In my opinion, the Midas in Acton took me for ride. Here’s the short story:
It sounds like I don’t even have a muffler, so I take it to the Midas near my office. The car goes up on the lift and after about 40 minutes the mechanic calls me over and we look at the muffler together. Two parts of the muffler were rusted to the point of disintegration and the rest looked OK. He recommended we replace those two parts.
At this point I was fairly pleased. People said places like Midas will try to get you to have the entire exhaust system replaced even if only one part is broken. The fact that this mechanic only wanted to replace the two rusted parts showed he only wanted to do what needed to be done.
Then he showed me the cost estimate. Each replacement part would cost $300. The labor would be $100, for a total of $700. Thinking this was a stand-up operation, I signed off on it. Cars aren’t cheap.
Back at my desk, while Midas fixed my muffler, I decided to cruise the web for the parts I needed. I got an unpleasant surprise
Looking at auto part suppliers, the most expensive muffler parts were $170. Generally, they were $130. Considering I agreed to pay $600 for the two parts, I have just been screwed out of about $300.
Picking the car up I asked to talk to the manager because I was getting taken on the parts cost. The manager came flying out of the garage “YOU CAN’T TRUST ONLINE SUPPLIERS, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY GET FROM ONLINE!…” This went on for a few minutes. He defended his vendor and suggested anyone who buys online is foolish.
We went back in forth, me saying he’s using a bad vendor and him saying the internet is evil and untrustworthy. In the end even he had to agree (in front of 5 people in the waiting room) that the best thing to do is:
Buy the parts online and bring them to Midas to be installed.
So my suggestion is, before you go to Midas, go to auto supplier websites, print out various muffler part prices and bring them with you to Midas. You might get some bargaining room.