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Thread: The Pitfalls of a Fancy-Schmancy Car

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    The Pitfalls of a Fancy-Schmancy Car

    I have a 2001 Lexus RX300. Great vehicle. I love driving it. Got it for a good price back in '04 and it's been very reliable. I also like all the bells and whistles it has...until something goes wrong.

    For the past couple of months, I've been hearing a loud intermittent buzzing/groaning sound coming from under the dash on the passenger side. Larry and the Tour boys can attest to it. Some days I wouldn't hear it at all, and other days it would happen every few minutes. And it would often buzz for a little bit about 30 seconds after I turned the car off. I figured it was some type of problem with the climate control system, but everything was still heating and cooling as expected, so I put off getting it repaired until Wednesday. This is the first repair I've needed since my warranty expired, but even though I know a good local shop for engine work, and another for tires/suspensions, for electrical issues, especially under the dash, I've had better luck taking vehicles to the dealer. So away to the Lexus dealer it went. They also gave it the umpteen-point checkup to see if there were any other problems. (I also told them about the front passenger door lock actuator not working, and a burned-out upper rear brake light, and asked for quotes on those repairs, too.)

    Turns out the groaning was from a pair of worn-out solenoids on the climate control system. Before I went to the dealer I was guessing it'd be about $1000, and I was right... $932 or thereabouts. I also had them fix the brake light, knowing full well I was paying WAY too much money for it at $68 or so, but also knowing that I hate to remove and replace interior door panels. I've already been into the inside of my tailgate once before, and based on that experience, it was worth $65 to me to have them install a $3.00 bulb. The door lock actuator was quoted at over $500, so I took a pass on that. I may see what my engine shop guy would charge me for that, since he also does electrical work.

    The shop also found that one of my rear shocks is leaking and needs a new dust boot. (I'll be taking it to my tire/suspension guy tomorrow to replace the pair...maybe all four.) Any guesses what price the dealer quoted me to fix ONE shock?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Amherst, New Hampshire
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    10,604
    $200.00 Knowing dealerships I will not be surprised if I'm way off.

    I have a friend that works at a Mercedes dealership. About 5 years ago he talked me into a fantastic deal on a used ML320. I used it for business and was given a car allowance by my company. It was the worst piece of junk I ever owned. Of the 6 months I owned it it was in the shop about 5 weeks for different problems. The only consolation was that when I traded it in for the Hummer (H3) I got $10,000 more on the trade than what I paid for it.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    well vaughn to repair a shock on that will runa 325 and bob you got a heck of a deal on your trade in...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    About the same as hauling a truck load of garbage away in Tokyo

    I know you have a back injury, so I'll not suggest a bicycle and trailer
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Well Vaughn you and me in the same camp as car issues go. Dont know what that shock will set you back but you want to try buying tires in Canada. I have to replace 4 tires on my Jeep Commander. I have worked out it would be worth my while to drive to Buffalo and have it done and i could buy a few tools at woodcraft there and still come out ahead gas included.

    There are times i feel like i live on an island not part of the North American mainland and definitely not part of NAFTA when it comes to tools and tires

    What do they say ...cars are like boats ...a huge money pit.
    cheers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    9,076
    Average the total coast of ownership over the period you have driven the car and it isn't quite so painful ;-) Think happy thoughts.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
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    I gotta go with Larry's answer $325. Most dealerships have a minimum quota they try to get per car that comes in, our local one trys to get about $750 per car. Everyone I know that has taken something there has come in around that between the you've got a bad shock, need new brakes, need a new belt. I had them tell me that I was needing new brakes once, and I had just changed them myself the weekend before.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Wright View Post
    I gotta go with Larry's answer $325. Most dealerships have a minimum quota they try to get per car that comes in, our local one trys to get about $750 per car. Everyone I know that has taken something there has come in around that between the you've got a bad shock, need new brakes, need a new belt. I had them tell me that I was needing new brakes once, and I had just changed them myself the weekend before.
    At our local dealer, when the service manager comes into the waiting room with his 'list' of other things that need repair (always about $400.00) I just wave him away, I won't even talk. A friend of mine, who was the best mechanic they had, quite because he wouldn't participate in the rip-offs.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
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    My son, a devoted 'greenie' drives a 2005 Prius. Good car. He is going to get something newer soon. (another hybrid or an all-electric). He wants us to buy it for what the dealer will give him so his Mom can drive it. I'm fine with that but wonder about refurbishing/replacing the batteries and replacing the starter. That starter kicks in many-many thousands of times a year and I'm sure will give out one of these days. Before we do this deal, I'm going to call a Toyota dealer and ask what those two items will cost. I have a feeling I really don't want to know.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
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    Some years back while used car shopping Linda fell in live with a Lincoln. Good deal, so we bought it. In the next 7 years we put the purchase price into the car in repairs. The air bag suspension, I remember, was the biggest shock. Around $1,500 per axle.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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