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For example I found AutoMD useful for getting a rough idea of how much the repair might be around.

But then I also want to know how actually trustworthy their estimate is. At least it'd be better if I can get to know how do they work out the estimate. They say here that:

Repair Cost Estimates

AutoMD's Fair Price estimates are calculated for both shop repair and Do-It-Yourself, and are formulated for specificity using average labor costs for each zip code, hours to complete and AutoMD's proprietary real-time market pricing data on millions of vehicle parts - down to engine size and sub-model.

Still not clear enough. How do they get components price / labor costs per types of work / in a specific region?

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Their component pricing will be done in the same way your local parts store would do it - by looking it up on an online database. I'd presume there must also be, or they have created, a similar one for labour prices, probably by averaging the hourly rates charged by mechanics in each area.

The estimated number of hours to complete a given job is usually given by the manufacturer in their official repair manuals - you'll often see them being quoted on this site. Obviously these are, as Allan says, just an estimate - but they'll be the same figures your dealer will use when quoting you for a job.

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Estimating systems on any vehicle that is unseen by a repairer can only be an estimate. Most of the well known offerings offer a useful estimate, but, be aware of E&EO. (Errors and Exceptions Omitted). Most repairers will not be bound, quite fairly, by a third party estimate that has not been fully checked out by themselves.

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