better to buy where you intend to get it serviced?



  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    zueslewis: "oil change monkey"?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    a while, I'll take the liberty to use the "monkey" term when referring to the 19 yr old, Jiffy Lube-certified, $6.00 an hour oil change kid that sometimes runs interference for the senior technicians - the monkey pretends to be an apprentice, and for a few reasons, it's a great deal for the senior tech. He doesn't have to mess with the small stuff; he can check out the big jobs and do customer-pay service work (it's called "gravy"); when the monkey finds something really serious, he'll call the senior guy over. That's why your car is in 4 times before it's fixed.

    I don't like the concept, but it keeps the lemon law attorneys in business and pays my wages, so in that sense, I hope the trend continues.
  • eharri3eharri3 Member Posts: 645
    They plug those machines in, look for a code, and if they dont see one they're stumped. Rangerron, could it be your independent mechanic is one of the last few survivors from the old school that can actually trace a problem to its source using his own mind instead of a computer?
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    zueslewis: "That's why your car is in 4 times before it's fixed."

    You've got it backwards. My car was in the independent's shop 4 times for the same problem, not the dealer's shop. Maybe it is just luck, but all my dealer service over the years has been pretty good, except one time, while I was travelling far from home. And a lot of my independents' service has been good, too, but their batting average is not as good as the dealers'.

    It is pretty obvious that our experiences are different. And your employer lawyers go after the dealers (sometimes warranted, I'm sure), so you would you have a different mind-set than I do.

    And about those senior techs, the ones you didn't use a disparaging name for, don't you think some of them started out as "oil change monkeys", as you feel you have the liberty to call the low-wage guys? And if my vehicle is only in the dealer's shop for an oil change, I don't need to take up the senior tech's time. It's just smart business, and I'm okay with that, as long as the dealer stands behind the work.

    I believe you and I are never going to see this issue the same way. And that's fine.
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    I don't really buy the argument that because a tech is Junior the job doesn't get done right is an ok way to do business.

    It simply reflects poorly on the Service Manager who does not have checks in place to ensure techs of all levels do the job right.

    Even a good senior tech can have a bad day. Who is checking up on this work.

    When it is small independent shop with the owners name on it, in many cases, this guy wants to protect his name. (Not always, but generally speaking yes.)

    I don't care if it is a Jr Tech or a Sr Tech, I just want the job done right, and that is the Service Managers job. It shouldn't take more than two visits in 99% of cases to do the job right.

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    of all the technicians I know started out as oil change monkeys - most went to a school, like Lincoln Tech, then became an apprentice, etc.

    Unfortunately, some dealers have more monkeys than techncians.
  • rangerron7rangerron7 Member Posts: 317
    Eharri: I think the key is that the guy has been in business for 23 years and every one of his employees has been there at least 10. Sure, he's got all of the computers but him and his employees are routinely going to training seminars.
    Tboner: I couldn't agree with you more. I have no problem with a junior tech working on my vehicle for routine repairs but, if he can't find the problem, it is TOTALLY unacceptable to pull the "Could Not Duplicate" and move on to the next job. I fault the service manager, service writer and senior tech for allowing that. Like I've said before, it has happened to me at Chevy, Olds and VW.
    In a post a while back, I wrote that my Father used to say, "If you want it fixed right, take it to the dealer". This was the case 20 to 30 years ago. Like I've said before, things have really changed since then.
  • eharri3eharri3 Member Posts: 645
    I think maybe you misunderstood my post. I wasnt trying to imply that your guy depends on the computers. Because he's been around for so long and has so much experience and training, he can actually use his own brain to diagnose problems rather than relying on the machine.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    enabling them to buy and amortize the high end diagnostic computers not usually found in the rural dealers shop. Rural dealers rely more on the console computer and play the odds. The more sophisticated the computer, the better the diagnosis.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I agree, but my point is that the effort isn't being made initially to perform ANY kind of educated diagnosis - its keeping me in business, though.
  • rangerron7rangerron7 Member Posts: 317
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    In my discussions with service personnel in my store and in others what has been happening is that manufacturers have been cutting back and sometimes eliminating paying dealers for the diagnostic portion of a warranty job.

    In that case, it's understandable that a dealer would not want to pay a top tech for 3 hours of diagnosis to repair a $100 warranty problem.

    It's not good for the consumer but that's why it happens.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    has diag time, called 00 time, where you modify ANY labor op code to pay for diag - I don't buy the concept that we can't pay a tech for diag.

    Every other manufacturer allows diag time on areas where diag is necessary. ie, if you're diagnosing a broken engine mount, its either broken or not - no diag time.

    A check engine light and the car runs rough - every mfr has diag time.

    I don't buy the "they don't pay us" line.
  • eharri3eharri3 Member Posts: 645
    'The more sophisticated the computer, the better the diagnosis.'

    Computers are meant to help us think, not think for us. No matter how good the computer, you still need an experienced tech who can figure things out for himself without an electronic brain.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    A tech (at an independent shop, by the way) once diagnosed my loud buzz/no start condition (intermittent) as a bad alternator because his diagnostic computer showed it as operating at less than 100%. So he put in the new alternator, I paid him, and I drove home. Later that day I went out and tried to start the car ~BUZZ~ /no start. I was mad, yanked open the hood, and saw the hot lead from the battery was shorting out against the exhaust manifold. A little electrical tape and I fixed it in 5 minutes.

    The kicker was, when I had previously told the tech how impressive his diagnostic computer was (this was in 1972), he told me, in his recently- mustered-out-of-the-military vocal style (this was near Fort Dix), "A computer is only as good as the man using it." He was right about that much, at least.

    I figured he would not appreciate the irony, so I didn't go back to his shop. Ever.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    is not going to get a pipe organ sound out of an accordian. Thus the sophisticated diagnostic machine is preferred over the console - given the same techi.
  • hiwaysanityhiwaysanity Member Posts: 216
    some conditions cannot be diagnosed by a technician, no matter how talented and experienced, without a diagnostic computer. It takes both.
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Member Posts: 21
    Does anyone have some insight or experience regarding the benefits of buying a car from the dealership where it will be serviced or (conversely) buying a car from a dealership other than where it will be serviced?

    The reason I am asking is because the local Subaru dealer in San Antonio isn't offering the best deal on the vehicle I want (a 2004 WRX wagon). Two dealerships in Austin have better over all pricing and better perks/ incentives. I may end up buying from one of them but I am concerned about any possible ramifications or repercussions with my local dealer at service time. (e.g. fudging on the scope or price of repairs)

    I'm not worried about the local *Subaru* dealer... I would be concerned about any dealer in a similar situation.

    Thanks for your input!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    dealing only with their customers, for real reasons (and they have a right to be) and not-so real reasons (pride, being one).

    I'd ask the service guy at the dealer you plan to use for service.

    Why not just drop the Austin dealer's numbers at the SA dealer and make your deal?

    PS - spent a lot of time in SA (former AF) and my best friend lives there. I'm from TX, moving back next year maybe (to SA).
  • rivertownrivertown Member Posts: 928
    I've had good service from dealers other than where I bought. I think it's more about the integrity of the shop than about where you buy. If the San Antonio guy's gonna rip you off because you didn't buy there, he's also gonna rip you off because you did buy there; LOL, he's gonna rip you off if you take the car into the shop.
    Know other Subie owners who use the dealer and can tell you what they think?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
  • rivertownrivertown Member Posts: 928
    LOL! Sorry, Zues. We were typing at the same time. (I type slow.)
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    couldn't service (warranty) a vehicle they hadn't sold. Most manufacturers audit service records for fraud and in the old days, crooked service managers would take VINs off cars in the mall parking lot and run claims against them. That's the first place auditors look - VINs of vehicles not sold by that dealer.

    The other concept is one of business survival. A dealer friend of mine in Lake Jackson, TX refuses to let his service department work on vehicles that were bought at mega-dealers in Houston. He figures if you won't even give him a shot at the business and you go to Houston to save a couple hundred bucks, you can get your car fixed in Houston. And he has the right to refuse the service.
  • rivertownrivertown Member Posts: 928
    I bet that goes over well with the manufacturer.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    it's a franchisee's right to protect themselves.
  • rivertownrivertown Member Posts: 928
    Odd concept of self protection for a businessman - to turn away business and alienate a potential future customer. I guess it makes sense to a certain sort of mind, however.

    Brady, my experience has been the new dealer was happy to have a new service customer and was better about warranty work than the dealer from whom I bought.
    My thought is still to check with someone who uses the dealer you plan/hope to use for service and maybe even check with the service writer he/she uses.
    I guess it is possible that a dealer might turn away business, as nonsensical as that sounds.
  • masspectormasspector Member Posts: 509
    Tell these auditors to get with the 20th century, much less the 21st.

    "That's the first place auditors look - VINs of vehicles not sold by that dealer."

    I cannot quote any stats on this and I do not know how it works in more rural areas, but I would think that in major metro areas lots of people buy from dealers that are not their closest dealer. Especially from the makes that have a lot of stores, like Ford, Chevy, Chrysler.

    As for your friend in Lake Jackson, I have to go with river on that one. If I bought my car in Houston (for whatever reason) then brought it in for service in Lake Jackson and the dealer refused me service because I did not buy there, guess where I will never be buying a car or getting service in the future? (I'll give you a hint, the answer is not Houston).

    I would love to see one of those conversations with the service writer. The manufacturer may not have any authority in that decision by the dealer, but there is a consumer expectation that their make can be serviced by any dealer of that make.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    the customer to the owner, who tells 'em how it is - you don't even want to give me a crack at business, but you want me to take a tech off of one of MY customer's jobs to handle yours? More warranty work? No thanks - take it to Houston where you bought it.

    That's his attitude and his right - none of us are in a place to argue with him.

    Each technician does a certain amount of low-paying warranty work in exchange for some better-paying customer pay work. If the tech is swamped with warranty work, especially nitnoid dash rattle stuff, you'll have a tech who'll go somewhere else - major problem. You have to keep techs happy to keep them, and if turning away extra warranty work is what you have to do, then you do it.

    Bear in mind there's the issue of dealing with the type of person who would drive to Houston to save $50 - that's not the type of person you WANT in your service drive - overly picky, grinding for time and place in line, etc.

    massspector - 20th v're not telling the auditors anything. They make IRS folks look like wimps.
  • rivertownrivertown Member Posts: 928
    I know for a fact that's not the story at all dealers. I can't say it couldn't happen, though.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I was giving an example of ONE dealer I know personally. Many larger dealers don't care at all - this dealer only has 5-6 technicians, but gets a flood of requests from local buyers who bought in Houston.

    When you have 40 techs, and you're handling 200 jobs a day, 5-6 extra (non-dealership) customers a day make no real difference. With 5-6 techs, you're only handling 25-30 jobs a day - 5-6 extra customers make a huge difference.

    The San Antonio area is unique, too that there are 4 major Air Force bases and 2 Army bases in twon. Lots of military folks (military guys HAVE to have those new cars) with newer cars, coming in from all over the nation. Maybe the "you didn't buy it here" issue isn't an issue there.
  • rivertownrivertown Member Posts: 928
    Good thing there's hope for Brady!
  • thelthel Member Posts: 767
    Maybe it's pie in the sky and I'm no businessman but if the Lake Jackson dealer is swamped, why not hire more techs. The more cars he fixes, the more customers he exposes to his store, the more likely they will come back the next time they need a new ride.

    I personally have never needed warranty work, but I really like the service department at my local Honda dealer. I take my two Accords and even my 02 Miata there for oil changes, etc. If their service department were a bunch of jerks or they turned my away b/c I bought a Miata instead of an s2000, I would be far less likely to buy a car from them.
  • audia8qaudia8q Member Posts: 3,138
    How much of a savings are we talking about??? What is the service reputation of the dealer you intend to service your new car? What kind of grief do you have to go through to save some $$$ at the other dealers to buy the car?? How long do you plan on keeping your car?

    Please let us know these things to better answer your questions.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    they've got a nice facility, but only 6 (very modern) bays - the new hires wouldn't have a place to work.
  • thelthel Member Posts: 767
    that's too bad. If he had the ability to expand, does my idea sound reasonable? Like I said, I'm no businessman.
  • dglozmandglozman Member Posts: 178
    I bought my CR-V from not the closest dealer to me. Reason? They simply didn't have it in stock, and I would have to wait, as they said, 4 to 6 week (at least) if they order. So I called all Honda dealers in my area (New York city) and finally was able to locate my car at the dealership 40+ min. away from my house (in Queens) and I'm in Brooklyn. It's not very convenient to me to service my car at that dealership. usually even a simple oil change requires an appointment in advance and you have to leave there your car for a least 4+ Hrs. (again its New York city). so if I would go to that dealership basically I forced to wait there those 4+ hrs. until the service is done. The closest dealer is 10 min walking distance from my house, so I can do something else with my time then just sitting at the waiting area.
    So yes I'm servicing my car at the closest dealer and not the one I bought my car from. Am I treated good there? you bet! Should I consider myself inconsiderate? hell no!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    but not possible - he's been this way for 20 years, ever since Landmark Chevrolet (nation's #1 selling Chevy dealer) built their megastore on North Houston.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I was telling the story from ONE dealer's perspective.

    BTW - this discussion, from my perspective, has NOTHING to do with maintenance - I'm talking about warranty work.
  • thelthel Member Posts: 767
    I did the same thing when I got my Miata. The local dealers didn't have the one I wanted so I went out of town. Then again, one of the local dealers are a bunch of frickin' idiots so I get my maintainence work done at the Honda dealer.
  • pat84pat84 Member Posts: 817
    I bought a Honda Odyssey at a different dealer than I used for service. It wasn't about price, they all went at MSRP. It was about I could get one 2 months earlier at the dealer I bought at.
    I went to my closest Honda Dealer for service. All maintenance and 2-3 recalls. The washed my vehicle every time I had it in, even if just for an oil change. They always had it ready at the promised time an at the quoted price. I gave them top marks on everything they did.
      I traded in the Odyssey on a Toyota 4 Runner. I have had one oil change at the Toyota dealer where I bought it. It took 2 hours because they don't schedule oil changes. It's first come first serve. They didn't even put paper floor mats and plastic seat protectors in my new truck. Honda always did that. No wash either. I told them the Toyota service manager that I was not happy with my service and wanted a form to fill out. I said they slopped up the inside of my truck, and an oil change took 2 hours and I want the dealer to know I see some areas for improvement.
     He said they have no such service rating forms. I found out it was true. Honda had a bulletin board full of rating forms with all outstanding ratings. some were mine.
      I am going to see if the Honda dealer will do my service on my Toyota. It may make an interesting advertisement for Honda service. .
  • dglozmandglozman Member Posts: 178
    My CR-V was washed inside and outside as well. All the mats were protected too. and I got satisfactory form in the mail in 2 or 3 days. Gave them highest marks. And again I didn't buy my car there...
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    In my area there is not a service department that has so much business that they can afford to turn away business from people that didn't buy there. However, where it will make a difference is in the extraordinary circumstances that require the service manager to make a judgement call. For instance, Ford allows a dealer to only do so many dollars worth of after-warranty adjustments each month. So if your car has 61,000 km and needs warranty work, the first thing that they check is where the car was bought. If we sold it, then we will be happy to use our AWA budget to get it fixed. If you bought it elsewhere, then you may have to go elsewhere to try and get the warranty work done.
  • masspectormasspector Member Posts: 509
    After rereading some of these posts, I think some of the confusion may be coming from different definitions of "service". I think you are refering to warranty work that the customer does not pay for. I think others, myself included, are refering to all service work, including routine maint., etc that the customer does pay for.
  • peeetepeeete Member Posts: 136
    I think this thread is hugely important, as most people are concerned about their ability to get good service at dealers other than where they purchased.

    My overriding question is that I always understood that warranty work was very profiable, and in fact most dealers maker far more money in the repair bays than the selling floor. If this is true, I would think it would be in a dealers self-interest to accept as much warranty work as they can. Some edealers actually advertise that they will serivce your car even if you did not buy it there, so there must be profit in it.

    I can understand that a dealer will give priority in appointments to people who bought there, but there is no reason why other epople should be treated poorly. Obviously there could be many reaons why the car was not bought there; sometimes due to price/availability, and sometimes because they just moved 1000 miles. The buyer should not be penalized for this.

    Obviously manufactures have different policies that the dealers follow. For example, I own an Infiniti (never again), and they give loaners to anyone who is in warranty. I have a friend would bought a used Caddy Deville, and goes to another dealer for service and he loves them..loaner and all.

    Ive been thinking about buying a new Ford, and there is a dealer who is quite close to me, and another one 10 miles away. THe latter dealer has the car I want, and I will probalbe get a better price from them, as this particular car has sat on their lot since last Im hoping they will want to dump it. But since its a Ford, I know I will have to bring it in for service a lot (ive owned two fords already), so the closer dealer works for me. I am trying to figure out how to get the best servoce from them, even thinking of going to the owner (who I know), and seeing if can get me the car cheap (which I doubt). I may buy an ESP warranty maybe that will help!
  • audia8qaudia8q Member Posts: 3,138
    warranty work for the dealership is barely profitable...The profitable part of parts and service is customer pay service work.

  • abtsellerabtseller Member Posts: 291
    is usually a loser, in the end. The techs don't get paid as well on warranty work, either, so they're less motivated.

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    and depending on the manufacturer (DCC, for instance), it's a guaranteed loser.

    mass - you're right - I was never talking about oil changes and a vacuum - I'm talking about warranty work only.
  • peeetepeeete Member Posts: 136
    I am totally surprised that it is not a money maker. See, you learn something new every day! If its true, I would guess that dealerships of American cars would be less profitable, as the cars usually require more repairs than Toyota, Honda, etc.

    Some dealers, including carmax i believe, advertise that they will do work on any car. Why bother to promote it?
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    Remember, the topic of discussion is warranty work. There is plenty of work to do on a car that is not covered by a warranty.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    "working" on a car, anyone can do. Doing warranty work, and getting reimbursed by the manufacturer, only authorized dealers can do.

    Carmax doesn't do warranty work, except for their own in-house warranties.
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