How much should it cost me to get that nickel out of my CD Car Stereo?

Yes, my son (age 3) loves to put money into slots, even those that aren’t designed to accept money. A local car stereo dealer quoted me $250.00 or suggested I pay $350 to connect stereo to iPod and he’d get the nickel out at the same time.

Am I completely out-of-touch with today’s pricing, or is this insanely steep? (Stereo place is in West Los Angeles, which could explain part of it.)

Is this something I can (easily) do myself? Getting the nickel out, I mean. I’m not necessarily mechanically inclinced, but not all thumbs, either. Where might I go to gather such procedural information?

If you can actually see the nickle in the CD slot, you might be able to get it using a popsicle stick with some masking tape on the end. Or something along that line.

Removing the radio and shaking it would work, and that is probably what the stereo shop is going to do.

I once asked an almost identical question, piggybacking on a thread by Wesley Clark.

You’ll probably need to read the whole thing.

What “slot” are we talking about in your car stereo? Single CD slot, a multi-CD changer, a cassette slot… 8 track? :wink:

I’m guessing the reason he’s quoting so much is that he’s basically planning on removing your head unit, then shake the coin free (possibly needing to partially disassemble it), then re-install it into your car. So the labor charge is roughly equivalent to removing and installing a head unit, and $250 seems to me to be on the high side for that, even in a high cost area such as L.A. Experienced people swap these things in and out like I could swap out hard drives.

I think he’s really trying to convince you that as long as you’re ponying up the labor cost to do this, you may as well also buy a new head unit, add an iPod connector, etc. Which may be true. If you’re still using your “factory” head unit and it doesn’t have features integrated into your car, like climate control or GPS functions, maybe you COULD take this “opportunity” to upgrade.

Otherwise, I’m not convinced such all-out effort is necessary. Have you tried taking it to your dealer for servicing? Or if you want to try it yourself, try Googling your car’s make/model and add the keyword “head unit removal”, you might find a helpful link. Or check out Crutchfield’s guide to car stereo installation (Step 1 of which is, of course, “remove the old stereo”).

I have dealt with coins in CD and cassette slots many times. Sometimes the coins can be removed via the shaking method. Maybe one time in 10. Maybe 2-4 times in 10 you can disassemble the unit and remove the coin. The rest of the time, I have found that the coin is jammed into the mechanism and parts have bent as a result. At this point the head unit is a giant paperweight.
If it is a multi disc player the more likely the paperweight scenario becomes.

$250 is 2.5 hours labor @ $100/ which would be high for a stereo guy. Or he could be charging for 1 hour labor plus a new (rebuilt) deck, in which case $250 might be just about right.

$250 to fix a car stereo is ridiculous. Unless it’s a high-end system, you can replace the whole unit for much less than that.

I’d do some comparison shopping before paying for repair.

I work for a new car dealer and for a problem like that I would only be a able to order an exchange radio. The price you quoted sounds about right. Sorry!

It really depends on whether or not it is the factory CD player. If it is, it depends on the type of car. Some cars require the removal of most of the dash to get the head unit out.

You could just jack the front of the car up so it is sitting vertically on its rear bumper so the nickel just falls out. [sub]I’m kidding of course[/sub]

As mentioned above, check out Crutchfield. They have models for less than $100, include all the harnesses and adapters, and have phenomenal customer service. The hardest part is taking off the dash, which takes some guts, but all you have to do is tug. If you decide to go this route, feel free to PM me if you need any help (ordering, install advice, etc.)

I second Crutchfield, especially the phenomenal customer service bit. I bought an open box item (a return from a previous customer) from them about 6 month ago which, alas, had been more seriously damaged by the original customer than they could detect when they checked it before selling it again and I had to return it. Unfortunately, when I replaced it, I forgot to remove the CD from the player until it was too late. Because it was just a CD-RW, I just wrote it off as a cost of learning and packaged the player up and sent it back. A week later, I got my CD back. Via UPS no less.

It is a stock stereo for a Toyota RAV4 (mine is actually all electric – no gas required – but is otherwise the same).

The Crutchfield instructions look doable and I’m going that route. Thanks so much to all who chimed in. SDMB is such a wonderful resource, I’m thrilled (and a little shocked) I am allowed in here!