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Old 05-23-09, 08:50 AM   #1
phantomcow2
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What does a "tuneup" entail?

My grandmother's 2001 Dodge Stratus with 50k miles was apparently having difficulty starting. She brought it into her mechanic of 35 years, who said it needed a tuneup. What does a tuneup typically entail? He charged 900 dollars for this . I feel like this is excessive; when I had my timing belt and water pump replaced, parts and labor cost me under 500. Before I say anything, however, I want to know what a typical tuneup (assume a major tuneup) would entail.
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Old 05-23-09, 08:54 AM   #2
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Did she get an itemized invoice with everything listed on it, the breakdown of everything that was done? If not, I'd be pounding on the mechanics door as well as the BBB! We had our car "tuned up" and even I know what was done to it, including a timing belt, 4 new tires, new brakes, and several other things that I can't recall. I mean, even with $300+ for the tires, our bill was around the $900 she paid!
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Old 05-23-09, 08:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
My grandmother's 2001 Dodge Stratus with 50k miles was apparently having difficulty starting. She brought it into her mechanic of 35 years, who said it needed a tuneup. What does a tuneup typically entail? He charged 900 dollars for this . I feel like this is excessive; when I had my timing belt and water pump replaced, parts and labor cost me under 500. Before I say anything, however, I want to know what a typical tuneup (assume a major tuneup) would entail.
Who knows. Call up the mechanic and ask him exactly what he did to the car. It's the only way you'll get a definite answer.
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Old 05-23-09, 11:05 AM   #4
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I'm not a pro, but "tune-up" seems almost like one of those relic words from another time and different cars. It's one thing when a car has a carburetor and a timing adjustable distributor, but a car like your gran's is going to be fuel-injected with most of the major engine functions being controlled by a computer. That requires a myriad of sensors, but unless the car's Malfunction Indicator (Check Engine) light is on, then they're doing their job and there's no need to replace them.

Like I said, I'm not a pro. But unless there was a major malfunction with the engine, about all that can be done to a newer car at tune-up time is change the oil and filter, change the fuel filter, change the spark plugs, and change the air filter. Doing all that shouldn't be a $900 job, nor should it have to be done very often. 50k miles is a little early to be replacing fuel injectors, and most newer cars don't require spark plugs but every 100k miles. YMMV.

Find out what was done and let us know.
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Old 05-23-09, 11:37 AM   #5
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Different cars have different quirky aspects. 93-03 or whatever the years were for Camaros/Trans Ams, you have to usually unbolt the exhaust manifold to even change the starter. With some Chrysler mini vans, you have to unbolt the engine to change the spark plugs. The valve covers on some Ford engines can take an experienced mechanic with a good variety of tools hours to get on and off. Idiotic things like that make it nearly impossible to judge prices charged for repair work without knowing very specifically what was done.
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Old 05-23-09, 03:34 PM   #6
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I'd avoid using the word tune up. A lot of mechanics will try to throw in a lot of things that will rack the price up when they hear the those words. Instead, check what is needed in the car's service manual and check if the maintenance up to and including that level have been performed, be it spark plugs, O2 sensors, air filters and whatnot.

Of course, if it hasn't been changed, now is a good time to get the oil changed and use either a synthetic or an oil designed for older cars.
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Old 05-23-09, 03:38 PM   #7
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i can believe that being a chrysler product whose engine has plastics in its mechanics
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Old 05-23-09, 05:07 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
My grandmother's 2001 Dodge Stratus with 50k miles was apparently having difficulty starting. She brought it into her mechanic of 35 years, who said it needed a tuneup. What does a tuneup typically entail? He charged 900 dollars for this . I feel like this is excessive; when I had my timing belt and water pump replaced, parts and labor cost me under 500. Before I say anything, however, I want to know what a typical tuneup (assume a major tuneup) would entail.
I'd say she got greased! New cars really don't need much of anything when you get a major tune up done, older cars had to have the spark plugs, spark plug cables, points, distributer cap, oil, oil filter, fuel filter, and air filters changed! The only reason it could be high (although it shouldn't be that high!) is if he had to change out the timing chain as they now use those cheap crappy ass nylon chains.
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Old 05-23-09, 05:18 PM   #9
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Tune up usually = run the diagnostic codes, change air filter, maybe change fuel filter, maybe not, maybe change spark plugs.

Oil changes aren't tune ups, but maybe she agreed to that. Maybe she agreed to have the belts changed - the 1991 might have needed that.

Not $900 for this though. I suspect she had other work done.
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