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Old 02-14-2004, 10:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
/nɑndəsˈkrɪpt/
 
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Location: LV-426
Car needs fixing; help me not get screwed

My wife has a '96 Maxima that needs a few things done & looked at. Since I only moved to the States last year, when it comes to stuff like this, there is this lingering thought in the back of my mind that if I just go to an automotive repair place and start asking questions, I'll be screwed for every penny they can get.

So I was wondering if someone could offer at least some sort of estimate what this (very basic) stuff might cost. Of course there are a lot of variables involved once you actually take a car to a mechanic, but still, any advice would be grand.

Basically, what it needs is
- the annual inspection
- radiator flush
- front brakes fixed (they're not broken, but the parts that I know of as "brake shoes" - I don't know what they're called in America - are wearing thin and need to be replaced
- the starter needs to be looked at; the car's been having a problem to an increasing degree, where you turn the key and it won't start; afaik it could be the starter or just the solenoid, or it could even be that "thing" - that you put the keys into and turn - shorting

Obviously I don't know what anything is called, which is why any tips and advice would be welcome. How much does each of these generally cost? My uncle runs a car repair shop back in Finland, and he once showed me a starter for a Volvo that cost about $900, therefore I'd rather ask questions from you guys than go in fresh and be taken for a total idiot.

Quote:
GEORGE: Well, of course they're trying to screw you. What do you think? That's what they do. They can make up anything. Nobody knows. "By the way, you need a new Johnson rod in there." "Oh, a Johnson rod. Yeah, well, you better put one of those on."
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Old 02-14-2004, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: NJ
It depends on exactly what's wrong and where you take it. A dealership will typically screw you harder than a non dealership (althought some can be just as bad).

Radiator flush and the front brake pads you could do yourself and it would cost you maybe $50 to $100. If you're interested in tackling the job, just say so and people here will give you the step by step directions.

Annual inspection here in NJ is free if you go to the state inspection station. If you take it to a garage it can run $75 to $100 since they have all these new tests they do here in NJ.

Radiator flush can be $30 to $60 at shops I've seen around me.

Brakes they really gouge you on. Probably in the $200 to $300 range in most places here.

To look at your starter, many places won't charge you if you then get it fixed there (assuming there's something wrong with it). If you don't get it fixed there they might charge you $50 to $75 for a look.
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Old 02-15-2004, 04:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Twilight Zone
Maximas are commom for starter failures, if it just clicks when you turn the key, and you have to repeatidly turn the key to get it to start then you will need a starter.
No one rebuilds them in house anymore.
Cost at the shop I run is about $250 for a high quality Bosch Remaned.

Brakes with rotor cut $140 if you need rotors $230

Flush and fill of coolant is $65

Inspection depends on the state you live in.

If you need any questions answered feel free to pm me.
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