Wednesday, January 27, 2010


When we bought our current "family" car we bought it from a large dealership here in town (that my husband used to work for). Part of the promotion was "free maintenance for life." So, every 3-6 months we take it in for lube, oil, filter and a general looking over. The thing I hate most about this process is that every single time we come out with a laundry list of work that needs to be done.....immediately, lest we be driving down the road and our wheels fall off, roof rips open, engine explodes, or the variety of other scenarios presented.

We know a lot of this is exaggeration. Like "your belts are showing some wear" isn't necessarily a lie, but it also doesn't mean they need to be changed right then and there as the service guys like to claim. So, every time we leave the dealership we end up taking our car to our trusted mechanic, giving him the list of what the dealership claims is wrong, and having him assess it for himself.

Without fail, we leave almost every single time without an ounce of work being needed on our car. Every once in a while maybe one of the things they suggested was accurate or needs to be watched with a close eye.

It's the deceit that bothers me. I know by nature of the business that the more services they sell the more commission they earn, so of course they want to find every little thing wrong with the car. But in doing that, they lose credibility and essentially lose customers. We NEVER take our car to the dealership to have actual work done. While they may be great at what they do, the fact that I don't trust them means I will never let them work on my car or make suggestions on the type of work they think needs to be done.

It's just frustrating that they try to sell me a minimum of $500 worth of repairs every 6 months when in actuality it ends up costing maybe $100 with the mechanic I've been going to for 12 years now. Trust really does go a long way and if more people operated under this assumption they'd probably get a lot more business. (The service drive at this dealership with eerily empty).


Joanne said...

Unless you have a trusted mechanic, it's so hard to know if what the dealership service dept advises is really necessary. But at least you still get the oil changes for free, because they really add up, too. That's a pretty good deal :)

Brad said...

We have had a similar experience and feel so strongly about it that next time we buy new cars we are going to skip the extended warranties and plan on spending that money at our local mechanic's instead (if needed).