My Old Hoopie

Fly By Nite

Fly By Nite

2008 Auto Sales Drop By 3 million

USA Today 01-06-09

Recently I read a blog-page where the writer was talking about how she had only eight more payments on her truck and that the payments were “$800” per month.  I saw a guy sign the papers on a new Chevy Suburban last summer and it was “$1140” per month.

As I understand it, the “average” car payment in America is now something like $620 per month and the months far exceed 72.  Either one of those, compounded by high insurance rates, would be a real killer for me to make.  Incredible money to be made in the automotive sector eh?

There are also huge sums of money to be made in the repair of their products.  Actually, I believe they jack the price around on the repairs as some kind of twisted incentive to get the consumer to purchase a new car from them.  They have gotten so disgustingly high, downright outrageous on repair costs, that a guy would just about say, “Ah screw it.  I will take the money and buy me a new one, before I pay that!”  It could be designed to do this very thing, I know it sure irks me and I as a consumer, believe it is out of line.

They are certainly off the charts and outrageous when it comes to repair work and parts.  It could be greed. It could be because their cars have become so reliable, that they have to get more for repairs now because they see them so seldom. They are after all “supposed to be” more dependable now.

Not like the old days when it was rare to see the 50,000 mile mark.

My old hoopie is almost a teenager, she is 12 years old and she has cost me a quite a lot of money over the years, just to keep the ——– running and in good working order.  My current mileage on the truck is now standing at 160,000+ and I have made up my mind that I am going to drive it until it actually falls apart and dies …. Then I am going to take it to the Vet. and have it put too sleep.

Over the years, this truck has cost me some bucks.  I used to joke and say “if you start it up and let it go, it will drive itself to the dealer for its own repairs.” It hasn’t been a whole lot of fun at times, and has put me in the foot patrol more than once.

That is what GM stands for, “Get A Mechanic”

or GMC = “Got A Mechanic Coming.”

A week ago, my old pig-iron-pony threw another shoe and went down on me.  I recently had to put it in the shop again and it was $1,263.00 to bail it out.  Which on average is what I have spent per year to keep it in great shape and reliable, about $1200 per year.  Now think about it, do the math, $1200X12= $14,400 over the life of the truck, which doesn’t even count purchase price.  So you can see why I am less than enchanted about all this.

This time it was a power assist boost assembly (power anti-lock brakes), replace the fuel pump (you had to crawl underneath it and beat on the fuel tank with a hammer to get it to start) an oxygen sensor (which was #5 on a truck that only has four) at $107 each.

Now here is where the fun begins:

Dealer cost for one fuel pump and installation, $1,060.00, for the power boost assembly, $748 part, and almost $500 to install, (less than a 45 minute job start to finish).  After taxes and parts, labor and anything else they could throw in over $2,500.00.  Which did not make my day … in any, way, shape, manner.

After driving around and doing three estimates.  I took it to an independent shop, ASE certified Technicians, Diagnostic Scope work and they did all of the above, plus they checked all fluid levels, installed a new oxygen sensor, fuel strainer, oil/lubed, and the whole nine yards for the above mentioned $1263.00. The independent shop performed the extra work for a total of $152 and some change, this was not even mentioned on the dealer estimate.

Now look at the parts:

  • Power brake booster $170.33  — Dealer:  $748.00
  • Fuel Pump:  $160.95 — Dealer:  $568.00
  • Labor on booster:  $218.40 — Dealer:  $500.00
  • Labor on Fuel Pump:  $405.60 — Dealer:  $500.00 again.

In a nut shell here is the cost of everything:  Lube, oil, filters (3), differential lubricate, transmission fluid level inspection, all fluid levels checked, frame inspection, air filter and breather inspected, tire pressures, and basic inspection of the truck for “almost HALF the dealer estimate of $2500 and some change.”

When I looked at the Dealer rep and said, “Man, are you sure?  You people are pricing yourself right out of a job.  I can get this done elsewhere for a lot less money.”

He just looked at me and said, “See you later.”

Which is basically the way I feel when they come to Washington and beg for tax payer money.

See you later boys.


5 thoughts on “My Old Hoopie

  1. When automakers went to D. C. for a loan, the Republicans wanted to gut the union before a rescue. The UAW has given concessions for the last 20 years. It’s time for the management to give up something. If they can’t, let the companies join the list of those destroyed by corporate greed.
    The unions are taking it in the shorts on a lot of it and that isn’t right. The unions did not tell them to make 85 versions of cookie-cutter cars that were undependable, fuelish, and had no resale value.


  2. We lease my car, a Honda CR-V, as we are able to keep to the mileage limit pretty well. However, we take it to a local mechanic rather than to the dealership for oil changes and tune-ups etc. for exactly the same reasons you mentioned. There’s only 24,000 miles on the car but we’ve already put on 4 new all-weather tires, as the ones the car came with are the cheapest they can get away with. (This has happened to us before with other cars we’ve leased.) My husband shopped around for the new tires after seeing what the dealer would charge, and got a much better deal.

    When we retired to VT in ’06, my husband traded in his car toward a used Ford 4×4 pick-up truck, since we are now in snow country-and in the land where Mud Season is our 5th season of the year. The Ford too goes to the local mechanic, and not the dealership.
    They have lost me and I will continue to educate everyone on how you can find a much better deal down the road. They don’t care, it is selling the auto’s, not repairing them and their focus is just that.

    I can live without them.


  3. Well, I love my Honda and the dealership where I have done business for six years now (first with our Civic and now with our Accord); I know I am in the minority here.

    Their service prices are cheaper than other dealers and shops in the area and state; my mother lives about 70 miles north of where we do and her Honda dealer charges twice as much as ours here. So there are gougers out there. Lots of gouging swirls about cars, fuel, etc.

    Needless to say, she brings her Accord here for oil changes and maintenance.

    If the “beg” three made reliable products, I would gladly lease one. However, after having a Dodge for three years prior to the Civic that spent more time in the shop than on the road, I went with Honda (and will likely stay with them unless our American automakers can make a more fuel efficient, affordable to own and maintain vehicle).
    A wise man never wakes his second sleeping baby just to see it smile. If you are fine there, then that is great, and I am happy for you. I am NEVER going to purchase another General Motors product, I don’t give a flying — how many miles to the gallon it gets or how good “they say it is.” I am done with them.

    Please, I am not advocating anything in any way shape or manner, I am just saying “none of this is working for me.” So I can live with it, fix it or move on. I am moving on. This is not fiction, all of it has over the life of the truck occurred, when you figure in the purchase price, the maint. and repairs, it is about the same as $350 a month for 12 years, as if it never got paid off to begin with.

    GM has been losing market share for a long, long time. Now look at thier record, they have NOT changed their upper management (CEO) in the last ten years. Seems to me if I had a horse that could not run, I would stop beating the poor thing. (blaming the unions and the workers)

    I took a nap today and I missed Oprah, see how I get!


  4. Hi! Miss $800 a month for my truck payment here.

    You know, that truck payment on a five year loan has kicked my ass. I won’t do it again, BUT, I do want to say that my truck is a 2004 Ford Expedition and it has never ONCE been in the shop. I take it to the Jiffy Lube every now and again for an oil change and that’s about it. And it gets a workout. I put 3000 miles on it before I even made the first payment.

    We used to be of the mindset of turning the vehicles in once the loan was paid off because of the high cost of repairs, but the Expeditions have shut my mouth. This is my second. My 2000 Expedition was traded in on the 2004 that I currently drive.

    My two supervisors at work have their vehicles in the shop every time they turn around. One drives a Mercedes and the other, an Audi. They make off the cuff comments about my truck and have even quoted the FORD sayings … Found On Road Dead …. Fix Or Repair Daily and they have their chuckles at how clever there are. But THEY are the ones taking their cars in all the time. Not me!

    Will I buy another Expedition and look at a $800 or higher payment? I don’t think so. Not because of the truck … the truck is a winner. But because that’s just too much money to commit to a month, at least for us non-billionaires. My plan is to keep my truck and when it is paid off in eight months, then I’m going to purchase a smaller used vehicle with cash so there won’t be a payment (and it will probably be another Ford) to do my daily running around in. Kind of a disposable, if you will. If I pay a couple thousand for it and it lasts me two years … I’ve made out a lot better than $19 grand , or more, that I would paid in two years worth of payments on a new vehicle. That $19 grand will look mighty fine in my retirement account.
    I knew that I had read it somewhere this past week or so, aren’t you so glad that I don’t name names and all that, hahahaha. I have to admit, I lean the same way, that Ford does indeed have a better product, and that my next, if there should be one, it will definitely be a Ford of that I am almost certain.

    Right now, I figure the old truck is ready for another go around, the paint is getting tired and the chrome is looking a little dull, but she is my baby and she still has enough strength in her old legs to run a little more. When you look at hundreds of dollars per month just to own something that you are spending about 30″ a day in (commuting) it does get a little on the ridiculous side doesn’t it?

    You write a good comment sister and I most often enjoy my trips to your webpage.


  5. This was a good post. This will be my First time to your site. Thank you for sharing this. I have to bookmark this website. I was a machine mechanics specialist for 5 years. Our mechanics tip of the week is this: Please don’t try a extremely difficult fix without a professional. This can cost you lots more in the end. Thank you again…..
    That post is over a year old, I don’t even own that truck any longer. I also do most of my own repairs on what it is that I own and drive. If you can do it yourself, then do it. If you cannot, then find someone reputable to do it for you. Thanks for stopping by



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