Minneapolis Car Owners Experiencing 57% Average Variance on Auto Repairs for Same Service – Just Under National Average

New auto repair quote service, AutoMD Negotiator, reveals that Minneapolis vehicle owners can overpay $341 on average for vehicle repair

Carson, CA – October 25, 2011 – A new, national report by AutoMD.com reveals that Minneapolis car owners are potentially overpaying by 57% on average on car repair. Based on 11,000+ auto repair price quotes from AutoMD.com’s Negotiator auto repair quote and appointment service, the report indicates that car owners in Minneapolis are overpaying at rates just under the national average and that local consumers who request quotes from multiple auto shops can gain a distinct price advantage. The report also shows an average national disparity in auto repair quotes of 62%, or a price gap of $300.

 “Over 85% of car owners believe that, at one point or another, they have been overcharged on auto repairs, and this new AutoMD.com report indicates that this is probably true,” said Brian Hafer, Vice President of Marketing for AutoMD.com.  “Knowing what to pay for an auto repair job is one of the great mysteries of car ownership.  In Minneapolis, the price quote variance from lowest to highest for the same job came in at a stunning 57%, so it’s no wonder local car owners are both confused and overpaying.”

According to the report, one recent Minneapolis AutoMD Negotiator customer experienced an over $1,400 disparity between high and low quotes for the same repair job in a less than nine mile radius of the car owner’s home – with the lowest quote coming from a shop less than a mile away. The customer, Steve Polster, who needed quotes for 120,000-mile service, brake pad replacement, engine oil and filter change and timing belt replacement, ranked the AutoMD Negotiator quote service as ‘excellent,’ and said that in addition to the cost savings, the service saved him time: “AutoMD Negotiator made it easy to find options at a reasonable price and compare multiple quotes.”

While many Minneapolis shops quoted prices that are on the high end of the range, numerous other local shops came in on the low end, meaning area car owners have plenty of options to get high quality repairs at a competitive price if they opt for multiple quotes.

For example, although the highest quote within a five mile radius for one customer on a front suspension shock absorber replacement (both sides) was $941, four other shops within that radius quoted half that, with Complete Auto Service, Inc. coming in at $328.

Vehicle: 2005 Saab 9-7x
Repair: Suspension Shock Absorber Replacement – Front, Both Sides
Service Shop Distance Away (mi) Part Brand Part Cost Labor Cost Total Cost Warranty
Complete Auto Service, Inc. 2.81 National Brand A* $198 $130 $328 18-mos or 18K
Auto Repair Shop 2 0.78 National Brand B $318 $170 $488 12-mos
Auto Repair Shop 3 0.79 National Brand A* $678 $173
Other: $90
$941 12-mos
Auto Repair Shop 4 4.37 National Brand A* $135 $269 $404 12-mos
Auto Repair Shop 5 2.6 OEM $389 $85
Other: $5
$479 12-mos

*quotes are for the exact same national aftermarket brand

Having access to comparative repair quote information to get the best possible price in the market is poised to become increasingly critical to car owners. Not only are people now holding on to their vehicles for a historic 11 years1 on average – and the majority for over 50,000 more miles than their previous vehicles2, but a recent AAA survey showed that in this tough economy, many are finding it increasingly difficult to afford large auto repair bills.3

AutoMD.com Report Highlights: Minneapolis, MN vs. the U.S.

The report includes a listing of the top three most requested repair jobs and is based on data from 11,505 quotes from 3,441 cities (including 75 quotes from Minneapolis-area shops), gathered from calls made by the AutoMD Negotiator. Consumers requested quotes for a range of repair jobs over a 20-week period (April 2011 – mid-August 2011), and as part of the research, AutoMD.com also fielded an online survey of over 800 car owners this summer (2011).

Average Price Variance (%) 57% 62%
Average Potential Savings ($) $341 $300

The price gap for repair jobs in Minneapolis averaged $341, nearly 14% higher than the national average price gap of $300.  The most requested repair job in the Minneapolis metro region and nationally was brake pads replacement.

Top 3 Most Requested Auto Repair Jobs

1 Brake Pads Replacement Brake Pads Replacement
2 Catalytic Converter Replacement Timing Belt Replacement
3 Timing Belt Replacement Catalytic Converter Replacement

According to the report, many car owners have never negotiated price at the repair shop and are unaware that that is an option -- but the majority say they would switch shops if they knew they could get a better price elsewhere.

  • 47% of respondents have never negotiated price at the repair shop
  • 48% didn't know that you could negotiate price at the repair shop
  • 60% reported that shops lowered price when they did negotiate
  • 60% would switch mechanics if presented with a better price
  • 73% would go to another shop for a better price even if their vehicle was already at a repair shop

“Knowledge is power in the auto repair process and we recommend that Minneapolis car owners get multiple shop quotes, reinforced with objective data on what a job should cost, to solve the problem of these dramatic price variances,” continued Hafer. “We also encourage car owners to negotiate price: surprisingly, nearly half of the car owners we surveyed have never attempted to negotiate price at the repair shop, while 60% of those that did, ultimately received a better price.”

New Online Service, Negotiator, Makes Getting Comparative Quotes Easy

As featured in a recent Lifehacker article, AutoMD.com’s new quote service, Negotiator, is easy to use and on a mission to ensure that consumers never overpay for quality auto repairs.  Consumers simply go online to AutoMD.com, tell the Negotiator what repair job their vehicle needs, enter their zip code and provide a range of appointment times.  AutoMD Negotiator then calls the area’s best local shops for the consumer for their most competitive prices and emails the consumer with 3 – 5 price quotes. Consumers can then compare quotes, request an appointment with a specific shop and AutoMD Negotiator does the rest, scheduling the appointment and sending the consumer an email confirmation.

  1. 1 The average age of a vehicle in the U.S. has risen to a record 10.6 years, according to the Polk data collection company, as reported in Bloomberg Business Week, October 6, 2011: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9Q6UF600.htm
  2. 2 Nearly 80% of car owners plan to put up to or over 50,000 more miles on their current vehicle than they put on their previous vehicle, according to a survey of car owners conducted by AutoMD.com: http://www.automd.com/about-automd/press/07-07-2011/
  3. 3 AAA, One in Four Americans Could Not Pay for Major Car Repair, According to AAA Survey, 8/3/2011: www.aaanewsroom.net/Main/Default.asp?CategoryID=4&ArticleID=867