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  1. #1
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    Default Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    are they all rip-offs?

    I had to take our Kia Sorento to the dealer a couple of days ago to get a "check engine" light checked out. When it came on, we also got the "ESC Off" light coming one (which has something to do with Electronic Stability Control or something and the cruise control also quit working. We still had a few thousand miles under bumper-to-bumper warranty, so I thought I would try the dealer. They said it would be $41 to do a diagnostic if it turned out it wasn't warranty.

    So we get the dealer in a timely fashion and they take the vehicle to the service bay and also offer to perform a "free" 27 point vehicle inspection.

    An hour and half later, I get the results: The "check engine" light came on due to a bad brake switch (which apparently also took out cruise control) and we had no brake lights either. The switch was replaced under warranty. However, this would have been a $250 cost if it was not warranty.

    Their 27 point inspection found the following:

    1. Front tire wear abnormal. Recommend four wheel alignment ($90) and tire balance and rotation ($20).
    2. Rear wind shield wiper blade needs replacement ($30).
    3. Cabin air filters need replacement ($100). The service manager brought these filters to me and they definately needed replacement.

    I wasn't too upset with recommendation Number 1 - that's probably true because it's been about 12,000 miles since the tires were rotated and the vehicle (56,000 miles) has never been aligned - and I didn't think the prices were too bad, but I elected not to do that at the dealer but I will get that done locally where I bought the tires (rotate/balance is free there).

    2. OMG - $30 for a windshield wiper. It probably does need replacing - but I can get the wiper from Autozone for half that for a really good wiper - a cheap one for $5.

    3. This was the big one- $100 for two cabin air filters! Holy cow. I ended up getting Wix filters from Oreilly for $24.

    Why don't dealer service departments try to be a little for competitive? I would have probably gone with the wiper and cabin air filters if they had been closer to a reasonable cost.

    I ran this by a girl at work and asked "What would you do?". She said (she is a single mother), "Well, I guess I would have had them do it all, because I don't know how or what to do otherwise?" Is this not taking advantage of some people?

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I'll carry on.

    Take care.

  2. #2
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    $ 100 is probabally not too far out of line. IF you can buy aftermarket china filters at oriley for $24, they are probabally ~$50 for OEM ones at the dealer.

    And the dealer probabally charges $100/hr labor rate and are charging you for 1/2 hour.

    Working on cars aint cheap. They have to pay for a LOT of overhead. Lifts, compressors, specialty tools, computers, electric bills, etc, etc. That money has to come from somewhere AND they HAVE to make a profit. That is the name of business. So, lets say that OEM filter probabally only cost them $30, and they are only paying the Mechanic ~$10 for his 1/2 hour work and probabally another $10 worth of benefits/retirement. (they say that your wage x2 is roughly what it costs a business with benefits to pay an employee).

    Now they have $50 invested in your repair. The other $50 has to go to all those other bills listed and what little left would be profit.

    SO, I guess to answer your question, for those who dont know how, or dont want to change their own filter, $100 is about right. For those who CAN di it themselves, DO IT and save $75. Because you dont have employess to pay or a garage to run.
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
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  3. #3
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    Lexington, NC

    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    Well lots of folks wanted a "service" economy and that's what it looks like.

    Jokes aside, LD1's pretty much nailed it.
    "Look at Him at Gethsemane, sweating as it were great drops of blood; look at Him on the cross, crucified between two thieves; hear that piercing cry, "Father, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." And as you look into that face, as you look into those wounds on His feet or His hands, will you say He has not the power to save you? Will you say He has not the power so redeem you?" D.L. Moody

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    I think LD1 is pretty much right on all aspects - and I agree that the dealer should be in business to make a profit (after all, I do want them there to meet my service needs in the future). However, in this case, they made no money at all (from me, I don't know how they get paid for warranty work) on the exchange because I felt the prices were too high. They had basically invested an hour and half of a technicians time (and I could see them working on the vehicle from the waiting room, and he was pretty much with it the whole time) and in the end had nothing to show for it.

    To clarify, the cost for the cabin filters was $100 for parts only - they would install for free (I asked the service manager if I could buy the filters as parts and install myself, and she said that the cost was for parts and they would install for "free" - same for the wipers.)

    And for what it's worth, the filters from Oreilly were Wix filters that said made in Korea. I've noticed that the cartridge oil filter that the Sorento uses (whether it's been Fram, STP or Wix) has always said made in Korea on it. I don't know if that makes them better or worse than made in China.

    I appreciate the comments from LD1, because they do pretty much add up. I still feel a little better after ranting about though.

    Thanks and take care.

  5. #5
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    Mahindra 4510

    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    AutoZone reads codes for free, you can just show up anytime and they will hook your vehicle up and tell you the issue.

  6. #6
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    Near Peace river -Alberta
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    ASV 4810

    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    Quote Originally Posted by rtimgray View Post
    are they all rip-offs?I had to take our Kia Sorento to the dealer a couple of days ago to get a "check engine" light checked out. When it came on, we also got the "ESC Off" light coming one (which has something to do with Electronic Stability Control or something and the cruise control also quit working. We still had a few thousand miles under bumper-to-bumper warranty, so I thought I would try the dealer. They said it would be $41 to do a diagnostic if it turned out it wasn't warranty.

    So we get the dealer in a timely fashion and they take the vehicle to the service bay and also offer to perform a "free" 27 point vehicle inspection.

    An hour and half later, I get the results: The "check engine" light came on due to a bad brake switch (which apparently also took out cruise control) and we had no brake lights either. The switch was replaced under warranty. However, this would have been a $250 cost if it was not warranty.

    Their 27 point inspection found the following:

    1. Front tire wear abnormal. Recommend four wheel alignment ($90) and tire balance and rotation ($20).
    2. Rear wind shield wiper blade needs replacement ($30).
    3. Cabin air filters need replacement ($100). The service manager brought these filters to me and they definately needed replacement.

    I wasn't too upset with recommendation Number 1 - that's probably true because it's been about 12,000 miles since the tires were rotated and the vehicle (56,000 miles) has never been aligned - and I didn't think the prices were too bad, but I elected not to do that at the dealer but I will get that done locally where I bought the tires (rotate/balance is free there).

    2. OMG - $30 for a windshield wiper. It probably does need replacing - but I can get the wiper from Autozone for half that for a really good wiper - a cheap one for $5.

    3. This was the big one- $100 for two cabin air filters! Holy cow. I ended up getting Wix filters from Oreilly for $24.

    Why don't dealer service departments try to be a little for competitive? I would have probably gone with the wiper and cabin air filters if they had been closer to a reasonable cost.

    I ran this by a girl at work and asked "What would you do?". She said (she is a single mother), "Well, I guess I would have had them do it all, because I don't know how or what to do otherwise?" Is this not taking advantage of some people?

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I'll carry on.

    Take care.
    I think your dealer was very fair and did not make a buck on you other than on the filters and the wiperblade.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    Quote Originally Posted by Fixemall View Post
    AutoZone reads codes for free, you can just show up anytime and they will hook your vehicle up and tell you the issue.
    If it had only been a check engine light and no other symptom, or not under warranty, that is exactly where I would have started. Since the cruise control wasn't working, and the bumper to bumper warranty was still in effect, I took it to the dealer.

    Once we hit 60,000 miles, I'll stop at Autozone first!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    Quote Originally Posted by Bison View Post
    I think your dealer was very fair and did not make a buck on you other than on the filters and the wiperblade.
    The thing is, because their prices were so high, they didn't make anything on the transaction (again, other than the warranty work).

    I guess the point that I was trying to make (and I'm not doing a very good job of articulating it) is that IF the dealer pricing for parts (in this case, parts readily available on the aftermarket) had been closer to the aftermarket parts, I would have paid it, because aside from the parts cost, I was very happy with my dealer experience. I had a nice waiting room with cable TV, free coffee, comfortable couch and a place for my kids to play while we waited (this is some of the "overhead" that LD1 commented about). Since the price was so high, I had to take my business elsewhere. I would like to have repaid their hospitality with business, but could not justify that repaying them that much!

    The good part is that I have the freedom to accept or decline their offer and chose to decline it, thus saving a goodly sum of money.

    Thanks and take care.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    Quote Originally Posted by Fixemall View Post
    AutoZone reads codes for free, you can just show up anytime and they will hook your vehicle up and tell you the issue.
    Reading codes does not give you always true problem. You may possibly have a bad sensor that causes another condition that only a true technician would understand. Take for example, a guy changed his spark plug wires, and ends up with faulty wheel sensors. The tech that trouble shooted that one took close to a day to figure out, because owner did not think it was necessary to tell him everything that was done recently.

  10. #10
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Automobile Dealer Service Departments -

    Yep, reading the code is only half the story. It only gives you the symptom, NOT the cause.

    I have to wonder how many good O2 sensors (At almost $80 a pop) have been swapped because the guy at autozone said it was an o2 code????

    The scanners are good, but you have to understand how to interpret the data.

    If your code reads 02 sensor high voltage, that doesnt mean the sensor is bad. It means it is doing exactally what it is supposed to, and giving the computer a high voltage input. The computer interprets this as a rich condition, and leans the fuel out a bit. If the computer cannot get it leaned out enough within its set parameters, (it has made it as lean as it can) and it is still showing a high voltage (rich condition), it throws a code.

    But it could be as simple as a plugged air filter, bad FPR, plugged injectors, etc. Theres FAR more involved in just reading a code and replacing the sensor that is causing the code condition.
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
    "Ok, hold my beer and watch this.........."


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