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Old 12-30-2006, 07:30 PM   #1
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I wonder if I am out of touch with reality?
The toad, Saturn 2000 LW1 didn't run for 4 days and when started up the engine was stumbling, seeming to run on 3 of the 4 cylinders off and on. I managed to drive it down to the dealer and told them it probably needed a spark plug or a plug wire.
I got it back 4 hours later with 4 new plugs and a bill for 368.81. 4 plugs cost 54.40, troubleshooting 139.00, and install the plugs 170.92, plus tax.
Is this a normal price for this kind of problem. I wonder if at my age I have lost touch with repair costs, even though I have owned two shops in my lifetime?
I will appreciate any feedbacks to I can upgrade my knowledge curve.
Happy New Year to All.
Bebop
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Old 12-30-2006, 07:30 PM   #2
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I wonder if I am out of touch with reality?
The toad, Saturn 2000 LW1 didn't run for 4 days and when started up the engine was stumbling, seeming to run on 3 of the 4 cylinders off and on. I managed to drive it down to the dealer and told them it probably needed a spark plug or a plug wire.
I got it back 4 hours later with 4 new plugs and a bill for 368.81. 4 plugs cost 54.40, troubleshooting 139.00, and install the plugs 170.92, plus tax.
Is this a normal price for this kind of problem. I wonder if at my age I have lost touch with repair costs, even though I have owned two shops in my lifetime?
I will appreciate any feedbacks to I can upgrade my knowledge curve.
Happy New Year to All.
Bebop
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Old 12-31-2006, 02:06 AM   #3
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I have heard that prices in California are higher than most other states. The engine compartment is very tight and somtimes I wonder if they have to pull the engine to change spark plugs and other maintenance items! Look at it this way; you got 7 years out of a set and you may not ever have to change them again in the life of the car.
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Old 01-03-2007, 09:13 AM   #4
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Hi BEBOP,

I agree that the price for what you had done seems awfully high. In my opinion as a professional GM Auto Technician, it should not take more than 1 hour for a qualified tech. to determine that you have faulty spark plug(s). (Especially if you suggested that was the problem.) Now, since I don't know the Saturn dealer's labor rate where you took your car, if you do the math yourself for one hour labor time to diagnose, about a half hour to replace the spark plugs on the 4 cylinder engine in your car, and the cost of the plugs, this should give you an idea of what you should have paid. I am quite familiar with the 2.2 liter engine because it's used in numerous other GM vehicles and I can say from experience that it's very easy to change the plugs.

Another thing I found out is that there was a recall issued in 2003 to replace the plugs, ignition module and possibly reprogram the engine computer with updated software on a number of 2000 LW1's with the 2.2 liter engine. I would suggest you contact the Saturn Customer Assistance Center and ask about this. HOWEVER, THIS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOUR VEHICLE.

Good luck.
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:22 AM   #5
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HI JIM,
Thank you for your response. It was very helpful.
I have no idea what their labor rate is as it is not shown on the invoice. they charged 139.00 to confirm my diagnosis. They charged 54.40 for 4 sparkkplugs plus tax. their charge for 4 plugs is only 5.00 lest then the cost of a 4 cylinder tuneup including plugs and labor as advertised in this area.
They then charged 170.92 to install the 4 plugs.
I can find a non firing spark plug in 2 minutes with a screwdriver and then swap it with anothr plug to prove it taking all of 5 or 10 minutes. I have often gapped and changed plugs in V-8 engines where a couple of them are tough to get to in about 1/2 hour.
they would also like to change all the belts and hoses, and the brake fluids. They claim a slight vacum leak in the intake manifold and would like to change the gasket.
I just checked the depriciation on this car and it has gone from about 20,000 to 2700 in 6 years. I also have the SC2 sport coupe that I tow and it's depreciated value is just as bad. Do I want another Saturn? Not even for free.
thanks for your response.
Bebop
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:34 PM   #6
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Auto repair work has gone out of sight in my opinion.

Recently had one dealer tell me that itwould take 4 hours of labor at $90.00 per hour to diagnose a problem in the rear suspension of my wifes car. I finally drove it across town to the dealer where we bought it and he found a loose bolt and and had me out of there in less than an hour and under warranty.

I take my cars to the dealer only for warranty work, other wise I use a small and trusted local shop. He is not out to rip off people.

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Old 01-04-2007, 07:36 PM   #7
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Thanks Ken,
that will be the future for my cars also as they are both out of warrant, have very few miles on them, and have depriciated to an amazing figure so I guess I will tow them around forever
thanks for your response,
Bebop
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Old 01-04-2007, 11:58 PM   #8
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Had the same problem being over charged in California by a Saturn Dealer ( not Saturn bashing, I like the car). I contacted Saturn Corp. on thier 1-800 number and filed a complaint. They sent me a $100 chip for any service or parts at any Saturn dealer. If you don't call, Satrun will never know.

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Old 01-05-2007, 03:44 PM   #9
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Thanks PAUL for your response to my dilemma.

I did send an email to Saturn CORPorate and all I got was a we checked it out email reply and it all seems ok to them

I guess that is their standard pricing. I also had a phone call from whoever they have call you after a service is done that was fishing for compliments. Instead they got an earful from me and stated they would advise the correct people at Corporate.

Today I interviewed a shop owner that has a 4 bay shop and asked him what he would say if I drove in and said the engine was stumbling and likely needed either a spark plug or a plug wire.

He stated he would check it out and install a set of plugs and the total bill would be somewhat less then $200.00, or about half of Saturn Dealer price. He has all the equipment to check codes in the computers and do smog and any repairs that are ever needed and ONLY WHAT IS NEEDED.

He just got a new customer with two Saturns.

Best to all,

Bill the Bebop
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