It's no secret that life in New York City is expensive. From food to housing to parking your car, the high cost of living affects pretty much every good and service sold in the United States' most-populated city. However, Land Rover Brooklyn’s service department has taken things to the eye-popping extreme by charging owners $499.99 per hour for labor—and nearly $500 for a standard oil change.
An Instagram Reel posted by oneightynyc, a car customization shop located in Coney Island, alerted me to this are-you-serious labor rate. I reached out to Land Rover Brooklyn via phone and asked for a quote on an oil change for a 2013 Land Rover LR4. They gave me a price of $452.27 before tax, which included a half-hour of labor plus parts. Now, an LR4 oil change kit from FCP Euro—which includes eight quarts of synthetic oil, a fresh filter, and a drain plug—costs $134.74. If you’re not interested in getting your hands dirty, RepairPal estimates the service should cost between $266 and 315, with 43% or $114.38 of that going to labor. In this case, Land Rover Brooklyn’s labor rate would cost a customer at least $137 extra on one of the most basic services.
The problem compounds when you consider a more complex job. Land Rovers aren’t known for being the most reliable vehicles (I briefly owned a 2001 Discovery II; poor choices) and a few hours spent diagnosing an electrical issue here could easily cost an owner $3,000 in labor alone. Timing chains? You do the math.
For reference, dealerships and independent mechanics typically charge between $100 and $300 per hour to work on cars. Rates vary based on location, car brand, and whether it’s a specialty shop or a more general mechanic. Dealerships are typically more expensive than local garages, but there are exceptions. According to CarMD, the average labor cost nationally in 2022 was around $142, and I’ve spent between $95 and $160 per hour at many independent mechanics over the years because of my questionable vehicle choices. High-end dealerships are a bit more costly, as to be expected; Porsche South Shore on Long Island charges $225 an hour, and Porsche Manhattan bills an eyebrow-raising $349. But Land Rover Brooklyn’s $500 rate is more than 40% higher than that.
So, what gives? It goes without saying that the mechanic actually working on these Rovers isn’t making anywhere near $500 per hour. A job posting by the dealership seeking to hire a Land Rover technician listed an hourly pay range of $20 to $85, meaning dealership management and owners are pocketing a huge amount for each hour that technicians work. Service centers are leading profit drivers for dealers, so it’s possible that in the face of longer vehicle lifespans, some are juicing their rates to squeeze more cash out of them.
Rising repair costs aren’t an issue in a vacuum. Inflation is affecting the country, new cars are expensive, and people are hanging onto their old ones longer. Still, it's unfortunate that some shops like Land Rover Brooklyn have responded with this.
What can you do about it? First, unless you own an exotic supercar, don’t pay $500 for an oil change. Ask a shop what its labor rate is before dropping your car off. Be sure to request a written estimate and review it thoroughly before authorizing any work. When you get the bill, look it over and compare it to that initial estimate. Question any discrepancies. Finally, consider not owning an old Land Rover out of warranty.
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