I was extreme in my rants
about the car industry:
...Go read this
Car Dealership Service Departments:
You, single-handedly, have done more to destroy the reputation of mechanics than any other cause. It's called "upsell" and you all do it so well. It's a dictum that no one leaves a dealership service department without buying something. Take your car in for warranty or recall work and see what happens. You get a laundry list of things wrong with your car, from the brakes to some kind of service, to a cooling system flush, to a tire rotation, that "you really should have done now before something bad happens". And they get you for a thousand bucks. And people wonder why everybody thinks most mechanics are crooks. Rotten fucking scumbags.
and then tell me if you think so.
So imagine my surprise when my fiance dropped it off and called me to say that they gave her an estimate of $450-$500. Same car. Same windshield. 24 hours apart. Now, I'm not quick to assume bad faith or nefarious motive, but I'm pretty damn sure some pig in the service department thinks it's ok to try to rip off women.
I wouldn't take my car to a dealership service department unless it's for warranty or recall work. This shit is more the norm than the exception.
Take my advice, find a good local independent shop (ask your friends and neighbors) and stick with him, give him your business (stay away from the "oil change places") regularly, and tell your friends about him. Good, honest, independent mechanics can only turn wrenches if customers keep them in business.
Just an anecdotal story.
The Mrs. had to bring her Escape in for a recall (transmission cooler) about a month ago (Ford wouldn't give me the parts and let me replace it myself even though I'm an ASE certified Master Mechanic, Ford Certified Master Mechanic and a licensed New York State Motor Vehicle Inspector). She dropped it off one day in the afternoon and I picked her up at the dealership. The next day they called her and told her she needed a service (oil change, check fluids, lube) - I serviced the car the week before and they couldn't bother to look up at the service sticker on the windshield and figure out that the car had only gone 150 miles - tire rotation - I rotated the tires when I did the service - brake job - 20K miles and I checked those when I did the service the week before - and a coolant system flush - 20K miles for "permanent anti-freeze"? Also, it's a lease car that's going back in October. They gave her the "stoplight spiel"; "the brakes are 'yellow', the tires are 'red'", etc. Then she let them know who I was and what I did for a living.
Now, we love the dealership and the sales staff. When they have a deal, they'll call us, even if it's 6 months before the end of the lease (and they'll eat the last 6 months - they ate the last 3 months of my old Escape) and offer to take the old car back and give us a new one. We strike a good deal and they give me professional courtesy because I'm in the business and we live locally. Their service department, on the other hand, are slimy, no good crooks. It's always amazing to us how such a dichotomy (not that I have any love for car salesmen) can exist in one business. It sure wouldn't happen if I ran the show.
And just a note, this isn't about the mechanics. Some of the best mechanics I ever met worked at Ford Motorsport with me. This is about the service manager and that peculiar species of lowlife called the "service writer" who get paid to pad bills as thickly as possible and pray the customer doesn't kvetch too loudly.