Thursday, March 09, 2006

Like your dealership, but hate the service prices?

There's an interesting post over at Free Money Finance:

FMF: "Why I Pay More to Go to a Car Dealer for Service Work"

Since I work at a dealership service department, this is a topic that's near to my heart.

Folks browbeat dealers on service pricing constantly. Usually, they have good reason. Some of our services ARE pricey; there's no getting around that.

However, my dealership offers the same "amenities" as those offered by FMF's dealership (free wireless internet, big-screen TV, free coffee and such). Our oil changes are a notch over $28, though, as opposed to his $34.95. (We try to keep our maintenance services competitive with local quick-change shops and dealers in our area. As far as I know, the cheapest oil change around here is ~$20; the most expensive, ~$38.)

What most people don't know, though, is that you can bring your own parts, and we'll be happy to use those rather than the ones we'd provide. In this way, for your oil change, you'd be paying only $12 (labor) plus the cost of whatever parts / supplies you bought at Wal-Mart (or wherever). Do it this way, and you get all the neat dealership "benefits" ... and saved yourself probably $6-$10 at least.

Just a helpful tip for anyone out there who wants to use their dealership for maintenance services, but cringes at the maintenance prices. Bring your own parts, and save yourself substantial money.

— Posted by Michael @ 11:50 AM


I totally agree! My pop is a retired mechanic and worked as a tow truck driver, so he knows a lot of the old time guys who run dealership departments where he lives. He walks into the Volvo dealer service desk, chats with his old friend of 15 years, hands him 5 qts of oil and gets charged for the labor. Nothing could be easier. As far as prices go, you can really cheap oil for $2.00 a qt at Sears if you buy it by the case. Jiffy Lube charges $20.00 for oil alone. (depends on the grade)

Shopping around for parts makes a huge difference. My co-worker told me yesterday she needed new O2 sensors for her Lancer. The dealer had them for $300, but after talking to a dealer mechanic friend who did a little leg work for her, she's getting them for $160 and installed for free by the friend.

Great post. Sounds like I should make my own! :-)


Michael, I know this is slightly off topic, but what is your opinion of full synthetic oil? I've seen results that say as long as you change the oil regularly, it doesn't matter what you use, and I've seen results that say you can save money with full synth because you get longer OCI's... I'm sure there's a tradeoff somewhere...

At any rate, in my car, I change my own oil with a mix of 2.5qts of my chosen brand of dino oil, and 2 qts of that same brand full synthetic, along with a new oil filter each time - a filter brand I chose by looking carefully at a lot of data from several studies.

For my wife's car, we take it to the dealership, pay the $24.95, and enjoy her 100K mile warranty...

Now that I've read your post, I'm considering asking her dealership if I can bring my own materials, because I don't trust the brand of oil they use (studies show that brand in the lower rung of quality, as it produces higher levels of carbon deposits than other oil brands). Thanks!

** Comments Closed on this Post **

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