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For those who have been curious about our car drama, I'm happy to report we got an update to share.

If you remember from my original post, my husband took his car in to get the air conditioning fixed.

With the heatwave it became even more important to get this done. However, we were blown away by the shop's call.

1st Mechanic – Replace or Repair

After we dropped off the car to his regular shop, my husband was expecting a phone call telling him that the repairs had been completed and he could pick up his vehicle.

Instead, he received a list of what was wrong with the car.

Here’s a rundown of the original mechanic’s diagnostic:

  • New A/C Compressor and Clutch Needed
  • Replace Serpentine Belt
  • Replace Radiator
  • Replace Head Gasket

Total estimated cost for parts is about $2,000 and then there’s labor. So we’re looking at $3,500 to repair a car that cost less than that. 

Needless to say, we were stressed and worried about having to replace the car while we expecting to have a baby any day.

Second Opinion From Another Mechanic

When the baby arrived, the car drama took a back seat. After things settled down somewhat we took the Toyota down to the shop a friend recommended to get a second opinion.

My husband got the update from the mechanic about the diagnostic's results.

According to the shop, we DON'T need to replace the head gasket. There are some repairs that have to be made, though, and the estimate to get our car running fine is….around $300.

I thought I misread the message my husband sent. $300?! That's less than 10% of the original estimate.

I did find out that the estimate was preliminary. They were going to recharge his car's air conditioner system, but it may not work. However, they wanted to start with the easiest (and least expensive) solution.

My husband was ok with the repairs, so we'll wait and see what happens next. I'm so hoping that we get this finished soon and back to two cars.

Thoughts on Car Mechanics

Depending if this second mechanic can come through, we'll switch mechanics.

I know Sam has found a great mechanic; how about you? Did getting a second opinion on car repairs pay off for you? Did you switch mechanics?


About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

9 comments add your comment

  1. We have an AWESOME mechanic. We moved from our old house around this time last summer and our neighbour to our left was a mechanic/auto body shop. They didn’t work into the night or on weekends so we had peace and quiet mostly.

    What made our mechanics great is that we were able to TRUST them. I’d take the car in (well, i’d drop off my keys and they’d walk next door to our house and got our car!) to get the oil changed and if it didn’t need to be done – they DID NOT DO THE WORK. Most places will change it regardless to make a quick buck. They also rotated our tires for free and if I had ANY mechanical issues (snow blower, weed wacker, car) they helped out w/ advice – free of charge.

    These guys lent me tools when I didn’t have the right one, they let me use their garbage bins for our house de-cluttering/staging and they referred us to local small businesses that would treat us right (not rip us off!). Being local all their lives they built their reputation on great effective and friendly service and they refer people to the experts they trust. What’s not to love?! Even though we have moved we still take our car there. They cost a bit more than a chain would but we prefer to support the local business that treats us right!

    • Sounds like you have a superb mechanic! I’m very confidential with my mechanic, but he only works on VWs and Audis. I hope that the mechanic comes through so my husband can have a shop that he can count on.

  2. That’s great that you found a second mechanic for much cheaper. Some stores always think they can get away with replacing a bunch of stuff that really doesnt need it because people dont know much about cars these days.

  3. My wife’s car had some kind of leak! I have been putting it off because my last one cost me $900! It was getting worse and I finally brought in. I made them aware that I was unhappy last time (3 years ago) and they should put their best man on it. I was happy to learn it was a simple fix and only cost $156. Good service people is worth a lot!

  4. It’s always good to have a mechanic you can trust! It can take awhile to find one, but it’s worth it once you do. I had the same mechanic for years until he retired and moved to Texas. Luckily he passed on his customers to another mechanic who is just as trustworthy, so I’ve been going to the “new” guy for a few years now and have been very happy there too.

    • That’s fantastic that your mechanic found someone who shares his work ethic. My husband’s old mechanic retired (older gentleman), so he was back to square one. Hoping he’ll have a reliable mechanic with this current one.

  5. I do get second opinions when I can but my mechanic always comes out better so I’ve learned to trust them. I don’t get second opinions as often anymore and trust my guys to do what my car needs. Great post.