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Do you trust auto service personnel ?
Old 11-27-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
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Do you trust auto service personnel ?

I took my car in for an oil change & of course they told me I needed additional items but they also told that to almost everyone in the waiting room . What are the odds of that being true ? How do you know the dirty filter or bad part is even yours ?Am I just skeptical or are they rip off specialists?
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:39 PM   #2
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I took my car in for an oil change & of course they told me I needed additional items but they also told that to almost everyone in the waiting room . What are the odds of that being true ? How do you know the dirty filter or bad part is even yours ?Am I just skeptical or are they rip off specialists?
If this is a mechanic you picked after getting some recs, and you take your car to him regularly, very very likely you can trust him

If this is some franchised oil change place, maybe, maybe not.

Ha
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:43 PM   #3
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Some (many) oil change franchises are "upsell focused" and try to convince every customer they need additional services. Use with caution.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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Some (many) oil change franchises are "upsell focused" and try to convince every customer they need additional services. Use with caution.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:52 PM   #5
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I think it really is a shop by shop basis. One reason I left the auto service place I used to go to is, like the OP, each time I brought my car for an oil change, the shop would say, the car needs more work. Am not a car guy, so don't know if the shop was churning business or just looking out for me.

The place I bring it too I have the feeling that they don't tack on extra uneeded work. In fact, they sometimes do less repairs than expected. For example, about a year ago, I brought my car in to check the A/C. They pretty much tried to talk me out of repairing the A/C saying, it'll cost a lot and you have an old car. When I needed new tires, they were only going to sell me two at a time, but I prefered to just get all four brand new.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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If this is a mechanic you picked after getting some recs, and you take your car to him regularly, very very likely you can trust him

If this is some franchised oil change place, maybe, maybe not.

Ha
This was the local Honda service center . There were at least twenty people in the waiting area & I only saw one leave without additional charges.The last time I was there almost everybody needed tires . What is the chance of that being true ? Plus this is in Florida so a lot of the customers are older single women .
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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This was the local Honda service center . There were at least twenty people in the waiting area & I only saw one leave without additional charges.The last time I was there almost everybody needed tires . What is the chance of that being true ?
Not good. I'd consider looking for another Honda dealer or an independent mechanic.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:06 PM   #8
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I guess it depends on what else they were recommending. I do most things, short of engine rebuild or transmission replacement, myself. Check your maintenance schedule, most modern cars really only need their normal maintenance. The dealer is a little better about not upselling stuff but they charge more to start with. The quick lube place are usually the worst. Here's video, few years old on a jiffy lube scam...



Sometimes the local "mom & pop" repair shop is the best. Had a guy just had a shop in is backyard, he could just listen to the engine run and tell you what was wrong with it. Don't find many of those around anymore.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:12 PM   #9
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I have a very good friend who is a heavy duty mechanic for a private company. He told me to discreetly mark the tires and oil filter and see how many times they actually rotate and change them. It has been less than 50% of the time at the chain places

Another example: a few years back my sister called me in a panic saying her car had stopped with a big clunk at a fast food place. They towed it to the local dealership and she told them that she just knew the transmission was going out because it was so common with this particular vehicle. Sure enough they called her later and quoted her a couple grand for a rebuilt one. My friend told her he wanted to go look at the car for her before they did the work. He called her just a bit later and told her that the dealership was going to fix the car for free.... Turns out there was NOTHING wrong with the transmission, the front axle was broken which is why the car stopped suddenly with a big clunk. My mechanic friend went to the manager and told him that they would fix it for free or he was going to contact the media. Needless to say they made the correct decision.

I am carless since I have been living overseas and not looking foward to having to deal with car problems again.. I don't trust most mechanics or dealers. However, I will say that the place I took my Z4 was a true BMW enthusiast and I trusted them for the most part. They never seemed to push anything at me and actually told me it was a waste to change the oil more than 15K miles (which is what BMW recommended for this car). Otherwise, I have very little faith in most mechanics.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:18 PM   #10
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If it is a dealer, I trust them as far as I can throw my 5500# truck.

Independents vary widely, but my strategy has been to find a local one that has a good rep and make it clear that I will be a repeat customer for years to come (i.e. don't screw me and you will get lots of business). Before we moved, I used the same local independent shop for 9 years, they knew me by name and everything was great. When we moved, I was a bit worried since we had no trusted mechanic to go to. Lo and behold, my MIL's family owns a large hunk of retail property nearby and they ALL use the mechanic that leases part of it. When we were in real trouble with a worn through brake cable on the trailer (which we were living in at the time) she told us to call and use her name and they would take care of us even though it was Friday afternoon on July 4th weekend and they ddn't normally work on trailers. They did so, and now I have a trusted mechanic.

I would run away from the Honda dealer, personally.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:23 PM   #11
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New car dealer service departments are the worst in my opinion. At least the ones I've been exposed to anyway. And they are expensive.

The oil change places do teach their employees to suggest extra services and they have a computer system with all of the manufacturer's suggested service intervals to go by. Many, many people have no clue about maintenance schedules on their vehicles and often let these things go too long without attention so this prompting can be a good thing if done by a trustworthy place. Luckily, the one nearest my house seems to operate very responsibly.

It's best to get referrals from car savvy people you know and trust.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:24 PM   #12
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This was the local Honda service center . There were at least twenty people in the waiting area & I only saw one leave without additional charges.The last time I was there almost everybody needed tires . What is the chance of that being true ? Plus this is in Florida so a lot of the customers are older single women .
We were religiously taking our Honda to the dealer for service per the Honda recommended schedule -- the 35,000 mile service, the 45,000 mile service, the 55,000 mile service (I just made those numbers up, but you get the idea).

When I broke down what services were actually being performed, most of it was adjustments, filters, and inspections. . . . and it is not cheap. And paying for an inspection is just paying the dealer to give them an opportunity to find something to sell you -- I call these "discovery" services. (I might have actually performed some of this kind of service in the software industry when I w*rked.)

Now we are using a semi-independent service place and are happier with it.

BTW: We used to use one of the quick-change oil places for oil changes and ditched them for all the upselling they tried to do.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:25 PM   #13
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If you are looking for a basic oil/filter change without all the fluff, your local Wal*Mart may be the place to go. I say "may" because they are not all created equal.
For $26.88 you get 5 quarts of oil, filter, battery check, tire pressure checked, tread depth measured, and windshield washed.
I have never seen them pressure anyone to buy anything that seemed silly.
Another thing I like is the fact that the oil (name brand) comes off the shelf and not out of a 55 gallon barrel.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #14
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Find a good independent shop here.

Mechanics Search | Car Talk

The dealer will almost always screw you, as they don't really make any money on new cars. The profit is all in repairs and used cars.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:59 PM   #15
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My answer to the question is generally, No. But I gotta give credit where credit is due: My Infiniti had a very common problem for my model (the air bag warning light). My local dealer fixed it for a very reasonable price - they could've charged double and I would have paid it, based on my Google searches. So, once in a while my faith in mankind is restored.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:05 PM   #16
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I'm not that much of a car person, so the one defense I do is to keep a log everytime I bring my car in for service. Car places do that all the time by recording the date, mileage and work done. My previous car, I only kept receipts but no log so when the car place would suggest, for example, new brakes, I had no clue if they were churning or the time was about right for brakes to get replaced.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:06 PM   #17
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Trust is earned.

How can you trust a mechanic (or anyone) w/o some basis for that trust?

I happen to know a fair amount about cars, so I can get a sense of they are trying to up-sell me. But anyone can read their manual, and ask why anything not recommended as routine maintenance is being suggested. You can get a second opinion.

It helps to let them know what you know ahead of time. In my case, I can say, I read the codes that indicate this and that, and I checked the spark, so it may be the fuel injector - that's a common problem for this year/model. But let me know what you find.

And you can say - I'm bringing it in for an oil change and a rotation - that is all that is recommended at xx,000 miles. That let's them know you know something. Tell them to list any other work the suggest, and you will check that with another mechanic.

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Old 11-27-2012, 08:14 PM   #18
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I have actually had good experience with my local Chevy and Subaru dealers but am very skeptical of recommended repairs by my local Hyundai dealer. Having higher mileage vehicles I have found a local repair shop that is quite reasonable who I trust.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:20 PM   #19
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Question about the other mechanic. So, if one mechanic A says, you need work A that'll cost $800 and mechanic B says all you need is work B that will cost $500, if one isn't really that car repair savvy, then how do you decide which mechanic is right? The lower quote, though easier on the pocketbook may not be the correct repair. So, even with two mechanics, doesn't the decision still come down to a feeling as to which mechanic is more trustworthy?
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:26 PM   #20
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I've never trusted a dealer service department but I've been very happy with the Chevy dealership where I bought my diesel truck last year. They've been reasonably priced on oil changes - considerably less than my SIL pays for his diesel at the local Jiffy Lube.

I've also listened closely to the service writers discussing needed repairs with waiting customers, especially female customers. I've not detected any attempt to "upsell" nor seen any pressure to push questionable services or repairs.
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