• Jun 13, 2006

Any time that we start to see a hint of paradigm shift in the auto industry, it's mandatory that the detractors come out of the woodwork with stories of woe. For example, in the article linked below, we learn that someone can get taken for a $8,000 ride to replace one of Toyota's hybrid transmissions.

But, people tend to forget that OEM parts and shop labor for recently-introduced vehicles have always been expensive. Those that don't work on newer vehicles - or those that don't ever touch their own vehicle - get used to ultra-cheap refurbished components. Take the Wayback Machine to 1976 and look up the price for a brand-new carburetor, distributor, or hubcap; one would surely leave "the vapors" after adjusting for inflation. Fast-forward to 1986 and get a quote for a fuel injector, mass airflow sensor, or aluminum wheel, and our prospective consumer had better break out the smelling salts. While we're popping the balloon of nostalgia, don't forget that modern vehicles spend far less time in the shop.

Two things are definitely true when it comes to repair costs. First, modern cars are indeed more expensive to repair after a collision. Blame the switch from big chrome bumpers and body-on-frame structures to energy-absorbing crash technology for that. The upside is that those parts perish so that the vehicle's occupants don't have to. Second, it usually goes that the more expensive the vehicle, the more expensive the repair bills, so be careful when buying a depreciated luxury barge that will soon need be in need of TLC.

[Source: MSN Money]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      My first car (in 1987) was a '79 El Camino. When I was rear-ended by my neigbor driving a Honda Accord, it cost $350 (with labor - at a Chevy dealer) to replace the rear bumper. I went on to drive that car for 3 more years and sold it with 150,000 miles on it. The Honda was declared a total loss and it was only 2 years old. The owner was so upside-down in the car, they had financial woes for years to come - the payment on his replacement car (a used Honda Civic) was just over $500/mo.

      When I, in my 2001 Mustang, rear-ended a Nissan Altima it cost $1500 to repair mine (simple replacement of the bumper cover and repair the structure behind it. The Nissan? $6000.00

      Hmm... oddly enough, I do see a pattern developing here.



      bill
      • 8 Years Ago
      We never want to put a negative slant on anything from honda or toyo- do we, american press?
      • 8 Years Ago
      you hit the nail right on the head eric. domestics are by far cheaper to repair, and the parts are avail almost anywhere. my sons tundra's trans blew and he had one choice. the dealer. 5400 dollars later, now it's the transfer case. no local repair shop will touch it, have to buy the parts from toyoda. he says he learned his lesson; he just bought a chevy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This problem is easily sidestepped by what we call an extended warranty. Last time I checked one could get a 7 year warranty from Toyota for about $600 bones(varies by model but this is around the price range even for the Prius) if you shopped around for the warranty from different dealers.
      And by the time you warranty has expired, the technology is now a good 7 years old, and you should be able to find some refurbed parts. And heck if you can't, the car is already 7 frickin' years old.
      gbh
      • 8 Years Ago
      Zo, Who is getting $200 an hour working on (relatively) mass market cars like that? $100-120, sure but $200? Haven't even seen that in SF.

      Yes, luxury/exotic cars do cost more to own and service - no shocker there.

      However, it is far more about going to the dealer than it is about country of origin. You might want to go price a camshaft or ECM for a mid 90's Sunbird from your friendly GM dealer. It'll be like $350 for the cam, and $900 for the ECM. For a POS car with a four-banger. You can get OEM cam and rebuilt ECM for about $100 and $300 respectively. But you can't get them at the dealer.

      If you go to the dealer for anything beyond a tuneup or parts that are covered by warranty, you are gonna get hosed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Try replacing a headlights that turns 15 degrees on the Lexus, be prepared for a shock. Oh My! expensive.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And people wonder why insurance companies will total a car or truck with what looks like almost no damage.
      I like to think I'm a "car nut" but I think it's foolish to spend big bucks on a car that has new tech, let it filter down to a lower priced/mass produced model, first.
      The story of the Toyota hybrid transmission is one more reason why folks are better off with the "bread and butter" Corolla.