This week has been expensive for my car! I had a major repair and my state inspections completed I’m glad the car is paid off, so this wasn’t a huge burden. It still is a big chunk of money. 

We just had the catalytic converter replaced for my VW Jetta. After shopping around, we decided to go with our usual mechanic shop and it was $700. We’ve been with this mechanic shop for over a year and it has worked out well. 

My car has over 130,000 miles on it, so it was not a completely unexpected expense

grey vw jetta

Remember to anticipate some car repairs into your budget.

I have to admit, though, I didn’t really plan when I bought the car. When this car dies and I get another on, I’ll do more research on maintenance. I will say this, though: I’d rather keep this car and fix it occassionaly than get another car payment. I know everyone is different, so this is just my perspective on our situation. 

If you’re a VW owner and want to learn more, AutoHauz has some reasons why you want to keep your VW’s emissions system in good shape. 

Tip #1: Increased fuel consumption, driveability problems (hesitation or surging), “Check Engine Light” lit or emissions test failure could all be signs of an oxygen sensor in need of replacement.

Tip #2: An additional consequence of any oxygen sensor failure may be damage to your Volkswagen’s catalytic converter – a very expensive way to find out your oxygen sensor needs replacement!

Tip #3: Checking the operation of the oxygen sensor and feedback control system should always be a priority anytime a vehicle fails an emissions test due to high HC or CO.

Tip #4: Keeping your Volkswagen’s oxygen sensor(s) fresh may improve fuel economy as much as 10%-15% (which can save $100 each year in fuel costs on average). Keeping the sensor in good operating condition will also minimize exhaust emissions, reduce the risk of costly damage to the catalytic converter and ensure peak engine performance (no surging or hesitating).

If you’re looking at a big car repair down the road here are some tips we’ve used to get a reliable mechanic shop. 

Finding a Good Mechanic

Here are some tips for those looking for a dependable mechanic. 

  • Look for a quality mechanic before you need a big job done. Make sure the shop has ASE certified mechanics and experience dealing with your car’s make and model.
  • Start small and build a relationship with a shop. How was the customer service? How well did they do the job? Did they go the extra miles? If they do well with smaller repairs, it gives you a bit more peace of mind.
  • Consult your owners manual for the schedule of replacement. You want to check the recommended miles and time for replacements.
  • Price shop to double check that your price is reasonable. I still called around to see what the price range is for the repair to make sure I’m getting a good deal. Cheapest doesn’t mean quality, but I don’t want to be at the top end either.

I called the dealerships to get an idea of how much the part and repairs cost and they didn’t give me an estimate or a ballpark figure for labor. I did find out it’s $550-$560  for the part.  

I’ve always had good service with the shop and their estimates are very close or I end up paying less when I pick up the car. 

For my state inspection, I passed, but only after I got my right rear braking  bulb replaced. I had forgotten about that, but it’s now good to go. 

Mechanic Recommendation

By the way if you’re in the Hampton Roads area and need a great mechanic, please call Jason’s Big Truck & Auto at (757) 717-3160‎. He was our mechanic before we moved and he was fantastic! 

Leave a comment with your mechanic and a story about why they are great to share a good mechanic with other readers.

Photo Credit: Kevitivity

Laura Martinez
Laura Martinez