I admit that God help me without intending to, with only the purest of intentions, I took my nine-year-old Volvo wagon in for a routine oil change and emerged with a bill for … $535!
Five hundred and thirty-five dollars!!! Although technically it was an oil change plus two changed-out hoses at $95 apiece, with four hours of labor charged for water- and oil-system repressurization and tire rotation. I’ve been with these guys since 2001, on my friend Keith’s recommendation, and I’ve trusted them through 109,000 miles. But why, why, why $535??? Good God! I kick myself! I gnash my teeth! My stomach lining burns! I can feel, viscerally, the weight of the $535 that is never coming back (and that’s just the principal, not all the interest that won’t be compounding decade after decade).
That term “repressurization” is perplexing. It’s a given that she got a new fill of coolant you pretty much have to when you replace the hoses in question and it takes a certain level of skill to make sure that there aren’t any air bubbles remaining in the cooling system. (Which skill, I remember, was lacking one day about twelve years ago when I had a coolant flush performed on a Mazda.) But what did they have to repressurize in the oil system? If the oil pump was bad, she’d have written a much larger check than that. I’m guessing they ran something like the BG PF12 Power Flush on the car and didn’t explain it to her properly.
Still, a $500-plus repair bill is a jolt when you own a nine-year-old car. As the owner of a ten-year-old car which got just under $1000 worth of service this fall, I’ll be too happy to testify to that effect.