Confessions From the Dealership Service Department Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited March 2015 in General
imageConfessions From the Dealership Service Department

A former dealership service advisor spills his secrets about how consumers are often overcharged or pay for repairs and service they don't need.

Read the full story here


  • carolinatirecarolinatire Member Posts: 2
    edited March 2015
    I don't agree with your opinion about turning rotors. In our shop we see pitted and glazed rotors all the time. Putting a brand new quality pad on this type of rotor will only provide the new pad more of an opportunity to squeak from the start. The very noise that people hate to hear. We bring customers out to their cars and show them the situation, explain the differences and what they may expect. We make a recommendation and then let them decide what route to take. Some don't mind the noise.

    As for the $0.50 to turn the lathe on? The same could be said for an MRI machine or a dialysis machine. It's the knowledge that the operator has in performing this "seemingly easy task" that you are paying for and you expect it done correctly by a professional.

    As for the "selling" to "boost" profits. I agree with you that many car dealerships will do this, this is why they don't take you to your car to show or educate you. However, I totally disagree with you on this from our perspective, the independent repair shop owner. We believe that it's our job to make sure that our customers have the best running cars that are safe. If I don't point out problems or potential problems, then I am not doing my job. Just as a doctor is not doing his job if they don't point out your health issues. Educating a customer on why their car needs a coolant flush and a new hose is the same as a doctor telling you why you should quit smoking and start exercising. I'm going to point out the problem, educate them on it and let them make the decision. Then if they blow a radiator hose on the highway to Grandma's house, it's on them and not us for "missing" that.

    We're the professionals at diagnosing and repairing vehicles. Go to a professional auto repair facility in your home town, they don't want to sell you a car, they want you to keep and maintain your car for a long time.


    Jim Seidel
    Carolina Tire & Auto
  • xc141fexc141fe Member Posts: 1
    Mr Reed you are 100% correct on everything you say. I have been in the car repair business for at least 30yrs, I have done the service manager gig and that is just not for me , so I have been turning wrenches for a very long time, and I beleive I'm good at it. Like you say in your article nobdy reads their owners manual. what I tell people is to put that owners manual in their bathroom, and pick it up and go thru it instead of reading the paper.
  • basic_car_guybasic_car_guy Member Posts: 1
    Finally, a litte bit of honesty goes a long way. Honesty is a bit of fresh air. I personally am really tired of hearing all of this and in my opinion more and more car ownders are realizing that profit is key for many places you take your car to for mantainence. I am sure there are many reputable places out there but more often than not it is profit that drives most everything. so the big question is, if the manual form the manufacturer says, change the oil at X miles. Do you stick with that or listen to the dealer that says you can but I wouldn't let the dirty oil hang out that long and perhaps go with XX miles. so who's right? as a person who does not make the care or knows all the spec, who is the consumer supposed to believe? All I ask is just honesty, I would rather come back to you who is honest and provide a reliable vehicle than come back to someone who just wants to make a buck!
  • trost79trost79 Member Posts: 1
    It seems a shame that an article like this is even put in the Edmunds website. I work in the service business myself and have for a long time. There are plenty of problems, worn out parts etcetera that need to be repaired on a vehicle and there is no need for excessive maintenance to be sold to someone just because you perceive they can afford it. This article has a tendency to make it seem like all dealers are ripoff artists and will do anything to make a person let loose of their hard earned cash. Dont get me wrong I have personally encountered repair businesses that were the kind that give us all a bad name. Unfortunately articles such as this have a tendency to make all businesses of the same type become crooks. There are plenty of honest businesses out there that dont have to make a living by taking advantage of people.
  • joseph2010joseph2010 Member Posts: 4

    Whenever someone tries to give us the 'heads up' or help us to have a good life people like you pop up.
    MAYBE, just maybe you are an honest person BUT the intelligent of persons would know IF they are honest, fair & reasonable you would not need to respond to this comment. Since this article is able to viewed to such a wide geographic would NOT affect your own business and YOUR customers should 'know you' and be personally satisfied with your work ethic. And most of all you should know since, as you say, you are in the business it is COMMON PRACTICE to oversell, upsell services or parts to customers.

    My brother and a best friend confirmed the unethical practices widely described here 35 years ago. I have looked for the signs of the 'cheating' and at the right moment caught them in the act!
    It is actually worse than described here. Some mechanics with the same vehicle as yours will exchange the parts from their cars with yours. They will also say they replaced an expensive part but all they really did is clean off your part.
    Closed carburetor systems resulted in cleaner oil in engines. The service centers STILL advise to change the OIL after 3 months or 3000 miles. $ months & 4000 miles TODAY would be more appropriate AND would be in line with being less OIL dependent. They will never give up their $$$ to help their own Country.
    I recently was leaving a 'shop' after reviewing oil changes - an employee began to tell the manager how much they would lose...the manager said to him - "be quiet wait until He leaves"!!!

    Yes Folks do read and follow your manual, the author of this article deserves a 'standing ovation'.
  • joseph2010joseph2010 Member Posts: 4

    What you refer to is an EXCEPTION. You should have known better than to attempt to dissuade Folks from the value of this article.
    You reveal yourself 'negatively' by focusing on a very small element of the article which distracts folk from the intent of this well written article. Plus you missed your opportunity to add written support in your comment which many of us looked for.

    Invariably many auto repair shops betray a TRUST!
  • joseph2010joseph2010 Member Posts: 4
    And carolinatire,

    By NOT TAKING US TO SHOWUS???!!! I guess YOU feel WE are too ignorant to know the difference?!
  • joseph2010joseph2010 Member Posts: 4
    trost79 and those approving od HIS comment,

    You said - "it's a shame Edmunds printed this in this website'..

    did you notice the author of this honestly written article, let me help you: by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor,

    I have said enough I will now let the JURY make their decision.
  • jsparrowjsparrow Member Posts: 6
    Buy a Haynes or Clymer shop manual, and to avoid really getting bleeped on emission related (check engine light) problems, an inexpensive OBD II code reader. If you don't know what set the "check engine" light, you are at the MERCY of the "stealer" -- you could have a loose gas cap OR whatever profitable "other" problem the commission fed "service writer" might "find". You get the code from the little reader, look it up and you know what component triggered the light. Tell a "service writer" you know the code is for of the "post cat air/fuel sensor" being out of spec, he/she is going to scratch you off the list of customers to be milked. Yes there are still honest dealers out there, usually in small towns were everyone knows wach other.
  • yesiyahyesiyah Member Posts: 1
    This is a very informative article because I have experienced first hand the way in which the service advisor operates. He or she will try to convince you to do more on the car than what is required.
  • tridentech1tridentech1 Member Posts: 1
    Hi, My name is Manny
    I have Been an automotive Dealership Technician for 15+ years, ASE certified MASTER TECHNICIAN, WITH L1. P1, C1 CERTS AND ALSO POSSES A CALIFORNIA STATE SMOG TECHNICIAN LIC.
    This article is Part of the Problem with the way Comsumers view Auto repair. These shops are few and far between and they do not last long. You have never turned a wrench for a living to don't tell me how flat rate is a rip off to the customer. I just got done doing a blower motor on a bentley that took me 40+ hours. Book time pays 20 hours. So is the customer a Thief to me because I worked 40 and got paid 20 hours??? You are basically saying all repair facilities are fradulent. Thanks Pal! like are jobs are not hard enough with you slandering the industry. I like when customer Know alot about their vehicles. Because I feel like I can talk to them in a technical manner and the easily understand recommended repairs, not just think we are ripping them off because of a bunch of burnout has ben writting acticles like this. You should consider being retrained. Cars evolve every year. Just because you were in the game does not make you an expert.
  • circuitsmith_circuitsmith_ Member Posts: 1
    The one time I took my Toyota to the dealer for a recall the service writer tried to sell me a flush of my MANUAL transmission!
    Pointing out that I had changed the trans oil 2200 miles earlier didn't discourage him.
  • jmproudjmproud Member Posts: 1
    Wish my 22 year old daughter had read this article.She is a new car owner and trying to be an independent young adult. She took her 8 month Nissan Versa in for an oil change and they told her she needed scheduled maintenance. She thought this was necessary and she ended up leaving with a $350.00 bill for basically someone looking at belts and fluids. There is no way an 8 month old car needed $350.00 worth of "scheduled maintenance". She is a recent college grad with a lot of debt to pay I hope the dealership was happy with the "easy target" they found that day. Of course once she gave them permission to make repairs there was nothing as a parent I could do to go back to the dealership and argue. She has learned an expensive lesson but has also learned to be a weary consumer. She will be reading this article and her owners manual. Thank you for some very valuable information. As consumers be very weary of dealership service repairs!
  • timtherockstartimtherockstar Member Posts: 2

    Your probably one of those guys that also show the front passenger rotor first, to show "how worn it is" knowing that is the one that wears fastest. So them you can fool them yet again into getting the service.

    The honest truth,
  • timtherockstartimtherockstar Member Posts: 2
    If it takes you 40 hrs to do a 20 hr job, which has been padded by double due to "book rates" then you should probably seek less certification and more wrench time. Anyone that has 15+ years of experience should be able to beat the
  • browneyes2blubrowneyes2blu Member Posts: 16
    i havent found a ford dealership with a honest service dept. yet!
  • ann1210ann1210 Member Posts: 0
    Last week I took my 2006 Lincoln Navigator to nearest Lincoln dealer for oil change and smog testing. they later called told us that I needed to have spark plugs needs to change as well as something about battries level was 200/ should read 600 or above so that needs to be changed too...
    so after 1,000.00 later we got the car back and now week later I smell gasoline when car is in operation, AC dispenser warm air spontaneously. also CD player isn't work like prior visit to the dealer service dept.
  • beenaroundbeenaround Member Posts: 1
    Two personal examples at 2 separate Toyota dealerships:

    1. Problem with A/C shutting down occasionally. Dealer wanted to recharge A/C to start for $200.00. I declined as I was there for oil change . Local mechanic saw that radiator coolant was low which causes engine to heat up which cause A/C to shut down. Repair Cost some free water.

    2. Rattle under engine compartment while idling. Dealer stated something serious in engine, $200.00 to open engine for diagnosis. $200 would go towards eventual bill. Declined offer and went to independent mechanic for oil change. Found rattle to be heat shield. Tighten health shield @ no charge.

    These where dealerships where I had bought many Toyota's one for business and one personal cars. Had all my service done by them for over ten years

    Nice way to treat long term customers
  • dpg5dpg5 Member Posts: 1
    I have purchased my cars from the same dealer for the least decade. But that guy got sold to a new dealer, and I noticed the new one upselling me. Twice, they told me I needed to have my fuel injectors cleaned when I went in for an oil a row. That was the last straw. It is all true. I'm no longer a customer of that dealer, for purchases or service.
  • maximogmaximog Member Posts: 1
    I was ripped off by a local store from a national well-known service shop with a "lifetime warranty". They said my rotors were worn at 35K (OEMs). Other than going into the shop to see them measured for myself, which is against the law due to OSHA, how could I argue? I had them replaced, along with new pads. Big mistake. After driving for a few thousand miles on horrible brakes, I took it back after the "break in" period, which they swore would make it better. They drove it and said the brakes felt fine. That was ridiculous, as they were nothing near what they were brand new with only 9 miles on the car (hardly broken in straight from the factory). I finally, with the help of a friend, changed the pads and rotors myself. Upon backing the car down the drive way to turn the car around to do the back ones (which were still ok, but we decided to do them all), I could feel the vastly superior stopping power of the ones we put on--- this was going all of 2 mph!. We also found a gouged caliper piston, and one of the pads was put in crooked and the wear pattern showing this as obvious. No wonder the feel was horrible. 20% of one of the pads wasn't even touched! Said friend is also of the opinion that rotors don't need to be turned unless they are deeply grooved (at most, maybe they need to be scrubbed by hand when replacing pads). Still debating on going back or not, but there is nothing they can do to make me happy other than giving me a full refund, and that is unlikely. I will never trust them with my or any other car in our family. They also told my wife, who went in for a simple oil change/tire rotation, that she needed $600 of additional service. One was a coolant flush. Funny, but it looks brand new to me. Besides, a coolant "flush" is easier than an oil change. Speaking of that, even the dealership where I bought my car tried to sell me on a coolant flush at only 30K mi. I told them that the manual states that with the high mileage coolant, it doesn't need to be done until 100K mi. They said, "well that's what Mazda recommends, but we suggest earlier." Wow. 70% earlier? I told them no, and they were cool about it, no pun intended. They haven't asked me since. I still take it in for oil changes since their price is competitive, and they let me bring in my own oil.
  • dak1217dak1217 Member Posts: 1
    Thank you so much for posting this article. For me, it has been an eye opener. I've known for a long time that a dealership charges considerably more for their work than a personal mechanic, but findng one is not the easiest task. Recently, I spent almost $2000 (yes, that's right) for my 100K service and 2 rear brake pads. I had reservations at the time and felt I may have been taken advantage of, but, I was there and the rest is history. I am a woman whose father was a mechanic, so I do have a pretty good understanding and I was reeled in--but not again! It was an expensive lesson. I had no idea they were commission based sales people! Thank you for writing this.
  • soyeahiknowsoyeahiknow Member Posts: 2
    You should never turn a rotor!! The cost of turning a rotor is about the same as getting new rotors! On my civic, I had a warped rotor and to get it turned costed $50. I bought one off amazon for $30 brand new. And I know it will last me a lot longer than a re-maned. rotor!

    I don't know who even goes to the dealerships anymore. The only reason I would ever go is if my car was in warranty or for really critical jobs like a timing belt so it will be under warranty if it snaps. I would rather buy my own parts and find a mechanic via craigslist. I have been doing that for the past 2 years ( control arm, ball joint, brake booster, new brake pads, thermostat) for 2 cars and I think I have saved around $1500.
  • soyeahiknowsoyeahiknow Member Posts: 2
    I recently bought a used car from a international graduate student. She gave me all the paperwork or repairs and I was shocked at how much they ripped her off! I literally felt bad for her!

    I told her that when she gets her next car, to let me know if anything breaks down because I will help her find an honest mechanic or go with her to the shop to make sure she doesn't get ripped off!

    Here is just some examples:

    Oil change -$30 (not even synthetic!)
    window wiper installation- $22 (this was JUST the installation alone!)

    fluid top off-$35

  • dccurtdccurt Member Posts: 1
    These service writters are not all bad but quite a few are... My 03 Ram is in for a Crank position sensor now. $600.00, all the web sites and a friend say half that. This guy tried to get me for $1600 with stuff I don't need, hmmmm. I know things are high in Naples, Fl. but $175.00 and hour, naw. No more Ram 1500's, looking at Ford.
  • w8wlt01w8wlt01 Member Posts: 1
    I was working as a service advisor on and off for about 15 years. I will agree with the article about how the Dealers want you to up sell. I had a very hard time doing this work and woud end up in service managers office . I was told to sell more or I would be let go. Well I was let go. Was getting unemployment from this dealer when they said they would not pay into it anymore. I ended up getting a Lawyer and going before a judge . I wone the case after telling him how they wanted me to sell parts over pricfed and work not really needed. The judge was on my side. I think he got ripped off from a dealer . He was in my favor. I'm now retired and I no longer work for any dealerss. But it gave me the upper hand when I take my cars in for service, which sometimes will bother them cause they cant sell me things I dont need. Wm. Toth
  • jrossettijrossetti Member Posts: 1
    There is a lot that is true in this post. It is obviously not a blanket statement that all are bad but I do mystery shopping for a living. I have conducted over 100 video shops, and at least half of them were doing brake checks, oil changes, and tire rotations at dealerships and places like (not at, but like) Jiffy Lube, Lube Pros. I do route shopping where I do 3-5 in a row on the same day.

    I get estimates for work ranging for 200$ to 3,000 on the exact same day. Each place has other things to say, and some drastically oversell and I always play the stupid customer. I'll be told things are so important that I need to leave the car there (6 months ago and haven't done his suggested work), and there will be people who appear to be completely straight forward and I get an identical work order sans one or two minor items on back to back shops.

    You can't usually trust people who work on commission. I DO tend to notice, that mom and pop places, or as the article suggests the older guys, tend to be a lot more straight forward and honest, and mom and pops will many times have better prices.
  • bstmechsmombstmechsmom Member Posts: 1
    Basically all of you are agreeing with the aforementioned artical even tho you say you're not. The words "educate the customer" and " let them make the decision" are the telling phrases. If you "truthfully educate" them on each of their individual makes of automobile everyone wins.
    The words "the manufacturer suggests" and "in my opinion" are excellent phrases to add to your vocabulary also...
  • drmopardrmopar Member Posts: 1
    Hello just let me say this is my first post on this blog....and in a sense i do agree with carolinatire about the rotor turning or cutting as we call it up north. A new set of front brake pads and a fresh clean cut on the surface of the rotor will provide a smooth silent stop. Mr Reeds pricing @ 50 cent a rotor is totally and completely ridiculous, carolinatire gave us a more realistic image of how it works below. Further Mr Reed points out that the service tech tries to beat the times given by the flat rate manual as we call it, but not on something as minor as a oil change or Lube, oil and filter as we call it up north. In truth most dealerships and shops lose money on each L.O.F. they perform. The concept is to do the LOF and regard it as a "lost leader" a term used in retail. While performing the LOF the tech may or may not find other repairs to bring to MY attention, another thing id like to point out in the techs defense...most of our "A" technicians will spend upwards of $75000 on tools!...YES! that much money. So when they do bigger jobs much faster and still get the flat rate pay its because of their investment and knowledge....I at the time am a service advisor...i will go to inspect his recommendations...if they pass my inspection i will sell the work...being a N.A.I.S.E. tech for some years give me a clear advantage over a guy like Mr Reed above having no mechanical background mentioned. If i think the owner needs to have a repair done i will tell them whether he/she wants to hear it or not, so if they decline the repairs i WILL make the statement on their invoice "customer advised and necessary repairs declined" Now my shop is covered....alittle about me... Not because i was a persuasive or good looking guy (hehe) but most of my followers were women and i call them followers because some followed me to new work places from as far away as Brooklyn NY to Jersey City New Jersey at least a 40 minute ride plus tolls over 2 bridges. I am a very honest person especially with the ladies in the auto biz...we all know how they feel when taking a vehicle in for service...i will show them and explain it very carefully to them, and yes it takes time but everything worth while does in life. Ive had flowers sent to me cakes, cookies, and yes even a daughter introduced to me., and yes i was single lol...My General Manager a hellofaguy came in the waiting area and found me sitting having coffee with a women knitting another with 4 kids playing in the kiddy gym several others all waiting for their cars and all my customers...we were all laughing and carrying on, the GM walked over with a smile..looked at me and said Pete how much are you paying these people to look this happy to be here. LOL everyone laughed and each told my GM a short story about our relationship. Well that made me feel good.
    I wont lie i did get payed well for what i do without the rip off and having very happy customers made me fell good. last point is my customers never had to make an appointment, i mean lets face it..they dont come to the dealership to see me they come or need to come because they have a problem or a fear about the car leaving them stuck, and i never turn them away somehow i will deal with it and thats why i have succeeded in this business for over 30 years. No appointment needed to see me.
    Oh i forgot my advisers were not allowed to sell a job over $1000 before i looked at it first both the prices and the car, then approved it. My method takes a little time but it works.
    Known as Peter Kay formally with the worlds largest auto group out of Jersey City NJ. Presently in South West Florida.
  • j_dubdallasj_dubdallas Member Posts: 1
    I know this is a old post, but I just want to comment. I've been in the car business for over 30 years in service and you horrify me. I don't know what company you worked for but everywhere I have been it's all about taking care of the customer. If you tolerate people selling unneccessary work then SHAME ON YOU. It's enough of a stuggle to fight the untruths about dealerships being ripoffs but to come from someone who walked it... I feel sorry for you. What a waste. Have some moral character. Sounds like your father was giving you the guide lines but you lost your way. Advisors are people. Are you going to hang out with lowlife liars and thieves? Get a life!!! I sleep at night with a clear consience and know I have taken good care of the people who have put there trust in me.
  • jennycejennyce Member Posts: 1
    I will NEVER take my car to a service department again I am from Oklahoma and before I made the 750 mile journey here I had Goodyear tires in Norman check my truck over, I gave them a list of things I wanted to be checked and done such as replace the rear brakes, grease the ball joints, change transmission fluid and filter, change engine oil and filter, and check the oil level in the back axle. On the way here I heard a noise from the rear I had never heard before sounded like the rear axle going out, when I got here I took the truck to another Goodyear store to check my rear axle and they checked it and there was only 1/2 pin of oil in it. There is no leaks in the rear axle at all and I watched the mechanic fill it up and he pointed out to me that the rear axle level plug had not had a wrench to it in a very long time also the ball joints were dry as a bone. All these items were paid to be done at the first service dept., yet were NOT I don't know if my rear axle will stand the drive back to Oklahoma but the first thing I will be doing when I get there is visit an attorney all the people at the Norman Goodyear store were interested in was selling me a lot of work that I knew did not need doing. So don't any mechanic or service writer try telling me they do their job properly I was a service writer for 30 years and fully agree with the guy that started this thread, there is no such thing as an honest service writer or Mechanic because they all work on commission and the faster they get a vehicle out the door the more money they make and will deliberately not do things such as checking my back axle level or greasing the ball joints all they do is take a rag and wipe the grease nipples and the level plug and say it was done. another trick they use is to wipe the bleed nipples on the brakes and put a little brake fluid on them and say they had to bleed the brakes. My advice to all motorists is to find a reliable mechanic and have him work on your cars he will not rip you of because he wants your return work. My mechanic could not work on my truck this time because like me his house was blown away by the May tornadoes that hit Oklahoma. The truck I am talking about I bought from a dealer 4 weeks before coming here because my vehicles were totaled by the tornado
  • kanadakidkanadakid Member Posts: 1
    Thank you for having the guts to post the truth about car dealers service departments. Was at a Toyota dealer about a year ago for an odd differential problem. I hung around the service desk and watched as the service / tech writer totally soaked this old lady into a break line flush on a 50 K Corolla. I wanted with everything to say something but knew things would have escalated out of control. Just this week was at the Volvo Dealers and listened to the service writter sell this guy $700 for new front end bushings. Two bucks worth of rubber. I have not myself ever found an honest car dealer. Let me go talk to my manager routine. Thanks again for exposing the up-sell tactics.
  • hotburrito1hotburrito1 Member Posts: 1
    I took my Jeep to the Chrysler dealer yesterday for an oil change. While waiting in the waiting room, I listened to what the service advisers told other customers who had come in for the same service. Everybody needed a battery, brake job, transmission flush, and other services. They came to me and told me I needed a brake job, battery, and transmission flush. They asked if I wanted them to put a battery on it and I said no. They had already replaced the battery twice before and I wasn't falling for their shenanigans. On the way home, I stopped at Auto Zone and had the battery tested. Guess what? Battery is good. Alternator is charging. It didn't need a battery. Now, since this Jeep is used to deliver mail, I do know it more than likely needs a brake job and I only change the transmission fluid every two years. I know how to check it and do check it myself. I come from a long line of auto mechanics as my two uncles, grandfather, and mother are mechanics. I'm also a mechanic. I just don't have the tools, patience, or time to do the work myself. So after going to the dealer, the only think this Jeep is likely going to need is brake pads and to have the rotors turned. I take it to a "mom and pop" shop for just about all of the work I need done on it. They only charge $15 per rotor to turn them. And since it is used on a mail route, they have to be turned every brake job because of glazing. I'm not falling for doing unnecessary work to my vehicle just so the dealer can make money!
  • lkwdballer3lkwdballer3 Member Posts: 1
    I've been working at a dealer for quite some time now and I have to disagree with this article especially with the part that says it's not necessary to turn/resurface rotors. I have to say I work at a Toyota dealer and we recommend only what's on the owners manual and what's broken on the car. Don't get me wrong I'm sure that there are a lot of dealers and small shops that do rip people off, but then there are those that are honest about the work. It's just how the world in general works just like there's good doctors and bad doctors, same difference. Now talking about the rotors, rotors need to be cut every brake job if they're thick enough to prevent a steering wheel or vehicle shimmy. You actually save money by not having to buy new rotors every brake job, which can cost anywhere from $85.00 -$200 a pair. Customers just have to look for the right dealer or small shop.
  • jack6661jack6661 Member Posts: 1
    Times have changes a ton sense 2009. The automotive service industry understands that owners are not stupid and they know what they want and what is needed for their car. This article needs to be pulled because it makes false statements that are just totally against what auto makers and dealers do today. This is so old school its retarded. just say'in
  • bobbyboucheebobbybouchee Member Posts: 2
    I've read through all the comments thus far and here are some observations on my part.

    1. While there are many honest people working in the automotive service industry, there are also many willing to make a buck (as much as they can get away in many instances) off naive customers. To deny this is simply ridiculous as it happens in MANY different industries. To the honest people, I commend you for doing the right thing, as it will pay off in the long run with building and maintaining your business.

    2. Over the past 20 or so years, I can look back and see that I was shafted at least 3 times by different dealership service departments for overpriced repairs that were either not needed or would have been SUBSTANTIALLY more inexpensive at an independent shop.

    3. Our household has been going to an independent shop regularly for about 20 years, knowing and trusting the oldest tech for longer than that. We have known and trusted him for a long time. Few years back, a new service advisor seemed to begin advising additional services like tranny and radiator flushes, brake jobs, fuel filters, alignments, and the like, even though he clearly had access to all the service records on these vehicles. Long story short, it appears he doesnt try to "sell" me on their reccomendations as much now that he's sees me in there so often. Especially after I asked him questions like, "Didn't we just do that a couple oil changes back?".

    4. Due to time constraints over the holidays, I took my kids "starter car" - an 01 Cavalier - into a quick lube type place to get an oil change yesterday. I checked the oil level and topped off the windshield fluid with -35 rated stuff due to extreme cold weather right now. The invoice listed that every check was fine but they added windshield fluid? I can't see any resivour leaks? I watched from inside the car the entire time and didn't see that happen. When I got home, I noticed the invoice listed in the comment section that the oil was LOW when I arrived.... I just checked it and it was fine. The CSR and the tech checking fluids up top did NOT mention anything about this??? As soon as I shut off the car inside the bay, they pulled out the laminated sheet showing the upsell on the oil I should consider. Why would I consider upgrading to a synthetic on a 13 year old car, so I cut the CSR off right away and told them to stick with the basic 5w-30. One tech tugged at the 6 WEEK old wipers and asked if I was happy with them. Ummm....yeah. They pulled out the air filter that had about 5-6K miles (all on paved roads) that looked dang near like it was out of the box. Showed it to me with a new one, and when the CSR looked me in the face.... just didnt even try to sell it to me, as she knew by the look on my face to not even push it. I asked what it would run next time for that air filter. $21.99 vs. 7 bucks next door at the fleet store (for the conveinance). While I was in the bay, I watched the same CSR convince the gal next to me that she needed new wipers. I could tell the gal had no clue as she agreed to have them replaced for $30. They told her a back up light on her Suburban was out and was a critical safety issue. $10.99 for that and 2 minutes labor for the same bulb I replaced on my Chevy truck this past summer for ....$1.89 per two pack. Yes, she was paying for the service/conveinance... and the piece of mind - if you consider a back up light a major safety issue. Bottom line on this one. If you have money to blow, no resources or time to do basic maintenance to your vehicle, by all means, go to these places as they will be happy to take as much money from you as they can convince you that you need to spend!
  • bobbyboucheebobbybouchee Member Posts: 2
    ps. GO PACK GO!!!
  • bluelady2bluelady2 Member Posts: 3
    I have had many disagreement with dealer shops so when I got my low mileage Honda Accord I decided that I would just take their advice because after all, it was a Honda and shouldn't have that many problems. I was wrong. After 5 years I calculated all the repairs I had paid for and I could have bought the car again for that. It seems that every visit meant I needed to take care of something. Then 3 weeks later there would be a strange sound and it would cost me another 400 to 700 dollars. I stopped going to the dealership and found a service station that does oil changes and minor repairs. If I have a potential problem I take the car to the dealer and get a computer scan to identify the problem. I buy the parts and the service station does the repairs for me. The dealership drove me away.... they beat me up every time I went in and it took 5 years for me to give up on them.
  • winjury1winjury1 Member Posts: 1
    "Service jobs are priced according to the "flat rate" book, which has the times it takes to perform each repair or service procedure. For instance, an oil change takes 0.3 hour according to this book. The mechanics, however, try to beat these times to make more money for doing less work. Unfortunately, that incentivizes speed and overselling, which to me is the built-in problem with most service departments."

    CLEARLY the person who wrote this has no idea what he is talking about. Working flat rate is perfect for the labor rate employees because the faster you learn something/repeat, the more money you make because you can complete the tasks faster. This has NOTHING to do with doing less work, this has EVERYTHING to do with efficiency as a technician.
  • catalyst385catalyst385 Member Posts: 1
    So Phil, you were a dud service manager that got pushed out of the position because you couldn't hack it? I've worked with guys like you all over the country. Some of your points are so ridiculous, they're hardly worth refuting! You never recommend changing your diff fluid? Are you insane? That fluid is the only thing protecting your differential gears from metal on metal contact. It's subject to severe heat and stress, and of course, it oxidizes and breaks down just like engine oil, trans fluid, power steering fluid, etc... Folks, if you're reading this article as an outsider looking in, this man is not your friend. Sure, there are dealerships who sell unnecessary work, and you should always do your own research on service recommendations, but in the end, it is way, WAY cheaper to maintain your vehicle than to fix it. A trans fluid exchange ($200) done every 30k miles for 150k sounds like a lot, but the cost of a new transmission is probably closer to $3,000 or more. A differential service ($125) every 30k miles for 150k sounds like a lot, but rebuilding or replacing the component will cost you at least $3,000. If you plan to dump your car at 60k miles, then yeah, you can pass on most of this stuff. But if you plan to keep it, maintain, maintain, MAINTAIN.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I don't think I've ever had a diffy service, certainly not in the last decade or so. And I drive them forever. I just go by the owner's manual. Last car went 200k plus, current ride is at 144k.
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