So today we decided to drop off our Ford Focus at the dealership to have the water pump repaired and the timing belt replaced. This is first time we've gone to a dealership for any major work.
We decided to do so because the difference between a dealership and a mechanic was minimal. I used the cartalk website to find 5 other mechanics. I called each one up last week and was quoted between $650 and $900 for the repairs. The dealership quoted me $700. I couldn't believe the rate was actually competitive.
I think the reason is due to the fact that there are so many dealerships around. This causes the dealership to actually try and compete for business. After people who are going to come in repairs are already Ford owners, and customer satisfaction probably plays a role.
But anyway because of the rush of cars dropped off this morning and the length of the repair, the Focus won't be ready until tomorrow. I hope nothing else is found to be wrong with the POS. We really need this car to last a few more years trouble free. This doesn't mean we wouldn't kick it to the curb if it started breaking down and costing a lot in repairs. But I'd rather sink $5k into a new used car than into this car.
So moral of the story? Call around, potentially the dealership could be the place to take your care in for repairs. I like the dealership because they have the parts on site and they are used to working solely on Fords (or whatever brand of car), versus a mechanic who has to work on many different brands of cars.