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Old 07-08-2005, 08:22 AM
nhdoc nhdoc is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 3,956
Around here (NH) the rates run from the high $60s for good independant shops to mid $90s for the MB dealer, so about the same as yours in NJ. It's not just the rate but the amount of time they charge to perform a job and the markup on the parts that makes the difference. I just had all four brake hoses replaced on my 560SL at my independant shop and had them flush the system with fresh brake fluid while they were at it. Parts and labor was $260. The same job was quoted at my dealer for "around $500" which probably means $600 by the time they are through based upon my past experience with their estimates.

There was nothing special required in terms of tools or experience, and frankly I could have done it myself but the parts and materials alone would have been close to $100 and it would easily have taken me 2 hours or more as I would have to jack up all 4 corners and put the car on stands since I don't own a lift.

In this case I elected to use good quality aftermarket parts rather than MB OEM brand. That was where most of the savings was realized. If I had required my indy to use OEM hoses it still would have been $100+ cheaper than the dealership but not half. I basically decide based upon the job and whether I am insisting on OEM parts or not as to where I have work done.

The same dealer estimated $2500 to replace the timing chain, tensioner and upper guides on that car while my indy charged me only $900...here, the parts and labor were both dramatically higher from the dealership so I elected to have my indy do it and he did a good job.
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