As I see it the monthly costs for repairing and maintaining an auto at a professional shop are approaching the monthly lease costs for medium priced luxury cars.
I'll give you todays example: An associate from the BMW Tech Group had a customer with a 95 540i in Orlando with no reverse gear. He has the car at the dealer and they want $7500 for a rebuilt unit ready to drive. My friend also would install a BMW rebuilt but list price is $4500. My friend tells his customer to call us as he knows that we rebuild transmissions.
The customer calls and the reverse failure in a 5HP30 is a pattern failure. A plastic check ball is ground down from whirling in a rough cast aluminum chamber. The car is trucked 100miles and we just finished with it. Seven hours labor- $476, $200 in special BMW fluid, $45 for the filter. The ball is part of a kit of balls and springs, who knows what it cost.
The point is that most shops won't touch this type of work. If I had replaced the trans for $4500 plus $400 labor I would have made more on my 20% on the parts than the whole ticket this time. And I would have saved him over 2 grand from the dealer price. He may wind up there anyway. When the ball blows through the check hole reverse and forward are applied up til second gear. He drove it through that point one time and then towed it and it has 140k on it, but it has worked great in the 30+ miles I have driven it.
Over all you have to be pretty good and pretty lucky to make a living doing it my way. More often the wise choice would be the dealer rebuild.
If this logic takes you to the dealer rebuild decision and if that kind of logic dominates your business choice you will be at that monthy cost point I was talking about to your customers. If you choose to fix, then you will really need the techs and really need to be equipted.
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician