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Old 06-19-2014, 06:20 AM   #21
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Not being "flip", but my first strategy is to purchase used cars rather than new - and old enough that warrantee is not an issue. I've had reasonable "luck" with dependability (keep your AAA or similar up to date - just in case.) For the loss one takes just driving a new car off the dealer lot, one can replace almost anything (even an engine or transmission) on most used cars. There are strategies for finding "good" used cars that are beyond the scope of this discussion. Suffice to say, most Hondas and Toyotas with less than 75,000 miles on them are good for another 100,000 miles with normal maintenance and repairs.

Second, I use an independent service garage for all my maintenance and repairs. Even the last time I did buy a new car (23 years ago) I used independent shops and kept the records. I simply handed them the "book" and told them to do only required stuff. One time, my independent shop failed to follow the book (inspect brakes at 10,000 miles - a peculiarity on the '82 Honda station wagon) and the brakes destroyed the rotors. The independent shop did the brake job for free since they admitted it was their fault. Most "dealer" shops would have hidden that fact and simply charged full ride for the repairs and extra damage.

Finding a good independent shop is a whole other topic. Having said that, I'm guessing it's easier than finding a good dealer shop. Of course, YMMV.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:57 AM   #22
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the people that write your service tickets and try to sell you the extra services work on commission so it is expected the will sell you whatever they think they can scare you into buying. I just do oil changes at the dealer and know that if you go somewhere else that is certified for work and keep the receipts the warranty will still be honored. the shop supply charge and another that espescially irsk me are the documentation fees when you purchase a car from a dealer. pretty soon everyone will want to charge you if you get a reciept of any kind or even for doing the paperwork behind the scenes.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:56 AM   #23
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I have all service done at an independent shop and keep the invoices to prove it was done. The only services I have done are the ones in the owner's manual and at the manufacturer's recommended intervals. The only time I take a car back to the dealer is under warranty.

Re shop fees, even my trusted local independent shop has an environmental disposal fee for an oil change. But if you change your own oil, they will take your dirty oil for free as they can sell it - along with all the oil they collect from doing oil changes.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:37 AM   #24
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I will only go to a dealership on a recall item. Most dealerships are run by pirates.
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I change my own oil and keep receipts of oil purchase, just in case. I buy new and run them into the ground. It has never been a problem or a question about it. Must be about 6 cars that I have owned. If I have work done under warranty, no one ever asks about the maintenance record.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:47 AM   #25
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I normally do minor service items myself. Yesterday I had my car in for an oil change and knew one of my turn signal bulbs had burned out so I had them change that too. Never again, they charged $8.25 for the bulb and $15.00 labor to replace it. I could have gotten the bulb at Napa for a couple of dollars.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:47 AM   #26
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Caveat emptor. There are bad/good dealerships, franchises, and independents. I use a decent dealership for warranty, recalls, and safety issues(airbags). We do all the required work during warranty, most of it after warranty, not at the dealership unless it's convenient.

We had a dealership that was a total ripoff, most of their work was defective. I was happy when during the recession they were shut down. Franchises, the local tire place is a total ripoff, if you let them. Free tire rotation is an invitation to get told lies. Last time they told me my 1 year old battery was not holding a charge any more. Funny, 3 years later it's still fine.

The extra service charges are a fact of life anymore. As far as markup on parts, the list price is what you pay. Yes you can buy it cheaper if you do the work. Large volume means dealerships can get better discounts than an independent. I should qualify that statement, thats how it worked way back when I worked delivering parts as a kid. That was an enjoyable year, didn't pay anything, but a lot of fun.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:50 AM   #27
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I will only go to a dealership on a recall item. Most dealerships are run by pirates.
Ha ha ha. Another heeyy_joe quip, and this one is right on. "pirates" is a perfect term. And why I don't even want to mention the make, I mean there is an element of fear with the way these guys act. I got a call from these guys yesterday brow-beating me to give them some +5 on a survey or something. I'm done with them. He said: "see you in three months". I said, "sure." But I won't ever be back.

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Originally Posted by rbmrtn View Post
I do my own, short of something like replacing the transmission. I follow the schedule in the owners manual, but really there is not much to it on vehicles these days, change oil, filters, check fluid levels... other than that they don't require much. The stuff that breaks is usually the fancy electronics and that is not a service schedule anyway.
Hence why they squeeze so hard. Reduced maintenance needs and improved reliability is taking a big bite out their cash flow. I don't completely blame them, but a little honesty would go a long way for me. They'd have me for life if they weren't such pirates.

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We have learned the hard way to ask for factory recommended service only for major services and price shop.
I did this, and the service pirate said: "Doesn't matter, I'm going to charge you the same anyway." B*lls.

I was an idiot for accepting it. I should have walked right out and gone to my favorite independent. Next car, I'm not even going to walk in unless I have to for warranty or recall work.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:39 AM   #28
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Ha ha ha. Another heeyy_joe quip, and this one is right on. "pirates" is a perfect term. And why I don't even want to mention the make, I mean there is an element of fear with the way these guys act.
Is it fair to paint all dealers/makes with the same brush? Again, I think it might be more helpful to at least name the make, you don't really think the dealership is reading your posts here. And even if they were, you're not going back to them anyway.

My local dealers offer and try to sell me on their padded service packages and intervals, but they will take NO for an answer, it's not that hard. I consider the service I've gotten from our local Honda and Toyota dealers to be very good, and competitively priced (for what I let them do, only what the manual specifies that I can't do myself). Another POV.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:41 AM   #29
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The slang term "stealership" exists for a reason.......

While I do not trypically buy new cars, I only go to stealership for warranty work. I do all my own regular maintenance and repairs.

I agree your shop supply charge is simply a hidden way to increase profits at your expense.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:52 AM   #30
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Ijust got 3 years of free maintenance with the car I just bought......and, the dealer has a sign up that says, "if you can get it done for less, comparable parts and service", we'll refund you the difference. Jiffy Lube charged me more and tried to sell me winshield wipers when they still worked like brand new. I guess it depends on the brand, the dealer and getting done what you need done. The worst are the high end import dealers, like BMW and Mercedes, the best are the Ford and GM dealers. Don't know about the asian imports. But, call and ask the price or ask the price before the work is done.....if you don't like it leave!
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:27 AM   #31
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@Midpack, I don't believe the make matters. I'll come clean, one Ford dealership was wortless. Another Ford dealership, as good of service as any dealership.

How do I know?, The first one piddled with a new Escape, never fixing or admitting what the problem was. They did vacuum it the 6 times we took it in. The vehicle was purchased there, they never mentioned lemon laws, even when asked. The second Ford dealership, reviewed the same vehicle said it was unfixable(design flaw). They immeditely told us the vehicle could qualify as a lemon.They walked us through the entire dispute process. Ford stood behind their product, gave us every dime back.

So my belief is you have to review each shop on its own merits.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:46 AM   #32
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@Midpack, I don't believe the make matters. I'll come clean, one Ford dealership was wortless. Another Ford dealership, as good of service as any dealership.
Here's a broader data based source that says make does matter. And it appears there are worse industries for service than auto dealers, like wireless providers, airlines, internet providers and especially TV content providers - seems like there have been rants about every industry here and elsewhere.

Good thing the customer is always right

http://experiencematters.wordpress.c...ience-ratings/
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File Type: png autodealersa.png (131.2 KB, 26 views)
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:49 AM   #33
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My favorite independent shop has always charged for shop supplies around $4.- for ever. Their hourly rate is very reasonable. I have them do stuff I don't feel like messing with or don't have the tools or equipment for.

They do good work, only what is needed when it is needed. Many times stuff they said was needed, I do the work then have them check it. Example: Ball joint replacement. Then I have them do an alignment.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:20 AM   #34
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Is it fair to paint all dealers/makes with the same brush? Again, I think it might be more helpful to at least name the make, you don't really think the dealership is reading your posts here. And even if they were, you're not going back to them anyway.

My local dealers offer and try to sell me on their padded service packages and intervals, but they will take NO for an answer, it's not that hard. I consider the service I've gotten from our local Honda and Toyota dealers to be very good, and competitively priced (for what I let them do, only what the manual specifies that I can't do myself). Another POV.
OK, OK, no, I do not intend to paint with a broad brush. Some dealers are great! Years ago I owned a Saturn and my dealer was an awesome straight shooter.

Heck, even this dealership I speak of was previously awesome. No hidden charges. Out the door price for oil changes posted. But about 3 years ago they had an ownership or management change and things have gone downhill. And their service pi-er-writers retired or quit, so there is a new group of them in town. And now they've gone to a charge detailing along with % based shop fees, so you never know the price.

Apparently their way of keeping in good graces with the Brand and Make is to brow beat us with reminder* calls about the survey.

Sorry, it all stinks.

If you have a dealer or independent that you love -- even with shop fees -- that's great. Just beware of changes. Sometimes the new owners won't carry the vision forward.

--

* "Reminder" means that they say if you can't say "super, super, satisfied", let us know so we can talk and make it right!

Tried that once and instead just got into an argument about how stupid my perceptions were. No thanks.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:21 AM   #35
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I mentioned in another thread that my dealer rep tried to up-sell me a four-wheel alignment for $130. This on a car with 25k miles, and no uneven tread wear or steering issues.

I do not trust a dealership or independent shop that knowingly tries to "steal" from their customers. A less knowledgeable customer would have been stuck with a needless $130 charge.

So, for no gain on their part, they permanently lost a customer, either for service, or my next car.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:50 PM   #36
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I normally do minor service items myself. Yesterday I had my car in for an oil change and knew one of my turn signal bulbs had burned out so I had them change that too. Never again, they charged $8.25 for the bulb and $15.00 labor to replace it. I could have gotten the bulb at Napa for a couple of dollars.
Was it one of those that is especially difficult to get to? A friend who owns a Pius tells me that to change a headlight bulb he had to take the bumper and fender off!

Whatever engineer designed that should be taken out and shot.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:14 PM   #37
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Was it one of those that is especially difficult to get to? A friend who owns a Pius tells me that to change a headlight bulb he had to take the bumper and fender off!

Whatever engineer designed that should be taken out and shot.
Just today had the headlight bulb in my 2011 GMC Sierra pickup changed. $65 at dealership. I tried to change it myself yesterday and gave up after 45 minutes and still wasn't any closer to getting the old one out than I was when I started. This is right up there with the proprietary tool scam dealers use that aren't available to independent garages.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:17 PM   #38
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When picking an auto service place there are plenty of factors along side cost.

Trustworthiness, competence, timeliness, proximity, courtesy along with others that I'm sure I left out.

The dealer for my previous care acted like they were doing me a favor to see me so I really didn't care for that. A former place I brought my care to had the approach to just take their word as they were the experts, which didn't feel right either.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:25 PM   #39
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This is right up there with the proprietary tool scam dealers use that aren't available to independent garages.
As I understand it the scam is perpetuated on the dealers by the manufacturers. The dealers have to buy those tools at outrageous prices. Independents are free to develop workarounds or simply say "we don't do that". A salesman told me that his dealership did not sell one model of Cadillac because they would have had to spend about a million on the specialized diagnostic equipment for it.

Another one is parts. I can buy GM parts from gmpartsdirect.com cheaper than an independent shop can. The independent shop has to pay full list price.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:39 PM   #40
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As I understand it the scam is perpetuated on the dealers by the manufacturers. The dealers have to buy those tools at outrageous prices.
I bet you were told that by a dealer or their employee.

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A salesman told me ...
A-ha! I thought so. (Just kidding you Walt).

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I find it hard to believe that dealers would be unhappy to be the only place an owner could go for service to their specific brand of vehicle. I'd imagine they could recoup exorbitant tool / diagnostic equipment costs rather quickly through exorbitant repair / diagnostic charges.
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