better to buy where you intend to get it serviced?



  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I think the !!!!!!!!!!!!!! key is stuck on your keyboard!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    Hey I drive an SVT Contour these days too. Great performing car for the money.

    Sorry about your service troubles. As somebody in the sales dept. it is unbelievably frustrating to hear about losing a sale because of service problems. (And I'm sure the service guys feel the same way about sales :) )

    Anyway, just FYI, to become an SVT franchise costs the dealership an additional franchise fee plus they must meet both certain CSI standards and certain sales volumes to qualify. I'm pretty sure that if a certain number of SVT franchises exist in a given area that no more are awarded.
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    Check out, there is quite a following for the Contour over there.

    I probably won't step into a Ford store simply because they don't sell anything I want to buy. It's that simple. They cancelled my car which does horrific things to an already bad resale value. SVT is a joke, you look at the performance parts sold by FMS (or whatever it is called now) and you can't find a damn thing for the Contour.

    I would truly like to buy an American built car. But I want a European inspired sports sedan. They don't build them here anymore! The Focus doesn't cut it either. Only a 4cyl and the SVT focus will be a two door hatch.

    Combine that with my service experiences and you understand why Ford doesn't get a serious look when I consider cars.

    I'm a car guy, not an accountant. So it pains me to see yet another SUV (The Escape) being built in the plant that produced such a good car.

    I blame Ford because they marketed the Contour all wrong. Ford was trying to make the Taurus the number one selling sedan, so they would offer incentives that moved buyers away from the Contour. Then they wonder why sales are lackluster.

    I don't recall EVER seeing a Contour ad on television, an in any publications other than some early ads in car rags. Yet I couldn't Escape (pardon the pun) from the Explorer, Expedition, and Excursion ads.

    You can't say it wasn't because it was a bad car. Sure it suffered from limited back seat room, but in my case, there was plenty of room for the kids. If it was such a bad platform, why does the Mondeo thrive in Europe and the new "Baby" Jag use many of the features engineered for the Contour/Mystique/Mondeo line?

    Then came the cost cutting, (decontenting) Things like the clock, remote fuel release, lesser quality interior features, etc. I really liked the interior of my 96GL model much more than the 98 SVT I drive now. Of course the engine and brake on the SVT are much better. However, from a handling point of view the 95-97 SE models were the best performers on the skid pad. I have seriously considered retrofitting the springs and struts from the early model to my SVT.

    But the car business is overrun with bean counters and the car enthusiasts are typically out voted when it comes time to make decisions.

    Probably the same in almost every business. Yet BMW seems get by satisfying the enthusiast and the shareholder.

    Guess I'll just have to pony up for a 3er next time around.

  • audia8qaudia8q Member Posts: 3,138
    Our beloved Contour isnt totally's been reborn as a Jaguar.

  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    I know I've said this before, but it is worth repeating.

    We've heard from many that new car sales was a break even proposition at best, and when examined by itself is usually a money losing proposition.

    If that is true, why would a dealer refuse to do service on a same brand car sold somewhere else? If there really is no profit in the sale of new cars then why should service care where the car was sold?

    Now I do agree that the customer who has all of his service performed at a dealer will get preferential treatment in case something such as an After Warranty Adjustment is needed.

    Heck, I would think a dealer would gladly allow another dealer to lose the money on the new car sale and gladly service that car sold elsewhere.

    Wouldn't this be the best of all worlds for new car dealers?

  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    I agree totally about Ford blowing the marketing of the Contour. For it's time it was a pretty sophisticated little sedan. I'm curious as to where you saw skidpad results that show the old SE to be better than an SVT.

    The only reason I can think of for turning down service business is if the service dept. is already fully utilized. I've never seen that, but I guess if getting an appointment means an original customer gets bumped then I guess it would make sense.
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    I've seen them on the autocross. At our contour event last April SE were spanking the SVTs in the course time.

    I do know the spring rates are stiffer in the 95-97 SE's and many are lighter than the SVTs. The SVTs out of the box probably have better handling, but only due to the wheels and tires. But put the same tires on an older SE and look out.

    The numbers are at, FWIW.

    Oh, for topic related information, I wonder if my local Ford store will put the older springs and struts on my SVT???

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I made the original post about a dealer I know turning away customers that had purchased elsewhere.

    This was only for warranty work. You'd better believe, that especially in hot, humid, South Texas, when a guy rolled up in his 4 year old Chevy truck with a dead a/c compressor, they'd treat him like gold!

    My dealer friend's point was, why should we lose the sale for $50, only to get a whiner with laundry list of imaginary warranty complaints that will tie up the technicians, keeping them from doing the a/c compressor jobs on older Chevy trucks? The person that would haul butt to Houston and spend all day to save $10-50 is the same person that will never the service department a moments rest, then bad-mouth the dealer, all its people and would never spend money at a dealer for an a/c job anyway!
  • hiwaysanityhiwaysanity Member Posts: 216
    Because the GM warranty says that you can.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    but a dealership that is a private franchise can do what they want - regardless of whether you and I agree.

    The warranty says you can take your Chevy to any Chevy dealer and that's true - but if the dealer doesn't want to work on you car, or as in most cases, someone goes ballistic in the service drive and is asked to leave - Chevy can't make the dealer work on your car.
  • hiwaysanityhiwaysanity Member Posts: 216
    If a customer became all legalistic on them ("My warranty says . . ."), and they reluctantly agreed to do the work, I'm not sure I would want them to work on it under duress. He'd get minimal service at best.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    the vehicle regardless of who is paying, he is presented with another opportunity to serve a new customer. In this economy the dealers appreciate every chance they get to add to their customer list. When a person enters the store, they are 50
    % sold.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    "when the non-selling dealer gets a chance to work on the vehicle regardless of who is paying, he is presented with another opportunity to serve a new customer. In this economy the dealers appreciate every chance they get to add to their customer list"

    You must know there are two distinct types of service customers -

    (1) the one that has all their maintenance done at the dealer, along with any needed warranty repairs, and that sticks with the dealer after the warranty is gone and has the dealer work on the car at 80,000 miles.

    Dealers certainly can not get enough of those folks since they comprise only about 2% of a dealers service customer base.

    (2) The person who does not allow the dealer to do any form of non-warranty work like maintenance, bought the car 6 towns over at ABC Motors because it was $5.50 cheaper and comes in weekly with a list of warranty repairs three pages long, and is ready to "tear up" the dealer when the CSI questionaire comes out.

    The dealer has plenty of those, doesn't need any more.

    If I had a dealership, I may not be as aggressive as my acquantence in Texas, but I would surely evaluate each customer to determine the threat they pose to my service CSI rating - that very rating that determines my future vehicle allocations - that's just good business in a small town.
  • rangerron7rangerron7 Member Posts: 317
    Why do you think that dealers can not get enough of the people that you describe in your first scenario? ("...only about 2% of a dealer's service customer base.")
    My theory is that people are fed up with the dealer service department experience. What I mean is taking your vehicle back 3 to 4 times to get a problem fixed and techs who do not truly diagnose but throw parts at a problem hoping that one of them will work.
    I have had bad service experiences with VW, Chevy and Oldsmobile. The only good experience I've had is with Saturn.
    My Dad's attitude regarding servicing cars when I was a kid was, "Gotta take it to the dealer to make sure it's fixed right". And back then he was right. For my first 3 or 4 cars, that's what I did. Its' just my opinion but I don't feel this is the case any longer.
    Things have really changed since then.
  • hiwaysanityhiwaysanity Member Posts: 216
    scenario #2 is the most common. Few people I know take their car to the dealer after the warranty expires. The "checkup" every 15,000 miles, or whatever the maintenance schedule calls for, costs $150-$300! The same work, such as checking belts, replacing filters, etc., can usually be done by an indie for less than half as much.

    I take my cars to the dealer for all warranty work, and any free scheduled services, and to my indie for other work, with whom I've established a relationship over the years. If I took my car back to the dealer for warranty work, and they refused me because I didn't buy it there, I think I would be somewhat upset. Especially now, when there are so many less dealers around. There are 3 VW dealers within 25 miles of my house (5, 15 and 20 miles away), and I live in the Boston metro area!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    In my present field, I'm amazed at the trouble owners get from the lack of concern and the "could not duplicate", "no problem found" answers to their complaints. No actual diagnostic time, just a pass-off. After 4 visits and some screaming and hollering, the owner finally gets a real technician instead of the oil-change monkey to look at their car. Then it's amazing - the car is repaired!
  • eharri3eharri3 Member Posts: 645
    Most people who avoid doing preventative maintenance at a dealer usually perceive, quite correctly, that they are likely to be overcharged for a bunch of glorified checkups and inspections that are really just profit builders. Though I regularly do maintenance at my dealer I've gotten a bit smarter about it and usually tell them what to do and what to leave out. I've looked through my owners manual... some of the items they charge a lot to do the maintenance on are not even supposed to require maintenance for the life of a modern car anymore. Maybe if it seemed like dealer service schedules included truly necessary maintenance items instead of lots of fluff, people wouldn't be so annoyed with it.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    you're absolutely correct. Anyone can be ripped off at a dealer just like at Jiffy-Lube or a private shop. Most people are too lazy to read the service recommendations, then go to the dealer and freak out because someone wants to sell them something, and they end up not taking care of their vehicle because all they do is change the oil and put gas in. They then blame the dealer for "ridiculous add-on fluff" when it was the owner's lack of knowledge that caused the lack of preventive maintenance.

    The best answer is, no matter where you go, read your owner's manual for suggestions, compare that with your driving style and mileage, choose accordingly and tell the service department or shop what YOU want done.

    I've had people refuse the recommended installation of an air filter or fuel filter just for the sake of refusal. (I'll show him - I won't get it done!) It's your car, buddy, do what you want.

    Please don't neglect your vehicle just because a service guy had the nerve to try to sell you something!
  • eharri3eharri3 Member Posts: 645
    The service manual is of little help... mine is where I found those 300 dollar inspections and phony maintenance items. The ideal is for people to educate themselves about automotive basics using independent sources so that they are more educated consumers. Unfortunately, knowing what goes on under the hood of their car is pretty low on most people's priority lists.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    what I mean is to determine how little of the $300 15K service you actually need. You probably need a tire rotation, oil change and a fuel and air filter. But you don't need you muffler bearings greased or your turn signal fluid changed.
  • rangerron7rangerron7 Member Posts: 317
    Yeah, but what about inspecting and replacing the kanutzin valve?
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    But I like to do a lot of my own maintenance. I can tell if a CV boot is cracked, the condition of my hoses, change the oil and filter. Change the fuel filter. I do my own brakes because I usually upgrade to very high performance street brake systems that I've yet to find a repair shop offer, and I'll probably do my own springs and struts when I go to Eibachs and Konis in the spring. I'll have my shop do a four wheel alignment when I'm done.

    Heck, I can even ready my own OBD-II codes if that is necessary.

    If I could visit my local Ford store with a an expectation that 9 times out of 10 a service would be complete correctly in one visit, I might do so.

    However, I too have an excellent independent mechanic that does excellent work. You do need an appointment. But the work is always complete when promised. I'm not upsold services that are not necessary. They actually talked me out of some service I wanted done because they didn't feel it was necessary at that time.

    They tell you when something is recommended but optional.

    And did I mention that they have always gotten it right the first time.

    Contrast that with my local Ford store that in five visits for recall work, four of them required the job to be performed a second time to re-do or correct what they did the first time.

    And you think I want to spend any money with them? At least when I order parts from them, I get what I want.

    This family owns a good number of dealerships in St. Clair county, so it seems I'll need to locate other dealerships that offer good service.

    Anectodally(sp?) I hear the "certified" dealers really aren't that much better.

    I wish the manufacturers put the CSI information on their websites so when you choose a dealer you can look at the scores.

    And do those service surveys over the phone or on the web so don't have customers selling a good score for an oil change.


  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Actually the owner's manual is good as to when services are needed it is the DEALER's so called blue, pink yellow or whatever sheets that are for services not needed. They always say the service should be done sooner because "WE LIVE IN A SEVERE CLIMATE" and we recommend that the oil etc be changed every 3000 even though the manual says 5000.

    Every dealer issued maintenance sheet I have seen has said you need this because of where you live. Is there anywhere in the country that can live with the manufacturer's schedule? According to dealer's probably not. Go by the owner's manual only, never use the dealer's schedule, you are wasting money. Your warranty is based on the owner's manual not the dealer's recommendations.
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    Just started reading and your first post hit me. If it doesnt have our badge dont let it in. First off i wont wear a dealership badge. Second of all i am supposed to drive 3 hrs to get my truck serviced from where i purchased it? Thats ludicris. The chevy dealership in town is great. I should say service dept their sales dept sucks #%#*&@#$. Thats why i didnt buy there. I have never been rejected and i am treated great.

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    There's a difference between "service" work as in maintenance and "hypocondriac warranty whiner" work. I wasn't on my soapbox on either side, or defending the dealer, but I did understand and respect his point of view as a private businessman that sells a product manufactured by someone else, who still has his own business-survival interests to consider. The dealer in Houston doesn't want the warranty or service work - they're fine with making gillions from prostituting the Chevrolet product and cutting the legs out from under other dealers.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    saw the new T Bird with a $10,000 additional dealer profit sticker on it! In addition the buyer agrees to leave it on the showroom floor for 90 days or until another T Bird arrives. I know how I feel after seeing that, but how do you all feel about this practice???
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Based on what they are doing at wholesale auctions..

    That's actually a deal.

  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    Which practice are you concerned about? A dealer charging what the market will bear or not being able to take delivery for 90 days?
  • cfg1cfg1 Member Posts: 85
    The thing that bothers me about it is why didn't Ford raise the invoice price and keep the additional 10K in profit for themselves?
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Then everyone would complain that FoMoCo was price gouging I'd imagine...

  • cfg1cfg1 Member Posts: 85
    Then raise the price 15K, offer a 5K rebate and appear generous.
  • hiwaysanityhiwaysanity Member Posts: 216
    Because the car is not worth the extra $10k. The demand right now is being driven by the desire to have the first, the rerest, the unique. It's not being driven by the merits of the car.

    Just like the beetle, and the PT cruiser. Prices will come down, and those who paid the invoice+$10k will have to face the same market as those who wait. Hope their satisfaction at having an early build compensates for their loss!
  • cfg1cfg1 Member Posts: 85
    But Ford knows this, why can't they raise the price now and lower it later once the demand tapers off?
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    Who would be willing to make three payments on a new car w/o possessing it. In three months the bloom will be off the rose and the 10k hit won't be applicable. If a buyer is willing to fork over the 10k now, he should get the car now.
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    I agree 100%. It sounds like a dumb condition to put on the sale.
  • timadamstimadams Member Posts: 294
    I think it would look terrible to have a high MSRP and then lower it by a significant amount months later. The initial buyers would be screaming bloody murder, saying Ford cheated them. And people would have no confidence in pricing if MSRP's went down like that.

    Now, they know they are paying $10k over sticker and can't complain when the car is selling at or below MSRP in 6 months.

    Yeah, the dealer gets the extra money instead of Ford, but they don't create a bunch of irate customers. (Or maybe the dealers have to send some of the extra dough back to Ford? Maybe that's in the fine print.) Anybody willing to pay that much over sticker knows they are paying a premium and will bear the risk of the price going down.

    The 90-day delivery is a joke, though. I don't think you would actually pay on it for 90 days when you didn't have possession, though. I think the sale won't actually happen until possession begins.
  • cfg1cfg1 Member Posts: 85
    Why would the initial buyers rather be 'cheated' by the dealers than by Ford?

    You could itemize it right on the invoice -

    Early Bird Surcharge - $10,000.
  • mdx4funmdx4fun Member Posts: 11
    I just bought a BMW X5 3.0i. Dealer only offered loaner to the people that purchase there and you also got 15% of on parts and accessories.

    I know sometime it is hard to find a great sales department and service department all in the same dealership. We just need to press our luck. =)
  • timadamstimadams Member Posts: 294
    The early-bird buyers know they are not being cheated, they are voluntarily paying over MSRP. They realize they are paying an "early bird premium" to be the first on the block to have a T-bird.

    But contrast that to paying an identical MSRP price that then drops by $10,000 6 months later. The buyer paid the same amount, but I think he would then rightly feel cheated by Ford.

    Anyway, why would you rather send your EB premium to Ford in Detroit than to your local home-town dealer? I would certainly expect EXCEPTIONAL service if I paid $10,000 over MSRP - free pick up and delivery for service, free detailing, free loaner, etc.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    You will "INDEED" need a great service department.
  • cfg1cfg1 Member Posts: 85
    I can buy stock in Ford, my home-town dealer isn't going to invite me over for dinner.

    You expect great service, but instead this dealer wants you to wait 90 days for your car. That free loaner is going to come in handy right away.
  • timadamstimadams Member Posts: 294
    If you pay $10k over sticker, he better invite you over for dinner, buy you a case of Omaha steaks and pay for a massage down at the local spa.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    As far as going to a dealer vs. an independent mechanic for service:

    Over a good many years, I've gone to a number of recommended independents for work on cars that I did not buy new. I've had mixed results, some very good. Most recently, though, a very highly-regarded shop who had for years done things right for a good friend (and, briefly, for me) all of a sudden had a problem with my Accord's driver's side window. They replaced the regulator (visit #1), then the glass(!) (#2), then did some lubing (#3) and told me the stripping might have to be replaced (which I figure would have been the better first choice). They cut me a little slack on the price, but I was disappointed in the shop; still, I did not want to express my displeasure, and have to go looking for a new shop for future work. Soon thereafter, partly as a result, I bought a brand-new vehicle, and will leave it to the dealer to do any work for at least the warranty period.

    Also, I don't think independent shops are going to be very well-versed in the current iteration of Toyota's variable valve timing or permanent all-wheel drive. I don't want them poking around and trying to learn about these things on my vehicle. Plus, the dealership's service department has treated me right, and act like they want my repeat business. So they'll get it, even though it means driving further to go there.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    General maintenance does not include variable speed timing or AWD etc., it usually means oil, filters, hoses, coolant, water pumps, plugs etc. The heavy manufacturer specific repairs like trannies, internal engine parts, CEL, electronics etc. are probably best left to a dealer assuming they have sent their techs to Toyota training and have the diagnostic equip. as well
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    armtdm: It makes sense to me to take all my work, routine or otherwise, to the same shop. I think it results in better treatment and a willingness on their part to go a little farther on my behalf if the situation arises. Also, it is a benefit to me if there are ever any warranty issues.

    After the warranty expires, I'll continue to give the dealer my service work until they give me a good reason to stop taking it to them. If they continue to treat me right, I'll repay them with loyalty.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    I have no problem with your philosophy, my history has been that the service reps turn over so quickly at dealers that if you find an independent mechanic that has been around a few years there is a good chance it will continue whereas dealers these days are sold, and the employee retention is terrible. If you find one that is good then stay with them. I also don't like all the paper work involved in any dealer service dept. Write it down wait for the print out, wait to sign the print out and wait for the rep to pick up the phone to see if the car is ready and, today, leave a voice mail. Independents are so much easier to work with. And, I can purchase OEM parts wholesale and my independent will put them in for me. Even if service bays are empty dealers refuse to price elective services (timing belts, routine stuff) by other then the book standard. I don't mind them making their profit (60-80% markup on parts) but if the bays are empty they should be able to negotiate elective maintenance
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    armtdm: The successful independent shops have problems too, though. One mechanic within walking distance of my house has a good reputation, so much so that his business has increased and he has people working for him that are not as good, and there is turnover there too. Yeah, I expect the main man will make good on faulty repairs, but why should I have to go back twice? The last time I visited him, his son gave me back my vehicle and said the a/c was now fixed and blowing out at 45 degrees. I guess he meant only when the ambient temp was 45 degrees. I only had the one vehicle, and could not afford to keep it off the road, so I gave up on that shop and did without a/c.

    And they are swamped with work in a too-small space (the cost of their success), which can be a problem when you expect your vehicle back on time.

    If a dealer's shop is well-run, I think there tends to be less turnover in help. The good mechanics for that make probably gravitate toward the best-run shop in the area. (Theory, admittedly.) And guys that see one make all day every day are going to be able to make an accurate diagnosis more quickly.

    As to cost, when you buy a make with a low frequency-of-repair history, the cost differential between dealer and independent is minimized. You'd pay a significant premium if you drove a Porsche, sure.

    And I like the idea of spending my money as close to home as possible, but, again, I have no faith that the local guys keep up with new technology as well as the factory-trained guys.
  • rangerron7rangerron7 Member Posts: 317
    I have to totally disagree with you. I find dealer mechanics unable to properly diagnose problems. Example: I owned a 95 Blazer (under warranty) that took 8 trips to the dealer for them to properly diagnose and fix a cracked ball joint. Now I don't consider a cracked ball joint as a particularly "esoteric" problem to diagnose. (Thank God it wasn't an electrical system problem.) My experience with the dealer techs is that they just throw parts at a problem and hope one of them works
    I have had bad experiences with dealer techs at VW, Chevy and Olds over the past 20 years. On the other hand, the Indie that I have been going to for the past 12 years has had the same 3 guys working for him since the beginning. He's in business for 21 years now.I get my vehicle when promised and I don't have to make an appointment two weeks in advance. My money is on a good independent guy. It's important to a small businessman to do good work, otherwise they aren't going to last very long in a market that offers competition from dealers and other independents. Just my $.02.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    the first three visits are usuless because the oil change monkey checks your car and the 20-yr experienced master tech is doing a bigger job. The oil change monkey writes "could not duplicate" and you are sent on your way. In my line of work, I see it everyday - I wonder how many lemon law and breach of warranty suits would not have happened if a real mechanic checked out the car the first time in, instead of the fourth time in.
  • rangerron7rangerron7 Member Posts: 317
    Instead of having the "oil change monkey" write "Could not duplicate", have the senior tech take a second look. It doesn't because the tech guys are generally paid on a book rate so... "get em in, and get em out".
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