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Old 12-10-2011, 04:26 AM   #1
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spark plug change

I just had my spark plugs changed and the serpentine belt.Although I know that my Porsche maintenance is more expensive than other makes I was surprised by the end bill.Could anyone confirm the amount I was charged for the work.I had only the plugs changed and the belt.The total amount was $639.This is from a family owned garage specializing in Porsche and BMW in S.W Florida.Labor for the plugs was $216.The plugs were $23 each(could have them at $9 through Pelican)The belt was $60($30 through Pelican).Labor for the belt was $157.I could have done the job myself.But I thought it was only minor maintenance and not that expensive and my time was limited.I would have waited.I will be checking on monday at the dealer to see what they would have charged.At 30000 miles at Champion Porshe the plugs were $9.50(2004).I don't mind paying but I do mind being screwed.Thanks

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Old 12-10-2011, 05:43 AM   #2
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Labor rates in my area for indy shops are about $115-120/hour. Dealership are over $200. You were charges about 3.25 hours. Not terrible.

You 'overpaid' for the parts. No BIG deal. Labor for the plugs should have been about 1 hour, so he chared a little extra there too. Belt labor seems pretty close, start to finish time.

Take comfort in the fact you are properly maintaining your Porsche. And maybe paid an extra $100-150. You can alway make more. Move on. It's done. Maybe next time, ask for an estimate.

Good job on the proactive maintenance.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:57 AM   #3
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spark plug change

Thanks for sharing that info.I know a garage in Fort Myers charging $93.Not bad.I might try them next time.I still need a fuel filter change.I should have asked for an estimate.Your right.
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:07 AM   #4
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maybe "screwed" just a little, but like flavor said - not a lot you can do about it now. i'm pretty certain my regular porsche indy shop would have charged around $500 for the same stuff.

the plugs themselves should cost about half of that. i assume you know how to replace the plugs so you could have saved the $ on labor, but like you said time was limited.

price of the belt was closer - stick with the OEM if you can based on anecdotal evidence the aftermarket ones have been known to slip. but the labor was high. it's a 20-minute job max, including just getting to it, but i don't know of many places that charge by the minute...

fuel filter. i paid $85 (labor only) to have mine done by a local non porsche shop in town. i brought the filter ($35), showed him what needed to be taken off, moved around and how to do it, he did the actual work. that was 23k miles ago.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:03 AM   #5
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Uh, oh...I didn't know the belt was a 20 min job.

I remember doing the plugs myself years ago, and it took me hours. I should have done it the other way around with dealer doing the plugs and me doing the belts.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:27 AM   #6
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there is a video on youtube showing a belt done in like 3 minutes...literally...
plugs are not hard either if you have access to a lift
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:00 AM   #7
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I suppose I will be the unpopular one here.

You DID get ripped off! $23 for a freakin spark plug! Are you kidding me????!!

You could have done these things by yourself for around $100 and half of a Saturday Afternoon.

Im sorry.....that is Highway Robbery!
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:20 AM   #8
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i agree , if i had not started doing work on my car myself .i would not own it at this in time
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:40 AM   #9
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keep in mind the shop probably bought the plugs directly from the dealer for 18-19/ea and added a couple of dollars for markup. $23 for a spark plug is insane, but only if you consider most of us buy them from pelican or someone else online for $10-$11.

i know my indy shop buys parts directly from a local porsche dealer at a small discount (i think the guy said they get around 5% off msrp, and pass 2% of that to me).
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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I just checked my receipt from September 2010 when I had my plugs changed on the 2006 987S. I was charged 1.75 hours at $115/hour labor, so just over $200. Also had an oil change ($40 labor) done at the same time. Bought the 6 plugs (#999-170-223-90) from Sunset for $13.69 each. List price is $23.80.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #11
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How much would you guys charge for one hour of your time?

It always gets me when somebody says "I got screwed/overcharged/whatever", no offense !!

Just think about you are selfemployed, healthinsurance, taxes, tools, rent, overhead, employees, etc etc.

Plus, if you want an educated, good guy wrenching on your beloved vehicle show some respect and don't lowball that person.

I am all for fair pricing but.......
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:36 PM   #12
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I had my BMW worked on for $80/hr at a Euro only indy shop last summer..... that is more reasonable
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:18 PM   #13
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I think I have a good offer for Lahalte and the other members in Florida who don't have time or the means to do their basic maintenance. If buy me the round trip airline ticket, I'll come do it for free. ( Winter months only.) I think that is a fair trade. I get out of the cold winter in Idaho and you get your maintenance done for less than shop labor.
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:37 PM   #14
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spark plug change

I agree with most of you.I know that there are a lot of cost associated with having a business.I had one.But if you work on a car for 20 minutes or 30 and you charge that customer 1h30 that is dishonest.When I had a business, time done was time paid.Why does a different garage charge so much less with the same cost?Maybe they are honest.Honesty will get you more business and people will respect and encourage you.I have never felt this way with 45 years of owning cars.Maybe my gut feelings are right.I dealt with Champion Porsche before I moved and the prices seemed fair and reasonable for a dealer.Thank you all for the input
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:46 PM   #15
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The dealership here in Charlotte had a special for a very long time, think it was 85/hr on 2003 and older cars. I agree a business owner needs to be honest about the time, if it doesn't cover the bills then raise the hourly rate.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:10 AM   #16
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they charge more per hour than i make per hour so it makes sense to do as much of the work i can.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:44 AM   #17
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update

I went back to the garage I delt with and tried to understand their cost structure.They told me that all garages go by the Mitchell book that tells them how long a work should take.He told me that sometimes it might take longer and other times shorter but at the end it balances out (for them).But if my work did not take long why should I pay for someone elses work that takes longer than estimated.It was a civilised discussion and I understand some of their point of view.But still.Out of curiosity I tried taking off the sepentine belt and putting it back on.It took me 40 minutes taking my time.That includes removing panel for the access to the motor.They had charged me 1h40.They did reimburse me $100.So my discussion was worth it.I guess I will do more of the general maintenance in the future.Anyway I do find it satisfying so thats Ok.And i will get an estimate for anything I do not feel competent with.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:11 PM   #18
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I still dont really understand how the belt took you 40 minutes? its just a 22mm (I think) tensioner bolt then it pops right off
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:05 PM   #19
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They have ****************ed you over. There's no other word for it. I have done both jobs and they are trivially easy - especially for an outfit with a proper lift and tools.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:35 PM   #20
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fivepointnine - you are falling into the trap most people do when estimating a job.
You start the clock when:
Someone gives you the keys, you then have to move the seat(s) & raise the roof into the service position.
Remove the rear parcel shelf and carpeting.
Remove the access port (10 bolts I think).
Only then can you get to the 24mm tensioner bolt to remove the belt.
Go to the stores / receiving to get the new belt and install.
Run the engine to check rotating OK.
You then have to reinstall all the above & do the paperwork - I would say 40-45 minutes would be a fair estimate.
Of course, if you smoke, have diarrhoea and have a talkative girlfriend, that gets added onto your account too...... But don't worry, you own a Porsche so you must have plenty of money !!

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