Big price gap

sailor86December 29, 2008

I've got a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant SE and the AC compressor seized up a couple of months ago. Hence, I assume I need a new compressor along with the evacuation and recharging of the system with freon and a new belt. Not to mention that I have no power steering but I don't expect anything detrimental to happen to ps from nonuse.

Now I went and got 2 quotes from 2 previously used mechanics. One says around $800 and the other $1200. How can there be such a difference? I feel both are honest shops so I'm left scratching my head on this one. Anybody have any suggestions as to which one seems more like reality?

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Honesty cannot be measured by price, neither can competency. Its likely the cheaper of the two is attempting to get more work, by doing only part of the job. An experienced shop, that has learned to do this repair correctly will be flushing the system if possible or replacing the condenser if it cannot be flushed. You may also see the expansion valve or orifice tube listed in the estimate. As well as an in line filter, and a full oil charge. (Flushing removes the old contaminated oil) So you must compare line by line items, not the final price.

The shops responsibility is not only to you to do a permanent and correct repair the first time. They have that obligation to the manufacturer of the compressor, who will require all of the steps that I briefly outlined to honor any warranty on the compressor.

The $1200 estimate does appear more in line with what it genuinely takes to do this repair correctly.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:10AM
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Maybe the low ball price is for a used compressor?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 12:04PM
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there's a local plant around here that reconditions used compressors. 4 seasons. That's what they're called. I guess I would have to check and see if their used compressors carry any kind of guarantee.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 6:30PM
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