struts replaced. was this price reasonable? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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struts replaced. was this price reasonable?

Hello,

I have a 2003 Subaru Forester & have been going to the same neighborhood mechanic for several years with no problem. He was always fair & did a good job.

The last time I went for regular maintenance, the same day a squeaking started & I brought it back a few weeks later & he changed the front brake pads. The same day I picked it up from the brake pad repair, a thumping started. The car was driving fine, but I brought it back at the end of the summer as the thumping was getting louder, & it seemed to me there was some kind of problem (vibration) with the right front tire. When I brought it in, I asked him if something could be wrong with the new brake pad.

He called me while I was at work & said it needed all 4 struts replaced, & gave me an estimate for $1300. The total ended up being $1340. I paid it, but went home & checked online.

I am seeing KYB struts (which he said is what they are) for $156 to $285 a pair online, & he charged $342.80 for the front & $345.50 for the rear.

I called & asked him how long the job took & he looked it up & calculated it out while I was on the phone, & said it took him 6 hours at $95 an hour, for a total labor cost of $570. This sounds really high to me. What I am finding online is that 4 hours would be more reasonable.

I should have asked him about the prices before he went ahead and did the job, but I was at work & did not have the time to deal with it, but I want to go in & talk with him about it if the prices are way out of line, & otherwise I will find a new mechanic.

Does anyone out there have any idea if this is reasonable or has he fallen on hard times? We are in the southern New England area.

Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 12:50 PM
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How many miles on the car? I would question weather you needed the job to begin with. As far as price goes his rate is off the chart. I don't remember the last time I paid 95 an hour to a mechanic.

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 12:57 PM
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Local Subaru shops here will charge at least $300 - $400 for spring install, which is basically the same job as replacing struts. What he charged you isn't too unreasonable considering he's probably never done this job before on a Subaru, although 6 hours is too much. It is a 2 hour job if you've done it before (I can do it in 2 hours in my garage at home). $95/hour is a bit steep, he better be very thorough. Parts cost at least twice as much as you could have gotten them online for, that's a big dent in your bill.

What's done is done though, if the car is performing better the goal has been accomplished. I hope he did an alignment afterwords, it is required when doing suspension swaps.

Stan

Shocks > struts.
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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thank you!

thanks so much for your replies! I am not sure what the mileage is right now, but it is pretty good for the age of the car. I am the 2nd owner but neither of us were heavy duty drivers, mostly local.

I believe the mechanic is technically good & does a good job fixing things. Would you go back to him, trust-wise? I am not sure I can afford him any more...I make more in the $12 to $15 per hour range so $95 per hour is a bit steep in my book.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 02:29 PM
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Good mechanics aren't cheap. Maybe he charges that much because he is very good, or maybe there just isn't much competition in the area. Strut change isn't very difficult and doesn't require any special skill set or experience, unlike building a high-performance engine, tuning high-end sports cars, etc.

Stan

Shocks > struts.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 02:35 PM
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I just got an estimate to replace front struts on my 04X from Sears. They want $700, which includes an alignment. Don't know what Sears changes per hour, but dealers around here charge around $110/hr. $95/hr for a decent shop doesn't seem out of line to me.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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thanks!

Thank you for your input! :)
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 02:39 PM
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if the guys use subaru shocks they are silly money... but they will last you, i priced some the other day for a 2004 forester and it was about 320 per shock...
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 04:30 PM
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Lena, welcome, hope you come back for more great input.

What I also might suggest is to give your location a little more accurate description other than USA. You might find somebody close by on here that can recommend other options for service should you decide to investigate your choices.

It's tough when you have someone you've trusted for a while, throw a curve ball like that. I don't know what the struts cost from the dealer, but they tend to be considerably more. Maybe the mechanic being unfamilar with sourcing Subaru parts through the aftermarket suppliers, opted for the more expensive OEM parts from the dealer as suggested. Definately takes less time than what you were charged for.

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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 04:37 PM
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IMHO you got ripped off.

I would not go back to him because he overcharged you for the parts, he took longer than he should have, and I'm not sure you really needed all 4 changed at once if only one went bad.
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockster View Post
if the guys use subaru shocks they are silly money... but they will last you, i priced some the other day for a 2004 forester and it was about 320 per shock...
Sure it was not only per strut on the rear only....
The rear struts on the european models got sls struts that are very expensive and in that way not comparable to most US models except the LL bean version.

To the OP: I think 6 hours is a bit much. 4 hours at most for changing struts. But this could be with the alignment and that takes time too. So 6 hours could be possible if they are a bit slow. The price on the struts however is on the high side.

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:27 PM
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Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you were ripped off. The shop that works on my Vette charges $80/hour and most of the car dealers charge $95-$100/hour. At the labor rate this dude is charging I would run your Foz by the dealer. A full strut job should cost about $800-ish. Don't know where the vibration is from... When do you notice it happening? (ie. When holding down the brakes, after taping the brakes, while punching the brakes, or just while cruising down the highway.???)

FYI: Bad Struts should not cause "some kind of problem (vibration)" Usually they just make the car really bouncy and squishy, unless something is seriously loose or not attached right.

In the off chance you located in VA, I would be glad to check out your car.
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:32 PM
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Ok, paying $500 more than you should isn't a ripoff? brilliant
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies, everybody, & the offer to check out the car, justinw2116. I am up in CT.

There was a thumping sound whenever the car was moving, sometimes it was not very noticable & other times got to be very loud. Like a drummer was playing underneath the car. I never heard it when the car was just idling.

It did not seem to affect the driving at all, but one day someone else was driving & I was in the passenger seat, & it seemed that there was some kind of thumping & vibration coming from the right front tire, so I thought maybe there was something wrong with the brake pad he had replaced previously? That is what I told him when I brought the car in, but he never mentioned the front tire thing...just said it was the struts that needed replacing.

Whatever it was, he definitely fixed it...the car is quiet & smooth, no drummer, no vibration of the tire. But now I really just want to walk everywhere to avoid any more repair bills! :)
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:54 PM
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