Royal Cadillac - Repair Estimate

Auto Repair - Complaint
Review by vrhovc on 2012-09-09
Rating: StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY -- Stopped by to get an estimate for radiator fan blade assembly that needed to be replaced in my 2007 DTS. They wanted to charge me $120.00 just to look at my car-I didn't agree and just asked for an estimate. After checking the tread on my tires (?) they told me that the part will cost $60.00 and labor (5 hours)$1000.00(one thousand) without tax, WHAT?

Plus it would take until Monday (this was a Friday). Never heard about a mechanic that earns $200.00 per hour-this must be special. Later that day I fixed my car (on that same Friday) for $400.00 someplace else, parts and labor and tax included.

I felt like they tried to take advantage of me (because I'm a woman?).
Comments:4 Replies - Latest reply on 2012-09-10
Posted by F. on 2012-09-09:
High end dealerships often have correspondingly higher end labor rates. Most independent shops around where I live charge around $65-$90 an hour, a local Ford dealership charges $120, the Volvo place runs $200 an hour, so I could easily see a Cadillac dealership charging $200 an hour. Also understand that the actual mechanic doesn't get $200 an hour, the majority of that goes to the dealership and for overhead costs and such, the mechanic probably sees around $60 of that $200 per hour.

I don't think the labor rates are totally out of line, but 5 hours to replace radiator does seem suspect to me. Alot of the places go by the book rate though and the mechanic gets paid for the amount of hours the book says it will take. So if he gets the job in done in 3 hours he gets paid for 5 and if he takes 8 hours to do the job he still gets paid for 5. If you have the Northstar V8 in your DTS, then it may very well take 5 hours to do, those engines are notoriously difficult to work one. Pray you never have to replace the starter. The intake manifold has to come off for that job.
Posted by T on 2012-09-10:
The first reply is on target. I did not know that labor rates had ballooned this high anywhere, however.

Florham Park is a high end community - it sounds like this dealership charges accordingly.
Posted by crabby on 2012-09-10:

The OP said radiator fan blade assembly, not radiator. A cooling fan job doesn't even require a coolant drain. Unless there are a large number of parts that need to be pulled for access, that would be no more than a two hour job, probably less. Even the $400 that the OP said she paid at the second garage seems high to me. $200 per hour for labor is a royal rip-off, no pun intended. Even Acura dealers don't charge those kind of rates. Going rates in my area (upstate NY) are $60 to $100 per hour, even for dealers.
Posted by F. on 2012-09-10:

I did forget to put the "fan" in after "radiator" in my response. But it's entirely possible that the radiator itself will have to come for this job. The OP's car has transversely mounted DOHC V8, it's pretty much shoehorned in the engine bay. It wouldnt' surprise me in the least if the radiator and some other bits had to come out before the was necessary clearence to remove the fan. If the OP went from a $200/hr Cadillac who goes by book rate to a $60/hr independent shop. That would explain the huge diffence in the price the OP paid for the job.

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