That’s the reality I found when trying to get a tune-up for my car. Something that routinely gets advertised by local auto shops for around $60 really turns out to be a big scam that really does nothing for you.

Hunting around for the best price I called a couple of shops. First Firestone, which is who I generally have had do any repair work that I need done. Their price was about $64 which included the following:

  • Change spark plugs
  • Examine (Not change) spark plug wires
  • Examine (Not fix) ignition timing

So basically I am paying someone to change my spark plugs which are about $1.50 a piece, and take about 10 minutes to change but they are getting a $60 fee for it. That doesn’t include when they find that your plug wires are no longer good. Tack on another $100 bill for that one. Ok fine I guess I can live with that.

Here’s were bad goes to worse.

I went to the competitor to Firestone, Jensen Auto which sits next door to Firestone not even 4 feet away. When I talked to this guy he asked for the mileage immediately and started recommending all these services that should be done not even knowing the history of what I had done already. I told him I wanted a standard tune-up price, to which he told me that at 80,000 miles you would want to…. and he rolled off a number of things again. This time I let him go for it. Once he finished I asked him what the price tag was and he gave me a whopping $350 figure. Here’s what I was getting from Jensen:

  • Change spark plugs
  • Change spark plug wires
  • Fuel filter change
  • Fuel system cleaning

Luckily I have some friends that know how to do a lot of this sort of thing, so I gave some of them a call. They recommended that I do it myself, and so after pricing out some of the parts online to get a reasonable expectation of what to pay we went to the parts store and got the necessary items to change the plugs, wires, air filter, fuel system cleaner, and fuel filter, and only spent $50 bucks, and it took us about an hour and half including the time spent eating pizza and throwing down a few pops.

Just goes to show you how badly an auto shop can clean out the bank.