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Old 06-12-2012, 11:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default $514 to replace coil, plugs, and fuel filter!!!!

Atchinson Ford in Belleville, MI just charged my girlfriend $514 to replace the ignition coil and spark plugs and fuel filter on her 2003 Ford Taurus (v6). My girlfriend brought it in for service because it was running rough and had reduced power. The service manager called and said the problem was a bad ignition coil and it could also use a set of sparkplugs. My girlfriend already had a new fuel filter in a box in the car (I was going to put in on this weekend) so we had put that on too. When they told me the bill I couldn't believe it - $514!!!!!!!!!

The charge included $105 to troubleshoot (what did that take - about 2 minutes to plug into the diagnostic port and read the code????) and almost $40 parts costs for the SPARK PLUGS, and a $10 enviornmental disposal charge - even though we got all the old parts back and they didn't change any fluids.

The $514 charge was just to diagnose a bad coil, and replace the coil, plugs and fuel filter. There was NO other work involved, and no towing, storage, or anything else.

Incidentally, they also said she needed a new air filter. That's a FLAT-OUT LIE since I already put a new one in a couple months ago and just checked it last week - still clean and white.

I wonder how Atchinson Ford ranks in the Rip-Off Hall of Shame. What do you people think? Is this the most ridiculous overcharge ever???

Last edited by kbrr73; 06-13-2012 at 09:06 AM. Reason: fix typo
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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^ That's why we call them "stealerships", lol! If you have the "know-how" and time, you could have performed the same tasks for < $100. Which engine? Vulcan or Duratec? Parts costs are the same, labor will be higher on the Duratec.

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Old 06-12-2012, 01:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think about $100 for the fuel filter service (with their filter) and $200 for spark plug change on a DOHC engine would be a fair price. Changing spark plugs on the DOHC engine is quite an ordeal (My experience). The right way to do it is to take the upper intake manifold off, possibly change gasket, etc. I was quoted a price of about $200 at a Meineke to run engine diagnostics and change the plugs. They knocked this down to $160 with a coupon printed on back of grocery store receipt. I changed the plugs myself without taking off the UIM and I regretted it (I should have taken off the UIM). If your car has the 12v/Vulcan engine, that's a rip off.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The price is about right.
1. Running rough could be from a few different things and the ECU doesn't always throw a code. Was the check engine light on when she drove it in?

2. $40 for spark plugs is about right. Because of the was spark method used by Ford, you HAVE to use double platinum because coppers and signal platinum will wear out fast.

3. There is a standard shop rate for R&R the UIM, plugs, and Coil.

4. Did you ask for a quote before you or your GF authorized any work?

5. Usually the ticket writers go off of the Manufactures Scheduled Maintenance. So, if you are going to need a air filter in the next 1k miles or X months, they will list that you need an air filter, or what ever other item.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That seems on the high side to me, but not unreasonable.

I try to avoid the dealership if at all possible.
You would like to think they know our cars better than any other repair facility, but most of the time I find a competent independent shop to know any common (or semi-common) car as well or better than the dealership.

Several years back, before I knew much of anything about cars ago I had an 88 2.3L turbo Tbird, and took it to Ford with a fuel issue and they straight up told me they'd never seen one before, but they'd look at it. I was stunned. it was only 10 or 12 yrs old at the time, and one of fords more elite cars for a few years.
They never came up with a solution.

Then I took it to the old family mechanic from years before. He had it for a day. Found a clogged intake screen in the fuel pump. The cost was the pump + ~$150 labor.

I did visit the local ford dealership recently to do a mount/balance. Surprisingly, they were the cheapest option i could find - which really surprised me considering I brought in my own tires.

The point is - I suggest shopping around the local shop options - there are certainly cheaper options, and probably just as much or more knowledge on your car.

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Old 06-12-2012, 02:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Call around and see what dealerships charge for 2004-2008 5.4 3V spark plug changes. It will make what they charge seem reasonable.
OTOH, this is why I do all my own wrenching....
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That's why I started working on my own cars... labor costs are at $100 per hour in any car shop (for mechancial or electrical problems).
So I figured out that even if it takes me twice that time to do something on my car, it's like I am paid $50/hour
One of my work collegs just paid $500 to have the alternator replaced on his son Duratec. It took me (on my Duratec) some two hours of swearing, 15 minutes of net browsing and four bear bottles.

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Old 06-12-2012, 06:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
l15 minutes of net browsing and four bear bottles.
What's a bear bottle?
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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a bear bottle is the bottle of gin you drink when the bear under the hood is beating the hell out of you!!!!!

one hell of a bear to require 3 bottles!!! lol
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