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ETCG Rants About His Trip To the Dealer

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    EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

      Obviously, I don’t take my vehicle in for service often. When I do, it’s normally for warranty work like this. That said, I have a much better understanding of what some of you go through when getting your vehicle serviced.

      So what have your dealership/service experiences been like?

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    • #842733
      John HugonJohn Hugon

        Fopeano wrote: Technically you did give them the car with a faulty part. The way to address that call back is to say something to the effect of “Yeah sorry that was already broken, it’s fine if they use vise-grips to pull on what’s left of it for now.

        I agree with that….but the service writer’s attitude…no excuse. All dealerships I worked at were all the same…we didn’t have any customer pay mainly because of the attitude/hourly rate of the dealerships along with attitude of the manufacture when customers talked to the factory rep.

        Fopeano wrote: my boss wanted me to cob it up because it was his buddy who didn’t want to buy a new intake manifold. So I plugged the broken nipple and Tee’d the line into another vacuum line…..costing me about 2 hours.

        That happened to me a few times and then I wouldn’t do a labor procedure without additional lines written on a repair order. After that I wasn’t asked to do anything on my own time…I just was given Durimax / Power stroke engines / GM 3.6 engines and Fusion transmissions or any low paying warranty jobs to change my attitude….my attitude didn’t change ..I was just written up for not flagging enough hours….

        I was an automotive dealer technician for 38 years and the attitude wasn’t that good back when I first started…. now I think its worse. As changing dealerships attitudes…I think the manufacture’s attitude should be changed first and then I think it will be forward down to the customer.

        EricTheCarGuy wrote: So what have your dealership/service experiences been like?

        I had one that was out of my control ….my car was out of town driven by my wife…and the battery was defective in a two month old car under factory warranty. My wife called me after shopping and said the car wouldn’t start…(no crank) and being at a Walmart store she asked them to jump start it and it started. I told her “since the car was under factory warranty go to the nearest dealer and have them repair the car” She did and they said “she must have left the headlights on which discharged the battery”. When she called me and told me that…I knew they just blew her off, because of the parasitic draw built into the electronics. She went back to Walmart to get something she forgot and when she came back out the car wouldn’t start. She called the dealer and they set her up for an appointment in one week; she told them she was from out of town; she was stranded and was just at the service department for the same issue. They said “they would send a tow truck at her expense and would look at the car in one week”. I called the dealer and had no luck…In fact I heard the service writer laughing…. I called my wife back and reluctantly told her to have Walmart check the car out and if it needed a battery have them put it in. They came out to the parking lot, jump started the car, checked the charging system and called me and said “the system was charging and the battery was checked and was defective”. The person I was talking to sounded like they knew what they were talking about…so I authorize a new battery be installed. Walmart installed a new battery and the issue was repaired; the only thing they charged my wife for was just the battery…nothing else…not even the first jump start….

        When the factory rep was in the dealership I worked at, I told him what happened and he told me “the only thing that could be done is put the original battery back in the car and make an appointment at the dealer I worked at and if the battery is bad replace it under factory warranty….need I say anything more…

        Javier Garcia JrJavier Garcia Jr

          I’ve never been found of dealer since they have a monopoly there’s less incentive for quality customer service.
          Sure, I can call up Honda, Nissan, or whoever but it’s a hassle. I guess since customers can’t return, exchange, or shop anywhere else they feel as if there’s no need to improve on customer service.


            Well on the plus side, at least someone took the time to let you know that there was a recall in the first place. My grandma had a 2002 VW Beetle that I inherited, and man did she love that car. And she relied on the dealer to do every little thing they recommended. So it was in there for every scheduled checkup, on the dot. It’s got 50,000 miles on it now, and it’s in great shape. Except that the sunroof leaks. And it’s been leaking slowly for the past 10 years. The sunroof drains don’t have any sort of grille on them which means that they fill up with all sorts of gunk, and the drain tubes which go into the car past the A pillars will back up and leak into the dash.

            Anyways, there was a recall back in 2010, and the dealer never notified my grandma when it was brought in for service. VW never sent a letter to her, when asked about the leaking issue, the service advisor shrugged and said they couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. Just a happy mysterious leak.

            Well fast forward to me getting ahold of the car to work on, (sure are a lot of things that need work on this dealer maintained-garage kept car with 50,000 miles) and I do some digging up. Apparently, there was a recall (which is now expired) back in 2010 to fix the drain issue. And there was a massive lawsuit in the US which got settled recently. But nobody bothered to tell my Grandma.

            The funny thing is, my dad bought a 2007 Passat in 2010 from a private seller, then took it to the same dealer for a service. And they did the service, and when he came to pick it out, they causally mentioned that they had done a bunch of recall work that was outstanding to save him the trouble of bringing it in later.

            So I guess it’s a case of treating a 50 year old man differently than an 87 year old grandmother?

            Ian WilliamsIan Williams

              My local GM dealership is good , it’s a smallish dealer that gives good service , that fact they know what your name is , is a nice touch too .

              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                i think its also a way to discourage people form getting warranty work now a days…

                the ignition switch recall for my Grand Prix for example, i could take it to the GM dealership here in town, but then i would have to go through this long waiting list, and i am sure it would take eons to fix a issue that i am not having with my car, that i could “Fix.” myself with my car with no issues. Its the simple fact if you want to work on my car you better show me that you are respectable, or you aren’t.

                the only reason i have gone to my dealer is for a PCM replacement because it has to be programmed there.


                  Ok , I understand being treated bad . But if I’m a tech and I pull a latch and It breaks than Service should have ate this situation and not even putting up a $20 fight worth fighting. In this situation they probably saw traces of Q bond and realized that the repair that someone did prior of bringing in the vehicle wasn’t a proper repair and now wants a free cable out of it minus labor. Once again from being treated bad, dealership is still a place of buisiness and they want your money.

                  Eric BrunhammerEric Brunhammer

                    I had an issue that made sure that I will never go to that specific Hyundai dealership again. My girlfriend’s mother was letting us use her car for a weekend since my girlfriend’s car was involved in an accident, and told me that it was a little bit over the oil change, but she needs one done on record for her warranty. I told her that I would have it done and don’t worry about it since she was letting us use her car. There is a Hyundai dealership about 10 minutes away from me, and her car is a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, seemed only fit that I would go there. When I came in for the oil change, they told me that there were 2 open recalls on the car. I explained that it isn’t my car, and I would let the owner know about it. Since they told me an hour, I waited with the car. I heard something over the intercom that I didn’t fully understand, then people scrambled to the shop. About 20 minutes later they inform me that they started doing the recall work and it would be close to 4 hours wait. They asked if they should continue, I said “well if you have the ****ing car apart, don’t put old parts back on it”. I then called her mom to tell her about this, and she was pissed and called the dealership. They tell her that I did authorize it, but the only thing I said was don’t put old parts back on. What pisses me off is that they tell me this when they already have a control arm out of the car. What am I going to do, tell them to put the old one back in?

                    Eric BrunhammerEric Brunhammer

                      [quote=”Zenmaister11″ post=150317]Ok , I understand being treated bad . But if I’m a tech and I pull a latch and It breaks than Service should have ate this situation and not even putting up a $20 fight worth fighting. In this situation they probably saw traces of Q bond and realized that the repair that someone did prior of bringing in the vehicle wasn’t a proper repair and now wants a free cable out of it minus labor. Once again from being treated bad, dealership is still a place of buisiness and they want your money.[/quote]

                      I was thinking the same thing, they are the q bond, and thought it was a setup to get free work from them.


                        I’m going to have to agree with Fopeano figuring that they (the dealer staff) assumed it was rigged to cost them a cable and labour to install it. You wouldn’t believe some of the turds that are coming in for inflator recalls. Although I will say that they maybe should have gauged your response better in evaluating responsibility.

                        Eric, you should know as well as anyone that you’re supposed to discharge the SRS system before servicing, which involves disconnecting the battery. Although in reality, they were probably just removing the fuse for the horn so it wasn’t going off the whole 15 minutes it takes to change the inflator. It’s kind of like when someone drops off a car and they know they have an issue with the driver side window, which every tech rolls down as soon as they get inside the shop. You pull into your bay and go to put the window down and the *clunk*. Now everybody’s pissed.

                        At least at the dealership I work at, a huge part of the service writer issues are a result of how they’ve decided to pay them. A few years ago, they capped their salary. Yes, they capped the salary of people who make whole or part commission. In our situation they make ZERO off of internal ROs, covering warranty, recalls and used car s. So there’s no incentive for any good service writer to stick around. When your dealing with a position that requires the specific skill sets of both being able to sell and adequately communicate from the customer to the tech and then from what the tech says to the customer. The single biggest hurdle in the business is effectively communicating to a customer why they require said item or service, more so when it’s maintenance and not a straight repair. Then convincing them that the cost associated is accurate and reasonable. See also, I just had my car fixed and now it won’t start type stories.

                        Now for my horror story, form the bench side. Got an 03 Pilot almost a month ago now, for 2 new inflators under recall and there’s another one for the ignition switch interlock. In some cases, the key can come out while in gear and it requires an elaborate service to correct, or in the event it functions properly you replace the little pin and arm. So I pull this piulot in, power steering sounds like there a cat stuck in it and the suspension went thud over the bump at our door. POS all the way. Turn the key on, put it in gear and try 5 times to remove the key. Thankfully the key stays in and this instance only requires the small correction and not the removal of the whole steering wheel lock/ignition switch. So I do the 3 recalls, noting the SRS light among others is on. Couple weeks later it shows up again because the key isn’t turning all the way back when you shut it off. It took about 20 tries to finally have the key not turn back all the way. The selenoid that controls the interlock isn’t moving, so they get a free steerign lock assembly. they show up on a day I;’m clearly not in, brilliant SA completely fails to see that it has not been touched before the end of the day, customer shows up at night and for some reason a salesman give them their keys back.

                        Fast forward to this past Saturday, please not that the date was October 24th and tire season was in full swing. We had over a 2 hour wait for general and because it was Saturday everyone likes to wait. So a little over 2 hours after they got their I pull this turd in and start pulling it apart. What’s this I see, a remote starter. Fuck. And I can’t even get the old lock cylinder out, so the locksmith has to come down and re-key the new one and it’s Saturday so that’s not happening. SA is pissed off because he has to tell a pissed off customer that there is literally nothing I can do after they’ve been waiting for at least 3 hours. then he wants me to find the customer and give him the keys. Whole lotta nope on that one.

                        Mike OrtegaMike Ortega

                          I am surprised that a dealership would allow their employees to treat customers this way. As a dealership tech, I feel that it is our responsibility to make every customers visit as pleasant as possible. I understand that really no one wants to take their vehicle to the dealer, but we have to make it right. I’ve honestly have broken things on a customer’s vehicle, it happens. That being said, all techs must own up to their mistakes and make it right. Work on it as it was your own.


                            This is exactly why i avoid the dealership I only go there just to buy parts and to get proprietary things taking care of. Such PCM/ECM reprogramming. There was only one time that things at my Honda dealer went smoothly and that was when I brought my car in to have the Brake Master cylinder replaced. Other times forget it they left some crappy shop rag on the floor mat. And where talking about the Honda Accord mat. That cost $120 and you can get those no more. Plus they scratched my door man it was all bad. I told the service adviser lady there about it. But they said the scratch was all ready there i said NO It Was not. And for shop rag being left in the car they forget about it Being in there. I was so mad I didn’t want to hear all the excuses. There where telling me so i just payed my invoice and left. NEVER going back to that place.


                              The closest I have to a horror story is when I visited a DEFA vendor to get new remotes for the alarm in our previous car. I had read the manual for this particular alarm over a thousand times, and searched forums like this one for people with similar systems, so I knew what the procedure would be. The guy at the counter laughed at me when I asked him to order new remotes, and said that if it was that simple anyone could order remotes for any car! I didn’t know how to respond to this, so I just left.

                              For anyone not familiar with alarms at all: Each remote has a unique ID, and when you order one it is not specifically for your alarm. You have to teach your alarm unit that ID, and then it will be trusted to unlock the car and disarm the alarm.

                              EDIT: I did end up getting my remotes from a different vendor, and the procedure was exactly like I had found out from the manual.

                              Jack PatteeuwJack Patteeuw

                                You can’t train “people skills” in to people who have none. Or maybe I should say, a small business (dealership) can not AFFORD to re-train that person.

                                BTW, the last time I had anything done at a dealer was the Ford Speed Control recall, probably close to 10 years ago.


                                  For many years I’ve done all my own work and I avoid dealership service departments except for warranty work. I have had some unfortunate experiences:

                                  1.) I left our Odyssey at the dealership to have a malfunctioning sliding door looked at. I got a call about 45 minutes after I dropped off the van informing me that a porter had driven it into a pillar and destroyed the rear quarter panel.

                                  2.) The same car – still under warranty – developed a loud squeak from the water pump. I pointed out the problem to the service writer who informed me that the water pump must be fine because “Honda water pumps don’t fail.” I got a call a couple hours later. The service writer told me that they had ordered an ac clutch for the car and that we could drive the van until the part arrived at the dealership. The next day, while my wife was driving my daughter to preschool, the water pump seized and the timing belt broke. The car was towed to the dealership. The service writer said, “It’s a good thing this is still under warranty because with all that valve damage you would be looking at a huge bill.” When I reminded him that I had brought the car in for a water pump repair the day before, he said to me rudely, “What, are you clairvoyant or something?”

                                  3) My worst dealership experience happened two winters ago. We had a series of bad freeze/thaw cycles here in Michigan and our usually terrible roads became minefields. I hit a deep pot hole with my Infiniti G20 and destroyed the right side outer CV axle joint. (The boot disintegrated and one of the balls fell out of the outer joint.) Over the years I’ve had less than good luck with some of the cheap Chinese replacement axles and I seriously considered shelling out the $600.00 for an OEM Nissan axle. On a whim I called the insurance company and asked them if they would cover the cost of the axle. An insurance adjuster inspected the car and agreed to pay for the repair and waive the deductible as well. The car was taken to the local Infiniti dealer for the insurance work. They gave me a loaner to drive. For some reason – “we’re having trouble getting parts – it took the dealer 10 days to complete the repair. On the drive home from the dealership after picking up the car I heard a loud squeak coming from the right front suspension. When I got the car home I found that the the upper control arm was bad. Oh well, at least I have a new OEM axle! Except when I took a look at my new ‘OEM’ axle I noticed the “Interparts” name stamped on the boot band.

                                  Even though the insurance company paid for the repair, I was given a copy of the invoice the dealership sent to the insurance company. They charged the insurance company $600 for the axle and put the OEM part number on the invoice. I called Interparts to check the retail price for the axle that was actually installed on the car: $100.00. I took a photograph of the axle and brought it and the invoice back to the dealer. The service advisor literally ran away from me when I showed him the photograph. I was left standing there for a few minutes. The service manager eventually showed up and said there was nothing they could do until they talked to someone from parts who was “away for the day.” He said, “I don’t know what, if anything, we will do about this.” I told him if they didn’t make it right I would file a complaint with the fraud division of the state office of attorney general. The call I was promised the next day never came. After three days of not hearing from the dealership I sent a copy of the photograph to the insurance adjuster. He went absolutely ballistic. He called me up saying, “You caught them red-handed!” It was like he was suffering from PTSD or something. He told me that fraud like this was rampant in the industry and that on some days he feels “sick” doing his job. He promised me “they won’t get away with this.” The insurance adjuster faxed the dealership a copy of the State law statue on consumer fraud. The next day I got a call from the dealership informing me that OEM part was unavailable. The dealership manager said “I can’t explain” why the OEM part number and OEM price was on the invoice. They refunded $500 to the insurance company.

                                  Jack PatteeuwJack Patteeuw

                                    [quote=”daneli” post=150379]For many years I’ve done all my own work and I avoid dealership service departments except for warranty work. I have had some unfortunate experiences:

                                    3) My worst dealership experience happened two winters ago. We had a series of bad freeze/thaw cycles here in Michigan and our usually terrible roads became minefields. I hit a deep pot hole with my Infiniti G20 and destroyed the right side outer CV axle joint..[/quote]
                                    You could file a claim with your county Road Commission. Picture of the pot hole and the damage are helpful.

                                    (P.S. I would like to FIRE everyone of our state legislators for turning rod maintenance funding into a f***ing politival beach ball !)

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