Astoria Mechanic | Collision Repair | Tolimas Auto Center

How much does this auto repair cost?

Why Mechanic Shops don’t give auto repair quotes over the phone

Most reputable auto repair shops are put in a bind when asked to give a quote over the phone. Many customers tend to be afraid to come into a shop without having an idea of what a repair will cost. On the other hand once a shop estimates the price for a repair the shop is sort of locked into the price. We recently had a great reminder of why we always ask new customers to please bring their car in for us to give an accurate estimate.

How much does this auto repair cost?

We had a new customer call asking for en estimate on replacing the front air shocks on his W211 Mercedes Benz E500. We asked the customer to bring it in so we could confirm that the air shocks were indeed leaking and there wasn’t anything else that needed replacement in the system. He was insistent on getting a price estimate over the phone. We offered an estimate but explained that there could be other components that might need service or replacement and we would need to diagnose the car to give an accurate quote. Finally when the customer brought the car in we were able to conduct our diagnosis.

Tolima's Auto E500 Air Shock
E500 4Matic Air Shock

What we found during our auto diagnosis

Tolima's Auto E500 suspension worn parts

Once we got the car on our lift we were able to confirm that indeed both air shocks on the W211 Mercedes Benz E500 4Matic were leaking as the customer had stated. But we also found two other front end parts that were needing replacement. The sway bar end links had torn bushings on both sides and the cv axels had one half stuck in the steering knuckle and had split requiring new cv axels. These added parts increased the quote to repair the E500 4Matic properly. Worn sway bar end links cause a thud when going over bumps or braking hard. Worn CV Axels cause noticeable vibrations when accelerating at highway speeds. We had to explain all this to the customer, because if we had gone in and only changed the air shocks the customer would later have experienced thuds and vibrations and he would have think, “That Auto Repair Shop, must have left something loose or damage something else while they were trying to change my air shocks!”. Then our reputation would take a hit with a bad review and phone calls telling to fix what we broke.

In order to avoid these types of situations we at Tolima’s Auto Center always will ask new customers to bring their car for diagnosis and an accurate quote. In this business it is really important to earn trust from new customers. The quickest way to lose that trust is to give one agreeable quote over the phone and then once the car is in our shop to have to call the customer and give them a higher priced quote once we are able to see there are more parts that need replacement. This is generally why most reputable shops rarely give auto repair quotes over the phone.

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