Mechanic problems

So is my mechanic dishonest, or incompetent?

My 2008 RAV4 developed a “clunk” on turning the steering wheel at low speeds.
Not related to bumps, goes away at higher speeds or lesser turns.

Took it to two separate shops, describing the problem as above. Both charged me ~$100 to dx, which I understand as you have to dig into some complicated stuff in FW drive.

Both stated it was my rack and pinion gear, and the estimate was around $3000 USD. The repair involved removing the engine to get to the part.
(The second one said maybe they could just lift the engine a little and slide it out to the side, and then the cost would only be $2100.
Hmmm… trust that you’d do it for 2100, or expect that you’d charge 3000)

$3K on a ten-year-old car? Gonna be a tough decsion.

I’m planning a long road trip, so I was wondering if the car was safe to take out of town, out of state.

My research utilizing the Intertubes led me to what happens to be a rather common problem with that model of car.
The fix took a hypodermic syringe, about $1 of thin lube, and 10 minutes of my time.
It was NOT my rack and pinion.

So… anyone know a trustworthy mechanic who knows Toyotas in the Cincy area?

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Dang. I have family in that area, but don’t know if they would know of a good mechanic. I do follow Eric the Car Guy on the youtubes. He is pretty nifty… used to be a Honda dealership mechanic, so he knows a lot of tricks for imports. He is outside Cincy, north/northeast, I believe, in Mason, OH.

Mason isn’t far. We go that way for restaurants, stores all the time. I’ll try and find him on FB.


From what I understand, he primarily does things on Youtube for his job now, like making repair videos and such, and I don’t know how that whole deallio works, like how he decides/finds what to fix, but it can’t hurt to ping him. I do know he is on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Could be both!

Had to replace the water pump on my 'Rolla a while ago. Went to the one shop, they asked an arm and leg.

Did it myself, and I know it was done properly.

FWIW there are jobs that I’ll do (like water pump replacement) and there are jobs (like wheel bearing replacement) that I’ll have a shop do rather.

So it all depends. Of course you’ll get the “chancers” who’ll try to make a quick buck while the fix is just something so simple you can do it yourself.

Nowadays you get XP mechanics - the guys who’ll replace one part with another part in the hope the problem goes away.

I know the guy who runs and he’s in Morrow. He’s a good guy who does good work but I don’t know if he’s doing actual repairs anymore. He had a shop at one point but I don’t know if he still runs it.

This is the reason our family broke tradition of buying Renault and switched to Suzuki… we had a Renault 19 in the 90s and that was our last ever because it spent almost a quarter of a year in the garage having some specialist part shipped all the way from darkest mysterious France repeatedly.

Renault hasn’t even sold cars in the US since the 80s. I remember they were considered somewhat unreliable though.

Biddy bah. Had my 'Rolla serviced last year. Water pump packed up recently, and I replaced it myself.

There’s signs that the head gasket is also not well, as the coolant reservoir is empty when I check the car in the morning.

For now I can drive with it, but both of our cars need to go in to the car doctor… and money’s short this side.

I’m in the midst of a rodeo with my 2009 Mini Clubman. Took it in for a noise Tuesday, and got estimate for over $3,000 today including possible added costs for a new timing belt which would be:

  • Something replaced a couple years ago.
  • Something most people give me funny looks for when I say I had one replaced at under 50,000 miles.

So, anyway, I questioned the $3,000 estimate closely. Got an online quote for each part (OEM replacement) and (as I mentioned in another, less-appropriate thread) basically asked the shop (I use a dealer for various reasons, although I constantly regret it) if they were getting ripped off on parts on their end.

They called back with an increased estimate to $4,700!!! Mercifully, they had to check something, and are throwing in replacing the timing belt and some other discounts to get it to a merely painful amount.

It’s a fun car, and practical-is with my current commute… But not cheap to repair.

That is out-freakin’-rageous!

Although, thinking back, my 1995 Honda Civic Ex was like that. Everything was ridiculously overpriced, whether at the stealership or one of the Hondacura shops.

£3,400 for a repair?

Um… that’s £2k less than I paid for my car.


Someone somewhere is sitting very pretty right now.

I’m not happy about mine, and it is hopefully the last repair I get done on this. It’s not a new car, but still new-ish, and I’m putting it in terms that it’s cheaper than car payments, which I hope to avoid until 2019 at the earliest.

At least for my area, having a car is near-mandatory. I’d have to move to be close enough to work to take a bus, even.

Thankfully, I’m on a ‘low mileage’ setup at the moment, as I seem to only work from the office a couple days a week. Going from 5 to 2 days of 45+ minute drives is a big difference and adds up in gas/maintenance savings. Also, my time.

Heh yeah. Over the last three months I found I had an abundance of holiday time left (I misread 280 hours as 80 hours because apparently I’m an idiot) so I’ve reduced my work week to three from four, and even just doing that has massively reduced the amount of fuel I’m burning — and with our abysmal fuel prices I worked out that for each day I’ve taken off, I can afford a Big Mac meal technically for free!

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The other bonus for me is I do limit fast food when I WFH.

I couldn’t do WFH 100%, but occasionally it is great. Less mileage on the car. And if I do go out for lunch, I go to the local fast food options or such which are friendlier and less packed than the ones near work.