOR LIGHT TO ILLUMINATE. A FAILURE OF THE ODS AND OPDS MAY NOT DETECT THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD SEAT OR AN OUT-OF-POSITION PASSENGER AND DEPLOYMENT OF BOTH THE FRONT SEAT PASSENGER’S FRONTAL AND SIDE AIR BAGS WILL NOT BE SUPPRESSED.
    It sounds like the dealers are inspecting the harness under the carpet for any corrosion and possibly replacing anything that needs replacement. We are currently reviewing our Honda pages and I will be sure to add this when I update Honda.

    Thank you for helping us improve and please share RepairPal with your friends!

    Sincerely,

    Andy

  36. jimv2000 says:

    Wow. I just checked this site for a quote from a repair shop. It was replacing a head gasket, radiator, and CV boot. The shop I went to quoted $2500. This site says it should be around $900-1600.

  37. Subliminal0182 says:

    Doesn’t give estimates on body work though

  38. madfrog says:

    I think that this is a great idea. I have worked at 2 car dealerships, in the service dept. This gives the consumer knowledge and shows them what a resonable fee should be, not just what the “book” says that you should charge them. If a customer comes in with this and shows the pricing, most honest dealership will have no problem honoring it.