Several months ago, my alternator and alternator fan belt failed after being on my truck for eight years. I had been recovering from surgery and procrastinated about the repair until suddenly needing to use the truck the following day. Due to the circumstances, I decided to use Gaston's, a new auto repair facility near my home. I took the truck to Gaston's and told the service manager the problem. Shortly thereafter, a guy named Eddie walked out to my vehicle. Without introducing himself, he made a comment about my Exide battery, one I had bought at Sam's, inferring it was substandard. I told him the battery was fine, but I believed an alternator bearing had frozen, resulting in a belt failure. He said he could fix it and I returned home, where I waited for twenty minutes or so before receiving a call from the service manager regarding repair costs. He said it would cost at least $400 dollars to replace the alternator and recommended changing the other belts. I thought that seemed high, but told him I needed the truck the following morning and to go ahead with the repair. I also asked him to do an oil change.. When I went to pick up the truck, my bill was approximately $450 total, $240 of it labor...and that was with their so called neighborhood discount. When I asked if it took 2.5 hours(of 3 hours total labor) to replace the alternator, the service manager, who looked a bit surprised that I had questioned the charge, replied ""that's what the book calls for"" Frankly, when I received the estimate, I figured the alternator was the major cost and was shocked at the labor cost. I told the service manager that the alternator had been replaced before and, on that occasion, it took the mechanic, with some difficulty, 45 minutes at most. I told him I was not going to quibble over price, paid him, and left, feeling very much ripped off. I'm no mechanic by a long shot, but have replaced a similarly situated alternator on a previous Japanese built vehicle in my driveway without a lift and it took me an hour and a half at best. It's not a difficult repair, involving no more than several bolts. I just don't see how it could take a trained mechanic, with a lift, more than thirty minutes. It will be my last visit. I've since been referred to Imperial in Cary and have discovered Imperial to have very reasonable charges. Plus, Imperial will come to your home, tow your vehicle back to their garage, repair the vehicle, and return the vehicle to your home. There is no charge for the towing service.
Pros: New facility apparently well equipped
Cons: Labor costs excessive