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How long should it take for a mechanic to get me an estimate on my car repair?

I took my car in to a mechanic last Thursday beacuse the engine light was on and the car was having trouble acceleraing. I had my car back by the time the shop closed on Friday. The car ran great for 2 days, but then had the same problem again on Monday (but without the engine light). I took it to the mechanic at 2 pm on Monday…and I still haven’t gotten an estimate for the new repairs.

When I spoke to the mechanic yesterday he said something about the timing being off. (I don’t know anything about cars, so I have no idea what he said or what it means.) When I talked to him today, he said that they still weren’t quite sure how they were going to fix my car.

Is it normal for 2 1/2 days to have elapsed without an estimate? How much longer should I wait before I go over to the shop and take my car back? And, if I take the car without having it fixed, willI I still owe tons of money for the diagnostic work?

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8 Responses to “How long should it take for a mechanic to get me an estimate on my car repair?”

  1. John C said :

    yes and no,, if they are a high volume place yes,, if not no,,, your problem could be a number of issues,, but heres one constant,, they like to screw women over,, if you know anyone who knows about cars,,, take them with you,, get a fair estimate,, and make sure youre mechanic is ASE certified,, if not they will try to push anything over on you,, ASE mechanics must take certification tests both practical and extensive mechanical skills tests,, they are trained to know what they are doing and prove it,, thus getting the ASE certification,, check your local area,, and go there first,, they will probably give you the fairest and best estimate,,

  2. luisa_mapacha said :

    There should be a flat fee associated with the diagnosis. It is a service – they hook it up to a machine – and there is no reason they should charge you more than the standard fee, and only once. In CA, this fee runs from $65 – 90. This is on the expensive end.

    Are you sure he didn’t say timing belt? That is a part which needs to be replaced about every 70,000 miles, no matter what kind of car you have. It won’t cause the engine light to turn on, though.

    I know some places disconnect the engine light when they can’t figure out the problem. You should go get your car and take it elsewhere for a second opinion. If you discover they disconnected the light (as opposed to fixing the problem) demand a full refund and report them to the BBB. This happens more often than you may think.

  3. makingapost said :

    Sounds like one of many sad stories about autos and mechanics.

    If you take your car back I’m almost sure there will be an invoice of some amount you’ll be expected to pay. And the problem will be no closer to being solved.

    Good luck! ps: I fix my own.

  4. douglas z said :

    Take it somewhere else.

  5. Derek said :

    You may need to check on line with your state attorney general and get some info on potential scams by mechanics. Not all are evil, but some feel that they need to take any advantage they can. I’m not saying this shop is, but it sounds kinda strange. Depending on the size of shop, and the type of car timing an engine shouldn’t take that long. Of course it may not be that problem, and instead something simple like the spark plugs or wires going bad. Or it could be something worse like the transmission going. Try to have some one with some knowledge go with you, but keep the info from the attorney general or Better Business Bureau in your back pocket as a trump. And be ready to get a second opinion even if it means getting your car towed to a different shop.

  6. lugnutz59 said :

    Being an ASE Master Technician, I have to disagree with some of the above answers. Not every shop is “out to screw women over”. And you can’t really always charge a flat fee for diagnostics, as different problems require different diagnostics. Like if you have a tail light out, it’s usually only a few minuites to diagnose. But if you have to do a compression test on a V-6 FWD vehicle, you’re looking at 1-2 hours of diagnostic time. Anyways, off the soapbox now. If the shop is very busy, it may take a day or two to get you an estimate, but since you were just in, they SHOULD make it priority to get to your vehicle ASAP. You also mentioned “timing”. If your vehicle has a timing belt, the engine would have to be disassembled far enough to check the timing marks (which can be a couple hour job, depending on the vehicle and engine). Also, If the “Check Engine” light is not on again, you probably have a different problem, many problems can make a vehicle run the same way. If it was the same problem, the light should come back on. I’m not trying to defend your shop/mechanic, but in the repair bussiness, not everything is “black or white”. Since they have had your vehicle for 2 1/2 days, I would tell them you need your vehicle ASAP. If you’re not happy with their reply/ethics, I would go to another shop that specializes in driveability diagnostics. JMHO, and a view from the other side of the service counter. Sorry for the long post, Good Luck!!

  7. sharon_misspriss said :

    I agree with lugnutz59. I work closely with several mechanics in the town where I live. I bring them the parts that they need to repair the cars. Depending on how many cars they have in need of repair, I have seen anywhere from same day service up to 6 weeks. Just call them to inquire about the statice of your car. Once it is finally being looked at, it is usually repaired that same day.

  8. Kasandra Doyen said :

    Amazing article which has obtained me taking into consideration in regards to the probable of the thought. Really genuinely awesome.


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