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Car Maintenance Rant, Part 2
Old 05-22-2015, 05:40 PM   #1
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Car Maintenance Rant, Part 2

Original Post:

I always have bought my cars new and drive them 100K+ miles before selling or trading them. The last two cars I have bought it seems whenever I take them back to the dealer for the basic maintenance of oil and filter change they always want to perform some supposedly needed maintenance and of course at a rather expensive cost.

Sorry for the rant but got up early today to take my 2008 Ford Fusion in for an oil/filter change/check engine light, was told the thermostat is stuck and then they broke off the head of a bolt on the plenum and called at 430PM and told me it was ready and at $500+. Told them I would be in tomorrow morning to check repairs and talk to the manager.

Part 2 Post

After doing a slow burn most of the night I went down to the dealership in the morning. They did knock about $100 off the bill but I still think I was taken advantage of. As I was leaving the service manager followed me out the door and said he knew I was not a happy camper but asked if I would please give them positive feedback on the e-mail survey I would be getting. I said not on your life. Funny how I have yet to receive the survey. Needless to say this is my last trip to the stealership. I'm not saying all dealerships try to rip you off as from the small town I came from I always thought I was treated truthfully and fairly. In the bigger city where most people are simply a number, I don't think this is the case. Screw them and I will find another business to provide my car maintenance needs.
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Old 05-22-2015, 06:44 PM   #2
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Stop buying American vehicles. Honda and Toyota have their faults but the are superior in cost saving ways. Every Honda I blew up was greater than 10 years in age and 200k+ miles. I bought a 1996 Civic with 390k original miles and threw a used 50k motor in for $300, after the engine finally gave up (broken valve).
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Old 05-22-2015, 06:46 PM   #3
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Stop buying American vehicles. Honda and Toyota have their faults but the are superior in cost saving ways.
Wow. Just, wow.
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:53 PM   #4
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Unless you are getting a warranty repair or have a re-programming need, an independent mechanic can do most any auto repair cheaper and with less grief. I've found the Mechanic's Files on the Car Talk website to be accurate for the places I use.
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:02 PM   #5
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My daily driver is a 1988 Suzuki Samurai.
The wife drives a 1998 Chevrolet Tracker (a Suzuki with a US sticker)

They just keep going, and going...
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:03 PM   #6
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I'm not sure if import or domestic service is any different. In this area one fellow owns a dealership for most manufacturers. Their service is all about the same. If the service is poor, the owner knows, they set the standard for service. As always YMMV.



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Old 05-22-2015, 08:57 PM   #7
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Agree with Mike, I owned a Ford Aerostar in the 90s that was nothing but trouble, always in for $500 dealer repairs. Now own an 07 Honda CRV with 110,000 miles, still going strong. Just put on a set if 90k Michelin from Costco, expecting it to make 200k easily. AC compressor went out on a trip to Phoenix last summer at 97k, pulled in a dealership in Costa Mesa and was fixed free under the 100k warranty. $37 for oil, filter, and tire rotation.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:59 PM   #8
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I think it is more about caring for vehicles. I have a '98 Ford Explorer clunker. But I take care of it myself. Pushing 250K miles soon. When the engine dies I'm done. If it lasts long enough for me to get my '88 or '89 Jeep GW going good I'll sell the Ford. Both the Jeeps have lots of miles but I rebuilt the engines and am replacing the rubber parts to make them last another 10 years or more. I have done embedded electronics (microcontrollers) professionally for years but like my vehicles sans microprocessors I can't work on. Maybe I'll go to one of the open source engine controllers someday...
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:15 PM   #9
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Be glad you don't have the 4 liter V6 with aluminum heads, leaked like a sieve.
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:37 PM   #10
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OP: Prior to having your car serviced. Did you happen to notice if your
temperature gauge was either, cold longer than normal, or vice versa.
(your post did not mention if thermostat was stuck open or closed.

Did your mileage drop? These would be clues to a stuck thermostat.

Just guessing, odds are you were cheated out of $400.

Your complaint is a common one. Most of us find an honest independent shop and use them. (recommended by friends).
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Old 05-23-2015, 12:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike143 View Post
Stop buying American vehicles. Honda and Toyota have their faults but the are superior in cost saving ways. Every Honda I blew up was greater than 10 years in age and 200k+ miles. I bought a 1996 Civic with 390k original miles and threw a used 50k motor in for $300, after the engine finally gave up (broken valve).
Many of the Hondas and Toyotas are American built vehicles. Their sales number are indications that they are good vehicles, however.

Whenever you do wear out a Honda engine, you'll have to go to the salvage yards. They're not as rebuildable as a 2.3 Ford engine out of a Ranger pickup truck.

You're a very rare car buyer if you put so many miles on your vehicles.
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Old 05-23-2015, 12:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by unno2002 View Post
My daily driver is a 1988 Suzuki Samurai.
The wife drives a 1998 Chevrolet Tracker (a Suzuki with a US sticker)

They just keep going, and going...
It's good that Suzuki's keep giving you good service. Unfortunately, Suzuki USA filed bankruptcy and it is no more. And there are no Suzuki dealers in North America.

Replacement body parts will have to come from auto salvage yards and a great website is Car-Part.com.
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Old 05-23-2015, 12:36 AM   #13
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Flat rate ! I do almost all of my own but the very few times I have had to take mine back to the dealer they were always tacking on little job after little job. They get so much time for each little thing they do and if they can combine jobs they can make really good $ that way. Even have to watch them on recalls. I make sure to tell them when I take it in, that they do absolutely NOTHING without consulting me first. I also want to see myself what they are having an issue with. Usually keeps them a bit more honest. Sure seems it would just be worth paying them a set wage to keep customers happy to keep them coming back.
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Old 05-23-2015, 02:22 AM   #14
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I own a Fusion too. The thermostat is a common problem on the 2006-2012 models. It usually triggers the CEL. The translation of the code is "fails to reach operating temperature" or something like that. I had mine done at an independant shop for <$200. It's the only problem I've had with the car in 110,000 miles, other than the 6-CD changer which is a piece of junk. The Ford dealer wanted $600 to replace it. I went to Best Buy and got a JVC single disc unit, with Bluetooth and a USB port, installed for just over $300.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:30 AM   #15
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service writers are paid on commission, so what do you think, they will sell as much service as they can, necessary or not.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf View Post
OP: Prior to having your car serviced. Did you happen to notice if your
temperature gauge was either, cold longer than normal, or vice versa.
(your post did not mention if thermostat was stuck open or closed.

Did your mileage drop? These would be clues to a stuck thermostat.

Just guessing, odds are you were cheated out of $400.

Your complaint is a common one. Most of us find an honest independent shop and use them. (recommended by friends).
No problems with mileage or the temp. and I asked the same question why the temp. didn't run hot or cold. The service mgr. said it was probably and intermittent issue. He said they did get a code noting the problem. They also flushed the cooling system.

IMHO the bottom line, dealerships are going to soak you on car maintenance if you let them.
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:19 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frayne View Post
...........
IMHO the bottom line, dealerships are going to soak you on car maintenance if you let them.
Car dealers don't make much profit on new cars, they live on the service department and used car markup. So if you love your dealer, but a used car from them and have them service it.
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:07 AM   #18
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No problems with mileage or the temp. and I asked the same question why the temp. didn't run hot or cold. The service mgr. said it was probably and intermittent issue. He said they did get a code noting the problem. They also flushed the cooling system.

IMHO the bottom line, dealerships are going to soak you on car maintenance if you let them.
That is probably where your money went. They charge a lot ( $200) for coolant flush and completely unnecessary. Just drain and refill the radiator on regular basis, it's cheap and easy DIY. A coolant flush is an extra service item in addition to the thermostat replacement.
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:08 AM   #19
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That is probably where your money went. They charge a lot ( $200) for coolant flush and completely unnecessary. Just drain and refill the radiator on regular basis, it's cheap and easy DIY. A coolant flush is an extra service item in addition to the thermostat replacement.
Dealers love flushes - they will flush your transmission, flush your power steering, flush your radiator and flush your wallet.

Oddly the maintenance recommendations in the back of the owners manual never seem to mention flushes.
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:11 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
No problems with mileage or the temp. and I asked the same question why the temp. didn't run hot or cold. The service mgr. said it was probably and intermittent issue. He said they did get a code noting the problem. They also flushed the cooling system.

IMHO the bottom line, dealerships are going to soak you on car maintenance if you let them.
Last year, I started getting a code on my 2000 Volvo S40 that it wasn't coming up to temperature fast enough. I have a dashboard temperature gauge, and it seems pretty responsive, moving up a bit shortly after getting the car started. So I reset the code and watched the gauge, but it would come back every time after a bit of driving and start/stops. I could not detect any difference in the gauge action, and it definitely did not overheat, and it always seemed to come up to normal operating temperature quickly.

The computer can monitor this much more closely than my eye, apparently. Youtube/web said it was commonly fixed by replacing the sensor and/or thermostat. Thermostat was cheaper, and available locally for as cheap as online, so I did that and it fixed it. Never came on since, no obvious problem with the old stat (though I haven't put it in hot water yet to see when it opened, might be off by a few degrees over time? maybe some rainy day...).

But yeas, skip the dealer unless they give you a good price and the basics, and then be very specific that only X,Y,Z (from the manual) are to be done, call if other needed (safety related) work is noticed.

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