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Old Yesterday, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
9,988 posts, read 5,470,904 times
Reputation: 15048

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Let's not trash the OP for not doing the work. They may not have that ability, most don't, or the interest. No what we should be trashing him/her for is going to the dealer for such an easy fix. My shop just ran one for my wife's car that was hard to start one day, they didn't charge but that's because I have a relationship with them. Get a relationship with a local shop and stop overpaying the dealer.
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Old Yesterday, 10:14 AM
 
Location: trapped in the body of a dying animal
3,369 posts, read 1,439,994 times
Reputation: 3577
I'm trash talking the OP because they want people to work for free.

You want your codes read for free? Go take your chances with the parts-monkeys down at Autozone. Or buy your own scan tool.

You want experienced mechanics to make a diagnosis that they'll stand behind, and take time outta their day to explain that diagnosis to an ignorant, entitled customer?

That's gonna cost you
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Old Yesterday, 10:22 AM
 
1,802 posts, read 2,195,877 times
Reputation: 3244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samiamnh View Post
Engine light was on in my 2013 Avalanche.I have a OBD meter so I knew exactly what the problem was.
Brought it to the dealership for a fix and when I got the bill I was charged $120 "diagnostic fee"
Previously I've never been charged for that....takes two minutes to plug in the meter and read the code.
Also...ever sat in the waiting room for an oil change and watch the parade of techs come out because they've found some mysterious problem?
Techs get %5-%7 for upsells.Filters,fluid changes ,belts.....anything they can get away with.
"You have an OBD meter (whatever that is) , so you know exactly what the problem is"??
Then why didn't you fix it?
Pulling a code does NOT tell you exactly what's wrong with it....the code(s) just tell you what system and/or circuit is being affected.
You can't just get Autozone to pull a code for you, then go to the repair shop and tell them what code it is, and expect them to diagnose it correctly based on that.
Many different things can cause a single code, and it takes experience and knowledge to diagnose and repair it correctly the 1st time.
Yes, some are easy to figure out, but some will make you pull your hair out.
A $60 code reader does not give you any info other than a code ( short/ long term fuel trim, injector pulse width, air/fuel ratio, etc, etc.)
One of my scanners is several thousand dollars and needs expensive updates every few years. Paying for my time so I can buy these tools is what a diagnostic fee is for. Do YOU work for free?
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Old Yesterday, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,225 posts, read 7,019,991 times
Reputation: 10988
Quote:
Originally Posted by turkey-head View Post
I'm trash talking the OP because they want people to work for free.

You want your codes read for free? Go take your chances with the parts-monkeys down at Autozone. Or buy your own scan tool.

You want experienced mechanics to make a diagnosis that they'll stand behind, and take time outta their day to explain that diagnosis to an ignorant, entitled customer?

That's gonna cost you
I agree. One's time, experience, and equipment does not come free.

Old story. Machine stops running causing the company to lose thousands of dollars a day. They call a repairman in. He walks around the machine a few times looking at things. Finally, he takes a hammer and hits the machine. The machine starts running.

The repairman sends the company a bill for $910.00. Company says that is expensive for a hammer hit. Break the bill down for us. Repairman sends a new bill. $10.00 for the hammer hit. $900.00 for knowing where to hit.
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Old Yesterday, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
4,631 posts, read 1,537,846 times
Reputation: 6671
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMike7 View Post
Code readers have only recently become cheap, so now it seems outrageous given how easy it is to pull codes, but a decade or so ago nobody had them unless you wanted t pay $300-500 for one.
I've had a reader for at least 15 years that I paid about $40 for. Still works fine.

The only readers in the hundreds have direct reporting of the codes and need to be updated often and occasionally replaced to stay current. I can look up a code online.

A dealership, and less often an indy shop, is entitled to charge a fee, but given the extremely short time and low expertise for a quick code check, even on their more complex machinery, is not worth a hundred or more.
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Old Yesterday, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
25,303 posts, read 60,677,920 times
Reputation: 28038
While it is fair to charge a fee, it is crazy to charge $120 for something that takes less than five minutes and is offered free elsewhere. Lots of people do some work for free. Lawyers offer free initial consultation. they are working fro free. Doctors and dentists will waive fees over what the insurance company pays even though you sign something saying you will pay whatever the insurance company does not pay. They are working for free. People with a truck will pull over and pull someone out of the ditch and neither expect nor accept payment. They are working for free. Anyone in any profession has relatives that are constantly asking for free advice or services.

Even if a mechanic cannot offer some minor service without additional charge, charging $120 for a code read, or $0 to jump start a car in a shop or $15 to put air in the tires, etc, it outrageous. There is a lot of room between free and outrageous. Code reading takes 5 minutes tops. A mechanic charges $120 an hour tops. 5 minutes is 1/12 of an hour. So charge $10 and you are still getting top dollar for that work. No one would get bent out of shape for a $10 charge to code read or jump start a car. It might annoy them, but they would not get worked up about it. No one is saying work for free, just stop robbing people. At $120 for a code read that takes five minutes, that is $1,440 an hour - to do something many places will do for free. Unless you have some super high end skill like throwing a ball, or lip syncing while pretending to play an instrument in front of a crowd, no one makes $1,440 an hour.
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Old Yesterday, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
4,631 posts, read 1,537,846 times
Reputation: 6671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
While it is fair to charge a fee, it is crazy to charge $120 for something that takes less than five minutes and is offered free elsewhere. Lots of people do some work for free. Lawyers offer free initial consultation.
Doing a nearly costless service, within 10 minutes, with no charge, would probably generate more revenue for a dealership than gouging $100+ to get the owner in a headlock for services that may not even be necessary... but you have to remember this is a dealership we're talking about. There are carnie grifters who are more likely to let a mark walk by without shaking him down for every dime. It's integral to their view of the world and underlies every single problem consumers have with dealerships.
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Old Yesterday, 11:53 AM
 
1,802 posts, read 2,195,877 times
Reputation: 3244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
While it is fair to charge a fee, it is crazy to charge $120 for something that takes less than five minutes and is offered free elsewhere. Lots of people do some work for free. Lawyers offer free initial consultation. they are working fro free. Doctors and dentists will waive fees over what the insurance company pays even though you sign something saying you will pay whatever the insurance company does not pay. They are working for free. People with a truck will pull over and pull someone out of the ditch and neither expect nor accept payment. They are working for free. Anyone in any profession has relatives that are constantly asking for free advice or services.

Even if a mechanic cannot offer some minor service without additional charge, charging $120 for a code read, or $0 to jump start a car in a shop or $15 to put air in the tires, etc, it outrageous. There is a lot of room between free and outrageous. Code reading takes 5 minutes tops. A mechanic charges $120 an hour tops. 5 minutes is 1/12 of an hour. So charge $10 and you are still getting top dollar for that work. No one would get bent out of shape for a $10 charge to code read or jump start a car. It might annoy them, but they would not get worked up about it. No one is saying work for free, just stop robbing people. At $120 for a code read that takes five minutes, that is $1,440 an hour - to do something many places will do for free. Unless you have some super high end skill like throwing a ball, or lip syncing while pretending to play an instrument in front of a crowd, no one makes $1,440 an hour.
They are not charging $120 for a "code read". They are charging to diagnose the problem.
If you had a p303 code for instance,..... what is causing that misfire on cyl #3?. Spark plug? Coil? Plug wire? Running lean on that cylinder caused by?? Vacume leak? Bad injector? ECM have a problem? Corroded wire somewhere in that system? Low compression?
Start tossing parts at it or figure it out the correct way?
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Old Yesterday, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit Michigan
3,252 posts, read 876,083 times
Reputation: 2682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickcin View Post
Not necessarily true, Iíve sat in waiting rooms where the techs come out to individuals waiting for oil changes and hear all kinds of comments regarding fluid changes or maintenance that should be done. Iíve also witnessed this with with several new cars Iíve owned when going for oil changes! They told me to have my tranny fluid changed with less than 20 K miles? I told them what the service manual stated and they said, oh, thatís just a guide, dusty conditions shorten that service? Meanwhile he didnít even know where I drive, definitely not dusty!

They are pushy and need to make money at your expense. You need to be your own advocate and do your own research unless you have too much money to burn!
When you go in for a oil change and they say you need transmission fluid flush itís not a diagnostic itís by them looking at the condition of the fluid not hooking up any equipment thatís when a diagnostic fee comes into play. Just recommending trans flush or tire rotation is just by sight no testing equipment involved.
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Old Yesterday, 12:01 PM
 
Location: trapped in the body of a dying animal
3,369 posts, read 1,439,994 times
Reputation: 3577
In most cases, dealers have equipment that will read codes beyond the standard OBDII codes that any made-in-china scanner will read. And they have diagnostic information, wiring diagrams, etc far beyond that 8-word code description you'll get for free at Autozone. That all costs money.

Plus whatever the diagnosis, the dealer will have to stand behind it. You don't get that from Autozone or a code reader.

And there's the time required to not only check the code, but also explain it to an entitled customer who thinks people should work for free.

I'd agree that $120 is on the high side of reasonable. But it's not really out of the ordinary.


And BTW, the OP mentioned that he has a code reader. So why is he at the dealership at all seeings how he can do this job himself? I mean, he thinks it should be free... so why isn't *he* doing this 2-minute job that's worth $0?
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