Quote for Service on 2003 Magna - Too Much?

Hi guys, took 2003 Auto Magna station wagon in for a service and asked for quote on what needs to be fixed…sent me this that arvo, would love experienced people's thoughts, thankyou!

edit: Context is that I've had this old darling sitting in the shed for a year and want to sell it. It's done 97,000 km's so pretty low for it's age and it runs beautifully. Just wondering what jobs I should get done so the next owner won't really have to worry about anything (but also won't cost me the value of the car to fix it).

Rocker Cover Gaskets/Tube Seals and Spark Plug Leads - $931.00

Bonnet Struts - $228.00 (exchange)

Alternator Belt - $118.00

Powersteering high pressure pipe – part is obsolete

Vehicle Battery - $267.20

Transmission Fluid - $260.00

LHF and RHF Shocker Dust Boot - $392.00

RH Inner CV Boot - $234.00

Tailgate Struts - $178.00

Key Remote - $198.00

Front Brake Pads and Front Disc Machine - $352.60

TOTAL $3158.80


  • +4

    Rocker Cover Gaskets/Tube Seals and Spark Plug Leads - $931.00

    That doesn't look all that bad, I thought the rear cylinder bank is annoying to work with and the mechanic has priced the annoyance in.

    Or maybe the mechanic don't want to touch a Magna so they've inflated the quote to tell the OP to bugger off elsewhere?

  • Now you have to have the conversation "which are urgent and which can I leave?"

    Also get a 2nd quote for the important stuff.

    Was this quote from MyCar or NRMA?

    This would be oil leaks Why aren't they doing spark plugs too?
    Rocker Cover Gaskets/Tube Seals and Spark Plug Leads - $931.00

    DIY - not urgent. Use a broom stick
    Bonnet Struts - $228.00 (exchange)

    I assume cracked / aged. I'd do this fairly soon
    Alternator Belt - $118.00

    Assume cracking and leaking. It will be available aftermarket. Around $100 or get Pirtek to make one using the old one and just replacing the rubber hose part.
    Powersteering high pressure pipe – part is obsolete

    Shop around. Get one from SCA on special and have them fit it
    Vehicle Battery - $267.20

    Why aren't they doing the filter and adjusting the bands (if possible)
    Transmission Fluid - $260.00

    You can get away without these
    LHF and RHF Shocker Dust Boot - $392.00

    Get this done soon or the grease will come out and dirt will go in. Or drive it until it's stuffed
    RH Inner CV Boot - $234.00

    DIY or another broom handle
    Tailgate Struts - $178.00

    DIY if battery only or find a locksmith that specialises in remotes
    Key Remote - $198.00

    How low are they? Pads are ~$80. Disc machining $80. 1.2 hours labour. $150
    Front Brake Pads and Front Disc Machine - $352.60

  • +1

    Not worth for repair.
    Get a new car.

    • +3

      Alternatively, fix the essential items and drive it til it goes bang while you save for an update. Brakes and alternator belt are probably the only two I’d do - but get a second opinion on the brakes.

  • +1

    Op…you are being overcharged by at least half, and it is simple….some is RWC stuff, and some is simply to make the vehicle saleable.

    The biggest item which has been missed is the Timing belt and associated work due at same time…100000k.

    Multiple jobs on quote done at same time will reduce costs by over 50-75%. It is an itemized and individual costed per item quote. It is a rip off as it reads. Get a 2nd opinion, and from a friend recommended repairer, or two more even.

    PS hose is no problems, just shop around until you find a helpful workshop for this item(just about every mobile crowd will sort it plus try the aftermarket areas as well)..

    Some very very scary responses to your Q. Choose the advise you follow very very carefully.

    I have this vehicle 2005 model, had another earlier model as well, and have been spannering for over 40 yrs.

    If the paint and trim is near mint, and it looks a stunner, fix it, get it all sorted and you will make more money as a Roadworthy car running and in VG condition. It is a sellers market out there, reap the rewards.

  • 2003 magna? lol i mean take taht 3k and sell the current car for what ever you can get and buy a better second hand car. aim for japanese older camry or somethin similar

  • I had a very quick look at just one item to get an idea. You ready?

    Tailgate Struts - $178.00

    You could change the struts yourself in like 5 minutes if I'm being too generous. And the price online seems to be $39. See here:


  • Wow, which service centre is this?

  • Absolutely rip off prices

  • Yes, that mechanic is taking you for a ride.

    Bonnet Struts - $228.00? Unnecessary, yes it's annoying that the bonnet won't stay up but $228? Get a pair from a wrecker for like, $20.

    Rocker Cover Gaskets/Tube Seals and Spark Plug Leads - $931.00? What the shit? There's maybe $100-$200 of parts here!

    Alternator Belt - $118.00? These are maybe $30. Labour CAN be a bit intensive on a FWD car.

    Transmission Fluid - $260.00? Dex 3 ATF is $31 for 4L: https://www.bunnings.com.au/valvoline-4l-dx-iii-atf-fluid_p0...

    Vehicle Battery - $267.20? Go check prices at Supercheap. You'll pay half that.

    Tell the mechanic to shove his quote up his arse. Then leave a bad review online with his prices.

    • Rocker Cover Gaskets/Tube Seals and Spark Plug Leads - $931.00? What the shit? There's maybe $100-$200 of parts here!

      The parts aren't the expensive bit champ.

      • I am aware of that; however a rocker cover replacement is trivial, especially for a mechanic. There is NOT $700 of labour here.

        I've had clutches replaced more cheaply than this.

        Edit: champ.

        • This shows that you are aware of exactly nothing. Read my post higher up explaining the cost. Also, the rocker cover is not getting replaced, the gaskets are.

          Clutch replacement can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. One job is not the same on different cars, something you seem to struggle to comprehend.

          • @brendanm: Why are you taking this so personally dude? It's weird.

            Obviously I'm aware the gasket is being replaced, the TASK of removing and replacing the cover (and associated gasket) is trivial, I am using a clutch as an example of a far more labour intensive job.

            Imagine defending a $900 rocker cover gasket/spark plug lead replacement, lol

            • @picklewizard:

              the TASK of removing and replacing the cover (and associated gasket) is trivial,

              Is it? How many of these have you replace rocker cover gaskets on?

              • @brendanm:

                Why are you taking this so personally dude? It's weird.

                • @picklewizard: In other words, you've never done it, and have no idea what's involved, buy will say that it's too much labour.

                  I'm not taking it personally, just calling you out for talking shit.

                  • @brendanm: I'm not talking shit. Literally everyone in this thread agrees that the mechanic is overcharging. But you stay up there on your high horse, sweetie xo

                    • @picklewizard: How many in this thread have actually done the job? I count 3, and they all said that it's a prick. Try it yourself, then we can talk.

                      • @brendanm: Changed rocker/valve cover gasket on a Euro car twice in the last seven years and if I have to do it once more, that's it, will leave it in the garage. Not technically complex but just a royal pain in the you know what. Only job I hated more was oil filter housing removal, and that's after a major overhaul of most the front bay.

  • +2

    Struts are like $30 new off ebay

  • +2

    Looks like mechanic does not want to touch the car and quoted with ridonkulous price.

    As others say, its time to sell the car as is. Good luck!

  • Just re-read your post. If you are aiming to sell give it a good clean, including degreasing the engine bay and sell as is. Don’t lie to buyers, but don’t offer info they don’t ask about.

    If the bonnet or boot won’t stay open be prepared to knock off a few $ or provide a suitable broomstick.

  • +1

    $324 for a CV boot is criminal. Looks like a classic "don't wanna do it but if you're willing to pay, fine."

    • May want to get checked for dyslexia 😂

  • +4

    I picked up a 2004 Magna LS for my sister back in 2010 for $4500 with 180k on the clock.

    She got six years and 100k out of it with just the most basic of servicing, before it was essentially an economic write off with the paint condition and amount of work that needed doing (brakes, tyres, worsening oil leak).

    Sold it as-is to a guy on Carsales for $900. I listed all the issues in the ad, and made it clear that if you were after a super clean car with nothing to spend this was NOT the car for you. Didn’t stop the questions asking if there were “any dents” or “problems that need fixing”, but I’ve learned over the years that a detailed description will not stop stupid people messaging you.

    Wanting to spend so much money on it “for the next owner” is totally insane, more so than the prices you’ve listed for fixing it up. List it for sale as-is, and don’t spend another cent on it.

  • You won't get more than $2.5k for it even if you fix everything. You'd be better off giving it to the wreckers for $1000 to sell the parts off

    I love magmas, they have great power and can last a while if looked after but their engine design makes them expensive when gasket seals and rings start to leak. And they leak a lot. And simple things like spark plug replacement is expensive because they are hidden behind other components. Plus they're terrible on fuel.

    There are much better second hand car options for people and these are becoming an undesirable car for most people.

    • Lots of labour was probably Mitsubishi Australia's guarantee of future flow of profits but who would have thought their fate.

    • Sorry to hijack but what car <5k would you recommend reliability wise? You seem to know a lot! Automatic transmission.

      • +2

        I only really know what I've experienced from the various cars I've owned over the years.
        But If I was looking for something under $5k today, I would look at a 2002/3 ish corolla with under 180ks on the clock.

        There's a tonne of them for sale because they were really popular at the time to buy, so good prices can be had. Plus Toyota just made that car super simple and the usual Toyota quality and build tolerances means they're likely to last longer when kept serviced regularly.

        • cheers!

  • being taken for a ride.

    the car itself is probably still in good nick considering its only done 97k

    if you had maintained it and serviced it regularly, no reason why urself or the next owner can't get another 3-5 years of no fuss usage from it

  • +1

    OP you do not have to fix all of it.

    Also half of that you can do yourself if you actually want to save some $$$.

    I remember I went to a car mechanic to change my spark plugs+leads and was quoted $600.

    Then I just went to sparesbox.com.au bought the parts for $200, installed myself and saved $400.

  • +1

    Looks like they gave you the (profanity) off price, in other words you see the price and (profanity) off somewhere else. Or you give them the job and there’s good money for working on your shit box.

  • Save your money, sell it as is, you will not recover the $3K+ in the servicing.

    Who needs struts, a stick will do fine.

  • You bought a Magna?

  • +1

    Drive the car into the ocean, it'll be cheaper

  • Out of that list… nothing really.

    Maybe the battery IF it is actually dead - ie won't start the car and can't be charged.

  • I had the 2003 sedan as my daily metro commuter. The transmission started dying at around 290,000 km. Evey thing else was in excellent condition, inside and out. The cost of replacing the transmission was more than the vehicle was worth. I did the numbers and tallied every service the vehicle had; I could have bought a new, equivalent size car for the money. That was the signal to move on.

    I haggled about $150 cash from the scrap yard in mid-2018.

    The car did a good job, was very reliable but,as others have noted with Magnas as they age, the parts and maintenance got steep towards the end.

    • +1

      Just out of curiosity.

      Assume new car is $25k plus cheap fixed price servicing for 5 years at $200 annually.

      When you said every service the vehicle had is same as a new car. On average $900 per service? (900 X 29 = $26k).

      Sounds a bit steep. You also need to add the new car depreciation into that number. If you hold a $25k car for 20 years then $1.3k. Longer you hold it lower it gets.
      Plus insurance on new more expensive cars cost more.

      • Not sure who you are replying to. This comment doesn’t seem to respond to eh one above it.

        Assume new car is $25k plus cheap fixed price servicing for 5 years at $200 annually.

        many people describe a ‘new to me’ car as a new car. Eg my ‘new car’ is a 1998 corolla with 150k km on it. Buying a car for $3k makes a big difference to outlay. Sure, there’s more risk than buying new, but you’ll save a bucket of money.

        • I did the numbers and tallied every service the vehicle had; I could have bought a new, equivalent size car for the money. That was the signal to move on.

          This is what I am referring to.

          • @netjock: Looks like I can’t read! Now it makes sense.

            Totally agree. Some think They spent $25k on this $5k car in the last 5 years. Could have bought a new one - then realise it’s $25k plus all the extras you mention. So a $25k car will cost $40k before you know it.

            Onthe other side, there is a point where throwing money at an old car isn’t worthwhile. It’s just a bandaid until he next problem pops up.

            • @Euphemistic:

              Onthe other side, there is a point where throwing money at an old car isn’t worthwhile. It’s just a bandaid until he next problem pops up.

              Agreed. Generally it is 20 years or 200k/kms is the limit on cars unless you drive it like a taxi and on 200k/km in 10 years in which case you might reach 400k/kms in 20 years provided the car hasn't rusted out. Unless you drive a future classic, but then you won't be clocking high kilometers on it.

  • -2

    get this car off the road

    its too old

  • lol

  • +1

    Yet again, no replies from the OP to the dozens of people offering advice…

    • Yeah I was about to offer my 2c but if they can't even be bothered responding then pfft.

  • That mechanic is ripping you off. Some of those prices are extortionate.

    Also, at least half of those items you can easily order parts for and do yourself.

  • so the next owner won't really have to worry about anything

    Well done on caring for others :)

  • I recently had a bad mechanical experience like this. I took my car of a similar/slightly newer vintage in and said I wanted to sell it so needed it fixed up for roadworthy and serviced.
    It has been a well looked after car that has never missed a beat…

    They made a list of things and said it would be $2500 or so! We discussed it and I said it wouldn't be worth fixing for its value. At this point I became suspicious because he agreed then launched straight into a pre-prepared story about needing a project car for his son who was starting university soon… and offered me $500 for the car to 'take it off my hands'…. It had a 1 year old brand name aftermarket head unit with bluetooth / handsfree etc that cost almost that much + self-install. I told him that and tried to bump him up to $900 and he held his ground, so I said no and took it home.

    Later had a new list repaired and the car made roadworthy - it cost me $285 fully serviced (oil / filters), RWC items repaired (a windscreen stone chip, and window motor I swapped myself following a youtube tutorial - was surprisingly simple), and $411 for 4 new tyres - that was it! $696 with the tyres!

    Be careful about such practices.

  • also keep in mind - labour prices don't change just because a car is old.

  • I'll comment on what experience I have:

    Bonnet Struts - $228.00 (exchange)

    Brand new Monroe aftermarket don't cost half this much. And easy enough for you to replace yourself.
    And honestly, only replace these if it's sagging down heaps. These don't wear out much

    Vehicle Battery - $267.20

    Car batteries range a fair bit but usually these are like $60-120 and take 10 mins to change.

    RH Inner CV Boot - $234.00

    These boots are like $15 to $60 retail. It's a bit labour intensive to remove, fair enough, but I expect an hour for a skilled mechanic to replace.
    Also inspect for yourself and see if it's cracked. If it is you'll see grease dribbling down it.

    Tailgate Struts - $178.00

    As above for bonnet struts.

    Key Remote - $198.00

    Never needed to do this before but this sounds outrageous. One of those shopping centre kiosks can program you a new one.
    Otherwise this doesn't normally fail

    Front Brake Pads and Front Disc Machine - $352.60

    At this price you may as well get brand new aftermarket discs for $60-120 each (depending on quality)
    As other poster's comments regarding this. Make sure it actually needs the work.

  • How do we know if some or all of these items actually do need fixing? Maybe the mechanic threw some items in there because OP looked like an easy mark.

  • +2

    The mechanic may be ripping you off a bit.. but at the end of the day it's probably not worth it to get roadworthy to sell or would at best be marginally worth it, depending on the specific model.

    Adding in the time/hassle of selling I would scrap it if it were up to me.

    Refer to redbook.com.au for avg prices. Don't refer to Carsales, as those are asking prices.

  • +2

    Very quick cursory glance says that Magna might be worth around $3-4k.

    Considering how much you'd be able to sell the car for, it just wouldn't be worth it. So after spending on all these repairs, which a new owner might not even consider necessary, you might be able to make a profit of $4-500?

    As others have also pointed out, some of these repairs might not even be necessary, and/or highly overcharged for the service/parts.

    You should consider how much it's going to sell for, versus your input for these repairs.

    If it were me, I'd try and sell it as is, before putting into it anything more than the absolute necessary to make it run. I just don't think you'd get your money back on it.

  • +1

    Hi I've got a 2001 Magna.
    Last time it went to a mechanic was around 140,000km or maybe ten+ years ago (its now at about 250,000km)
    It has eaten a lot of oil so i've always topped it up.
    So far for the last 100,000km I've so far
    1. Changed the spark plugs and distributor, because it'd randomly shut down or not start.
    2. Power steering belt snapped, so i changed that
    3. Brake pads were worn to the indicator so recently changed that last week.

    Other than that I haven't done any preventative maintenance.

    • +1

      When your timing belt snaps from not being replaced or the head gasket fails from constant increases in heat because of low oil then the cost of repair will outweigh the cost of the preventative maintenance.

      But if the cost of preventative maintenance outweighs the value of the car to you then it doesn't really matter 😂

      • You can get away with significantly less servicing than recommended, especially on a car cheap enough that anything serious would make it scrap value only - but, you have to be prepared to get a replacement at short notice.

        So many people freak out if you are 200km late for a service when the reality is there are plenty of cars running around perfectly fine that have never had a spanner pointed at them.

        Would I recommend you skip a service? Absolutely not, unless your car is very low value (like a 2001 Magna)

        I under serviced (according to manufacturer) my last two cars. They kept going, but they weren’t worth much and the money saved went into the bank, not on blackjack or hookers.

        • Yes true but the poster said it hasn't been serviced in 110,00kms 🤣 and has skipped the timing belt schedule.
          Plus he just keeps topping up the oil which suggests it leaks/burns oil so fast that there's no point doing an oil change.

          It depends on how long you plan on keeping the car. You can get a car to 400,000kms on the original engine by avoiding major damage like gasket seals breaking down by keeping the oil fresh to reduce heat and keeping the cooling system fresh.

          All this depends on whether the car is worth the effort to you. Some people can't wait for their car to die so they have an excuse to buy a new one

          • @Herbse: A 20yo Magna with 240k km on it is probably worth under $2k. It might run another 10years with regular servicing, but it won’t be worth any more than if you don’t service it.

            I’d only fully service a car that old if it had some collectible/enthusiast value. a Magna doesn’t fit that criteria for me.

            • @Euphemistic: If the car was visually 90%+ I would definitely bring it to a mechanic, but the years of shopping dents and sun faded paint definitely makes it not worth preserving.
              If you look at car sales, the majority of magnas are $2500-$4000
              To the OP, I would service your car if you plan to keep it for another 5-10 years. The upside of these cars are they are extremely cheap to run (in my case aside from fuel and rego. It's cost me roughly $200ish a year on DIY servicing. Every wrecker has a magna lol)
              .There are things which could cost a lot more to repair but that's when its time to let it go.

              It's also been beneficial in my learning experience working on cars. They say the magna rear sparks cost a bit to replace and is quite difficult but having gone through it, it'd take me 5-10 minutes max now (no need to actually take the maniifold fully out).

              Like a true ozBargainer, I always drive my cars till they're worthless.