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Road Trip Oil Change Proves Puzzling - 2015 Dodge Viper GT Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited August 2015 in Dodge
imageRoad Trip Oil Change Proves Puzzling - 2015 Dodge Viper GT Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds gets a mid-road trip oil change performed on its long-term 2015 Dodge Viper GT during a 3,124-mile road trip from North Carolina to California.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • Hahaha, yeah, um... why don't I just go ahead and take the Viper home and do an oil change later with someone that isn't totally incompetent...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Looking for the engine?
  • Granted they probably don't see too many Vipers in their neck of the woods (if any), but a "factory trained technician" should know that the Viper is a FR setup, not a MR.
  • nate001nate001 Posts: 102
    put up on the lift and it should be obvious where the engine is. Has Dodge ever made a rear engine car?

    Also, it looks like the shape of the oil pan and the location of the drain plug stop the oil and any debris draining completely.
  • Wow. Just, wow.
  • metalmaniametalmania Posts: 167
    Wow. So the gigantic hood on the car wasn't a clue? What did he think it was, the biggest "frunk" in sports car history?
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,809
    You did check they oil when he was done, right?
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Posts: 580
    edited August 2015

    .... but a "factory trained technician" should know...

    I don't think most places have trained technicians do oil changes. I've seen the people that bring the cars around for you when they are done get promoted to oil change 'tech'.

    It is the irony of a dealership oil change. Often they aren't with the actual factory branded oil; which isn't a big deal as long as it is quality oil but most people think if they go to a Honda dealer they are getting Honda oil. And the people aren't anymore trained than any other oil change guy. Basically what you are getting are levels of management above them that you can yell at if there is an issue and hopefully a discounted price to get you in the door.

  • This is why I do basic maintenance myself. I'm not skilled when it comes to mechanical things, but I do my research ahead of time and know the recommended fluids and techniques from the community at large. This incompetence is fine for an oil change, but more complicated service might wind up with major damage. For instance, the 3rd generation Miata has a bolt near the transmission fluid fill port that if removed will cause very expensive damage to the car.

    I mean, can you even GET to the engine from the trunk in mid engine cars? I thought you had to go about from below.

  • I don't think most places have trained technicians do oil changes.

    If this was a Dart or Caravan, I'd completely agree with you. Low man on the totem pole (read: least knowledgeable, lowest paid) gets stuck doing the LOFs. However, when a $103k Viper pulls in the service lane, the head tech should be the one doing the oil change. He (typically) has the most training/experience and is the least likely to attempt something stupid with the customer's vehicle. Maybe it's a waste of his time but it's a good way for the dealer to CYA.

  • meng_maomeng_mao Posts: 24
    edited August 2015
    To open the hatch, you can also click the fob with one hand and pull the lid with the other. I've been anal about getting the ducktail spoiler all greased up, so that's how I've been doing it -- putting my fingers on the Viper-badged third light and avoiding the paint.
  • reminderreminder Posts: 383
    My response would've been: "Want to buy our Hugo?"
    What a nitwit.
  • Probably didn't realise you could see him and he was on a fishing trip to see what he could steal. Yes, I have a nasty suspicious mind.
  • nate001nate001 Posts: 102

    Probably didn't realise you could see him and he was on a fishing trip to see what he could steal. Yes, I have a nasty suspicious mind.

    I thought the same thing... expensive car on a road trip. sounds like he was checking what in the trunk.After that I would be watching from the side until the service was complete.
  • I would have told them to give me my keys. Peace.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,992
    Some of the responses are correct, you don't get a master technician assigned to the car when you go in "for an oil change". That's part of the cost of everyone catering to the quick lube mentality. Meanwhile, the mistakes like this that the newbies make instead of getting to be a teaching moment usually work to simply turn over employees who at best manage to repeat the same mistakes.

    Meanwhile there are dozens of independent shops in Utah, that have highly skilled techs who would have had no trouble servicing this.
  • s197gts197gt Posts: 485
    service manager should have comped your bill right there.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited August 2015
    What's your theory on why the "tech" tried to open the trunk, @thecardoc3?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,992
    A legitimate reason for a tech to have to access the trunk would be part of the process to lubricate the locks and hinges as is possible/required but that clearly wasn't the reason the tech tried to open the trunk because that would have been an easy response for the tech to provide. Anything else is a guess and as silly as believing the Viper was a mid engine design might seem that cannot be ruled out. This response "put up on the lift and it should be obvious where the engine is" exposes the same kind of inexperience as the tech clearly demonstrated. Someone who puts the car in the air first, which implies they would then drain the oil before the hood gets opened deserves his/her fate when they get the car back down only to then discover a hood that doesn't open. (We can leave the rest of the pre-drain checks that should be performed for another thread)

    So is he a thief? That can't be ruled out either. How many times have you seen stories where the attempt to rehabilitate some misguided youth included sending them to school to try to become a technician? As noble of a plan as that may be along with the occasional success story it has created the obvious problem, and that is it can put people into the bays that we as a trade and you as a consumer don't want there.

    How many times have I written that we can't attract the people that we really need, and when we do manage to draw someone that has the potential to become that master technician that you need us to have the odds are against them staying in the trade long enough to do so? The quick lube trend also takes what was once a position directly supervised by senior technicians and turned it into little more than a dead end job. Even with a problem like this one occurring you are not going to see management and owners of dealers and quick lubes change their business plans unless the consumer forces them to. FWIW, I did a quick check and there was an independent in Richland who was ready to service this vehicle, with the correct oil and filter in stock.
  • nate001nate001 Posts: 102
    edited August 2015

    This response "put up on the lift and it should be obvious where the engine is" exposes the same kind of inexperience as the tech clearly demonstrated.

    Nope, no inexperience here. I do maintenance on my cars myself. (making sure that the hood and oil cap are open before draining oil, among other things). he has an electric lift he could: lift car, find drain plug, find filter, lower car, find hood release, remove oil fill cap, then proceed with oil change.
    The hood release is grill in front of the drivers door on this car, maybe that is what got him looking for the engine when he could not find the hood release inside.
    It looks like the Vipers had the hood release on the outside as well, in the last generation it was in the front grill. http://www.edmunds.com/dodge/viper/2009/long-term-road-test/2009-dodge-viper-srt-10-opening-the-hood-old-school.html
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,992
    nate001 said:

    Nope, no inexperience here. I do maintenance on my cars myself. (making sure that the hood and oil cap are open before draining oil, among other things).

    Which proves what exactly?
    nate001 said:


    he has an electric lift he could: lift car, find drain plug, find filter, lower car, find hood release, remove oil fill cap, then proceed with oil change.

    Do you really think that this looks any different from the tech deciding to try and open the trunk first if he genuinely didn't know? If the tech comes across a rear engine vehicle and opens the "hood" (or "frunk" VBG) first because he didn't know then he is going to experience the same ridicule as one ready to open the trunk on this Viper. IMO, having to lift the car to look first would reveal someone else to be just as incompetent on a given vehicle. Meanwhile that "inexperienced" technician may have done hundreds more basic service routines than you have and have many times more overall experience. There is only one thing that this article really proves and that is there is always going to be something that you have never seen before, whether you have done this job for four days, or forty years and anybody who thinks they know it all probably shouldn't be trusted to do anything unsupervised.

  • henry4hirehenry4hire Posts: 106
    I would have fired that dude on the spot if I were that manager.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,992
    Which of course is why NOBODY should even consider a career as a technician.
  • rysterryster Posts: 570
    edited August 2015
    Edmunds has had quite an unrealistic approach to servicing vehicles lately. With the Chevy Colorado they show up unannounced to a dealer because they had service that "needed to be done that day", and then with this Viper they show up 30 minutes before closing to a dealer they will never go to again. You are asking the service manager and service tech to stay late to get this done for you. The Viper has 11 quarts of oil in it, which takes longer to properly drain than a standard vehicle. Googling Dodge Dealers in St. George Utah yields one result, and that result has a 5 star rating after 49 reviews. I would guess your experience has more to do with the circumstances of your visit than it does the overall quality of service provided at this dealership.

    Usually, car owners will get cars serviced in preparation for a road trip and especially if you know you are going to hit a service interval during the trip. It is one less thing to worry about. I know of no one that plans a road trip, and then just gets up that morning, loads up the car, and heads out. That's just asking for trouble.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    No comment. ;)
  • @ryster, I didn't show up unannounced at the dealer. The oil change in St. George was scheduled ahead of time - they were expecting us when we arrived that afternoon. Nor did anyone at the dealer stay late on our account. In any case, none the circumstances of our arrival at the dealer are relevant to the fact that the technician didn't know where the engine was located in a Viper.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,992
    jkavanagh said:

    @ryster, In any case, none the circumstances of our arrival at the dealer are relevant to the fact that the technician didn't know where the engine was located in a Viper.

    If this is the case and you knew that it wasn't an issue with the technicians honesty, and it was solely an experience/training issue, why were some of the comments in the previous responses allowed to stand? Was it intentional to allow room for some to make that judgment? What purpose was being served by letting such a perspective play out in the thread?

    It would be fitting for this novice to really be the kind of prospect that he could actually be the master technician that the consumer needs in the bays in the future, only too see him walk away from the trade long before he ever gets there and have this story be one of the main reasons that he does. JMHO

  • nate001nate001 Posts: 102
    It seem like from the discussion that a lack of training/inexperience is at fault. If that is the case then it can be easily corrected, Since this is dodge's halo car most of the techs do not have experience with them. knowing that $100,000 car is coming in, a review of the service manual for this car would have been prudent, this would let him know the drain plug location, hood release location, oil weight and quantity.

    I have been taught that rather then proceeding blindly and causing damage to the companies reputation or to the Car, then consult the resources that are available: Coworkers, the service manual, Google, etc. being able to work independently is what makes a good employee and will lead to advancement then next time he will be confident on the correct way to service this car. I hope that if he or the dealer is reading this he they use it a learning experience rather then quitting and giving up.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,992
    nate001 said:

    It seem like from the discussion that a lack of training/inexperience is at fault. If that is the case then it can be easily corrected,

    It can be corrected, but it isn't going to be easy.
    nate001 said:


    Since this is dodge's halo car most of the techs do not have experience with them. knowing that $100,000 car is coming in, a review of the service manual for this car would have been prudent, this would let him know the drain plug location, hood release location, oil weight and quantity.

    "You don't know what you don't know" is a statement that applies here. Nobody is going to stop and do that kind of research until they discover that they need that information. In an auto technicians world, the need to be productive or be sent down the road would have the tech dealing with several cars simultaneously right up until this next one showed up. It would only be at that point in time that the need to slow down and do some research would be indicated.

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