If you have ever brought your vehicle in to the dealer for a scheduled maintenance a lot of you may think their prices are out of line. This is because dealerships typically do NOT do factory maintenances per the owner’s manual. Look at their maintenance package and compare it with your owner’s manual, you will see what I am talking about.
Let me explain why the dealerships do this. It's all about $$$. Over the years the manufacturers have made vehicles require less maintenance. Many vehicles have oil change intervals of 5,000 miles or more. Transmission services that are not due until 100,000 or even 150,000 miles, coolant that will last 5 years or 100,000 miles, sparkplugs that do not need to be changed until 100,000 miles. All these services 15 years ago were done at 30,000 miles, not anymore!
The dealership knows your vehicle best, or do they?
Why are inspections so important?
You need to realize this also. Unfortunately there is no crystal ball but there are many things on a vehicle that can be looked at to determine if you will have an issue or maybe you already having an issue and don’t even know it yet.
One thing I recommend whenever you have a service done on a vehicle is to make sure that they fill out some type of vehicle inspection sheet. Many dealerships and other shops will have one that they use. Just in case I would bring a copy of one yourself. GM has a good multi point inspection sheet that you can download and make copies of (if I find others I will put links in the resource area and I am working on one myself).
As usual I am going to advise you to open up your owner’s manual and go to the back of the book and take a look at your maintenance schedule (some manufacturers put their maintenance schedules in a separate book). You will notice that most manufactures will have a standard and a severe schedule. Read through both of them so you understand what needs to be done to maintain your vehicle properly.
Ever wonder if the dealership personnel have read your owner’s manual?
So think about what I have said. Some of you may not agree and that is fine. Let me know what you think! I would love to hear. Unfortunately as we have discussed, some things need to change on the dealership level. If you just want them to do what’s in the book then let them know and have them quote you a price. If they are out of line (feel free to contact me with your estimates and I will give you some advice) go somewhere else. It is up to you. Explain to them your concerns and let them know what you know now. Remember knowledge is power. Let them know the jig is up and that you did actually read your owner’s manual, ask them if they have read it!! (Probably not….)
The Automotive Wise Guy