Lazy owners who don't read their owner's manuals get what they deserve

The next time someone comes in here and asks a question that's clearly and plainly answered in the owner's manual, I'm going to laugh my ass off knowing they're getting the royal treatment when they take the car
in for service:
- - - Dear Tom and Ray: I have a mechanics? ethics question for you.
I drive a 2009 Nissan Rogue. I love this car. I was getting ready for a road trip, and I realized that there were three minor recalls on the car and that it was time for the 30,000-mile service.
So I take the car to the dealership, the guy tells me the service package they offer and then charges me $500. I tell my wife, who gets upset that I need $500 worth of service on a relatively new car.
I call the guy back, and he tells me that this is the ?premium? service package, and that they already started so I can?t change it.
I ask him why he only offered me the premium service package, and he says that I didn?t ask for any other service packages.
Did my dealership?s mechanic take me for a ride, or does he not need to tell me the options? I now know that I can download all my suggested maintenance requirements, broken down by mileage, from the Nissan website, and I plan to do this from now on. I guess I feel this is partially my fault for not being an informed consumer, but I also think the mechanic should have explained the ?premium? service to me in more detail. What do you think?
? Dave
Tom: I think you?re exactly right, Dave. Your mechanic was not entirely honest with you and you should have been a more informed consumer.
Ray: Your wife also is right. A car with 30,000 miles on it should need almost nothing ? certainly not $500 worth of regular maintenance.
Tom: A lot of dealerships make a lot of money by adding extra services to the scheduled maintenance routines. You have the right to decline these extra flushes, inspections and fuzzy-dice rotations. But in order to do that, you need to know what is required.
Ray: That information is available not only online, but also in the back of your owner?s manual (that?s the rectangular thing wrapped in cellophane in the bottom of your glove box, Dave).
Tom: You also have the right to take your car to someplace other than the dealer for its scheduled maintenance, even if it?s still under warranty. Simply present any mechanic you like with the list of required maintenance from the back of your owner?s manual and ask for an estimate. You can compare that price with what your dealer is charging for the same services and decide from there.
Ray: We also recommend that customers ask whoever does the service to stamp or sign the spot in the back of the manual that indicates that the scheduled maintenance has been performed. You?ll probably never need proof, but if you do have an engine warranty claim someday, it?s good to have that.
Tom: And as far as your dealership?s mechanic is concerned, he was sleazy on two counts. First, he absolutely should have explained to you that there are several levels of service. Once he does that, he can take his best shot at persuading you to opt for the more expensive one. But the choice should be yours. The fact that he didn?t do that lands him squarely on our fecal roster.
Ray: And second, when you called him and asked him to stop the work, he should have said, ?I?ll have them switch you to the basic service, and even if they?ve already done some of the work, we?ll only charge you the lower price.? That could have earned your loyalty as a customer for years. But instead, he was more interested in taking in a few extra bucks.
Tom: But you also bear some responsibility, in this case, for being an uninformed consumer, Dave. Now you know better. So next time, you?ll not only go somewhere else for your service, but you?ll bring with you your Nissan-approved list. And maybe a couple of large friends with baseball bats.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What if they lost their owner's manual or never got it when they bought a used car? Shit happens. Not everybody bothers to order a new one.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The problem here isn't used cars. It's the "my 2010 FancyDan XLE needs its 15,000 mile service; the dealer says it'll cost $600. Is that a good price?" or "I just bought this 2011 Family Truckster with the undercoating and the sport trim package. What does this button on the dash here do?" questions that reveal the need for a Bitch Slap.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

y

r

Well, yes, but there are some clever maintenance advisers out there. I took my wife's Jeep into a dealer, in Dallas, with the maintenance manual in hand, to do an oil and filter change, and check something. He showed me where there was a "A" and a "B" service, and one was for dusty conditions and should be done because this was Texas. Well, Dallas is hardly the wild west - it's a big city, so I changed to a local shop.
Also in California I took my wife's Jeep in for the 60K service, book in hand, and the shark pulled out a big plastic covered list of what he said was "what we do for the 60K service. It had replacing every fluid in the car. I asked him if I got a blood transfusion with that, and I left there, never to come back.
We now have a 2010 Honda Pilot Touring (to get this on subject) with the countdown to oil change meter reading about 20% so I am about to take it in to the dealer from which we bought the car (through a buying service) and see if they recognize their own maintenance manual. That's the real problem. They know what has to be done, they just add on things that the owner doesn't know about, but usually relents thinking they must know something that he, and the manual, does not know.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My Honda dealer also had their own scheduled maintenance to-do list that included much more items than what was in the owner's manual. They also told me almost every time that my wheels needed realignment ("You must have hit some curbs or bumps.") Eventually I got tired of it and switched to an independent shop that does not play that game.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

When I call to set my appointment, I ask them to list each specific task included in their service package and how much each costs. Then I ask them what's the minimum service required to maintain the warranty. Most of the time, they realize that I'm hip to the game and give me the straight dope. If not, it's pretty easy to tell when they're trying to game me.
I prefer to do it by phone, because if I suspect they're not being straight with me, I just hang up without making an appointment. Then I do some research and call back once I've decided exactly what I want done to my car. Another advantage hashing this out over the phone (rather than when you arrive in person) is that I usually get another service rep when I call back and don't have to deal with the first one who was trying to game me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Information is readily available to everyone, and many places will always try to maximize revenue.....Caveat emptor.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.