Do You Shop around for Mechanic Quotes? + Safety/RWC Question

Hey everyone,

I bought a used car recently from an auction (3 months ago, 2014 Mazda 3) which I took to their mechanic and obtained a Safety/Roadworthy certificate.

Today I went in to my local mechanic to have a major service done and was told that the left rear shock absorber was leaking which would need to be fixed ASAP as it would affected the car's safety. In addition, I was told if a roadworthy inspection was conducted today, it would not pass. I asked them how long would this issue have been present for and they said quite a while which begs me to ask, how did the car pass the initial roadworthy certificate when I first bought it?

To have the shock absorber replaced I was quoted $450 which leads me to my last question, do you guys shop around for quotes or do you accept the mechanic's quote and get the item fixed?

TLDR:

  • (1) How can a car obtain a RWC if there should have clearly been a problem and is the mechanic that issued the certificate liable for anything?

  • (2) How/Do you shop around after receiving a quote from a mechanic?

Comments

  • +2 votes
    1. Previous seller either knew someone who did the cert for them or the person doing it didn't do a thorough job. Neither are uncommon, in fact I'd say they're the norm.

    2. Nope as I do my own work or have someone I know do it. I do shop around for parts prices though and buy consumables in advance when they're on sale.

  •  

    I recently bought a beater and both original rear shocks were gone, past RWC. only test is braking, it can pass that if brakes are good. Not not liable. He preformed the braking test and it passed thats all they require.

    I bought the shocks from Ebay $140 Monroe gas shocks for the pair, DIY 30min, hatchback, didnt even need to take the wheels off, 2 bolts and done.

    yep shop around, always

    •  

      Normally you can price up a job yourself by looking at the cost for parts on ebay/supercheap and youtube to see how much labour is involved for a specific model of car.

      I bought the shocks from Ebay $140 Monroe gas shocks for the pair, DIY 30min, hatchback, didnt even need to take the wheels off, 2 bolts and done.

      I didn't check what Mazda 3 shocks cost, but just based on this $450 is grossly excessive. I'd probably phone around and find someone that can do it in the 200-250 range.

      •  

        Normally you can price up a job yourself by looking at the cost for parts on ebay/supercheap and youtube to see how much labour is involved for a specific model of car.

        You do realise that a mechanic will have overheads to account for and that at the end of the day, he does need to make a profit for his business to be sustainable, right?

        • -1 vote

          Thanks sherlock.

          The going rate of labor for a mechanic in Sydney is $110-130/hour (when they have a 16 year old apprentice doing the work). I think there's enough fat in my $200-250 estimate to cover their overheads and if there isn't, then you should shop around for another mechanic.

          I'd hope the mechanic is able to source parts cheaper than @Bid Sniper can see on ebay and hopefully make a mark up there too.

    •  

      Hi thanks for the info, unfortunately I am not that mechanically minded but I would like to learn how to do simple maintenance. Would I need a lift jack at all? Also a lot of videos I see, people use an impact or air wrench to remove bolts, is this essential? Is it safe for me to try to replace the shock myself (car safety wise)?

      • -1 vote

        I am not that mechanically minded … Is it safe for me to try to replace the shock myself (car safety wise)?

        Depends where you're at - can you change the oil+filter? Can you change the coolant/battery/brake pads? If no, then you don't want to start with changing the shock absorbers. If yes, then you can probably have a crack.

        Would I need a lift jack at all?

        Start by finding a video for your model of car. Each car will have a different way of accessing it. If you can't find the exact model, try to identify the type of shock absorber and look for a similar (older/newer) model.

        Also a lot of videos I see, people use an impact or air wrench to remove bolts, is this essential?

        No, not at all, but be prepared to buy some tools. You might be working in a cramped space and need a shorter tools to fit into the right area. The tricky part will be deciding how much to tighten the nuts when you're done. Most people don't have a service manual for their car with torquing specs. You'll either need to do it by feel or ask a mechanic for a recommendation or find a service manual.

        • +1 vote

          Depends where you're at - can you change the oil+filter? Can you change the coolant/battery/brake pads?

          I haven't changed any in person (as bad as this sounds, I have a lot of hours in car mechanic simulator because I really wanted to learn) so I know the general concepts, I've just never had a lift jack so I haven't had the chance to try (the wheel changing jack sucks).

          Start by finding a video for your model of car. Each car will have a different way of accessing it. If you can't find the exact model, try to identify the type of shock absorber and look for a similar (older/newer) model.

          Most videos I've seen are done on a car lift with the wheel removed, unsure if required or just easier access although they do use a lift jack to raise the shock absorber back up to screw in.

          You'll either need to do it by feel or ask a mechanic for a recommendation or find a service manual.

          I found a service manual for my Mazda online and it looks pretty simple https://imgur.com/a/3ENiEoH but unfortunately only Bilstein or Koni are available on ebay for $250 otherwise Super Cheap Auto is about $115 which I'm a bit iffy on.

      • +1 vote

        Can buy the shocks and ask them for a quote to install. Should take a professional under 1hr. Saw on ebay $180 for pair of Monroe. As above going rate $140 ph. All up should cost $320 this way.

        •  

          Unfortunately I couldn't find the parts list on the Monroe website, do you have a link? (Mazda 3 year doesn't go above 2013). I wouldn't mind putting the cost of labour towards some tools like a lift jack and torque wrench instead so I can learn how to perform some maintenance myself.

          •  

            @do minator: I just searched mazda 3 on ebay.

            Ramps are safer. If the rear is like most hatches the shock attaches to the sub frame and is independent from the spring. If so then can DIY. If its a coilover type get a professional to do it. Its a PITA and not worth DIYing

            •  

              @Bid Sniper: I have some jack stands that I bought a while ago so I wouldn't be using the lift jack to hold the car up by itself. From what I can see in the service manual the shocks are independent from the springs so no issues there. I searched on mazda 3 monroe ebay too but there only seems to be fits for 04-09 and 09-13, no 14+.

          •  

            @do minator: I think you'll find the BL series is the same as the BK. KYB appear to be $190/pair

    •  

      I did the rear struts on my GFs 2000 model Mazda 323 recently.

      Gabriel Ultra Struts from SuperSpares on Ebay. $245 a pair delivered. They were the cheapest "name brand" damper I could buy.

      It took me 3 hours (struts need the spring swapped over) with basic hand tools (I couldn't be bothered getting out the compressor and air tools) and battling some corroded 19 year old fasteners.

      The only "gotcha" was that the bump stops had disintegrated and I didn't have time to get new ones so it went together without them.

      Your mechanic sounds like he is over-emphasising the gravity of the situation. $450 for one damper (assuming a traditional damper rather than a strut) sounds a lot. If it's for the pair then it's probably around the money but at the top end.

  •  

    Maybe it wasnt leaking 3 months ago or not leaking so much that it was visible

  •  

    Definitely get a second 'free' quote.

  • Top