The Cool Car Guy’s Auto Repair Advice

Woman Leaning Over the Engine Bay of a Car --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisHey Cool Car Fans,

Here at I try to put cool links for visitors to use when they are cruising through my site, which you can find on the right side of the page under cool links.  One such link is Repair Pal and once you are there you can search on some different content to find out if the vehicle you’re looking to purchase or maybe you are driving is a good value or not based on potential repairs.

For example, I currently drive a 2011 BMW 335xi with a manual transmission that has been a very good vehicle for me for a while now.  Previous to this vehicle I put 92,000 miles on a 2010 Mercedes Benz C300 that I leased new and then bought out the lease.  I never had one issue with that vehicle for 92,000 miles.  All I had to do was change the oil, the tires, the brakes and do the regular transmission service at about 30,000 to 40,000 miles, so that was a great vehicle for the money.

I sold it and went with this 2011 BMW that has also been pretty “bullet proof” so far with a twin-turbo 6 cylinder motor.  I plan on keeping this vehicle for a while as I really enjoy driving it and I have recommended it to quite a few people.  Repair Pal has a great article – BMW 335i Repair and Maintenance – A guide to problems, costs, maintenance and repair for your BMW 335i on this vehicle that discusses potential repairs that I could encounter as an owner and what they should cost.  This can work well for someone who is considering purchasing a vehicle like what I’m driving to see if they want to roll the dice on the cost of potential repairs.  You have to do a little more research though to see if they are talking about the year of vehicle that you’re driving for the potential repairs because they could be referring to an older year than what you’re driving.

The other thing that you need to consider is where you’re are getting the repair work done and in what part of the country you are living in for the work that is being quoted.  Most people never think about this as an issue, but this site comes in as a great tool for keeping your mechanic or repair shop honest.  For example, when I went to their Repair Cost Estimator tool and I put in the year, make and model of my vehicle and then put in valve cover gasket replacement based on a zip code in Littleton, CO of 80124 the estimate came back at $740 to $1066 and it was primarily labor.  I then changed the zip code to Fort Walton Beach, FL using 32548 and the price changed for this repair to $576 to $857 for the exact same repair.  That’s a substantial difference in price for one repair!

I then punched in a 2010 Subaru Legacy with the 2.5l motor that is notorious for having the head gaskets go at about 80,000 miles.  I’ve seen dealers charge $2,500 to $3,000 for this repair!  Again, I put in the different zip codes and the repair shops in Littleton, CO should be $1117 to $1544 for this repair.  On the Gulf Coast of Florida it was $935 to $1312, but if you didn’t know any better and went to the dealer you could be getting ripped off big time.  If you have this data though you should be able to negotiate with your mechanic and they can still earn a fair profit based on knowing ahead of time what you should be paying for the repair.  If you’re savvy at working with a repair shop, you can budget $1,066 and get two repairs done or replace a component that you know will be needed in the future for the same price as what someone else is paying for one repair.

This is a very useful tool to ballpark a repair that I use myself for getting work done on vehicles, along with some other resources that I have available.  I have certain repair shops and body shops that I use for specific things, but this information is useful to make sure that I am not overpaying for a particular repair.  Don’t be afraid to ask if your shop can match the price on a repair, after you have done your homework and go for the lower amount.

I don’ t list all of the benefits of working with The Cool Car Guy to get your vehicle because I don’t like to let other “auto brokers” know my secrets.  Needless to say, I have saved my clients thousands of dollars in the total ownership of their vehicles because they know me.


John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! or Twitter @coolcarguy