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SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

Routine Maintenance: Dealership vs DIY: TSBs and Recalls

I have had my vehicles maintained by their respective dealerships for quite a few years now. Typically, I bring my brand preferences fluids and filters, and they charge me the labor (local Ford and Chrysler dealers). Prior to that time, I used to do all maintenance work myself. I'm thinking about using a Mityvac oil extractor and doing the routine stuff myself again, probably about twice a year, once in the spring, and once in the fall using full synthetic oil and my desired filter brands.

One of the things I did like about the dealerships is that they would run the car through their computer systems to check for any TSBs or recalls that needed to be performed. It's very convenient, and it keeps my cars up to date with any needed work.

If I shift that routine maintenance work back to me, obviously the dealer won't be running the VIN through their system. So that being the case, how do you all keep abreast of TSBs and recalls? I found »www.safercar.gov/ but I've never used it and don't know how up to date it is. Doing routine work myself, it could be a few years before a car saw a dealership again… if ever again really.

How do you folks handle this?


davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

For some makes you can register on a manufacturer support website and keep up to date on TSBs and recalls in addition to the safercar website. Other people I know take the vehicle into the dealer once a year and have them run the VIN through the system and get a readout from the on board diagnostic system.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

Do dealerships routinely charge to lookup VIN TSBs or recalls? I guess having them hook up the code reader to check diagnostics once a year isn't a bad idea really.

Labor on an oil change is about $15+tax, and tire rotation is about 20+tax, and the multipoint inspection is done for free. Compare that with a Mityvac for $70 and the ability to do basic transmission fluid changes and differential changes with it... the savings start to add up.


TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

said by SwedishRider:

Labor on an oil change is about $15+tax, and tire rotation is about 20+tax, and the multipoint inspection is done for free.

Holy crap that's cheap! Around here labor on an oil change is easily $30-$40 and a tire rotation is about $50 on average.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

Are you serious? I just had my wife's car serviced at a Chrysler dealership. I brought my own oil and filter, they changed oil and filter, rotated the tires, and did the multipoint inspection for about $36. Ford dealer for my truck is basically the same price.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to TheMG

Maybe a better question is to ask if I should just stick with Ford and Chrysler dealerships given the cost?


davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2
reply to SwedishRider

I, and some of my friends, have learned that "free" is not always the best route. A badly done free brake inspection ended up costing a friend a lot of money. Paying for about 1 hour of shop labor each year is worth it to get really good diagnostic service.



freeforme

@optonline.net

All "free" checking services I've ever seen like that are nothing but a scam. That stuff gets checked anyway (your not getting any deal). Bad brakes etc are more work, translation more money. Your only told "free XYZ" because hey, you can either think your getting a deal (free stuff!) or you can get it free anyway and have no idea. Then it is also a surprise when someone comes out... by the way your XYZ is low, bad, etc.

That being said, I don't have tsbs and recalls so I can't help on that issue. My 97 is getting replaced by an 83.

$15 is a deal IF the labor is being done.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

1 edit

I usually pull the dipsticks after fluids are changed, and they look new to me. One vehicle takes 4.5qts of oil, and I always get that last .5qt back after the servicing.

Does that prove it was done with my fluids.. no.. but I've never had problems with either dealership, and by a preponderance of the evidence, I think it's reasonable to conclude the work was done.

I've read some dealerships will not install any fluids that were not purchased through them. I haven't found that to be the case, but apparently not all dealerships will only charge the labor.


davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

You are apparantly dealing with some unusually decent dealerships. May it always be that way.



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to SwedishRider


There's definitely nothing wrong with wanting to perform your own service. There is also a benefit to having a good professional performing the service, as many times things can be observed as impending issues and can be brought to the attention of the owner to save a future problem. Of course there are plenty of things that can still fail no matter who looks at it, as we have discussed in other threads.

As far as "running the VIN through their system", that is actually an automatic operation of the dealer's repair order software, and requires no separate action on the part of the service writer. Dealers are legally obligated to perform any open recall on a vehicle in their shop if it is a brand that they sell, and for no charge. TSB's though are *not* checked because they are only an aid to resolve a specified complaint and repair procedure, and are not *required* repairs. Only a recall is required.

There are some "product updates" and "enhancements" that show up as a separate document, and those are generally performed when they apply to a particular vehicle. Keep in mind, some of those are free, and some are a customer-pay repair depending on age and mileage.

So there are good things to both options, and maybe mixing them up between the two is a possible way to go.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

Thanks Mattmag! What do you think about my current cost and method of bringing my own fluids and filters for installation. My cost from the Ford and Chrysler dealerships for oil & filter change labor, tire rotation, and multipoint inspection is about $36 out the door. Neither seems to have a problem with installing my preferred fluids or filters.

Is that cheap? And what are your thoughts on a dealership using parts they do not sell? Am I better off to just keep doing what I'm doing? Thanks.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to SwedishRider

said by SwedishRider:

Are you serious? I just had my wife's car serviced at a Chrysler dealership. I brought my own oil and filter, they changed oil and filter, rotated the tires, and did the multipoint inspection for about $36. Ford dealer for my truck is basically the same price.

Dealerships around here won't let you bring your own parts (same with private garages). The prices for rotation and oil change by TheMG is also correct.

If you are the registered owner then you should get all recall notices in the mail.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

Maybe I am getting a deal at $36 and should continue to do so. I wasn't aware labor was so much more expensive elsewhere.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to SwedishRider

Are the cars under warranty? If they are, it's better to have a dealership do it because at least you have a record of maintenance being performed on the car. I have a friend who some years ago was denied warranty repair on his car because he couldn't prove that it was maintained according to the manual and the dealer blamed everything on lack of maintenance.

If there is no warranty, then I think it boils down to cost vs time spent, or if you really like doing this yourself.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

Good points. My vehicles are 7+ years old at this point, so no warranty coverage.

Guess it boils down to whether or not I can consistently find the time (and then compare that to the cost the dealers are charging me).



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3



$36 out the door for those services with you providing the fluids and filter is very, very reasonable. I assume there are other repairs that they have done for you in the past that encourages them to keep you as a customer that way. They know if they treat you right you will be back for other things. That's the way a good business is *supposed* to operate. It isn't always the case.

I really don't think I could justify for my own case to start doing it myself when I could get it done at a shop for that price. My time has value, and that needs to be factored in as well.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

Makes sense to me. I honestly didn't realize how high labor costs are elsewhere comparative to what I typically pay. I thought that was just the current going rate!

And you are right, I have thrown more business at the Ford dealer (but not so much the Chrysler dealer as of yet). I had over $500 of maintenance work recently done on it, and again, I provided my own fluid and filters, and they just charged the labor (I did buy spark plugs there though!). I can't say either dealer has ever tried to hard upsell me either. The only thing they ever did without my explicit consent is replace a license plate bulb (cause it was so cheap, they figured it wasn't even worth asking).



fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to SwedishRider

I bring my own oil and filter to the Subaru dealer and they charge me $12 labor. I bring my own oil and filter to a local place for my truck, and they charge me $15 labor. PepBoys rotates the tires on both vehicles for free. I didn't buy the tires there, so maybe the sales reps are just dumb, otherwise it costs $9.99 plus tax.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

said by fartness:

I didn't buy the tires there, so maybe the sales reps are just dumb, otherwise it costs $9.99 plus tax.

They are doing something for you that they technically shouldn't be doing, so now they are dumb? Very classy.


dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
Premium
join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to mattmag

said by mattmag:

$36 out the door for those services with you providing the fluids and filter is very, very reasonable. I assume there are other repairs that they have done for you in the past that encourages them to keep you as a customer that way. They know if they treat you right you will be back for other things. That's the way a good business is *supposed* to operate. It isn't always the case.

How true that is. I've had bad dealer experiences and good ones. They make all the difference.

I once had a dealer tell me that a failed catalytic converter isn't covered under the emissions warranty. When I explained that the vehicle was covered under the California emissions warranty, he argued with me. I had to drag him out to the car and show him the sticker under the hood that says "Vehicle built to meet California emission standards." before they finally covered it.

My current dealership has been nothing but EXCELLENT to me. They have gone way above and beyond for me taking care of services at no charge when they didn't have to in the name of customer satisfaction. Awesome service and people, and as such, they have my complete loyalty.

I actually felt guilty when I bought my new vehicle since I had to go somewhere else (they are a Buick/GMC dealer, but I bought a Cadillac.) I have to bring it to the Cadillac dealer for the 4-year included maintenance, but after that, back to the Buick/GMC dealer it shall go.

hosedagain3

join:2008-02-18
Sharon, ON

If you bring in your own oil and if the oil is synthetic are you sure they put it in your car? did they put the bulk oil in and kept your synthetic?
can't tell the difference looking at the dip stick, can you?



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

I am still surprised that places or dealers allow them to bring their own items for the shop to use.



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Cogeco Cable
reply to hosedagain3

said by hosedagain3:

If you bring in your own oil and if the oil is synthetic are you sure they put it in your car? did they put the bulk oil in and kept your synthetic?
can't tell the difference looking at the dip stick, can you?

When you buy a burger at McDonalds, you can't be sure it isn't horse meat by looking at the patty, can you?

At some point there must be an element of trust. If one is this worried, they ought to do the work themselves.
--


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider

How much does it cost to dispose of the waste fluids? I know some people will just mix the waste with clay kitty litter then send it to the land fill. Though I think in many areas that is now illegal.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

AutoZone and Advanced Auto have taken all my drain fluids for free, except for coolant.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to Snakeoil

A shop local to me will take oils from anyone so they can use it to heat one of their buildings.



Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

said by CylonRed:

A shop local to me will take oils from anyone so they can use it to heat one of their buildings.

Yes, there are waste oil heaters that work very efficiently using used oils like engine oil, gear oil and even transmission fluid.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?

HarryH3
Premium
join:2005-02-21
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Suddenlink

said by Doctor Olds:

Yes, there are waste oil heaters that work very efficiently using used oils like engine oil, gear oil and even transmission fluid.

Those work awesome. A buddy in Massachusetts has one in his 2-story barn/shop that has zero insulation and is quite drafty. Yet we would work in there in short sleeves while it was 15 degrees outside. A local big rig service place gives him a 55 gallon drum of used oil anytime he needs one.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV

said by HarryH3:

said by Doctor Olds:

Yes, there are waste oil heaters that work very efficiently using used oils like engine oil, gear oil and even transmission fluid.

Those work awesome. A buddy in Massachusetts has one in his 2-story barn/shop that has zero insulation and is quite drafty. Yet we would work in there in short sleeves while it was 15 degrees outside. A local big rig service place gives him a 55 gallon drum of used oil anytime he needs one.

Yea they work well, but they need constant maintenance and cleaning.