Estimate Guide FAQs

Our Mitchell 1 Labor Editorial Department has been getting some common questions about estimates, so we wanted to take a minute to highlight some of these FAQs to help everyone better understand how to use the Estimate Guide Module.

1.) What is the difference between “R & I” and “R & R”?

Remove and Install (R & I): Removal of a part or assembly from the vehicle to facilitate overhaul or other work and reinstall that same part on the vehicle.  For example, an assembly, such as an instrument panel, will often need to go through R & I, removed and installed, to gain access for the replacement of components located behind it, like HVAC components.

Remove and Replace (R & R): Removal of a part or assembly from the vehicle, transfer of any attached part to new part or assembly, re-install new part or assembly on the vehicle. Using the example above, the R & R of that same instrument panel would involve transferring numerous other components, brackets and trim pieces to a new replacement instrument panel.

Difference between R&R and R&I

2.) How do I use combination labor times in my estimate?

Combination time: additional labor times to be used when performing tasks which are directly related to the original operation and are conveniently done along with it. As an example, when performing a timing belt R & R, you could replace a number of components in “combination” with the timing belt operation.

what does combination time mean in auto repair

3.) Why are there listings for different labor estimating times on what appears to be the same operation on a vehicle?

There are occasions where there are two or more acceptable, documented procedures to perform a specific repair on a vehicle. The usual case is when a TSB is issued in order to inform of a revised procedure that needs to be performed but varies from the original procedure. The Estimate Guide will provide labor estimating times to represent these different repair procedures.

For instance, a 2003 Chevrolet Trail Blazer 4.2L Engine – cylinder head gasket – R & R; the OEM recommended procedure includes Step 3, remove the front cover. Clicking the link in this step leads you to a subsequent 15 step procedure to be followed in order to remove that front cover.

what to do when different estimator times are listed for same looking procedure

Chevrolet later released a TSB that eliminated the need to remove the front cover with a particular newly-developed special service tool (SST).

In the Estimate Guide, you’ll see two different labor times for the cylinder head gasket R & R, depending on which you choose. The updated procedure, using the special tool, is 9.0 hours versus the original procedure time of 23.1 hours for the 4WD Trailblazer.

car estimate guide

4.) Why does the Estimate Guide have a note that states “DOES NOT include alignment” on many repair estimate times where it is common knowledge and recommended in procedures that wheel alignment is required with the replacement of these components?

In the case of some repair service categories, such as suspension, it is common that multiple system components require replacement at the same time due to wear or damage. If the labor time allowance to perform the wheel alignment was built into each individual component replacement, the estimated time to replace multiple components within that system would be exceedingly high and inaccurate.  Also, it gives a clearer estimate to provide and explain to the consumer as to what the estimated labor times are representing within repairing the vehicle that needs multiple system components replaced.

5.) I live in the Rust Belt; do you cover rusted/seized bolts in your Estimate Guide?

The conditions can be variable depending on the age of the vehicle, geographic location, etc.  Therefore, Mitchell 1 doesn’t factor in the following issues into our labor times:

  • Disposal of hazardous materials (unless indicated)
  • Diagnosis (unless indicated)
  • Machine operations
  • Removal of locking lug nuts or wheel covers
  • Time necessary to free up parts frozen by rust or corrosion
  • Broken bolts, studs, etc.
  • Excessive grease, tar and undercoating removal or any other materials that could interfere with operation.
  • Cleaning areas of the vehicle which may have been contaminated by failure of the component on which the operation is being performed.


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About the Author

Gary Hixson

Gary Hixson is a Sr. Market Manager at Mitchell 1, and is responsible for product and market management of the Repair Information product line. Most recently he managed the release of ProDemand™, the industry-leading repair, diagnostic and maintenance information system.