Auto Dealerships Update for a good laugh

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Johnnu2

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Jun 26, 2003
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Lol, I hear ya. I brought my Mercedes made car in once for service, it was $25 bucks just to shake the service writers hand.
And barely a smile when he bent me over. Then denied warranty work claiming they found vise grip marks on the oil plug.
Probably should stay away from the LUX cars.... As the saying goes, they get you "coming and going" if you catch my drift :)

While not the status symbol many require, I can tell you that I've never run across a manufacturer that can touch the reliability and overall cost per part than Toyota..... JMHO of course, but, most know how CHEAP I am.

When the finance mgr. at the stealership tries to sell me an extended warranty when I buy a new Toyota, I tell him "This is a Toyota, they NEVER BREAK".... with a smile of course.

In all fairness, if I weren't so damn cheap, I might have bought LUX cars during my extended lifetime .... ENJOY YOURS (you only go around once).

J
 

buckaroo

Banned
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Oct 8, 2022
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U.S.A.
In all fairness, if I weren't so damn cheap

Being cheap or 'practical' are two different things. Cheap are the idiots tripping over nickels to only save pennies, think of those who wait in line burning a gallon of fuel to save 2 cents at the pump.
Practical is people who don't concern themselves with image because they realize in America most live beyond their means to begin with.

I miss my little car, it's to bad that Mercedes made it. But now I'm in eureka with my 2022 KIA Soul.

Screenshot_20221126_085435.png
 

lolbell

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Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
384
My dealership story…. In 84 when our first child was born Mrs Lolbell was driving a Ford Escort, 2 door. She requested something with easier infant seat access. I had a very close friend who was a salesman at the local Chrysler/Jeep dealership. Mam wanted a 4 door Cherokee. Eddie had just what we wanted on the lot. He give me a price of 21,000. I went home with the bad news to the wife. I told her we were going to keep the Escort. She asked about a dealership in a small town about an hour away where I grew up. I drove to the small town dealership to look at an identical Cherokee for 15,900. I called Eddie and told him if he matched the price I would buy from him. After talking with the sales manager I was told that's what they had to pay for the car and he couldn't do it. I lost one friend that day but gained a better one.
I asked Dave, the new friend how he was able to sell the car at his cost and make anything. His response was Chrysler paid them 1,000 to sell it and gave them 1,000 to handle the minor warranty work and most never came back for warranty work so he made 2 grand on each car sold. Besides that he's the salesman and sales manager so he didn't have that overhead. I could list many times he has treated me very well since that day. I've not bought another car or had any service work done anywhere else. Dave is now in his late 60's and trying to retire. The dealership is for sale. I dread the day it sales.
 

KS25-06

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Aug 19, 2007
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151
Location
Moscow, Ks. Stevens Co.
Called our Toyota dealer this week about a couple of problems on our Highlander (low tire light staying on) and Tundra (fuel gauge off 1/4 of tank) he curtly explained that they would have to run a diagnostic test on the vehicles. That would cost $175 dollars apiece. Then we could decide if we wanted to spend the money to get the problem fixed. I said I was not going to spend $350 to find out what the problem was when we already knew what it was. What a rip off!!!!
 
Joined
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Messages
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On the beach and in the hills
Called our Toyota dealer this week about a couple of problems on our Highlander (low tire light staying on) and Tundra (fuel gauge off 1/4 of tank) he curtly explained that they would have to run a diagnostic test on the vehicles. That would cost $175 dollars apiece. Then we could decide if we wanted to spend the money to get the problem fixed. I said I was not going to spend $350 to find out what the problem was when we already knew what it was. What a rip off!!!!

So take it to a private shop and pay them to replace the T(ire) P(ressure) M(onitoring) S(ensor) and the fuel level sensor. The TPMS is pretty simple but they have to drop the tank to replace the sensor.

Alternatively, you could do it yourself. We aren't talking rocket science. Heck semi trained "technicians" can do it so how hard could it be.

The biggest reason repairs cost so much isn't the cost of diagnostic equipment it's that people don't even know which direction to turn a nut much less anything else.
 

h2so4

Bearcat
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Feb 5, 2013
Messages
63
Location
Denver, Colorado
I just got a new Ford F-150 powerboost, a new kid required more room. We didn't want 3rd row seats. The ford drove like a Cadillac. Anyway, I tried local dealers in Denver. They were all sticker ++ in Feb '22. I found Granger Ford on the forums and their 3% under INVOICE. It was the best deal in the country. I took it to local dealers and they didn't even bother with more than a sentence email reply. Fine by me. I saved $10k on ordering a new f-150 and the whole thing was painless. Yeah, I had to fly in and drive home- but those 14 hours were way better than 2 hours in a dealership. I spent more time at Granger getting my Bluetooth setup than I did doing paperwork. They just emailed it to me the week before via docusign. If I ever buy another new vehicle, I'm calling them. They make it easy and enjoyable. I don't care they are 10 hours away, it was worth it.
Also, the powerboost f150 is awesome. I very much recommend it.
 

Ride1949

Hunter
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Dec 4, 2021
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Oregon
Great username. Brings to mind a little ditty from high school science class.

Willy was a chemist.
but Willy is no more.
What Willy thought was h2o.
Was really h2so4.
 

GasGuzzler

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Oct 22, 2012
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Cooke County, Texas
Perhaps my question needs a separate thread, but For those of you that work in a dealership, if you tell a customer they need some sort of service done, such as a new air filter for example.
I'd say for small maintenance such as filters, alignment, etc. it's about 80% for and 20% against.
Here are my observations about DFW new car dealerships (as of November 2022). While these won't surprise most of you, they may be incongruous with GasGuzzler's observations: 1. New car inventory is waaaaaaay down, and the variety of vehicles from which to select sucks. 2. New car salesmen tell me (when I can find one) that increased interest rates on car loans have had a very strong negative impact on newe car sales. 3. Used car salesmen tell me used car sales volumes are way down - interest rates being the primary culprit. Low used car sales volumes cause lower used car sales prices. So the slump in used car sales is being caused by the economy. 4. I estimate new car dealerships now employ about 5 - 10% of the sales forces they did before the China Virus shutdown. And many (most?) dealerships now co-mingle their new and used car sales forces - no more separate used car salesmen. So I see a different picture of DFW's car market than does GasGuzzler.
I am just outside the infected bubble of DFW so my situation is likely different. Inventory being way down is relative. Before Covid we kept about 250 vehicles at this one location, likely 65% new and 80% trucks. There was a point where we had 11 new vehicles, all cars and small SUV's, no trucks. Right now we probably have 100 cars. 100 is a lot less than 250 but 11 is way worse compared to 100. We have a decent selection and sell a lot of cars for the size of the town. There is no slump in sales here so there's nothing to blame it on. It used to be the lack of product but we have that now as stated. A local competitor has HUNDREDS of new cars and is in a SMALLER town. We have the same number of employees we've always had and we have no new hires or newly gone people in the last 9+ months.
Maybe each of us would like to post our profession so others can highlight the negatives.

Who here is shocked to now discover there are bad players in all walks of life? Wondering if the auto industry has a higher percentage of bad guys than say ….. electricians, home builders, gun stores, banks, etc.? There's something like 70,000 new car dealerships in the country. Lord only knows how many hundreds of thousands of employees that covers.
That was my point earlier. This topic was started about a good dealership experience but there are people with buttons so hot they have to crap on the entire industry decide to post off topic about how they know about a dealership that is dishonest.

Politicians, bankers, and insurance agents are dishonest in many cases too but I don't go find a positive topic about one or the other to tell a bad story.
I'm not in the auto business so may very well be full of crap. Locally most of the dealership techs I know ( thinking 4 right now ) are all
paid basically straight commission. If they're not billing labor hours and selling parts they're not getting paid. plus some are on sliding
scales of pay as in more dollars billed gain them higher percentages. The incentive is there for dishonest techs to just maybe sell things
not really needed and the shear volume in a big dealership makes it tough to keep track of.
I think the whole tech pay system of dealerships leads to a lot of the issues people complain about. Couple that with every body owning
a car and all needing work at some point leads to dealerships being a popular target of how not to service customers.
100% correct. That is not the problem of the dealership, it's the system the manufacturer puts the dealers in. I can offer a couple small corrections although methods vary around the US. Most commissioned techs IN DEALERS do not get paid anything based on parts, only the labor they (or their team in some cases) complete. It's based off time but time is not actually relevant. Manufacturer says a certain job pays 1.8 hours so if it's warranty, the tech gets 1.8 X his flat rate. If he does the job in 1.1, good for him. If it takes two days, sucks for him. Customer pay times generally come from a guide and are usually about 142% of warranty time...because manufacturers try to swindle the techs. Sad? Yes. It's the manufacturer's system the dealers work under.
Back on topic, just for fun:
1) A friend called me about his dealer telling him that his cabin filter needed replacement. Friend said 'no' and asked me. This was 10 years ago and at that time the price was $95. We bought him a cabin filter for $10 and installed it in 10 minutes.

Cabin filter and engine air filters are big money makers around here; the last time I was inside a dealership to pick up some filters I spotted the sign that said 'labor charge $118/hr'; that was about 8+ yrs ago and it wasn't a Lexus dealer; it was Toyota dealer.

J.
A large luxury dealer in DFW was charging over $140 per hour when I left them for this job in 2001. Dealers are encouraged by the factory reps to make service specials on a menu. They are told to make it simple. One price for CAF for all vehicles, one price for EAF for all vehicles, etc. The techs are paid by the job and one CAF takes 3 minutes and another takes 28 minutes but they have to agree on something in the middle. Same with the cost of the parts. Some air filters retail for $80 and AGM batteries are nearing $300. The solution is vehicle specific pricing but to do that, you need service advisors that have a clue. The nationwide hiring issues across all industries makes this difficult.
Anyone have good results with extended warranty's? Anyone?
Sure. Buy the right one. We have good luck with Master Tech. The key is knowing what you are buying. What it covers and what it does not.
Called our Toyota dealer this week about a couple of problems on our Highlander (low tire light staying on) and Tundra (fuel gauge off 1/4 of tank) he curtly explained that they would have to run a diagnostic test on the vehicles. That would cost $175 dollars apiece. Then we could decide if we wanted to spend the money to get the problem fixed. I said I was not going to spend $350 to find out what the problem was when we already knew what it was. What a rip off!!!!
The tech spends time diagnosing your problem, researching the fix, and getting parts information. You decide not to do the repair. Who pays the technician for his time?
So take it to a private shop and pay them to replace the T(ire) P(ressure) M(onitoring) S(ensor) and the fuel level sensor. The TPMS is pretty simple but they have to drop the tank to replace the sensor.

Alternatively, you could do it yourself. We aren't talking rocket science. Heck semi trained "technicians" can do it so how hard could it be.

The biggest reason repairs cost so much isn't the cost of diagnostic equipment it's that people don't even know which direction to turn a nut much less anything else.
Often I see this and many times the next step when the first attempts were not successful is to search online and buy another unneeded part. When that doesn't fix the problem, the customer comes to us and says they have a bunch of aftermarket parts installed that didn't fix the issue. The installation is generally suspect too. Sometimes we have to "un-replace" all their parts (if they have the originals) to start the diagnosis over.

Maybe one day I will start my own topic and address all the common misconceptions. It's no different than saying FPS causes leading and you can't load outside of published data...noise that gets repeated mindlessly on the internet.
 
Joined
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On the beach and in the hills
Yea, inexperienced shade tree mechanics make mistakes. It a learning process. So understandable. But, a "professional" ?( a professional is one that is paid for his work. It has nothing to do with training or skill) shouldn't.

The limit of most dealership "technicians" (note they don't even profess to be a mechanic anymore) is limited to what the diagnostic software tells them. And that's exactly how the dealerships and manufacturers want them. They are simply parts changers.

When was the last time you heard of a dealership technician strip an engine down to the block and rebuild it. Most probably wouldn't know where to start.

And heaven forbid they have to make a repair outside a fully equipped shop.
 

hittman

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Well that's simply a sign of the times. How efficient would it be for the "technician" to have "skills" not utilized by the manufacturer or dealership?

Autobody shops are much the same. Parts aren't repaired; they're replaced. Some even arrive already painted. Bolt them on and add the stick on pin stripes.

Nobody works on televisions or radios any longer either.
 

Johnnu2

Hunter
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
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NYS
Pls. forgive me, but that post about the TPS and gas guage elicits a gentle reaction here.

Our 14 yr old Subaru has a TPS light that never goes out... I just put a piece of black tape over it. I really never could see the purpose for that light; doesn't everyone check their tires visually every day and the pressures at least 4 times a year..?

As far as gas gauges go, again, forgive me, but after the first week of ownership, when the owner realized that his gauge registers about "2 gals. higher", is there any need to correct the gauge really?

Just an old fart ranting ,
J. :)
 
Last edited:
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GasGuzzler
Thanks for the above reply....expanding a bit. Do the manufactures pay the above mentioned diagnostic fees at anywhere the same rate dealers
charge the customers? Are their published flat rate times near a decent techs real world times per job and can the tech see the numbers on each
job going into it?
I've had and worked with a lot of different mechanics over the years and have found those that "came up " sorta speak, under flat rate pay systems
usually ( not always ) tended to be sloppy and miss/skip little detail type of things. Some of the best we've had came from aviation training
backgrounds. They were better at looking at the overall machine and wanting it really right when it left. All were previously hourly payed or
salary, no flat rate.
Granted there are exceptions.
 

Johnnu2

Hunter
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Jun 26, 2003
Messages
3,106
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NYS
Speaking of Cessnas and aviation mechanics.... I had a Navy Flying Club Cessna that would shake the crap outta me when I let the nose wheel down on landing. After writing it up for repair at least 4 times, I just held on a bit more tightly when I let the wheel touch down. All better....:)

J.
 

rexp47

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 17, 2023
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Location
Euless,TX
My wife decided she wanted a small cad. suv XTR4 . She found a dealer she liked that claimed to be honest. I took her trade to a well know car buyer to get a cash offer, 2019 jeep grand cherokee LE (she bought new) with 32,800 miles told me $26,000 cash. The Cad dealer offered $22,500 trade (over the phone) We went in found suv she wanted. they said they really wanted her trade so bad they they would give $20,000. I had told them i knew what the trade was worth (they white eyed me), when i said i wanted $26k they said noway, when i laid the written offer on the table and stood up to leave they said OK we can do that HOME WORK
 

GasGuzzler

Hunter
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Oct 22, 2012
Messages
2,985
Location
Cooke County, Texas
Yea, inexperienced shade tree mechanics make mistakes. It a learning process. So understandable. But, a "professional" ?( a professional is one that is paid for his work. It has nothing to do with training or skill) shouldn't.

The limit of most dealership "technicians" (note they don't even profess to be a mechanic anymore) is limited to what the diagnostic software tells them. And that's exactly how the dealerships and manufacturers want them. They are simply parts changers.

When was the last time you heard of a dealership technician strip an engine down to the block and rebuild it. Most probably wouldn't know where to start.

And heaven forbid they have to make a repair outside a fully equipped shop.
So you don't make mistakes on tasks you carry out every day? You never mess up? The term Mechanic is an insult now days. The physical work required to do the job is about 15% of the task. We tear engines and transmissions down all the time to repair internals. Why would you think otherwise? Do you have ANY first hand experience in the matter? Is there any reason we should believe your sentiments or did you just read that on the internet last week? Maybe use google to search the terms "GM 5.3 lifters" or "GM 6L80 transmission". I mean, actually use your computer to learn. About a quarter of the GM techs I've known over the last 30 years in the business worked on the side at home in less than fully equipped shops after hours.
GasGuzzler
Thanks for the above reply....expanding a bit. Do the manufactures pay the above mentioned diagnostic fees at anywhere the same rate dealers
charge the customers? Are their published flat rate times near a decent techs real world times per job and can the tech see the numbers on each
job going into it?
I've had and worked with a lot of different mechanics over the years and have found those that "came up " sorta speak, under flat rate pay systems
usually ( not always ) tended to be sloppy and miss/skip little detail type of things. Some of the best we've had came from aviation training
backgrounds. They were better at looking at the overall machine and wanting it really right when it left. All were previously hourly payed or
salary, no flat rate.
Granted there are exceptions.

GM pays a very small percentage of what customers pay in all aspects. For instance, for standard electrical issues, GM pays 0.3 hours (18 minutes) diagnosis. Some operations have up to 1.0 diagnosis but maximums always draw too much attention. Extenuating circumstances are required for the extra time.

Many operations pay a lower times than would take an average technician. Some pay WAY less, and very rarely, some pay more. A general rule of thumb is that GM pays about 60% of "fair".

The flat ate system is broken indeed and I try to justify the times by not considering them times at all. I like to refer to how many units a job pays. Technically, GM techs are not supposed to have access to the warranty LTG (labor time guide) but in this electronic day and age, most do. I, myself, choose to NOT look up warranty time prior to completion because it will make me want to quit before I start.

I have never known a technician that was paid by the clock hour other than minimal skill workers such as oil changers (they're not technicians technically). Texas is a right to work State where only cops, truckers, and teachers are union (for the most part) so I cannot compare. I do not know of any retail dealer in anywhere in a several State area (even though there could be some) that pays their techs by clock hours. But if a dealer were to pay techs by the clock hour AND the techs were able to gross the same annual salary as they do on flat rate, the labor rate at the dealer level would have to increase by at least 40% .... say from $150 per hour to $200-250 for the franchise to make the same gross.

Here are some pictures I took myself, in my work area, at the dealer I have worked for since September 10, 2001 (yes, the day before), using my phone that I bought all by myself. The last one is of a car I got from a customer and fixed for myself.

6L80E rebuild
Buick Envision HVAC case
3.6L sludge removal and timing chains (all three) replacement
3.6L rear main seal and timing chains
1.6L pistons, rings, and rods/bearings
2.4L all eight intake valves (bent) and rockers (fractured) plus timing and balance chains

D004-BE2-F-6-DED-42-F3-B7-EA-4-C74-FBCA97-FE.jpg
D3-A2-E183-0-ED6-4935-B19-F-571998-F8657-B.jpg
3-CD26-DA7-A9-D9-43-DE-B707-C65-B4-E99-C652.jpg
86-B106-B5-4-F77-463-A-9-AEA-D79-EAC665-EC7.jpg
83-E97-FEA-DC01-46-A2-B4-EE-D89-E15-E56-C5-F.jpg

B6582-BBE-2231-44-BE-842-F-2-ED3-E24-A9645.jpg
 

Tenbore

Blackhawk
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Aug 21, 2009
Messages
519
Location
Oregon
I did a factory build on my '22 F-250 4x4. Went online and started with the base model then added all the options that I wanted, not the dealer installed ones to jack up the price. Took the build sheet to my local dealer and told them to order this for me as I had on the build sheet. I waited 21/2 months for it but I knew exactly what the cost was and was not obligated to pay until I signed the final paperwork. At the time, trucks on the lot were going for anywhere between $65,000 and $85,000 and very few on the lot. I got exactly what I wanted for $43,000.
 

Dan in MI

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GM pays a very small percentage of what customers pay in all aspects. For instance, for standard electrical issues, GM pays 0.3 hours (18 minutes) diagnosis. Some operations have up to 1.0 diagnosis but maximums always draw too much attention. Extenuating circumstances are required for the extra time.

Many operations pay a lower times than would take an average technician. Some pay WAY less, and very rarely, some pay more. A general rule of thumb is that GM pays about 60% of "fair".

The flat ate system is broken indeed and I try to justify the times by not considering them times at all. I like to refer to how many units a job pays. Technically, GM techs are not supposed to have access to the warranty LTG (labor time guide) but in this electronic day and age, most do. I, myself, choose to NOT look up warranty time prior to completion because it will make me want to quit before I start.

I haven't worked at a dealership in a while, but we could always look at the Labor Time Standards. That was how learned to write up warranty repairs correctly to get paid correctly. If GM prevents that (or is it just that dealership?) then you could be getting screwed. One thing I learned early is for any WARRANTY work your pencil is your best tool. Take your three tenths electrical diagnosis for example. Yeah, .3 is probably correct, but if you didn't write down all the work required to come up with that diagnosis then that is on you. If you had to pull the seat, trim, and raise the carpet to get at the problem area, then you needed to write all that down to get paid for it. R&R seat, R&R kick panel, R&R scuff plate to access under the carpet to diagnose the issue all those .3's add up to cover your actual time on that job. Doing it that way your .3 became, .3 diag, .3 scuff plate, .4 seat R&R, .3 carpet inspection, +.5 electrical repair (if you repaired it there) Now your poorly written .3 became 1.8 hrs. Probably much closer the reality. Maybe a little over to compensate for the labor times that are under no matter what you do.

Car companies have deliberately turned the tech's into parts changers. I saw the writing on the wall years ago. At one time an alternator repair was a decent paying repair. Diagnosis time, R&R (remove and repair/replace) additional time for each internal component that was replaced to complete the repair. They dropped any repair and just went to swapping out the complete alternator every time. And it does make sense in a way. They get new alternators at a ridiculously low price.* It take less time for the tech to swap it out and they are assured that repair is now done right without any risk of diagnostic error on the internals, or mistakes.

* automotive part pricing. The manufacturing division buys thousands of part X at a dollar. Most go to the assembly line but they sell some of those parts internally to parts/service division, engineering, and maybe more. Now each transaction has some markup. So the $1 part is now $1.75. For warranty it will stay in that vicinity. Now parts and service sells it to the dealer for $4 who then marks it up to about $12. That allows them to sell at different wholesale breakpoints depending the purchasing shops volume. Dealership parts pricing has about 5 price points. It just so happens the retail customer, like us, get to pay the full ride at $12.
 
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