I have been thinking about my car... it needs work. I am getting a second opinion today. One garage said it needs a new steering rack. I was told by someone else that often it is jsut the pump but they try to sell you a new (ahem) rack. Being a single woman makes it really hard to not get over charged, at least for me, on car work... I have put over $1000 into my van (a 2003 Dodge caravan) jsut on front and rear brakes, since the summer. I know the power steering needs something now, it's not working at all well and yet it is full of fluid, so it is not something as simple as a power steering fluid leak...
The other think I am thinking about is getting my tires switched over. I have front wheel drive and have 2 good new, studded snows to get put on it. Lastly I am thinking of using one of the coupons I have here to get the car washed and waxed. It has not been done in eons and with all the road salt they put down here, it's a good idea...
Having an emergency kit in the back is a good idea too. I have an oversized back pack that I use for this. It has change of clothes for everyone, and some things to use in case of emergency like a flash light, but I could probably add some stuff to that list.
Remember to check your wipers and washer fluid.... I read a recent AAA article that said to get winter wipers, that they are differnet then the regualr duty ones. I might try this...
We also have a 2003 Grand Caravan. I need to put on the snow tires and buy new wipers, which squeak and drive me mad. We find we need new wipers about once a year, and it's time. We just bought new tires for our 2005 Nissan pickup 4WD. They cost a fortune, but it drives much better than it did, and we needed new rubber, anyway. They are siped, so they won't tear up the roads. Supposed to do well on ice! Both vehicles need a good cleaning, inside and out, which I try to do before we go into winter. Busy painting this year and don't know how much I will get done.
Even if you needed new rotors and calipers all the way around, I can't imagine it being a $1k job. Brakes are a back yard mechanic type of job, not something that needs to be done by a professional. When they START to squeak, get them replaced, it's a 30 minute job by a backyard mechanic, and will cost maybe $100 for parts, probably half that - don't wait until the van is shaking as you slow down, to replace them.
Find a trusted male friend, to take your van it to have the steering checked on. If it's the rack, it will likely be a costly repair - probably not a backyard mechanic kind of job.
Remember to get windshield washer fluid, with deicer - to go along with the wipers, and check the antifreeze, be sure it's up to standards for the cold weather you will experience. I don't have to deal with snow tires - but I do make sure our tires are in decent shape before winter, and check the air pressure in them. dh also double checks the batteries in the cars - if they need replacing, it's easier to do it now, than when it breaks down, away from home and is inconvinient.
I need to clean my car inside and out. It would benefit from waxing, and with all the salt around here, I should do that soon too, although it's not a job I enjoy, doing it myself brings me more satisfaction, than wondering if the person I paid has 'sprayed' it vs. really applying a good coat of wax. Once winter sets in, I will use the drive in/thru car wash to rinse the salt off the under carriage of the car.
My emergency kit - phone charger, jumper cables, flash light, blanket, clothes for ME (Invariably if I'm going to have car trouble, I will be in my scrubs), a coat, hat and gloves, and an energy bar. I don't go more than 40 miles from home alone in bad weather, and that's to work, so at worst, I'm probably not more than an hour away. I also make sure to have boots for anyone in the car in snowy/wet weather.
You're right Glenda, that sounded high for a brake job
November 4 2010, 4:55 AM
I had my rear brakes completely replaced last month for $300 with a reputable mechanic (he's a personal friend, but I pay "rack rate" for my work, at my insistence. I KNOW he doesn't discount me as I've compared by bills to others that go to him that are not personal friends). Even adding in the cost of the front brakes, $1000 seems high.
Did you go to a dealership to have it done? I know that some imports all but require a dealership to do brake work (something about special tools; one of my co-workers went through this with her Volkswagen)
high, but didn't know what a mechanic or dealership would charge - however I do know that it's something my son has been doing regularly for everyone in the family for 5-6 years, and just a few weeks back, he changed out the entire brakes, including a brake line, on my daughters car for less than $200 in parts - and it took him less than 2 hours to do it.
My dh had the steering rack replaced on a Chrystler Cirrus we had several years ago - it was $1200 and he opted to let the shop do it. Had it been a fairly simple back yard mechanic thing, he and my son would have tackled it. They typically only pass on the work when it's either electronic, or time consuming.
In the summer I had to have the front brakes done, rotors- the works $600
A few weeks ago the master cylender on the rear brakes went- had a total brake failure- thankfully, in the driveway, so they had to fix that and redo the rear brakes.
I brought the van in to a second garage and he said that the rack does not need doing, at least not now. He felt that both jobs that were being recomended were not neccisary, at least not now. So that money is going back into the savings account!
This message has been edited by SheilaPCT on Nov 6, 2010 3:43 AM