Was I over Charged for This Repair Job on My 2004 Camry Altise?

Hi guys,
I took my car (Toyota Camry Altise, 2004, 4 cyl) to a local mechanic for a general service. He charged me $682(inc GST) for a general service plus the replacement of a rocker cover gasket and spark plugs.

Was the charge reasonable?

Here is a break down of the cost as per invoice:

Oils/Engine Oil, $50
Labour, $450 ($120 per hour, took the car to the shop at 8:30am and got it back at 12:30 pm on the same day - I guess they worked on it non-stop for almost 4 h?)

Parts, wiper blades, rocker cover gasket, oil filter, air filter, Parker globe x1, for $120.

Please let me know what you think.

Thank you!

Comments

  • +1 vote

    After googling, I have no idea. Im sorry.

  •  

    You need to also provide the make/model/year etc before anyone can tell you what they think

    • +1 vote

      updated, thank you!

  •  

    Was it a major or minor service? Dealer or normal mechanic?

  • +3 votes

    rocker cover gasket and spark plug replacement is not a 4hr job

  • +3 votes

    At a guess:

    Oil change - 30 mins
    Remove rocker cover, replace gasket, refit rocket rover - 1 hour (other things around it may need to be removed and refitted so it can come off - throttle body, wiring, hoses, etc)
    Remove and replace multiple spark plugs - 30 to 45 mins
    Replace wiper blades (rear also?) - 10 mins
    Replace air filter - 10 mins
    Replace globe - 15 mins

    Total time: 170 mins

    Seems like one hour too long but some oil filters can be jammed on pretty bad (however pros know how to get them off quickly) and old sparkplugs can also be troublesome. Don't wanna cause a breakup of a stubborn plug into a cylinder!

    •  

      Very informative, thank you for your response!
      I've been going to the same mechanic for the last 4-5 years. I always trusted his workmanship.
      But I feel like they are starting to charge me an arm and a leg for routine maintenance jobs.
      I guess I won't be going to the same place again.
      Thanks again.
      All the best.

      •  

        Maybe call them back and just ask them if the invoice was correct in regards to labour?

      • +1 vote

        But I feel like they are starting to charge me an arm and a leg for routine maintenance jobs.

        I took my car to Nissan the other week to try and get an ECU installed, they charged me 2hrs of labor and it came to $450. They told me the "new" donor ECU was from the wrong car so they did not proceed with the install, as they highlighted a part of the VIN pulled from the new ECU and said it was wrong model of car. I got home and put that VIN into a VIN lookup service and it was definitely from the correct model of car, just a coincidence that a model code would be the same characters in the VIN.

        My mechanic asked if Nissan have even attempted to load the software for my car onto it and no they haven't done anything. Just put it in (look on youtube you can see video of ECU removal/install it takes 15mins, just have to remove one panel on the drivers side and 4 bolts) and checked the error codes with their scanning tool thing.

        I think if you are happy with the work maybe just have a quick chat to the guy about it before you give him the flick, it can be hard to find a good workshop.

    •  

      Time could be right @ $150/hr? Which is dealership labour charge but maybe that's what the mechanic is trying to go for?

    •  

      oil filters can be jammed on pretty bad

      (profanity) who owned my vehicle before me thought it would be a good idea to tighten the oil filter on with hydraulics instead of hand tight. Took me an hour to get it off with a screwdriver stabbed through it. It was on so tight the screwdriver was just tearing through the filter when I tried to spin it….

    • +1 vote

      Replace air filter - 10 mins

      Would be more like 2 minutes?

  •  

    Normal mechanic. Sorry I am uncertain if its a major or minor he didn't say. He's written a list of what he checked below.

    It includes the following:
    change engine oil/oil filter, replace air filter, pressure test cooling system, check hose connections
    inspect brake and transmission fluids, adjust park brake,
    check front and rear breaks including pads, rotors, shoes and drums,
    lube locks, latches and hinges, inspect front and rear suspensions
    replace wiper blades, check front and rear lights, replace rear park light globe.
    inspect brake and fuel lines and connections, drive belt condition
    check battery for voltage, security and terminal condition
    check and adjust tyre pressures including spare
    exhaust checked for excess noise and leaks/rattles,
    check rack and drive shaft boots and steering linkages,
    all oil and water levels topped up as required
    checked for oil leaks, replace rocker cover gasket
    replace spark plugs
    road test and recheck.

    • +1 vote

      Camry 2004 costs around $2,400 - $3,900 on car sales, to give that some perspective.
      Engine oil cost you around $110. Ez oil drain valve is around $50 and you can always find oil around $35. Fit the valve once and forget the oil change costs.

    • +2 votes

      There you go - he did all the wear and tear and safety checks, topped up any required fluids, lubed bits here and there. An extra hour accounted for.

  • +8 votes

    That moment someone doesn't replace their own globes or wipers… Cmon

    • +1 vote

      Betoota pretty much sums up OPs post, except this time the mechanic did not forget.

  • +4 votes

    Stuff like this is normally charged at book.time not actuall.

    •  

      This
      It would be interesting to see what the book rate is for these jobs if anyone has access to a database.

    • +1 vote

      At a dealership, yes.
      But not at a local mechanic

      •  

        The argument is this.

        If a mechanic is quicker than someone else should they be paid less for a job. Your paying for experience as well. This is why book tome exists

        Same goes with any trade or profession. Your paying for years of knowledge and experience

  •  

    If you're so concerned about the price you should've just done everything yourself, its super easy to do most of it with basic tools. The only thing I would've taken to the mechanic for is the rocker cover gasket and maybe the oil if you're lazy buying the jack and stands.

  • +1 vote

    There's no way that would take 4hrs to do that job…..

  • +1 vote

    2.6 hours labour maximum by a competent mechanic.

    You were rolled.

  • +1 vote

    Too high. Rocker cover is about a half hour job, 45 minutes if incompetent.

  •  

    The labour charge of $120 per hour is NOT acceptable for a local mechanic as this would mean the mechanic would be getting $213K per year for 37hrs for 48 weeks of the year.

    • +4 votes

      As long as he told you his rate up front i have zero issue with him charging you 120 and hour. $213k also includes a shit load of overheads, you failed to take our rent and and insurance but feel free to continue to be outraged

    • +4 votes

      Yeah, lucky there are no overheads whatsoever 🙄

  • +1 vote

    They saw you coming.

    What did the mechanic say when you queried the bill?

    A little late now but you should have asked before paying the bill, not after.

  • +1 vote

    Rip off

  • +5 votes

    Hi guys, thank you all for the valuable inputs. I really appreciate it.
    It seems that the other places charge somewhere in between $220-300AUD for the replacement of a rocker cover gasket and 4x spark plugs in Brisbane.
    General inspections cost around $190-200AUD.

    Based on those quotes, I called my mechanic this morning and told him that the charge ($682) was unreasonable.
    He agreed that I was over-charged for this job and refunded me $220 AUD. (I just want to clarify one thing: When I brought the car to the shop, I told him that there's been some oil leaks. I asked him to check it and call me. But he went ahead with the job without giving me a quote)

    I am happy that I got the refund. I'll be more careful with the repairs now and will definitely try to do the basic maintenance myself like what others have suggested here.

    Thanks all.

    •  

      Did he say why you were overcharged?

      •  

        As another person said for most of those jobs it would be book prices rather than actually calculating the hours. He would've just picked them from dropdowns in his invoicing app and maybe didn't register what the total was.

    •  

      damn, good work. I sent a email to a mechanic. He didn't reply. Just wrote a bad google review.

      I prob shoudl of called him.

  • +1 vote

    Would be a reasonable price for the V6 engine. However a bit pricey if only the 4 cylinder as they are much easier to work on.

  •  

    The price seems quite reasonable.

    A lot of workshops charge "flat rate hours" for a lot of standard jobs. I know I did when I was on the tools. It was only "do and charge hourly rate" for stuff you couldn't quote.