2nd Jan 2012, 00:30
I am sad to hear about all the trouble you have had with your Focus. Unfortunately Ford vehicles from 2000-2005 were and are not of very good quality. Taking a look at the long list of repairs, it seems that at least half were over priced for the parts and labor involved. Why did it cost $500 to fix the rear doors. Can you give more details on that? The alternator replacement flat out should not have cost $600. That was just obscene.
Look up the cost of the part on partstrain.com and you will see the part can be gotten for less than $120 new with shipping. The labor for that should not be more than $120. When the stock stereo went out, I would have just taken it to ABC Warehouse and gotten it replaced for less than $150. Stereo and labor included.
The driver's seat wearing out is a pain, but you can pick up a used one from most salvage yards for less than $100 and put it in yourself. If you do not feel like doing that yourself, almost any NON dealership mechanic will do it for $100 or less.
Now about those window regulators. They are about $50 a piece and the labor should not have been more than $90-$100 per window. The thermostat is between $7.00-$15.00 and the thermostat gasket is about $3.00-$9.00. Labor estimate between $30-$70. The relay issue I cannot give estimates for because I would have to know what relay your mechanic SAID was replaced. B) The ignition switch replacement could possibly be reasonable, but here is my estimate. About $120 for the ignition switch and $120-$150 for labor.
For the ignition coil pack, between $70-$100 and put it on yourself. LOL If you do not want to do that, then between $60-$80 labor. Of course this would probably take about 10-12 minutes for the mechanic to do, depending on what he or she has to do.
About that timing belt, it seems strange that it went twice. Maybe it was not installed correctly the first time. The first time the timing belt was done, the water pump should have been done as well. A full timing belt kit should have been purchased and installed at that time. The timing belt kit is about $100, plus water pump is another $50.
I suspect a tensioner went and allowed too much slack on the belt. For the $400 you paid, the mechanic should have replaced at least the timing belt AND water pump. I am assuming when the belt shredded before the second replacement, the valve need to be done on the head? That is the only reason I can come up with to justify a $800 dollar bill. Or did your mechanic charge $400 for the timing belt and another $400 for the water pump? If your mechanic did, that is a total ripoff. The cost of the shocks were pretty spot on if they were charging $90 per strut for labor, and if they used complete strut assemblies, which cost about $120 a piece.
The motor mount cost between $30-$60 and the reservoir (radiator coolant tank) cost about $60-$70. I'm thinking between $60-$90 per motor mount and $60 for reservoir for labor. A little high at $350.
Why did you keep buying new tires for this car? Just go to a junkyard and get like new tires for $18-$40 a tire, and go to the local used tire shop to have them mounted and balanced. I don't usually buy my tires from the used tire shops because I can get better at the junk yard for less. They are good for mounting and balancing a set for $60 dollars though.
The brake job for $450 could be justified if they replaced the rotors with new rotors, pads, shoes, calipers and turned the rear drums if you have them. I would have to know what they replaced to have a better idea of cost.
You do not want a rebuilt transmission. To properly rebuild one the mechanic would have to have a machine shop right there. Even then rebuilds are a very delicate and meticulous process. That most shops can't do properly. A used transmission of that year should not cost more than $1000, and the labor for install is about $400. You are better off with a used transmission than rebuilt. I am not a mechanic myself, but have dealt with a few over the years, and that is how I come to very accurate reasonable estimates on labor. I live in south east Michigan so that might have something to do with the labor cost though.
I hope my run down will help you in the future when negotiating repairs on your vehicle/s. Hope things work out for you. ;)
2nd Jan 2012, 08:56
I have to agree. Most of these parts and fixes are wayyyy out of whack. You need to research parts costs and learn to do some of the stuff yourself, like brakes and thermostat replacements, which would have cost you about 10% to 20% of what you paid.
Also, with the tires you could have gotten a smaller set of used steel wheels and 15 inch rubber, which would not handle as good, but would wear much better, depending on the type of tire, and would have been much cheaper. Seems you could have saved well over $1,000 in repairs that you wasted on the needless items that won't affect driving the car.
If school is that important, you make the sacrifices where you need to and cut costs. The stereo didn't need fixing, nor did your rear windows or doors. Some things you need to forget about in order to get to the more important things... like going to school. When I was in college, I had an old Toyota that wouldn't stay running at a light, and the doors were all stuck shut except the drivers. That was just a short list of the problems with that car. College years are not the time to worry about having a perfect car. Just make it run for a cheaply as possible and forget the rest.
If the tranny is going, then drive it like it is on its last legs for as long as you can. You may get enough time out of it. Face it, at this point any money you put into that car is lost as it is worth nothing. Why fix extra things that have no effect on getting from point "A" to point "B"?? If you are seriously considering almost $2K for a tranny, just buy a $2K Honda Civic. It'll get you around at least until you are a graduate and can afford a better car. You could probably even sell yours off for a few hundred to bring the cost of the next car down.
You should really be doing much more parts research though. Your costs could have been much much lower overall and you'd be enrolled in school right now. Let this be your first tough lesson in economics. Get back to school ASAP and then you can junk this car even faster. Good luck to you!