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Mechanic hourly rate?

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  1. #1
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    Default Mechanic hourly rate?

    Anyone have an idea of the usual hourly rate for a qualified/experienced car mechanic? Geelong/Melbourne area

  2. #2
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    Can't say about Melbourne, but SE Qld is around $100 p.h. plus GST

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    Small family garages in Adelaide charge around $80 per hour if you can find one. Most small garages are now charging $120-$140 per hour, with the corporates charging more.

    The next question is whether they are charing for actual hours worked, or nominal hours for the job according to the book. Every manufacturer lists a nominal time for a particular job, often very generous, so you get to pay for time that the mechanic was at the pub, or at least working on someone else's vehicle.

    Then there's the fictitious 'workshop consumables' and 'disposal charges' along with a $5 sump plug washer (titanium?) that get charged at the end of your account. Even though I have paid for dozens of new sump plug washers, when I look at my washer it looks older than me. The workshop disposal costs (for hand cleaner and paper towels?) are supposed to be part of the markup of several hundred % of the rate paid to the mechanic!

    For some reason you never see a credit for what the garage earns by selling your old oil, lead batteries and copper / aluminium scrap, and nor I suspect does the taxman.
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    I doubt anyone would get out of bed for less than $90 per hr.

    Problems can arise when the mechanic has to spend an excessive amount of time on fault finding due to the complexity of engine management systems and the manufacturers withholding information that can speed up a repair. It could take all day to find a faulty part that cost $20 and most genuine repairers do not charge $90 x 8 hrs they will average it out with simple jobs that take less time.

  5. #5
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    I was surprised my dealer allowed me to source my own parts which saved me hundreds. NRMA and the dealer charges were around $140/hr..total ripoff but as it was my repair went an hour or so over the estimate and they did not charge me the extra. It was a complex repair I wasn't able or prepared to do myself and know they were being honest...rare indeed! In the end I replaced the engine mount and they did the rest, saved about $1000 on the NRMA and dealer quotes.

  6. #6
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    If we start a thread on dishonest mechanics and cars horror stories it will become bigger than Ben Hur.
    The reality (in Sydney anyway) is that you need to find a good workshop and build a relationship with them.

    I can do many repairs and service tasks myself, but I chose to take it to a local mechanic workshop. The small charges are no big deal and when it comes to do a bigger job, they give me preferential treatment. You mentioned an engine mount. I had to replace all 3 engine mounts, rear one was split, and the other two soft. They replaced all 3 for $400 including parts. Cheap as chips since the parts would have cost me $200. Had I used the NRMA workshop, they would have done a sloppy job, given me the world run around with grandiloquent discourses, make me sit in a office for half an hour just to book the job to be done in 3 weeks time, leave the car for a day or two, and charge me two or 3 times the price I paid. Why would anyone use NRMA workshops is beyond me. Must be a form of masochism. i used to take my wife's car to them to change oil and filter, and the things I had to endure from their idiotic employees was beyond belief. I gave up at the third attempt.
    Instead I took the car to the local mechanic, his sidekick drove he home and they called me in the afternoon telling me the time they will deliver the car and if I can bring the driver back.

    I have many more stories like that, since I chose to drive my Toyota with 350,000 km and do whatever is necessary to keep it on the road. Had a noise in the diff once, the said mechanic took the diff to a specialist who rebuilt it for half the price he would have charged me had I taken it to him directly. And like this many more.
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  7. #7
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Unfortunately my local mechanic only likes to do the simple service. Others around me aren't much chop either. These days cars seem to be made where dealer equipped tools are sometimes needed!

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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    Unfortunately my local mechanic only likes to do the simple service. Others around me aren't much chop either. These days cars seem to be made where dealer equipped tools are sometimes needed!

    Once we've broken our ICE addiction we won't need to worry too much about servicing our electric cars. Tyres and brakes pads every couple of years and that's about it I suppose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    Once we've broken our ICE addiction we won't need to worry too much about servicing our electric cars. Tyres and brakes pads every couple of years and that's about it I suppose.
    Plus a battery plus a motor plus a computer plus anything else the dealers service assistant gets a commission for upselling

  10. #10
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    Reason for asking is that I've been using a local branded garage for ages. I can walk home and back to collect in a few minutes, or if they want to show me something.

    But someone said they are expensive, so I thought I'd investigate after a recent major service and all-corners brakes work.

    They charge $130 p/h incl GST. I googled the parts list and they stacked up pretty well except for air filters but the hits were potentially dubious so I put it down to apples and oranges. They could be cooking the time spent I suppose.

    I think from what I've read the labour is about mid-high. Not sure I could bothered trying elsewhere given the convenience and, well, apples for oranges comparison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    Once we've broken our ICE addiction we won't need to worry too much about servicing our electric cars. Tyres and brakes pads every couple of years and that's about it I suppose.
    The new breed of low energy tyres seem to last up to 100,000k on Nissan Leafs. Brake pads - who knows? Most of the braking energy goes into charging the battery, and the brake pads don't touch the disks that much. Plus the lack of vibration from an internal combustion engine means other bits of a battery electric vehicle are not shaken to bits so much, making all the electronics, etc, much more reliable. Our Leaf has done ~60,000 kms and never been to a garage, except to steal air to put into the tires.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
    Plus a battery plus a motor plus a computer plus anything else the dealers service assistant gets a commission for upselling
    The vast majority of the propulsion cost over the life of a BEV vehicle is included in the purchase price - doh! And without a huge vibration generator (AKA internal combustion engine) in the vehicle, the computer and other bits and pieces of a vehicle powered by an electric motor are incredibly reliable. But for anyone who wants to pay $3,000+ per year over the top of their purchase price for the life of their vehicle, well go right ahead!

    I've paid a total of $13 in on road costs including 'fuel' and servicing in the last two years / 30,000 km. All other costs like insurance and registration are the same as everyone else. The battery is due for a replacement, in the remote control key, so I'll have to put aside another $2 soon.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
    Plus a battery plus a motor plus a computer plus anything else the dealers service assistant gets a commission for upselling

    Gee, that's scary. Please tell me which brand/model is so unreliable so when I'm in the market I can avoid that lemon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    Gee, that's scary. Please tell me which brand/model is so unreliable so when I'm in the market I can avoid that lemon?
    I have no idea, I have no interest in them besides
    It's not about reliability.
    My statement is about how the dealership service department stitches owners up through over servicing because they get a commission for every extra they sell.
    eg My partner takes the 5 year old car in for the 70000 service but it has only done 35000. It's a 5 year service not distance service whichever comes first
    This does not matter to the dealers service dept who actually put a fair amount of sales pressure on the 4 foot nothing 70 year old female to replace the carbon filter because it always gets done in the 70000 service, but the car has only done 35000
    The filter costs $32 but their charge is $98 being 10% for the service advisor, 10% for the service manager, 10% for the time to collect the part (walk 5 metres to parts dept and chat for 10 minutes) 10% to open the glove box and fit it and the rest, less the actual cost of the filter at $4, is profit for the dealership.
    Are you getting the idea now

    edit...She phoned me and I said NO, I can open the glove box and fit it myself and the filter costs me $26 on my cash trade account at a parts outlet.

  15. #15
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Come on John, get off your high electric powered horse and consider that not everyone lives in a rural setting, on a one horse island, with plenty of solar panels to recharge a cheap grey import, and electric/electronic know how to fix any problems.
    Most people don't consider electric cars, not because of some ill conceived addiction to fuel, but because of cost of purchase, absence of recharging points and miser range.
    Normal cars can be bought for under $2000 and a bit of DIY maintenance can get them going for years with the help of a trusted and honest workshop. Sure not the NRMA.

    In Europe or the USA where the market is larger, there are plenty of places to buy scrapped electric car parts to patch up failed ones and keep them going at an affordable price. In Australia this is a pie in the sky, and will remain in the sky for many years.

    By the way Cyclic, those charges from the dealer, as much as they seem outrageous when compared to cost of parts, are very cheap.
    Science is never settled,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post

    By the way Cyclic, those charges from the dealer, as much as they seem outrageous when compared to cost of parts, are very cheap.
    Marc, the charges (10% etc) I mentioned were my tongue in cheek guesstimates.
    I have no idea who gets what but I do know any service dept manager/advisor can make his own vehicle registration costs by upselling services to an unsuspecting owner as in
    Do you want fries with that or new wiper blades ?

  17. #17
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Yes, agreed. That is why most people avoid the dealers workshop, and the argument about warranty was debunked with legislation a while ago.
    Science is never settled,
    it advances one funeral at the time.
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  18. #18
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    Hey Reno, mine is ~$90 an hour.

    He's a 1 of a kind 1 man band so I guess his running expenses are low, owns his land/workshop (block next to his house). He can virtually fix anything from a chainsaw, to cars including high end import models, trucks and tractors including modern day complex tractors that have a load of electronics. He's early 60's, still loves his trade, research's, pulls apart and takes discarded equipment to learn how they work and so by default is a self taught auto electrician and know a lot about electronics.

    Where most garages simply dont have a clue on a particular fault or tell you to write the equipment off including dealerships such as Merc, BMW, Massey Ferg etc, he can generally find the fault and get it fixed for a competitive rate....or tell you its likely to be this and might cost that for you to make a decision.

    He will even allow you to source the parts and prefers it that way particularly for hard to source parts. I'm not looking forward to the day when he stops working which will no doubt be when his time is up. He's fixed many things others simply wash their hands of or others that take your money without fixing the issue.

    I guess for the majority, there are plenty of overheads to cover with leases, and staff etc so $100 to $130 wouldn't be unusual.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    ...that not everyone lives in a rural setting, on a one horse island, with plenty of solar panels to recharge a cheap grey import, and electric/electronic know how to fix any problems.
    You make a good point, Marc, it would be a lot easier to run an electric car if I was based in a city.

    Normal cars can be bought for under $2000 and a bit of DIY maintenance can get them going for years ...
    ...and in a few years the owner of the cheap and unreliable vehicle will have paid more than the cost of owning a BEV with the added bonus of the inconvenience and fun of having to fix it themselves - LOL

    You like to mock my choice of vehicles. I have owned ICE vehicles for 5 decades and still do, and can make valid comparisons based on actual experience.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

  20. #20
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    John, consumer choices are in the long run, based on reasonable expectation and behaviour. Consumers make mistakes, but they tend not to repeat the same mistake, particularly when it represents such a large expenditure.
    Your proposal that electric cars are a rational and cheaper choice, labels by elevation, normal car users as stupid and irrational.

    Such is not the case, not by a long shot. If and when electric cars become cheaper to run, have acceptable range and comparable price, and can be serviced by the local mechanic, they will sell in increasing numbers, without regard to religious convictions.

    Meantime they are and remain in the realm of the boutique product for those who believe that an electric car is better for the environment due to the "no emission/pollution" lie.
    An electric car is an industrial product and as such it's manufacture produces pollution galore, mostly in China. The fact that they have an electric motor that does not burn fuel is irrelevant since to charge the battery, fuel is burned elsewhere and pollution is created somewhere in the world, with every KM the electric car drives.

    The day i can buy an electric 4WD that can tow a 3 ton boat or a 2 ton box trailer and give me at least 300 km autonomy, and when petrol stations can offer quick recharge for emergency, I will most likely buy one.
    Meantime I sleep sound in the knowledge that I don't have a better alternative for my choice of transport.
    What you percieved as mockery was actually an acknowledgement that your choice is the best for your situation. If I lived near you, and drove 20 Km a day, I would probably visit for advice on how to set up a charging station, or anything else related to electric cars.

    I am sure that based on my location, I could make a reasonable case for owning a sulky and horse to go shopping. Yet i wouldn't disparage others that see this as a fanciful and unrealistic choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Your proposal that electric cars are a rational and cheaper choice, labels by elevation, normal car users as stupid and irrational.
    I have no reason to proselytise BEVs other than to share my experience for the benefit of others, which I am sure is a reason you participate in this forum as well, and certainly the reason I read your posts. Low cost of ownership was only reason I bought an electric car.

    I had never even seen a Leaf in the metal before I bought one, though I had scoured through plenty of Leaf owner forums looking for the pitfalls. Nor is the Leaf a car I would normally buy in a blind fit - it's not a sexy sports car, or a luxury car, or a utility vehicle, or anything else, though it has turned out to be surprisingly capable and large enough for five adults and luggage.

    The experience of ownership I have had, like fantastic reliability, great drivability, huge acceleration, low noise, low service costs (in fact almost non-existent service costs) came as unexpected bonuses. Apart from four letter 'f' words my petrolhead friends are usually speechless when given a drive in the Leaf - it just isn't what they expected at all. Even the cost of ownership has turned out to be lower than expected.

    Most of the time I, like 99% of the population, just use a car to get from A to B. If I want to drive outback, pull a boat, or go down a cliff to the coast, I have the 4WD for that! I guess you only have one vehicle, one saw, one drill, etc.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

  22. #22
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    My point precisely.
    I can have a sulky to go shopping, the horse can eat the grass in the nearby reserve for free and I have the 4wd for other task.
    Yet I wouldn't post in a thread about cost of maintenance, stating that my choice of transport does not require maintenance and is therefore a better choice.



    The only thing stopping me is ... how to stop the horse from pooping on the ferry when I cross.
    Science is never settled,
    it advances one funeral at the time.
    Max Planck

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