My 105K+ miles old Nissan is biting me very hard now-a-days. I have whined about it earlier on this post “Holy Car! $806.22 For Repairs“. At that time, my regular repair shop quoted an estimate of $382.69 for a brake job (which I thought was very high). Last month, I took the car to a JUST BRAKES (JB) location for the brake repair (because they advertised a *lifetime* warranty and $100 brake pad replacement) and those guys gave me an estimate of $687.38!!
Of course, there was some cost of procrastination involved. I should have replaced the brakes long back when the screeching sound started. However, I delayed the repairs by a couple of months…and that caused one of the front rotors to get scratches on it. So, in addition to brake pads and shoes, I was expecting the front rotors to be replaced (the earlier estimate of $382.69 by my regular repair shop included the cost of procrastination…that is the cost of new rotors). But these JB guys were pointing out a lot more issues with my car brakes as compared to what my regular repair guy told me.
The manager and the mechanic-in-charge took me around the car and showed me all the things that appeared *broken* (in their opinion). I have an engineering background related to mechanical stuff and asked them a lot of uncomfortable questions; and even with that, I was having a hard time trying to understand why certain parts need replacement or repair. I don’t know how people with non-engineering backgrounds tackle these repair shop guys who tend to use a lot of jargon when they tell you what’s wrong with your car. Anyways, after the inspection, the manager gave me a long list of things that he termed as “required repairs” and estimated the cost of repairs at @ $687+ (including part of sales tax). Wow!
However, I did not agree with more than half the things in the list, and after a prolonged discussion (haggling) with the mechanic, we cut down the list of repairs to the bare minimum (just the potentially hazardous issues were agreed upon, and all other preventive maintenance stuff was removed)…which, incidentally, came back to replacing just the pads/shoes and front rotors. Below is an image of the list that the manager gave me and the items that I declined to accept (it’s a bit hard to read). I found it difficult to believe that all items turned out to be *required* repairs.
The “declined” items in the above list reduced my repair costs from $687 to $268.93 (including taxes).
However, there was another cost associated with this. JB was no longer giving me the “lifetime warranty” on the brake job. According to their terms:
For the JUST BRAKES LIFETIME LIMITED WARRANTY to apply, the entire brake system must be restored to it’s proper operation at the time covered parts or labor are provided.
Apparently, by declining some of the repair items, I voided the above clause and hence there won’t be any lifetime warranty on my brakes. However, the clause makes me wonder if they usually inflate the list of repairs deliberately, to sucker you into accepting large repair estimates in return for that lifetime warranty. Also, even if I do get the lifetime warranty by paying for all the $687 worth of suggested repairs, I am positive that the next time I go for a brake job…they will pull up another long list of things (not covered under warranty) to repair and the cost will be very high again.
I am still not sure if I did the right thing by declining some of the repairs and the lifetime warranty on brakes….time will tell.
Sometimes, I think the most worthwhile investment ever would be to work in an automobile repair shop for a few years and learn the tricks of the trade.
Brake rotor image source: www.trustmymechanic.com