When it comes to getting repairs done or having your vehicle serviced, never, EVER, trust your car dealer to look out for your best interests, especially if you are a woman. I think it’s common knowledge that mechanics in general like women because we generally tend to know less mechanically and are easier to pull one over on. That is, unless you’re a woman like me who had a good dad who taught her about cars. I know how to change my own oil, I just can’t because I’m not allowed to where we live currently. I know how to change brake pads and rotors; I know how check my fluids and where all of their reservoirs are located in my vehicle. When I pop the hood of my car, I have a good understanding of what I’m looking at and the same goes for when I crawl under my car.
Therefore, when I take my still-under-warranty car into the dealership to be serviced and tell them that the oil pan seal is leaking and needs to be replaced and they try to tell me that no, it’s probably my oil drain plug without even having crawled under my car, I immediately start thinking that they will be trying to bilk me for every red cent they can possibly pull out of me. I know where my oil plug is. I know what the entire oil pan looks like and where it’s located. I know that when I see oil drip from between the two pieces of my oil pan onto the ground, that my oil plug has nothing to do with that.
Also, I was aware already that my tires needed to be replaced. I also know what it feels like to drive a car that is out of alignment. When I first got this car, it wasn’t aligned and I had to have it aligned by the dealer within a week of driving it off the lot. I also know that when tires get replaced, unless your old tires are showing uneven wear and/or your car is pulling to one side, you do NOT need an alignment. So, when my ever so “helpful” serviceman called me and informed me that they wanted to install new tires and perform an alignment on my car, I asked him, “Are you also going to refill the halogen fluid in my headlights while you’re at it?” This sarcastic question was basically in reference to a hilarious video I’d seen of a phone call between a fictitious mechanic and a clueless woman.
They also wanted to replace my cabin air filter, and my fuel air filter, $57 parts and labor for the first and $119 parts and labor for the second. Each of these is a simple DIY job and the parts themselves are roughly $20 each plus tax. We replaced my cabin filter last night and it took us all of five minutes to do. Since I never over-fill my gas tank when I fill it up, my fuel air filter should be perfectly fine and hasn’t given me any problems yet, so I don’t think I’ll be changing it anytime soon since it’s just part of the EVAP system. They tried to tell me my battery was horribly bad, as it only had 250 CCA, with their “minimum” acceptable CCA being 450, but that battery could very well last me another year. I know how to not stress a battery and considering that I live in a very temperate climate, I could probably make it until at least next summer before really needing it replaced. They wanted to sell me one for $150. I can go down to the local WallyWorld and get one installed for $99, or spend a few extra bucks at AutoZone and get a little better quality for $120.
I laughed reading over their notes when I got home yesterday evening. It’s kind of hilarious how much they will try to nickel and dime a person for every little thing they can on their vehicle. $199 for a freakin’ brake job?! My brakes still have a little life left, and PepBoys does brake jobs for $139. Plus, I could always just drive down to the closest AutoZone, jack my car up and change my own brakes and save MAJOR dough.
Just remember, when you take your car in for any type of work and they perform a “free” multi-point inspection, they just want a reason to look for parts and services they can sell you. Research the hell out of anything that is recommended before agreeing to have it done. This is as easy as pulling up a DIY video for replacing said part to determine if you feel comfortable going it alone. Also, at least half the services that you will be pushed to buy aren’t even needed.
Take that from the resident mechanical cynic.