Best, worst cities for car repair

Study shows best, worst towns for car repairDo those of you who live in Honolulu, Hawaii feel like you're paying too much for car repairs? No surprise, according to a study by, which found that Honolulu was the most expensive market for car repairs among the 50 large metropolitan areas it surveyed recently.

Drivers in Oakland, (49), Sacramento (48), and San Francisco (47), Ca., may also have a reason to beef.
AutoMD also ranked these areas by the spread between price quotes within the area. The highest price disparity between shops was found in Kansas City, Mo., 50; Indianapolis, Ind., 49; and Oakland again, 48.

The smallest spread between quotes was found in Long Beach, Ca.; Denver, Co.; and Austin, Texas.

The company then rated these areas on shop integrity by how often shops switched price quotes when confronted with an industry standard charge, which was good news for Memphis, Tenn.; Omaha, Neb.; and New Orleans, La.

The same criteria found the areas with the worst shop integrity were Chicago; Miami, and Washington, D.C.

On the other hand, drivers in Miami, (1), Detroit, (2) and Jacksonville, Fla. (3) should be reassured you're getting a relatively good deal.

After rolling in all factors, the study concluded that the best places to have your car repaired are, in order,
  1. Memphis, Tenn.
  2. Jacksonville, Fla.
  3. Omaha, Neb.
  4. San Antonio, Texas
  5. Austin, Texas
While Chicago was the worst of the five worst places:
  1. Chicago
  2. Honolulu
  3. Alburquerque, N.M.
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Raleigh, N.C.
To conduct the study, used mystery shoppers who got quotes from 600 different shops for a front brake replacement for a Ford Focus. They called a second time two weeks later and asked for a quote for the same repair, but this time mentioned the industry standard price estimate. Shops that revised their quote were dinged for lack of integrity.

Shane Evangelist of said in a press release that "Repair shop quotes in more than half of the cities for the same job had variance from lowest to highest of over 150% -- with over two-thirds of the shops overall changing their price quote when presented with an industry standard price."

The subtext to his quote is GET MORE THAN ONE ESTIMATE. (The capital letters means I'm shouting.) is owned by US Auto Parts Network, Inc., so it's not directly in the business of fixing your car. (It's also, however, not in the business of ticking off repair shops, so don't expect it to give you low-ball estimates.) The Web site offers help diagnosing car problems and getting a handle on what to expect, price-wise, for repairs.

To try it out, I answered a couple of questions about my 1995 Dodge Caravan's propensity to shimmy, and it told me that it could be worn out shocks and struts, that I should expect to pay around $129.05 to have that fixed in the shop. Good info, if accurate. I'd suggest giving it a try, but don't take the number as gospel.
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