My 2002 ford focus (built after may 23) died and the AAA and tow guy both said that it needs a new fuel pump.

Anyway I went to the mechanic and he said it'll be 350 for the pump and 200 for labor. I called Autozone and found it for 170 so I bought the part and brought it to the mechanic and only paid for labor.

Anyway... after I paid I turned the car on and the check engine light went on. Now even after my car wasn't starting (pre-mechanic) I still didn't have the light on.

He called his guy over and saw him go on the machine and it said something like ctl (something) oil (something) or something like that, I wasn't sure what I was reading.

The guy then clicked the "clear all messages" without doing anything to the car.

So my questions are as follows:

  1. Did the mechanic try ripping me off or is there such a big gap in the price of parts?
  2. Did he do something else to my car (break something) knowing that later that I'll need to use him again?

3 Answers 3

  1. There is often a huge gap in the price of parts. There are some components for my car that when bought through the dealer are over £2000 but when sourced on the internet may be under £500. Some of the price differential is down to warranty, dealer specifics, supply and demand.

  2. Generally for cars that report error messages, once a part has been replaced the mechanic usually has to reset the message - it won't happen automatically. Whether or not this specific message is an indication that he is ripping you off or not would be very difficult to say without more knowledge. I would advise asking what the message meant, and why he required asking his colleague to sort it.


Your mechanic probably quoted you pricing for either OEM, or high-end replacement market (like NAPA). They usually use those parts as they're trying to minimize the liklihood of you having to comeback for the same problem soon. The lower cost parts available on the Internet and from discount stores tend to have a higher rate of failure. For a DIYer, the higher rate of failure may be acceptable as the labor is essentially free...

Not all mechanics will install user supplied parts for that very reason. They don't want to install a part that they're not comfortable with using. Some mechanics will, with the understanding that they won't be responsible for early part failure.


Your mechanics quote for the part appears to be in line with the going rate for an OEM Ford part. This is what I see after Googling for "2002 ford focus fuel pump" and clicking "Shopping": prices for the "Ford PFS-448 Sender and Pump" ranging from $318 to $448 (as of this search).

What you bought was a replacement part that may be just as good (think generic medications vs. brand names). Replacement parts are like anything else: you should check the reviews of the part and the vendor.

With respect to anything at all that goes on in the shop, ask. You are a paying customer and should never feel shy about figuring out what is going on.

If they give you a hard time, they've made your decision easy: find another shop.

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