A former dealership technician explains how to get the best bang for your buck on repairs



Taking a car that's out of warranty to the dealer can be very painful. Dealer labor rates are crazy, dealer parts prices are out of control and to be honest, it's amazing anyone still brings their car there for service. I wanted to see exactly how wacky dealer service costs compare to doing it yourself, or finding a mechanic who works from home for cash on the side.

Fortunately, I own a 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG that needs some work, to say the least. I planned on fixing the car up anyway, so before repairs began I stopped at my local Mercedes Dealer and paid for a pre-purchase inspection. This is an inspection you get when you are looking to buy a used car, and want to know exactly what you're getting yourself into. I left with a quote for $8500 and immediately went online to order some parts from FCP EURO who offers a lifetime warranty on everything they sell.

The repairs needed on the car were really nothing out of the ordinary. It needed a radiator, fan clutch, some transmission seals, a power steering pump seal, and they quoted me on a complete brake job and a differential reseal. In my video, you see a neat time lapse of the repairs and most importantly, a very simple chart breaking down and comparing costs.


As you can imagine, the cost of doing it yourself is insanely lower than the dealer. I used mostly factory Mercedes parts and my total was only a little over $1,500. Remember the dealership wanted $8,500 for everything. Paying someone cash on the side comes in at $3,300 factoring in a labor rate of $75 an hour, which is typical for a qualified technician working from home. The comparison of some of these jobs will completely blow your mind.

Related: We tested the 'Stealership' myth with a high mileage Mercedes