Do you trust your dealership for repairs?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ApplePersonFreak, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. ApplePersonFreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2016
    I've been taking my car to the dealership for oil changes, it's cheaper than going to Tire Kingdom or those sorts of places. I drive a Honda, so the last time I took it there I was told that the next time I came to get an oil change it'd be time for a 30,000 mile 3 point inspection. Turns out, it's going to cost $410. Is that a bit too much for that?! If it were around $1-200 I'd probably settle for it, but that's a bit much.

    Last time I came, they told me that my transmission fluid was leaking and that it'd cost $135 to fix that, and that my battery was failing so I'd need a new one. Took my car to two places to get my battery tested and it came back passed both times and those people told me they were trying to get my money by telling me I needed all those repairs.

    So the next time I go, should I decline the inspection, or is it actually necessary?

    FYI, I'm a female so that could be why they're trying to get me to pay for all the extra stuff..
  2. Plutonius, Mar 11, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017

    Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    I trust my dealership to do the repairs / maintenance correctly.

    I also trust my dealership will try to get me to spend on repairs that aren't needed yet.

    Dealerships also use predetermined book prices for everything. In the book, it tells them how long it will take and much to charge for a tune up / repair for the specific car they are looking at. The price of $410 is not unreasonable at a dealership. It always pays though to call around (phone) to different dealerships and find out what they charge.

    On your car, I would get the transmission leak fixed (I assuming you can see the fluid leaking out). I would not worry about the battery until you start experiencing problems. I'm sure the dealership went by the age of the battery / mileage on the car in making the recommendation.

    I usually go to an independent garage for repairs on my car after the warranty runs out. I find it's much cheaper and it works out better when you and the mechanic know each other.

    Depending on your transmission, VW will charge you around $800 for a 40K service.
  3. ApplePersonFreak thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2016
    I don't see anything leaking out, if it does, it's at the bottom, right? and that is good to know about dealerships. Thanks for the info.
  4. Septembersrain Contributor


    Dec 14, 2013
    Yes but I have an extended warranty so I feel that having all my paperwork and maintenance from there would work in my favor if anything big happened.
  5. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    A dealership has substantial overheads to pay to keep the lights on before they even turn in a profit. That's why when you go to one then you leave with an empty bank account. Ask around your neighborhood in female owned businesses where they get their car serviced by an independent garage. Find an independent one you can trust who has a reputation. You can often spot them from the road too as they have soccer mom minivans in the bays.
  6. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    I never buy the extended warranties unless they come with the car. As with any type of insurance, they are only offering it because they are paying out less then they receive in premiums (i.e. on average, you are paying more for it then you receive in benefits).
  7. JamesMike macrumors demi-god


    Nov 3, 2014
    I would do an internet search for vehicle repair shops in your area and check their ratings. I would also look for classes on vehicle maintenance for beginners, it would help you in better understanding what is needed.
  8. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    You might see some transmission fluid under your car.

    If you saw no evidence of a leak and they gave you the wrong advice on your battery, I would probably look to get a second opinion. As other have said, there is a lot of material on the internet including youtube videos where you can quickly come up to speed on transmission leaks on your vehicle.
  9. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    I use my dealer for oil changes, they give me a limited lifetime warranty on the engine (maybe entire power train) if I get regular maintenance done there. I don't follow the "30,000 mile service" packages though. When I was due for that, it turned out that the only thing besides oil change and tire rotation that needed to be done was diff fluids as I had done the air filters already. Most of what is "done" on those is stuff they do anyway, and the air filter replacement is a joke. If they ever come out to me with an air filter and suggest it needs to be replaced to the tune of $50, I plan to ask how much of that is labor and ask for the labor to be credited as they're doing the labor anyway, even if I DON'T have them change it (how did they get the filter out to show me, and they plan on putting it back, right?).

    My dealer has been inconsistent in suggesting service though. Last August they told me I was close to needing front brakes, but the previous December they were near 50%. I went back for another oil change in January this year and their "check" of the brakes had them in the good range. Either they didn't check in January or the measurement they did in Aug. was off. The original front brakes have lasted 65,000 miles, I'm due soon anyway...

    I found a non-dealer shop that saved me 10% on the cost of a brake job and offered a warranty that was double the dealer.
  10. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a


    Sep 25, 2016
    You have to be careful wherever you go and question everything. One time I took our car to the dealer because a friend is the service manager there. His service advisor calls me the day after we left the car there (they gave us a rental) to say:
    • the car was out of inspection by a long shot. I asked him what date was on the sticker. He said 12/17. I waited for him to realize what he'd done. Had I just said "wow, okay do an inspection" they would have done it. This was in February '17 by the way. We had 10 months left.
    • the transmission needed to be serviced as it was a little beyond the 30K recommended service. I've seen 60K in the past be knew this one called for it at about 120K. We spent some time on the phone while I looked it up on the internet and he looked in his books. Couldn't find a 30K recommendation anywhere and all he could say is it's what the mechanic printed out. Yeah, no.
    • Fuel system needed "cleaning". Yeah - they always ask for this one. With the detergents in our fuel, I'll wait until we have a real reason to do this.
    I also had my other vehicle serviced right after that one. Window regulators went out the front two doors. To replace, they have to remove the door panels. When they put them back, they forgot to attach and check that the door handle worked on one of the doors. Had to go back.

    The only thing I paid for both cars was my $100 deductible for my extended service plan. The window regulators alone would have been $700 - $800 to replace (2 of them). Total repairs were very close to what I paid for the extended warranty. I always get them. Chances are, I'm going to find something expensive to repair. And I don't pay full asking price.
  11. Septembersrain Contributor


    Dec 14, 2013
    I felt that way until I was thrown under the bus with a Kia dealership saying if I'd had the extended warranty it would have covered my transmission. I can't afford to even buy one myself and do the work as I don't want a rebuild (really bad experiences with rebuilt transmissions, engine rebuilds have been okay for me). Now the car is sitting as a dead weight out in a barn.

    They gave me a good deal with my Toyota and it's giving me piece of mind.

    To each their own I suppose.
  12. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Surprised to hear of an auto dealer with cheaper oil changes than a tire store type of place. I've always found the dealers to be more expensive for everything. That being said, one time I had an oil change at a muffler shop, and they missed the fact that antifreeze was mixing in with the oil. Next time that I went back to my regular mechanic, they spotted it and told me to take it to the dealer because it was an known issue, and the manufacturer would pay the dealer for the repairs. I did that, and even got them to pick up the tab for a rental car.

    I'd say that you don't need to pay $400 for a check-up. Ask for a list of what they check, take that list to an independent mechanic and ask what they would charge to check everything on the list. I bet it will be much, much cheaper.
  13. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    Yes I trust my dealer and no I wouldn't take the car there for every repair
  14. ALLROADINGB9 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2017
    The Audi dealer I go to is a expensive but the level of service and quality is impeccable. I don't mind paying more for peace of mind.
  15. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Is your B9 Allroad in the car photos thread yet?
  16. ALLROADINGB9 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2017
    No I didn't know there's one[​IMG]

    Prestige with all the goodies like DAP and sports package etc... Loving how rare these cars are. The mix of the DSG, launch control and the new EA888 engine makes for a fun driving experience to say the least.
  17. an-other macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
    Another thought: If your car is newer, especially a new model, it's in your best interests to take it to the dealership. I brought my car to the dealer "by the book" for service maintenance and the transmission failed. A four figure repair. Contacted the regional service representative, and it was fixed gratis. The representative commented that my service record was a key factor.

    About 2 years later the car had a service bulletin issued, and the car had the same repair done under warranty for life. I'm sure trying to get reimbursement for what I had spent would've likely been a major hassle.

    I will note there are really good car dealerships. They do fair work for a fair price. You pay a slight premium for their expertise. (And, check their website for coupons.) If you feel you're being ripped off by your current dealership, go to another one...
  18. BernyMac macrumors regular


    May 18, 2015
    if you do have an extended warranty, that leaking transmission should be covered under that warranty.
  19. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    I had a recent bad experience with one of our local dealerships.

    Let me start by saying I have a good friend who is a mechanic and he does almost all of our work. However, there are times when he feels something is beyond him or requires specific knowledge from that manufacturer and he will recommend that we go to a dealer for that one issue. So, that is what happened recently after our vehicle repeatedly died while my wife was driving it. The engine light popped two codes, one for a spark plug misfire and a second for the cam shaft sensor. My friend read the codes and began to check on the cam shaft sensor because we had run into that problem about a year ago. With his travel tool kit he didn't have the right tools to fully remove the cam shaft sensor, but based on our history with that engine code and all that is involved with that specific repair he suggested we go to the dealer.

    I took the vehicle to the dealer and reported everything to them. The codes had been cleared by my mechanic friend so they couldn't actually see them, but I had written them down and described everything. They said they would fully check it out and let me know what they recommended. Now, keep in mind, the dealer charges a $115 "diagnostic fee", but will waive the fee if you authorize any needed repairs. It took them 3 days before they could even look at the car and when they called me they said they couldn't replicate the problem or get the engine codes to come "back on". They could feel the misfire in the engine and so they recommended changing all the plugs, wires, and coils, and doing an "induction cleaning" to remove any buildup in the system. The price for all of this work would be around $850.

    I told them I was very worried about the fact that they failed to mention the cam shaft sensor as that was my primary concern. "Well, we can't get that engine code to come back on so there's nothing we can do" is what I was told. I asked the service manager if the mechanic/technician had inspected the part. My personal mechanic friend had told me that at times the sensor can develop a crack or sometimes the part that connects to the sensor on the underside will wear out and not make the appropriate connection. He said you won't really know exactly what is wrong until you take those parts off and truly inspect everything. The service manager's response to me was "we don't do that." You don't do what, exactly, I asked? He said, if I wanted them to actually look at the parts to see if they are faulty then I would have to pay the labor charge ($135/hour) for them to take them off and inspect them. What!?! I told him that's what I thought I was paying the diagnostic fee for; so they could actually diagnose the actual problem with the vehicle. "No sir, the diagnostic fee is for us to read the check engine light and follow the steps from there based on the recommended service or problem". I explained calmly that he and I had very different definitions of the word diagnose and that if I was paying for them to tell me what was wrong with my vehicle that I expected that would mean they might have to actually check a few things out on it.

    In the end, they waived the diagnostic fee and I picked up the car without having any work done. Another friend, not a mechanic, but knowledgeable about cars, and I worked together to change the spark plugs and wires on our own. My cost was about $75 for parts. When my usual mechanic friend is available, had an unfortunate death in the family, he is going to do the induction cleaning. We are just going to keep an eye on the cam shaft sensor and see if that engine code pops again. Two of the six spark plugs were really bad/worn and so the vehicle is running much better. It has not died, since we did the "tune up" ourselves and my wife actually drove it over 600 miles on a road trip this past weekend.

    Sorry about the long story, but to me it highlights a real problem with the kind of work that is being done by the local dealership where I took our car. Troubleshooting is essential to quality diagnosis and repair and is a primary part of good customer service. I am blessed to have knowledgeable car people in my life who are willing to help me out in situations like this. For the OP, I would encourage talking to friends to see if you can find someone/anyone who might be able to go with you or give you some local support.
  20. mripadmini macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2013
    yes always. i try to avoid taking it to a large corporate chains. the smaller family ones are way better and theirs no lists of thing they you "need" done.
  21. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    I avoid the dealer as soon as I'm out of warranty. I'm lucky to have found a great small shop that does work for half the price the dealer charges and I do simple maintenance like plugs and filters myself. It's kind of fun.

    As far as extended warranties, it's a sucker's bet. Sure, there are isolated cases where they pay off, but in the long run, you're way ahead by avoiding extended warranties altogether. (including iPhones and Macs)
  22. Zenithal macrumors G3

    Sep 10, 2009
    Yes, extended warranties are purchased, too. Most manufacturers let you submit paperwork to transfer the warranties to the 2nd owner, as well. It's a huge plus when selling PP.
  23. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    I always do an inspection, after all that tells u what's wrong, at least you get a quote first, otherwise u know some of the dealers, even well known Automotive repairs, they never contact u before any "extra" work is to be done... Then your surprised that its higher than what you expected it.

    There's probably allot of 'genuine or non-genuine', 'how long will it last before its back in there again?' type questions thrown in there too.

    Even trusted repairs can do shoddy stuff as well... I've had issues with the RAC a few times.

    I don't think the dealer would look at my 1993 car anymore.
  24. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Generally I trust the dealerships but like anything, past experience helps with my decisions. If I got to a dealer and they offer some questionable recommendations or over charge me in some way, I'll not return. Most now a days seem pretty upright and honest, perhaps because of the competition.
  25. bunnspecial macrumors 604


    May 3, 2014
    Just like everything, there are good and bad dealerships.

    Now that my main car is over 150,000 miles, the only thing they see it for is a transmission fluid change every 30,000-40,000 miles. They have the equipment to do it right(not a simple drain and fill) and I know that they will use the correct spec OEM fluid.

    I can't fathom paying anyone to do an oil change, but that's just me. I still usually go to the dealer to buy a filter(actually, I use Motorcraft filters on everything, but I can usually only get the one for my DD at the dealer or online) but $35 of Mobil 1 + $8 for a filter and a little bit of my time is a no brainer. I enjoy it also.

    I go to the dealer ship for some other parts also. I'm in need of a serpentine belt, as my 2 year old NAPA Carter belt has started squeaking and chattering. That's in contrast to the factory one, which lasted 11 years(admittedly it should have been changed sooner). If a $50 Motorcraft belt lasts longer than the $35 Carter belt, I know which one I want. At the same time, I also need a coolant overflow reservoir, and I'm perfectly content for a $90 NAPA replacement vs. a nearly $300 Motorcraft one.

    I have a good independent mechanic for stuff I don't want to do myself.

    The only time my regular dealer has made me question their service practices was when they told me I was "due" for a $60 thottle body cleaning at some mileage(maybe 90,000 or so). I looked up the procedure in the service manual, and it involved having someone press the gas pedal to actuate the throttle butterfly(electronic throttle body) while someone else sprayed a cleaner into the body and wiped it out. I pulled the air intake pipe off, grabbed a can of carburetor cleaner and a rag, had my dad press the gas pedal, and got it nice and clean. It DID seem to make a difference in performance(maybe in my head) and I've started doing it annually. One I saw that it was a 15 minute job for me(and probably 10 or less for someone factory trained) I couldn't believe how much they wanted for it.

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