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better to buy where you intend to get it serviced?

maxwella11maxwella11 Posts: 14
edited April 2014 in General
giving the dealer you intend to service it with last crack to beat any deal you may have found?

do you indeed get better service if you bought it at the servicing dealer?


  • Absolutely! I think service is the key -- last shot is a good idea. Usually you give the first person you test drive the with the last shot, but that's another issue. Remember it's no badge of honor to have the lowest gross of the month so be prepared for the ol' rope-a-dope with the sales gal. Pitch it as a "number", another "unit moved" at the end of the month. For that extra special deal -- be open to colors and options.

    Be careful about the lowest gross profit and the highest interest rate scenario.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    My experience, which seems to be corroborated by comments that I have read here, is that most (if not all) dealers operate their sales and service departments independently. Service departments are a for-profit enterprise regardless whether the vehicle owner or manufacturer is paying the tab, why would they care where the car was purchased? Has anyone actually experienced better service as a result of buying from that dealer? How would you know that your experience would have been different if you did not buy there?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    As a service manager, I've been audited and I know for Chrysler and Chevrolet requirements, I was limited on the number of warranty claims I could submit for vehicles other than those we sold.

    Additionally, an independent franchised dealer can refuse service on vehicles not sold by their dealership. At two of the dealers I worked at (in service), I was specifically ordered "if it doesn't have our badge on the back, it doesn't come through the door".

    The main premise there was at a smaller dealer in my hometown, we'd see folks after the fact that didn't give our dealership an opportunity at all during the purchase process, then go to Houston to the Chevy Supermarket, Landshark, I mean Landmark Chevrolet to talk to a salesman that wouldn't be working there in a week and to get a service tour in a department they'll never see.

    That's why places like Landmark have such good CSI ratings - most of their customers are from 80 miles away or further.

    Then, of course, the hometown dealer has to listen to embellished stories of fire and brimstone (Imangined warranty complaints) and lose his tail doing warranty work at 40 cents on the dollar.

    He simply choses not to lose his tail or deal with customers who have never spent a dime in his store.

    I'm off my soapbox now.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    I have not experienced a dealer refusing to work on a car due to non purchase there, I honestly thought that was illegal. However, if I thought that I would get bettter service it would be a factor but in the past 5 years or so warranty claims for me have been non existent. In addition, my experience with dealer servie depts has been terrible. Car not serviced (after appt) serviced incorrectly (overfill etc) will only use formula for repairs even though service bays are empty, (elective repairs like timing belts, pumps etc where independent mechanic will do for much less with OEM parts purchased by me via internet) Too much paper work with dealers, I cannot just drop my car off with a note, must spend 20 minutes dropping the car off and signing my life away. Voice mail and cannot get thorugh to service rep. Most delaers are understaffed in the service rep dept and it just takes forever to get a voice to talk to. For exmaple, Ford Contour Water Pump local dealer wanted $130, Ford dealer in texas sold to me for $65 (OEM) (shipping about $10) . Give me a break!!!!!!!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,551
    I don't think that doing warranty work is a fun thing for any dealer.

    I think this would be a bigger problem if you live in a small town. The customer drives 300 miles to the cut throat big city dealer to save 200.00. Then he/she is first in line demanding free warranty work from the local dealer.

    I once heard a Buick dealer tell a customer..." If those guys were good enough to sell you the car, they ought to be good enough to do your warranty work"

    If you were the smalll town dealer who would you give priority service to?

    In a big metro area it probably doesn't matter as much.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I always look at buying a car and getting it serviced as a package deal. It just seems to make sense to me to buy a car from a dealership where you are happy with the service department also.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    The only way you are going to get good service from a dealer service dept is if the salesman is there long enough and has enough clout to intercede and get the job done right as he knows future sales depend on it. My experience is that 90% of salemen are short timers and usless for getting service performed!

    Ha, warranty work and 40 cents on the dollar. Now you know how physicians feel when taking you in for a managed care contract!!!!!!
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    are not in the small town dealers because they can't justify the expense for the small quantity of vehicles that will be hooked to the machine. The small dealer in the small town bets on the consoles while the big dealer in the big city has the more expensive and thorough diagnostic equipment. We usually patronize the dealer who took the risk to stock the car we want. A local lady once bought a very rare and expensive car. One of her conditions was that $5,000 would be in escrow for 6 months and finally paid to the dealer when all of her complaints were satisfied.
  • kinley -- seriously, that sounds interesting what are the details? What kind of car did she buy? What big city is near you?

  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I managed a small Chrysler shop (7 techs) and we were REQUIRED by Chrysler to all the diagnostic machines, both roll-around and hand-held that any huge shop would have. You CANNOT repair a vehicle to manufacturer's specifications without the "manufacturer provided" (at YOUR cost) equipment. If you don't have the equipment, you can't do the work. I guess you COULD do the work, you just wouldn't get paid for it.

    That's another reason why small shops in small towns sometimes restrict warranty repairs to their customer base. The rest of the shop is doing maintenance work to pay for $200,000 worth of diagnostic equipment!

    Armtdm - if your salesman thinks, or says, he can force service into doing something because he has "control", forget it. "Favors" for service have gotten many a service advisor fired - I can't count the number of salesmen I sent "back up front" where they belong. I'm not saleman-bashing - I was one, then moved into fleet, F&I, then service management.
  • zueslewis -- all good sales people are close with one service advisor and at least one of the top mechanics -- telling you all what to do, not -- but having a "friend" or two in the service department is fundamental for any sales person -- last second PDI's for example. Sales and service is love/hate relationship when it works, it's beautiful, when not then I guess people leave or get sent home :-)
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    and I've always been close to service when I was in sales and sales mgmt, and had a couple of buddies in sales when I was in service. There's always the green pea who thinks he can threaten your job or the old school sales guy that changes dealerships like underwear that assumes he's your best friend.

    He's also the guy bragging about the $10K gross - yeah right! On a Neon, no less!
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    Anyone thinking that making friends with a Sales guy will get you extra pull in Service just is not connected to reality. Yeah, there are instances that one salesperson somewhere may have a good friendly relationship with a service guy somewhere else. But counting on that happening as part of a vehicle service strategy? Time to get real!!

    If you want great service from the Service Dept, then make the effort to develop a rapport with the Service staff. Be nice, work with them, bring them Krispy Kremes, ask to meet the tech that will work on your vehicle, bring more Krispy Kremes.

    I'm saying all this from a Sales perspective, believe it or not. I've never worked a Service job in my life. But I know how to get along and find ways to get people to help you out.

    Zig Ziglar once said, "To get what you want, first give others what they want".
  • wow! i'm speechless ... you'll hand me off to the service department and walk away? Perhaps that's following the rules a little too literally for me.
  • get rid of you!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    Is a salesperson supposed to hold the customers hand while they get their oil changed? A good "turn" to service is nice, as in "Mr Jones, I'd like you to meet Jim, our service manager. he's been with our dealership XX years (months, days..) and he's certified by (insert make here). He's the person I see when I have my car serviced. If you need anything, come see me. Jim will take great care of you. (THEN GO AWAY)

    The biggest single thing you can do to get good service is to NOT YELL at the service advisor! I can't count the number of times I've had a new customer (I've never seen them or their car) come in, angry because XYZ dealer's service department didn't take care of them. They've had four check engine light activations, it's on again, and they're in front of me. They scream "you'd better fix my car and right now! Give me a loaner! If you don't fix it right now I'm calling customer assistance, then I'm calling a lawyer!!"

    It's happened many times. I just met you two minutes ago and you're reday to call the manufacturer and complain, then call a lawyer? At that point, you have REALLY motivated me to help you. I don't need Krispy Kreme donuts, just a nice customer!
  • THAT kind of turn is fine, I'm specifically referring to the drop kick into the service dept. "see Frank, and if he's not there see Jane -- down in service around the corner, down the hall, through the double doors, on your right after the coke machine..." that is the typical sales person's turn to service.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Get the best deal you can because sales and service do not complement each other. Go for the lowest price and then develop a rapor with service rep!!!!

    Sorry, but I yell and scream and write nasty letters and pull out the lemon law as well. Incompentence rules. I am down to one Ford dealer out of 5 in my area, others I have writen off due to incompetence. Only warranty or special work goes to them, independent mechanic gets everything else as he has been competent for the past 7 years.

    My basic complaint against most dealers is that they sell more cars then they can service competently.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,551
    And you've blown off four out of five of the Ford dealers in your area.


    And you allow them to do your warranty work and the really nasty or difficult jobs that your independent guy can't or won't do?

    I'm no defender of Ford dealerships, but somehow, it sounds like you may be pretty hard to satisfy?

    Or are they REALLY that bad?
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    The lady bought an Excaliber in Florida and drove it across the country to her home near here. At the time of comparing diagnostic machines our previous Towncar was taken to Bill Gill L/M in Tacoma. I took the very long printout to the selling L/M dealer in the small town & then the car was repaired correctly. Up until then, the small town Lincoln dealer was betting the odds on the consoles which probably were O K 95% of the time. Needed: new computer, not 6 BMAP's.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I'm not trying to be offensive, but as a service manager I could choose who I wanted for my customer base - when someone would walk in "loaded and ready to shoot" like I percieve you did after not being "satisfied" at other dealers, I think I would point out "Jones Ford" down the street. What is missing from these posts is the very true concept that 99% of technicians work hard, are well educated and honestly try to solve the customer's problems; 99% of all service managers are competent, well trained, have good people skills and "go to bat" frequently against the manufacturer (in favor of the customer) - for anyone to have a hard-core attitude against ALL service departments is ridiculous.

    In my job, I see poor service skills in every car line - ESPECIALLY the expensive ones - I think someone needs a nap and needs to quit throwing weight around - that is NOT how you get things done.
  • at a service manager who was not involved in the original problem. There is no excuse for rudeness. If a customer wants to toss weight, or anger, take it out where the problem occurred.

    That said, I'm not sure I agree with the 99% number. I might go with 90% or so of service managers who have the training and raw technical knowledge to perform competently and fairly. But that number drops to about 60% who have the knowledge and the judgement to know when to apply the "corporate party line", and when to fight for the customer. It drops to maybe 20% who, along with having the knowledge and the judgement, also have the people skills to communicate them effectively to the customer. What's scary is that many have the latter two, but not the first.

    I had the Service Manager of a major Ford dealership look right at me and say that the usage of 1 Qts. of oil every 950 miles is normal on a new car. That on an engine with Ford-recommended 7,500 mile oil change intervals. When pointed out that between recommended change intervals my engine would consumed 7 quarts of oil, he simply closed his mind and said "That's right." At that point, I went to a competitor to buy my next car, while Ford's objectivity returned.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    they way we all argue over statistics. Let me rephrase my post - "most" technicians and "most" service managers.

    As a former police officer, I can say that most police officers still believe in the principles that motivated them to become police officers. Some do not.

    Either way, back to the service issue - you as a consumer can choose the place you want your car serviced - just remember: the franchised dealer IS NOT *required* to perform work on your car and if you act like a butthead, they CAN and WILL make you leave. That said, if everyone involved acts like an adult, instead of acting like a spoiled child, throwing tempter tantrums, service work will be performed without a hitch. One of the main reasons I left my position as a service manager was because I was sick of bringing home stress caused by someone completely freaking out on me because he or she wasn't getting "their way". I've been called every name in the book because I wouldn't stretch the rules for you - you asked me to stretch the rules after you called me names and made fools out of both of us - then you want a favor?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    please, don't anyone be offended that my hackles are up. Service managers and service advisors get abused, that's obvious - I'd dare to say that half of the abuse is brought on by either ignorance or the inability to commincate on the part of the service representative. I've always trained my people to put all their cards on the table before work is done - the "surprise" a customer gets after finding out the shop won't or can't fix the car, can't duplicate the problem, can't fix the problem even if they can duplicate it or in the case of "customer pay" situation, the customer is overcharged.

    I'm proud to say I have never had a repair bill come in higher than the estimate. I can't say that I've solved every customer's problem.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    If you bring Krispy Kreme donuts to the guy working on your car, remember to bring lots of napkins. Don't want donut glaze on your nice upholstery, do you? ; )
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I want to clarify my position on the subject. No, not on the subject of Krispy Kreme donuts, but the subject of buying where you intend to get it serviced.

    When I say that I look at it as a package deal, I don't mean that I hope my buying at the dealership will lead to my getting better treatment at service time.

    What I meant is that I looked for a dealership where I felt comfortable both with the people who wanted to sell me a car and the people who were going to service that car.

    When I buy a car, I like to give the selling dealership first crack at performing maintenance on my car. If they don't treat me right, I take it to another dealership and I cross the first dealership off my list as a place to buy a new car.

    How the sales department treats you may get them the first sale, but how the service department treats you can cost them the repeat sale.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,551
    And I am the same way. I'm sure many a sale has been lost because of the attitude of the Service Department.
  • rbrenton88rbrenton88 Posts: 186
    ...when you buy a used car from a distant dealership, only because they had the right car at the time? I come close to passing Dealer A on my way to have service done at Dealer B some distance away. I would love to simply go to the nearest one, but all the service history is recorded at B. Would A mind doing warranty work in that situation, and can they access the same service history?
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Yep, service definitely costs the dealer lost sales. I would never buy a Ford agaoin as these have occurrred at three of four Ford dealers in my area where I have had work done
    . appnt made, car not even touched when I came to pick it up, no phone call either
    . transmission fluid overfilled
    . wrong part ordered
    . body shop left paint drips
    . service rep refused to check tranny fluid level when I claimed it was overfilled, "stated that it is not my job"
    . parts dept swore that a rebuilt part was not availalbe by manufacturer, fact is, they did make one.
    . here's the picture in my service manual , I say no, my car is different, he say sorry, this manual is right. I say come look at my car. He says, oh, manual is wrong!!!!

    So, no more Fords/Mercurys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • marts1marts1 Posts: 2
    The dealership where I bought 3 cars in the last
    3 years provides free loaners only for customers who purchased the car being serviced at the dealership.Works great for me.The dealer is 30 miles from where I live,but right on the way to work (another 55 miles).
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