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Why do you guys despise the dealership service?

acuraowneracuraowner Member Posts: 57
I must either really be loved by the service departments at my regular dealerships or I am just extremely naive.

Why is it that everyone says the dealerships charge so much and the service sucks?

I have seen otherwise. The prices on regular maintenance at the dealership beat those of the Jiffy Lubes and even things like brake work beats those of other non dealership garages.

I get my Toyotas oil changed at the dealership for alittle under $20 where if I went to Jiffy Lube or Texaco Xpress Lube it would be close to if not over $30.

Im going to get my Acura's brakes worked on at the dealership for $169, I shopped around for prices and the lowest I was quoted was $199.

See my train of thought is, the dealerships work on one brand all day long, every day. They are trained on that one line of vehicles. Whereas Jiffy Lube and other garages work on every single vehicle on the road.

What are your thoughts and do you visit the dealership or just a service chain.

Thanks for your input


  • acuraowneracuraowner Member Posts: 57
    The service I receive at the dealership is more on a personal level. They dont try to haggle you into getting a engine flush or engine treatment.

    The Toyota dealership I visit (Coggin Toyota of the Avenues in JAX FL) is probably one of the best places I have been to. This may sound funny but they just make me want to spend more money and I have. They dont seem to care that I am driving a old raggedy Toyota truck, they treat me with the same care that they do of someone driving a brand new Camry.
  • lmacmillmacmil Member Posts: 1,758
    My experience with dealers is that they are much higher than independants on normal maintenance things like brakes, transmission service, anti-freeze flush & fill, etc. They also push dubious things that aren't called for in the owner's manual like "fuel injector cleaning" and "throttle body service." OTOH, for engine work, I think the dealers are better equipped in both equipment and skill than your typical independant. So I don't despise them but I think it's cheaper to go elsewhere for most routine maintenance.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    On problems or maintenance where it is obvious that a dealer would be familar with it the dealer is the first choice, especially on a new model car where independents have not see it. Check engine light is a good example where dealers may be best.

    Here's why I go to independent for almost everything (I change own oil and filter and ail filters)
    Price is usually less then dealer, I can buy genuine OEM parts on line at wholesale and my independent puts them in for me at less cost.
    No hassle, I drop it off pick it up without major paperwork of signing my life away etc etc which adds 10-15 minutes to each drop off. Also, no line to check car in.
    Same mechanics at independent, Dealers service reps (and mechanics) are like whores, switch brands and dealers at a whim. Don't really know the car in many cases.

    Also agree that dealers are much more apt to push more maintenance (crap like "based upon our climate" you should change the oil efvery 3000 miles.) Every dealer in every state says that!

    Primarily the hassle though, lines, papers to sign, etc. etc. Just a pain!
  • jvirginiajvirginia Member Posts: 65
    I don't despise dealership service centers, they are as good or as bad as any other shop. But, they do tend to charge more for both service and parts. My local garage (less than 1 block from my house) runs a coupon special every 3 months. I get oil/filter/lube for $9.95. That even includes most any grade of oil you specify. But the normal price is $17.95, which isn't bad either.

    Remember, the dealer is using OEM parts when he performs work on your car. You pay for the name and a profit markup for the parts stock. When I changed spark plugs on a Ford Windstar, the Ford dealer wanted to charge $54 for the plugs. My local shop charged $24 for the same Ford (motorcraft) plugs. (These were the platinum, 100k mile plugs.)

    As far as getting a good trustworthy service center, you need to shop around. If you are happy with the service, feel you are getting honest diagnosis and work performed at a fair price, then you are a satisfied customer.

    I had a Ford dealer's service rep attempt to fraudulently convince me I needed over $1600 in repairs. After keeping my vehicle for over 8 hours before doing a diagnostic check for me, the mechanic actually loosened my radiator pressure return hose (that goes to the reservoir tank) and let it leak over the front of the engine. He also poured oil over the timing cover and then tried to convince me I had major oil and coolant leaks. He called me over to the car while it was on the lift. The oil and coolant were dripping so much, I couldn't even get under to see where it was coming from. The amazing thing is, the vehicle was never low on fluids and didn't require any abnormal topping off. I called the manager of the dealership over and had him and the service manager accompany me to the parking spot where the vehicle had been sitting for 8 hours (the service slip verified the time). There was not a drop of anything on the ground. I received free diagnostic and repair. (I had a faulty sensor that was causing the computer to mis-adjust the timing and illuminate the service engine lite). I never returned again.
  • emaisonemaison Member Posts: 60
    I too am a fan of independent mechanics. I must add though, that I would never go to a Jiffy Lube or Midas or other chain. I have been using a mechanic for the last 15 years that is a Honda specialist and AAA approved.

    My gripes with dealerships are that they sometimes diagnose problems and recommend services that either dont exist, can wait, or aren't needed. For instance:
    - Two years ago we got an oil change. The dealer said CV joints and boots were bad. This is possible on Honda as we had 60k on the car. I didnt hear any of the usual warning signs (i.e. the clicking) I took my car to my mechanic and he said, no the cv boots and joints are fine. I have gone to the dealer for subsequent oil changes and they have yet to bring it up again when diagnosing. 20k later, still no problems with cv boots and joints.
    - The dealer said we needed a new timing belt at 60k. 1995 Hondas get a new belt at 90k. (While I certainly realize this mileage is the 'recommended' amount, the car wasn't older than its mileage. Meaning if I had a 7 year old car with 40k, I would probably get the timing belt changed.)
    - The last oil change was at 80k. The dealer said we needed to fix a broken front engine mount, it was in bad need of a tune up, and a new timing belt. Well, Hondas get a 90k service. This service of course includes a tune up. Timing belt can wait. ( I am still researching the front engine mount but I believe it to be minor)
    - The 1995 went in for a recall. (Sorry cant remember the specifics). Basically when the dealer performed the recall they wanted to put in a new timing belt. I came to find out (from town hall) that if the Timing belt was replaced, the recall wasn't necessary. Basically, they wanted to make money on a recall that should have been free.

    I have used dealerships lately for oil changes, and here's why
    1. better hours. My mechanic is only open weekdays. Weekend oil changes are much more convenient.
    2. we just got a new car and we got 2 free years of oil changes.

    If I were to get any scheduled maintenance or 'big work' done, I would go to my mechanic. No question. The thing a like about my mechanic is that he is very upfront with me. He tells me what can wait, what needs to be done and what doesn't need to be done. No BS.
  • namfflownamfflow Member Posts: 202
    My experience is with Chrysler dealerships and they must have the worst dealer service network of them all. The only times I ever have a problem with a vehicle is after the dealer works on it. Trying to get them to do warranty work is like pulling teeth. I won't go into details here but I hate anytime my vehicles may have to go to the dealer. The only thing I try to go for is tranny fluid changes because with Chrysler trannies if you use the wrong fluid they don't work. This is why some people think Chrysler trannies are no good. Most you'll find had the wrong fluid put in but I digress from the topic.

    I know some will try to defend the dealer by saying the manufacturer isn't paying for or authorizing the work but that is not the customers' headache. That is the dealers for not negotiating contracts well. The customer should be seeing service as stated in the original post.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    I think it just depends on where you go. Some dealerships are excellent, some are terrible, and the rest fall somewhere in between. Same with independent shops. For simple things like changing my oil, rotating my tires, or changing an air filter, I just do it myself, because it's quicker and cheaper than taking the car either to the dealership or the independent shop.

    I remember last year, I took my '00 Intrepid to the dealership because the tranny was acting funny. Well, everyone knows about the bad rap Chrysler trannies have nowadays, so my first inclination was imminent failure. What it was doing was not going into gear when I first started up on occasion. The dealership couldn't find anything wrong with it, but wanted to get me in for their "30K" maintenance checkup. The car had about 25K on it, but the way I was driving it would've been there in about a month and a half. Anyway, this "checkup" involved changing the coolant, spark plugs, belts, hoses, filters, etc. It was something like $300+, and did not include a tranny service, which was the thing I was most concerned about. Also didn't include brakes, which I have a tendency to go through in record time.

    Well, it turns out with the tranny thing, that the car makes you wait a few seconds after starting it up before shifting into gear. I was just used to my old cars, where you fired it up, dropped it into gear, and it lunged ahead. I had my regular mechanic check the car out at 30,000 miles. He serviced the tranny, put on new tires I bought online, and did a general check-over.

    I didn't have to mess with the dealership until about 5,000 miles later. Had the car in for warranty work...a bad power lock actuator in the driver's door, and since it was wintertime and I didn't want to mess with it, had them change the oil, too. They got it done pretty quickly, but jacked me up on the oil change. $26.95. And to top it off, they spilled oil all over the place, so the car smelled pretty bad until it all burned off. They also used bulk oil. Now I don't know if that's as bad as it sounds, but to me it sounds like leftovers. As for putting the door back together, they did a few annoying things. I didn't notice it right away, but there's a few places where you can tell they pried parts off with a screw driver, and left some small gouge-marks in the plastic, and one or two minor trim pieces are missing.

    My uncle bought his '97 Silverado from the same dealership, and it had to go in for tranny repairs about a year ago. They had that truck for a good two weeks. The last time I had any serious tranny problems, I had to have a tranny rebuilt in a '79 Newport, and the local shop had it done in about a day. Okay, a Torqueflite 904 is a lot simpler than whatever 4-speed Hydramatic went into my uncle's truck, but still...two weeks?!

    So while my dealership hasn't proven to be horrible, I just trust my local mechanic more. For example, I just had my Intrepid back in for a 50,000 mile checkup. It had a coolant leak, coming from the thermostat housing. Well, when I went to pick up the car, he had the old part right there, so he could show me exactly where it was leaking. I would've trusted him even if he didn't show me the part, but he just likes his customers to see exactly what was wrong with the car. I'm sure there are plenty of dealerships out there that have excellent service's just that mine isn't one of them!
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    Let me state at first that I really like specialists. I have been fortunate to find specialty mechanics for both my Mazda, and Subaru. Nor do I mind paying the full flat rate for the job even if the specialists can do it in a shorter time. I found that the specialists can fix it right, and that they understand the quirks. That's what matters most.

    For a car under warranty I wouldn't consider anything other than a dealer. On Toyotas it would even include an oil change.

    Mechanics at dealers can be the best if they have appropriate experience. They can also be the worst. My biggest frustration is lack of experience. I had just found my Subaru repairman, but when the clutch went out I went with the dealer because they assured me they had more experience. I had them install the clutch and when I went home I heard this loud thump. we immediately stopped the car, walked home, and had it towed to the dealership. Apparently they had forgotten to put in 2 bolts. No problem since luckly, but certainly the quality control should have been there.

    I don't like having to pay for others mistakes. And dealer's always charge. My son had a loud noise. The mechanic thought it was the power steering. It was replaced twice still with the same sound. It was really the air conditioner compressor. The independent mechanic ate the cost of the power steering pump and just charged for the air conditioning compressor. A dealer, based on past experience, would have charged for both.
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    True, they do vary between dealerships. In general, I like the personal service at the dealership as I've continuously owned Acuras since its inception in 1986. Their estimates have been accurate with no surprises at pick-up. They call for approval if there are additional "needs" beyond the original estimate. And, they wash customer cars.

    However, I've noticed one disturbing trend in the service office. Service writers are now "graded" on the average value of their write-ups. Not just the $$$ amount per "sale," but how much they can "up" the service/repair order with additional services like "power flushes" for engine oil, transmission oil, and coolant. Makes some sense when a car comes in way overdue for maintenance, but I hardly think it's necessary for those who have oil changes every 3000-4000 miles. Seems to be the same kind of pressure sales reps go through.

    And yes, it seems that every region claims that their driving conditions qualify as "severe" and necessitating more frequent service.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Was the sign in the service waiting area that recommended tranny fluid and filter EVERY 15K MILES regardless of driving conditions. I just laughed my b off on that one. On my truck, severe service is still something like 30K. And the price is steep on that service, like $89 plus parts.
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    Have to go to a honda dealer for some warranty work and to change the timing belt. Called around for pricing on timing belt and the range was huge-from $400 to well over 650. I will hand them a typed list of what I want replaced and also tell them not to remove one bolt or nut that is not part of the process and I want all the belts they remove. I also do a very close inspection of the CV joint boots and tell them I have looked at these boots and that none of them have holes in them-this is a favorite scam-cutting the CV boot.

    Yeah there are good dealers and there are crooks-am almost looking forward to seeing if the dealer I have chosen is a crook. I love a good fight.
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,211
    We have a Chevy dealer in town that is so bad, I have come to despise the very brand name. Overfilled crankcase; refusal to repair warranty tranny prior to 30 day wait-- with NO loaner car under any circumstance (this leaving me on foot, so to speak), kept car 5 days for warranty body work, lied that it was underway, then decided to refuse to even start... and GM lets these maggots stay in business.
    Would any of this qualify under the title of this thread? BwaHaaaaaaaaaaaaw! >:^<
  • rayfbairdrayfbaird Member Posts: 183
    Sometimes it's a fine line.

    Generally, I see no reason to be less than the severe service. The big exception is if their known weaknesses, like transmissions, or sludging.

    Changing Power steering, brake fluid, every 30,000 miles, and changing engine coolant yearly has stopped burned out engines, steering problems, and bad brakes for me.

    But many things are known by specialist mechanics, like changing seals and water pumps at the same time as a timing belt to avoid duplicate labor costs. If these recommendations are not followed, then extra money has to be spent for duplicate labor.

    Other things like CV boots probably need a second opinion.

    Tough call at times. That's why I prefer independent mechanics who have had dealership experience.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Power steering and brake fluid yearly , wow. New coolants good for 5 years 100,000 miles and I can see doing service early but on newer cars coolant every 30,000 miles is overkill. Maybe on a 1998 or earlier car but even then questionable. But, if you have the time, money and want completely trouble free running then to each his own
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Not all new cars have long life coolant. GM, Chrysler (only very recently), and VW are the only manufacturers that I can think of that use long life coolant. Intervals vary widely. Some recommend every 48,000 miles, some 45,000 then every 30,000, and some are still every 30,000 miles.

    How about this for dealership service: I brought my brand new Mazda to get a rattle fixed and a loose seat fixed. While fixing the seat, they broke a piece of plastic on it and SUPERGLUED it back together, discolering the highly visable piece in the process. The rattle has also came back a week after being serviced.
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372

    If they have any class, they should have replaced it with a new one ..... FREE. Have they even acknowledged their liability?
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Yeah, they did. But it should have never happened in the first place and I shouldn't have had to take it back there. I don't even know how someone could do that and pass it off as dealership quality (oxymoron?) work. This on a BRAND NEW car with 9000 miles. I can just imagine how it happened: "Oh poop, I broke this piece, duh, I think I'll just superglue it because he'll be here at 1:00 to pick it up, he'll never notice"
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    It depends. My saturn dealer had great service, and my BMW dealer seems quite good too.

    Our saab dealer? Poking them with a sharp stick is too kind.

  • pronigierpronigier Member Posts: 19
    The first couple times I had oil changes for my Camry it was overfilled. Now I wonder if they even did the oil change because the car smokes on start up and it only has 65000 miles. With lots of people changing oil at 3000 miles this seems like it would be scam to just skip a couple. I service busses on my part time job the people who check and add fluid aren't the smartest. Somes days it is skipped. Some days they add an extra quart so they don't have to check it the next day.

    Dealers have to pay for that big building and all those service writers standing around.

    I have been ripped offf more by the dealer than any of the independants.

    What really annoys me is overfills and various hoses and clamps left disconnected. If they can't do the simple stuff you know not to go there for anything important.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Especially on the ATF as the dealer's mechanics simply do not wish to take the time to drive the car 10 miles as required to heat it up and check it. I have had this overfilled so many times (they should measure how much is drained out but again, too much time) that I now do it myself. The service reps should do this as after the AM rush of writing orders for the day they sit and do nothing. However, I tried to get them to do it at a Mercury dealer, his response was, "THAT IS NOT MY JOB" Haven't been back there since.

    Service reps are useless and worst then whores, they switch dealers, brands etc at the drop of a buck, whores at least require much more money
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    I have found the shop foreman and the service writer at my chevy dealership are very good people.

    I have the foreman check out my problem before a tech touches it. Last time i had it in for a squeaky brake. 2000 silverado with 17K miles. Tech was driving through the shop about 30 mph. I said it only happens around 20 and less mph. He was leaving to park my truck and write could not be duplicated when the foreman heard the squeak. Had him bring it back in turn the rotors and replace the pads. He doesnt BS me either. He knows i am up on the info. I do all of the maintenance (fluids, filters) myself. Dads a mechanic and this is my first vehicle so i am learning. Already have done 6 oil changes and i am a pro at it now. I only take it in for warranty or computer work

  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    oh yea i used to have the dealer lube the chassis every 5K cause i was to lazy. Well this past summer i had em do it. They added air in my tires. I was coming home from work that afternoon and noticed my truck pulling hard left. Checked my tire pressure and i had 82 PSI in my rear tire. Max psi for my tires is 65 i run 52.

    Oh i was $^%#&*#. Went back and guy denied putting air in my tires. I was 25-50 ft away watching. Now i lube it myself. I get a little greasy but i dont care i know its done correct (oh yea he missed 3 of the grease fittings they werent greased for 18K miles but they had enough in them)

  • nematodenematode Member Posts: 448
    Lets look at oil changes.....

    I have all most of my oil changes done at Jiffy Lube. I have been going there for about 10 years now in PA, NJ, and MO. Every time I go to a car dealer for a simple oil change.....there is always some other problem they seem to cause. I still have not given up on car dealers but I dont think there are many good ones out there.

    My experience/reasons are as follows:
    1) Never had a problem with Jiffy Lube. There are tons of coupons, AAA discount, early bird specials, and free Krispy Kreme doughnut coupons. It costs about $20 for regular and $50 for full synthetic. I just stand out there when its my cars turn and watch them to make sure they dont do something really obvious. The only thing I let them change is the oil/filter. They dont touch my tires, other filters, coolant, or anything else. The problem with these places that they try and sell you a bunch of crap you dont need and fiddle with your car. However, I'm very good at using the words "NO THANKS" and "DONT TOUCH IT" so it does not apply to me. They tried to fiddle with air filter once and I had to step in and tell them not to touch it but other than that I have not really had any problems.
    2) Had lots of problems with dealers. You can pretty much bet that its not the ASE certified master mechanics doing your oil change or even checking it after. My sister is convinced that they put the best mechanic in the shop on her oil change......ya, I'm sure thats how it works. I could detail all my problems with dealer oil changes here but that would get rather long. The main problems here are that they take longer, dont do a better job, dont have a shop manager check the work, frequently leave the car dirty, and dont give me coupons for free doughnuts. OK, so I could live without the free doughnuts.
    3) The independent mechanic. If you can find a good/honest one this the best way to go. My parents and inlaws will only go to their favorite independent mechanic. Its $30 for an oil change and it takes a long time but to know its being done correctly......its worth the 30% premium and the time. If I knew one where I lived I would gladly pay more to have it done correctly. I would even do it and give up the free Krispy Kreme coupon.
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    jiffy lube $50 fully synthetic?

    HOLY ^&##^%#

    $24 a case (6 qts) of mobil 1
    $0.50 ac delco PF 59 filter (got a bunch on sale at walmart a few months back bought all that were on the shelf)

    $24.50 for a fully synthetic oil change done in my garage

    I would not pay $50 every 3K miles for an oil change
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    If you have a home garage oil changes really are simple to do yourself. Set of ramps, maybe $30. Get a Fumoto drain plug ($25) and just flip the little lever and you don't have to deal with a wrench and getting the plug off ever again. Then it is just the filter to remove and replace. Yea, a little messy but the price is right and "you know it is done correctly and filled correctly" Some cars you don't even need a ramp, can just crawl under, flip the lever, and get the filter from the top, my Camry is that way. Using synthetic I change that one every 7,500 miles, now has 137,000 miles. By next year I will have the Fumoto valve on all 5 of the cars I service.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    I've only had my oil changed at the dealer twice. The first time I used a free coupon they sent me. The second time was about a year later. It was cold outside, and the car had to go in for a warranty repair anyway. They charged me something like $26.95 for that oil spill -er I mean change! Something about the phrase "Bulk Oil" just bothers me, too!

    Quickie places: Well, I first got lured into a Firestone shop about 2 1/2 years ago. A good friend of mine had dealt with them before, and was very happy. Back then, they were doing oil changes and chassis lubes for something like $10.00. At the time, I was driving a Gran Fury with the type of suspension you had to lube every so often, so I was more than happy to pass that job on to someone else. Changing oil myself doesn't bother me, but I always hated lubing the suspension. Well, I should've smelled trouble coming when I bought new tires from them. They tried to tell me my steering box was going bad.

    A few months later, I had my '68 Dart in to get new tires on the back. I warned them about the reverse-thread lugs on the driver's side...after all, how many mechanics are going to remember those? But when they couldn't figure out how to get the back tires off, I just about lost it. That car has low-cut wheel openings back then, so to take a tire off, you have to jack it up by the sub-frame and let the rear axle hang down. Still, nothing too major...yet.

    Well, a few months later, they changed management, and the place went downhill real fast. One morning the technician showed up late with a hangover. I was already feeling uneasy about this. Well, as the manager started to write me up for the oil change, I reminded her that the car takes 15W/40 oil. I always told them every time I went in, just in case they didn't look it up. Well, she said they didn't stock it...that they put 10W/30 in everything. I asked them about cars that require some other weight, and she got miffed. "LOOK...we don't have the time to memorize the oil requirements of every single car out there!" They never saw me again.

    As for independent mechanics, I think they're the way to go if you can find one that's trustworthy. The only thing is, most of them are going to take longer with an oil change because they do a lot more than just oil changes all day. If I wanted my mechanic to change my oil, I'd have to drop the car off in the morning, find a ride to work, and it'd probably be ready by lunch time. I know he'd do it right though, and if it was a car with grease fittings, he'd make sure they were all filled...something I seriously doubt the Firestone store was doing. He'd also look around to see if the car needed anything else. LEGITIMATELY needed anything else, that is. None of this "you need a new steering box" stuff or other un-neccesary padding.
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    is it really that hard to get a 15mm socket and ratchet and remove the drain plug?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    ...evidently, it is for some of the quickie lube places. All sorts of things can go wrong. They can use the wrong-size socket and strip the drain plug. When they put the plug back in, they can over-tighten it, leading to problems the next time it comes off, or, even better, stripping the threads. Or, they can go the other way and put it on too loose. We had that happen once, about 10 years ago, with an '85 Silverado. My uncle had the oil changed, brought it home, and parked it on the grass. I went to drive it about a week later, and when I started it up, noticed no oil pressure and the idiot light staying on. I only had it on for a few seconds before shutting it off, so no permanent damage to the truck. But we had an oil slick in the yard that would've made Exxon proud!

    Then, let's look at the oil filter. I've always wondered if sometimes they don't just wipe them off, and not even bother to change 'em. Probably not a common occurrence, but I'm sure it's happened. Especially back in the old days, when cars had those big cannisters that you had to unbolt to get to the drop-in round cartridge inside. I've noticed with oil filters, that they seem to be more likely to tighten themselves from vibrations than to loosen, so I don't think putting them on too loose is a common problem. But I've had a couple instances where I've had to punch a screwdriver through the filter and knock it loose with a hammer!

    There's really not a whole lot to mess up with changing oil, but there's still stuff that can go wrong if people get too careless.
  • nematodenematode Member Posts: 448
    We are still renting and I actually had to sign a contract that stated I could not do so on the premisis or on the street. When we own a home it will not be an issue.

    I do 6000-7500 mile oil changes on regular dino oil so its really only $100 a year for 2 cars. I'm not a big fan of the 3000 mile oil change as I dont think it helps extend the useable life of the car. I'm sure its better for the engine but over 150k miles or about 10 years I dont think it matters. Beyond that it may....but I want a new car by then. Even if I could change my own oil I would not any more frequently than 6k miles with dino oil or 15k/once a year with synthetic (after the warranty).

    I actually have full synthetic (changed at 1k) in my brand new Protege ES 2.0 (01) and I'm going 7500miles. I would go 15-20k but I'm staying within warranty specs just in case. The reason I'm running synthetic....won a bet and have 4 more changes for free (thats 2 years!!!!!!). After the 50k powertrain warranty or 3 years I'm going 15k/once a year with synthetic.

    Also I was guessing on the Jiffy Lube $50 for synthetic. It may not be that high any more considering K-mart/Wal Mart will do it for like $30 (or so I hear).
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    nematode: I agree with you on the oil change intervals.

    The people that benefit most by 3,000 mile changes are those who sell the product and the service.

    I liken the change in the oil companies' marketing strategy to get people to shorten the intervals, which many people now view as gospel, to the way the candy makers all of a sudden started making their candy bars bigger and charging more.
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    It's the constant "up-selling" of services that I'm wary of. "Power flushes" of engine oil, transmission fluid, and radiator. Sometimes they spot areas of potential problems that should be "nipped in the bud." But, that's a rarity. If it's my battery's running down, thanks, but there are other choices than a dealer's factory battery with a skimpy three-year guarantee. Besides, what battery is going downhill? Usually, the OE one.

    Years ago, my BMW had a Varta battery with a one-year warranty! Diehards were five years with a one-year non-prorata free replacement. Easy choice.
  • bmaigebmaige Member Posts: 140
    I have the best of both worlds--a good independent mechanic that is a great mechanic, dependable, honest, doesn't charge an arm and a leg for his work, doesn't do work that doesn't need doing, saves parts to show you and, at least at one time, a good dealer, as well. I also live in a small town that is close enough that word on bad work gets around in a hurry, so that may be why both are that good.

    My normal method is taking the newer car to the Ford dealer for work, but at that time the service manager was my daughter-in-law's best friend's father-in-law. Everybody follow that? He is quite honest, and, in fact, when my youngest son had troubles with his Mustang on two occasions and I thought the dealerships he was using out of town were ripping him off I called this service manager and asked him about some things. I found in one instance the out of town dealer was right--the timing chain cover on a 3.8 liter V-6 CAN have a coolant leak. The second time, though, he hit a block in the road in heavy traffic, punched a hole in his oil pan, and a dealer in Atlanta wanted about $1,200.00 to replace it. I called the service manager we know here, asked him about it, and he gave me the price on new oil pans, gaskets, and all the parts necessary to replace it, as well as the amount of labor their manual showed it would take to do the job. I called the service manager at the dealerhip in Atlanta and told them the price they quoted my son seemed a bit high to me to replace an oil pan, and asked how many hours he had included. Seems he had quoted unbolting the engine, jacking it up to remove it, putting the oil pan on, and reversing the process to complete the installation. I told him my Ford dealer said it was about half the hours he quoted on that job and didn't require removal of the engine. He went back, called me back in about two hours, and said he had an inexperienced service tech price that, and that he had been wrong. An experienced one corrected it, and my son saved nearly $600.00 on the job. Had I not questioned it through a friend, however, he woud have been charged the full amount. Unfortunately, the dealership has a tremendous body shop, their long time manager left, and they have moved this man from the position of service manager to manager of the body shop, I am sure to maintain the quality there, and put another guy in as shop manager that I just met and wouldn't trust as far as I could throw him.

    The independent--well, he once found something wrong with my Dad's Jeep that nobody else could find. It had about 45,000 miles on it and started running ratty. All the usual parts--plugs, plug wires, ignition parts, distributor cap, were changed to no avail. I took it to my mechanic and asked him to see if he could find it. He said it was a rounded cam lobe, and in my surprise I told him it didn't have but 45,000 miles on it. He hadn't looked at the mileage on it and done his trouble shooting without discounting anything because of relatively low mileage. When he fixed it he showed me the cam, and sure enough there was one lobe that was as round as it could be. I told him no other mechanic had even suggested that. His comment was they should have known what it was as soon as they heard it running.
  • davedave1davedave1 Member Posts: 45
    however the customer has to watch the dealers as much or more that the quickie places. A dealer that does my oil changes has two shops; across the street from the main one, a smaller one that does the quick work; oil changes, tire rotations, coolant changes, etc. Even though it's the dealers name on the building, it occurred to me that it could be a contracted out operation where the dealer is just providing shop space but perhaps not tracking the quality of the work.
    Anyway, the dealers have to draw from the same labor pool as other auto shops; hard to say how much loyalty counts but there's a shortage of auto mechanics. Also they have price pressures too and some mechanics will cut corners if they can, especially with hot engines and having to remove a 200 degree oil filter to complete the job in '30 minutes or less.'
    My bad experience was a dealer oil change with oil dripping off the cooling fan shroud, fan blades and dripped for two days off the front of the frame even after wiping it up. I didn't want to po the mechanic at the time so i just cleaned up the mess as best i could in the dealers lot and was done with it. Besides they'd have to pull the car back in and put it on the lift and go over everything which wasn't worth the time.
    Anyway, I think it's bad to consider a dealer any better or worse than an independent. But from now on, i mark the oil filters and check the work before i pull out of the dealers lot. Just to be sure the work has been done; what's that phrase 'trust but verify'?.
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    Going in at 9:00 this morning (10/01) for my minor service (7500 miles). Dealer price on the board is $120. I had the major 60K service done at 45K because of the time interval - drained and flushed engine, transmission oil, and radiator coolant, plus a front brake job (pads, grind rotors, bleed/replace fluid). So, at 53K, I'm doing the 67.5K service, which entails the same inspections as 7.5K.

    While I don't doubt they actually perform ALL the work they charge for, the question is whether they'll find additional "repair" work, or up-sell services like "power flushes." I had an oil/filter changer between 45K and 53K, so I'll be suspicious of any recommendation of a "power flush" as a routine service.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    You had the major work done and all you p[robably need is an oil change. Paying $120 for them to inspect flkuids, lube door hinges etc. is a complete waste of your money. If you dont;' have the time or inclination to inspect your car fine but that is all they do, they perform no maintenance otehr then the oil change at 7,500 miles after the major maintenance Look at what trhey do for that money and you will be amazed at how little work is physical work is done!!!!!
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,211
    Most car owners seem to have a level of expectation for quality and honesty from dealership service departments that seldom are realized. Good independents are making a living from this situation, seemingly all over the country. One thing to consider is that some manufacturers now allow any dealer of any of their brands to service all other of their brands. If one stiffs you, go to another one next time. Get stiffed in a new location! (:^)>
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    armtdm: your points are well-taken.

    The estimated costs on the various service intervals (7.5K - $120; 15K - $220; 30K - $420) are for Integras, for which "valve clearance" is done annually (15K). V-6 Acuras don't require this, so the cost is considerably less. This doesn't explain the $120 @7.5K, though.

    The actual cost today was $58.00 for the oil/filter change, tire rotation/balance, and wiper blade inserts. Plus, they wash/vacuum the car and dispose of the used fluids. I used to be a gas jockey in the old days and know a bit about car maintenance, but I'm no automotive expert. The systems today are also far more complicated than my 1955 Chevy and my brother, a certified and licensed mechanic, moved back to my home island a decade ago and is no longer readily available.

    The last time, they ran a battery test and informed me that the OE battery was beginning to weaken. I was amazed that it was still around at 45K (4-1/2 years) as my prior experiences indicated 30-36 months to be more typical. I eventually replaced it with a Diehard Gold.

    I have the time, but I'd rather spend it on other pursuits. So, I send it out for detailing every so often. I still have a hydraulic jack, stands, and tools, but I'm not as young anymore. A working hour is worth over $100 to me, so it's more sensible to let the "pros" handle these jobs. They need to make a living, too.
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31

    " #20 of 38 Dealers by pronigier Sep 24, 2001 (09:53 pm) /[email protected]@.ef04b66/19/[email protected]@.ef04b66/19

    The first couple times I had oil changes for my Camry it was overfilled. Now I wonder if they even did the oil change because the car smokes on start up and it only has 65000 miles. With lots of people changing oil at 3000 miles this seems like it would be scam to just skip a couple. I service busses on my part time job the people who check and add fluid aren't the smartest. Somes days it is skipped. Some days they add an extra quart so they don't have to check it the next day."

    COMMENT: Yep! Extra oil is like high blood pressure. A possibility could be the valve seat seals. I'm not sure if you could blow them, but some how oil is getting into the chamber. It could be something unrelated to the extra oil.

    "#26 of 38 Oil changes by armtdm Sep 26, 2001 (05:03 am) /[email protected]@.ef04b66/25/[email protected]@.ef04b66/25

    If you have a home garage oil changes really are simple to do yourself. Set of ramps, maybe $30. Get a Fumoto drain plug ($25) and just flip the little lever and you don't have to deal with a wrench and getting the plug off ever again. "

    COMMENT: Nope! Nope! Nope! Don't mess with those easy way plugs. The manufacture put the screw plugs there for a reason. The last thing you need, is a plug opening up on the freeway. Everyone else has never experienced that problem, but guess what? You can be the first. With my van, I can crawl under there and unscrew the plug with a 15 mm socket. With my Mother's Corsica, I have to do a ritual with the floor jack and leg stands because of the low height and the configuration of the underneath. That plug takes a 16mm.

    ON ALL VEHICLES, I USE A HAMMER AND A SCREW DRIVER TO REMOVE THE OIL FILTER. After supporting the oil filter tool removal industry for years due to oil filter wrenches not working, I decided that this way was better. I change my oil once a year after it passes the aim inspection test

    You don't need a recycling pan to drain the oil. I use a couple of five pound coffee cans that I have saved from coffee. Drain the oil in the can(s), squeeze the side of the can(s) so that they are oval. Using a funnel, I pour the old oil into the oil containers that the new oil came in. Take them to your local recycling place, pour, and discard the containers at their location.

    I also don't like the speedy pace of the oil drain at those quick change oil places either. I let my oil drain for fifteen minutes before I plug. Don't forget there is no oil in the vehicle and try to start it.

    "#30 of 38 Wish I could change my own oil. by nematode Sep 26, 2001 (12:31 pm) /[email protected]@.ef04b66/29/[email protected]@.ef04b66/29

    We are still renting and I actually had to sign a contract that stated I could not do so on the premisis or on the street. When we own a home it will not be an issue."

    COMMENT: You know, I don't think property owners can dictate what you do on the street. That contract might be unenforceable as far as city property is concerned. Besides, go down the street and do it.

  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    With the spring loaded lever the probaiblity of opening on the expressway or anywhere else is non existent. However, for off road vehicle they make a washer type locking device to prevent sticks, brush from moving the spring. So much easier then removing a plug, which after time, gaskets leak, plug drops into oil pan, hot oil on fingers etc. The valve is a piece of cake to use!
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,211
    I had a remote locater kit for the oil filter in a Ramcharger some years ago. It incorporated a quick drain plug. I worried about the well being of the vehicle and the potential for accidental oil loss to the point that I removed the whole kit and watched it rust for a few years before final disposal!
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    I guess you should worry that the the quick lube tightens the filter properly and the plug so that it does not come loose. Those are probably more common but to each what makes you sleep at night.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    The Jiffy Lube simians OVER-tightened the plug, stripped it, and substituted a rubber plug or oversize bolt
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    a certain Chevrolet dealership on the north side of Chicago NEVER has the car done the same day, charge a fortune, treats customers like idiots, which we are for going there. Now that Blazer (my bro's, not mine fortunately) is outta warranty, I doubt we'll go there again.

    I'm all about finding a good indy mechanic.
  • eharri3eharri3 Member Posts: 645
    Quick but proper service, prices that beat most private mechanics. But I can understand why some people get frustrated.
    2 main reasons come to mind.
    1) Seeing as how they DO work with the same brand all day, you expect a certain level of expertise and attention to detail, but sometimes they make the same mistakes regular mechanics do.
    2) Some dealer services are total baloney...2-300 dollars or even more in some instances for nothing more than having a look-see at a bunch of different things, or sometimes they recommend maintenance procedures that are unnecessary in modern cars. However, i you don't know much about cars and are scared to be stranded, you're sometimes very likely to fork over you rmoney because you dont know any better.
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