We Thought It Was A Fouled #2 Sparkplug, But......

… it turned out to be a writing repair job for the #2 cylinder and injector.

Okay, here’s how this happened:

We noticed our 2003 Bonneville bein to run rough and we smelled the catalytic converter, so we took it to a place where they hooked it up to a computer and that’s what it said: “No.2 plug fouled” (or words to that effect - it was the mechanic who told us).

So we made an appointment for the next morning to have that fixed, but unfortunately the guy got put in the hospital the night before and his shop was closed.

So we took it to another guy that my wife’s family uses, told him what we needed and left the car.

After an hour and a half the guy calls D. and tells her we needed the above work done and that sometimes the computer tells you it’s a plug when it really is something more serious.

$180.00 was the final bill and there were no parts used.

Suspecting the guy may have been taking advantage of my wife, I called and asked if he’d had to use any parts and he said no, it just was a very involved job.

So he had the car approximately 2 hours and charged us $90.00 per hour to repair it.

Just checking with y’all to see if this is an appropriate charge?

it’s a V6 240 hp automatic.



$90/hr is on the high side for an indie shop, but on the low side for a dealer. If we’re talking a wiring chafe/rub-through/internal break, then 2 hrs for diag. and repair doesn’t sound too out of line. if it was a wiring repair, then yeah, it’s possible no parts needed to be replaced.

It all sounds reasonable to me.

There may well have been a fouled plug. The crux of the matter, though, is WHY there’s a fouled plug – usually plug fouling is a symptom of a deeper problem, only rarely due to a faulty plug.

What Gary T said. Why the plug failed was what you paid for.

Good price.
Like the old joke about the big steam plant that stops running.
They call out this expert that looks at the blue prints for about 10 minutes and says “Get me a sledgehammer”
He walks out into the middle of the plant, finds a particular valve and hits it 5 times with the sledge.
Plant starts right up.
“What do we owe you?” the plant manager asks
“I’ll send you a bill.” was the reply.
Bill comes for $5,100. since the guy was only on the premises for about 20 minutes total, the plant manager writes back and asks for an itemized bill.
Here is what he got back
5 Swings with a sledge hammer at $20/swing $100.
Knowing where to swing the hammer $5,000.
$180 for changing a spark plug would be outrageous. But that is not what they did.
$180 for finding a short or open wire in a harness is very reasonable, and not a problem.
Thing about electrical repairs is often they are all labor and little or no parts. If I find a broken wire and solder it back together, there will be no parts shown as both solder and electrical tape are shop supplies and not sold by the inch. If I repaired the wire with a butt connector, there may or may not be a part charged out depending on how the shop accounts for the connector.
Sounds like a quality shop to me, you might want to become a regular there.

Thanks very much, guys. That makes me feel much better.


It always makes me uneasy when I don’t know exactly what went wrong, why, and how it was fixed. Perhaps you simply did not pursue that aspect enough. If you trust the guy, fine. This may be the end of it and you drive on in reliability. If the mechanic simply cleaned a fouled plug and got it to run well without finding the cause, you will have a repeat problem. Let’s hope that is not the case. Report back immediately if it starts missing again.

PS>I’m not buying the explanation, just renting for now.