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William, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 284
Experience:  ASE Certified Auto Tech, Undercar Specialist, 20+ years exp.
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Looking for a accurate source of auto repair labor hours ...

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Looking for a accurate source of auto repair labor hours "according to the book". (Preferably ONLINE) I belong to and when I show my mechanic their estimate of hours a job should take ( I realize that labor RATES vary by location ), he says he uses a different book and it is usuall double or triple the time.

I'm having a master cylinder replaced on a 1997 Chrysler Sebring and alldata says 0.6 hrs including bleeding the system.

Hopefully, you can tell me WHICH rate books most mechanics use, an ONLINE source for such informatio (I'm willing to pay a reasonable fee for membership), as well as the labor hours this specific job should be billed at.


According to my Nichols' Chilton Labor Guide, a master cylinder replacement for your vehicle (including system bleeding) is estimated at 1.6 hours (1.2 if other brake system work is performed). A qoute of 0.6 hours (36 minutes) is, in my opinion as a mechanic "overly optimistic". When I had my business, I used the Nichols' Chilton Labor Guide exclusively (the numbers were the closest to real world situations), but the books the other guys use vary by location.

As for your existing mechanic, ask him what he uses, and if he's 'straight up', he'll tell you without hesitation.

You can get a copy of Nichols Chilton labor guide through the Chilton website ( or through various retailers (I typically picked mine up through JCWhitney (

William and 4 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Thanks William,

Your information was helpful!

I checked out the websites you listed and found them interesting, but NOT ONLINE.

I'm going to keep looking though; I think this is the type of information that SHOULD be on the internet to help consumers.

I also think that Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists, Morticians,etc pricing information should be available to the public so there is some type of reference point for consumers. There's not much worse than being at the mercy of any of the above in a time of crisis or emergency and NOT having a reference point.

And it's NOT their hourly fee I object to ... it's the fact that they all do the same or similar service day in and day out, and seem unable ( or is it unwilling) to tell you how MANY hours it will take.

Perhaps I'll start a new internet business to solve this problem.

I also think I'll look into joining you as an expert on Is it working out for you? Would you recommend it?

But I digress ....

Once again, thanks for your prompt reply.

Two other things that you might find of interest.

1. While visiting, I clicked on the link to the demo of their 2006 Labor Guide CD. As it were, their example was the replacement of a master cylinder on an Audi. It showed labor time of: OEM - 0.7 hrs and Standard - 1.0 hrs. And that's for an AUDI !

2. It turns out it wasn't my master cylinder, but a leaking brake line. The labor table at showed 0.4 hours and in checking, the parts ( brake line, fittings etc) could easily been purchased at local parts stores for under $10. This guy quoted me $280 to replace them. I say them because on the phone he said that they often cracked the adjoining line in replacing the broken one. Having done this myself before, it made some sense, BUT, I thought I'd take a look for myself. As it turned out, the lines are separated by about 2 inches and removing the support bracket would allow them to separate even further so damage was NOT likely.

I offered him $150 to replace the one damaged line ( less than 20" in length and easily accessible, and he became "huffy". Needless to say, I'll take it to my regular mechanic for repair. At labor cost of $70/hr (very high for our area) he wanted to bill me for 3 hours labor. What a rip-off !

Enough of this ...... once again thank you for your answer.

Don Madey
For your entertainment,

The corrupt reputation of auto repair is one of the things I never liked about the business. So, I started a mobile auto repair business with a honest approach, going to the customer, which would save me a lot of overhead costs. Well, between being an honest businessman, and trying to start a business that operates outside in what turned out to be my areas wettest year in history, it tanked. Lost thousands of dollars, but the fact that every customer I had absolutely adored the fact that I would go to them, and shocked by the low price, kinda makes it all worth it in the end.

As for if I recommend this website as a nice place to work, I'll tell you what I tell others about it..... you won't get rich, but it's nice to help those that need it. Don't get me wrong, there is money to be made, but I enjoy it more for the way it exercises my "chops" or "skills". As for getting the job, you just apply and indicate what type of expert you want to try out for, then answer some questions and other experts evaluate your performance and if they feel you answered the questions professionally, the job is yours. You can branch out to other areas if you so desire as well to keep things interesting.

I'll be sure to check out the 2 web addresses you sent. Have a good one, and maybe I'll see you in the "experts lounge".