The check engine light leaves me

The check engine light[1. CEL; also known as MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp)] has been pestering my 2003 Toyota Corolla S since May 2009 around 96,000 miles[2. Slightly educated guess. I had it reset at 87,413 miles on August 2008, and passed a smog check February 2009, but I didn’t write down when it turned on again.]. Over 11,000 miles later, I was able to get the oxygen sensors replaced by my mechanic.

I also had my spark plugs replaced.

  • Replace Iridium Spark Plugs (TOY 90080-91180) — $17.95 x 4
  • Replace Upstream Oxygen Sensor (DEN 234-4800) — $169.95
  • Replace Downstream Oxygen Sensor (DEN 234-4233) — $189.95
  • Labor: 1 hour for spark plugs, 2 hours for oxygen sensors — $150
  • Tax — $42.09
  • Total — $623.79

I’m also overdue for changing my transmission fluid[3. I’ll get it flushed.].

I’m not sure about the price of the parts. The other night, my uncle (former mechanic) told me it should only cost a couple hundred dollars for the oxygen sensors. After looking at these numbers, I figure that being charged labor rate of $50/hr makes up for it. Or does it?

After searching for those parts online, here’s the bad news:

[amtap amazon:asin=B0013TNMY8]

[amtap amazon:asin=B00199BWTE]

I couldn’t find the spark plugs part number.

I’ve been going to this shop for almost ten years, so I didn’t question the quote for the parts. They’ve been really nice, but what’s with that price discrepancy?

If my schedule on Thursday allows it, I plan to visit the parts department at Longo Toyota to ask for the pricing on these parts. If the Amazon prices are close, I’ll reluctantly talk to my mechanic.

At the bottom of the invoice/receipt, it says:

We want you to be completely satisfied with every job we do. That’s why we back up all work with a 100% satisfaction policy. If for any reason you are not satisfied, give us a call and we will personally take care of any problems you have.

I’m not sure if this falls under that statement. I’m satisfied with the work so far, but not the price of the parts. Sure, I agreed with the stated prices beforehand. Wouldn’t you?

What would you do?

*****

Update 2010-02-18Ryan Duff convinced me that this is, essentially, normal. Next time, I’ll buy the parts online and bring it myself.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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