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Old 09-24-2011, 12:00 AM   #11
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This changes the way i look at the guy at the front desk now....its a good thing.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:17 AM   #12
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The only thing I would suggest you add a few sentences on is the cost of people who mod their car, beat the snot out of them and then take the mods off when going to the dealer and trying to claim warranty service. I don't know how much it happens in the Focus community but it happens a LOT in the Mustang community

Originally Posted by Grinder View Post
My best guess would be the overall higher price and typical size difference between independents and dealers. Given two "equally satisfactory" visits between a dealer and an independent I'd expect the owner of the vehicle to slightly favor the independent simply because the independent will likely have a lower overhead, which will allow them to be more flexible on their labor rates and part markups. Given two equal services I'll favor the one less affecting my wallet.
there is also the fact that an independant shop is more likely to spend some extra time with their customers. while the big dealers are generally focused on get'em in and get'em out. Most people will be more comfortable leaving their car with someone they feel actually care about their concens, indepdant shops are more willing to spend the time to do that, service writers in general are not.

Originally Posted by mikeeshaq View Post
I can forgive the higher priced charged by a dealership IF they do the repair right.
One of the two shops in Austin that I trust and use charges a bit more than anyplace else I have been to. but I am willing to pay more because a) their honesty is totally unparalleled, and b) they have top notch mechanics that really know what they are doing.

Originally Posted by sooner4x4 View Post
For some reason most people tend to remember and complain (post on a forum) the bad experiences they have had, therefore forums are oftentimes skewed with negative posts concerning dealerships. The few times I have had seriously incompetent work done, I attempted to resolve it with the shop (usually successfully) and then posted my experiences.
This is true of most anything. People tend to complain and post about problems. and it does make things look much worse than theay are. it is always good to keep that in mind when reviewing. had I not done that I probably would not have bought a focus LOL

Originally Posted by SanduskySerpents View Post
This changes the way i look at the guy at the front desk now....its a good thing.
For real. Altho I have never had a problem convincing a service writer to let me talk to the guy who was going to work on my car. it def. helps to have an idea of how stuff works in order to convince them.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RDJTX View Post
The only thing I would suggest you add a few sentences on is the cost of people who mod their car, beat the snot out of them and then take the mods off when going to the dealer and trying to claim warranty service. I don't know how much it happens in the Focus community but it happens a LOT in the Mustang community
Good idea! Changes made.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:26 PM   #14
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Very nice write up. there is not much that i would add. Just a few comments...

Like the saying Don't with the people who serve your food, same applies to the dealership/garage. If your always a pain in the ass, you will be treated as one. I'm not saying that the Tech's are going to break your car because your not nice. But, they will not go that extra mile that so many people have come to expect.

you want excellent service from your dealership? Tech's are mostly simple minded, cookies, donuts, pizza, or booze will help get you that extra mile you really want. Home cooked food will get you and extra 2 miles of work.

One customer always brings in a home baked treat for everybody, She gets extra's every time. Like a interior wash, when all we usually do is the engine and possibly the exterior.

Prices are set by a book time. If the book says 2.0 hours for a service, that's what the labor is going to cost. it does not matter if it only took .5. i try to fill in the entire time but its not always possible. Don't like it? ask a private garage if they use that system and go there. Dealers use this system, its not going to change. The hourly rate is also set and can not be changed by complaining. yes its $130 a hour, no i don't get all of it.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Intermittent Concerns and Vehicle Characteristics
It is irresponsible for a dealer to install a part they are not certain is bad and no such repairs will be made - especially if the repairs are covered by a warranty.
I'd think you meant repair instead of install there right?

Originally Posted by Manufacturer involvement
Entire assemblies may be replaced as to sacrifice the cost effectiveness of the repair for customer satisfaction.
Might be better worded as "Entire assemblies may be replaced sacrificing cost effectiveness of the repair for customer satisfaction"

Originally Posted by Dealers and manufacturers
Try not to associate your disatisfaction with a private business with a corporation.
Might be better worded as "Try not to associate your dissatisfaction of a local business with a global corporation." There are s's in dissatisfaction too. I had to look that one up.

Closing sentence: Laymen is missing the y.

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Last edited by whynotthinkwhynot; 09-26-2011 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:18 PM   #16
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as a Ford Master Certified Service Advisor, I approve this!
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:08 AM   #17
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Quality thread, definitely needs to be a sticky.

Just thought I would give a small bit of input too.

I'm still going to school for this but it is my last year. I've worked at an independent shop for about two years now. Some of the guys I work with on projects in class work at the local GM dealership. Now working with them I see the difference between how we do things. For example, we recently did a fuel pump on an Expedition. They were frustrated because they had to install a pump rebuild kit. I didn't understand what the problem was considering I did those several times a week. I also worked around removing some things by modifying them but it had no impact on functionality. Try doing that on a new car and you probably wouldn't last long. Anyway, I realized what the issue was. Here we are working on a 15 year old car; obviously out of warranty. Granted, I know dealers get old cars sometimes but generally they are new models under warranty with problems they need to fix by using factory parts to retain the warranty (see? no aftermarket).I don't see cars newer than 2008 usually, and if I do, its for an oil change or something small. Not to say I couldn't fix them, but usually if a part fails it is because it is defective. If its worn out on a new car, you bet Ill see it if they're good customers and its not under warranty.

In the end, my thoughts are if the job can get diagnosed correctly and fixed honestly, people are coming back; dealer or independent shop.
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Last edited by mikebontoft; 09-27-2011 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:47 PM   #18
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Excellent Post, and a "worthy" new "stickie" - since it covers most of the issues addressed here often...

Couple of things to consider adding in the "Warranty" section:

1. Many, if not most, of the extended warranties offered at a HIGH markup to new car buyers (and these days used car buyers as well) are just insurance policies NOT backed by the manufacturer OR the dealer.... SO, do NOT buy one unless you know the reputation and likely longevity of the company actually selling it!

2. On the other hand, an extended warranty sold by the MANUFACTURER, may be well worth the price, if peace of mind is worth a few extra bucks to you. Not only is the company you are buying from known to you, but in my dealership experience anyone who had purchased the manufacturers extended plan got extra consideration for ANY warranty claims, even if ALL warranties had expired....

One caveat to the last, ALSO from dealership experience, is that any customer who demanded & got "special consideration" for a repair that was DEFINITELY NOT a "warranty" item (like "I shouldn't have been able to break it so easily") often goes on a list for NO future special consideration. eg. if it's even ONE day out of warranty, you're out of luck - when in usual circumstances any REAL defect will be covered even IF the warranty "ran out" recently....

As to "Independents", earlier posters hit it on the head - their stock in trade is Customer Service - AND the ability to repair almost anything NOT needing "factory" tools & information. The skills needed to REPAIR instead of replace are used more often by the independents as well, as mentioned by Mike. And "backyard engineering" can often solve issues that show up on older cars that DON'T have a "factory fix" for them - only occasionally do manufacturers get involved in issues that don't turn up 'till after many years of ownership. ( Porsche, SAAB, BMW etc. are exceptions to this rule...)

Thanks again for an excellent write-up!

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Old 11-05-2011, 01:25 AM   #19
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I'd like to put my two cents worth into this discussion. While I have not worked as an auto mechanic, I have worked as a small engine and RV service tech. I also have worked on my own cars and had work done at several local shops both good and bad. Based on my experience on both sides of the repair business I offer the following advice:
1. Remember all,or at least most,repair shops are independant businesses. As such,they will vary as to pricing and the quality of personnell. For the best experience, start by asking friends, neighbors, or even the salesmen at parts stores who they would reccommend.
2. Wherever you go provide the best information you can. It will help tremedously if you can explain exactly what a problem sounds, feels. or looks like and when or how it happens. For example does it happen when the engine is warm, cold, or always ? Even weather conditions may be important such as weather it was it rainy, humid, dry or sunny.
3. All shops are run by humans, and all humans make mistakes. In my experience, any reputable shop will gladly fix a mistake if given the chance.
4. Keep your cool. Things will go much better for everyone if you can explain your problems calmly and rationally no matter how frustrated you are. No service writer or tech will give their best service to an angry, irate customer who blows up right in their face.
5. Be careful about diagnosing a problem yourself. A problem could have multiple causes, so even if your neighbor or friend or someone on the Internet needed a certain part replaced doesn't neccessarily mean it needs replacing on your car. While it's OK to suggest the mechanic check a certain part don't demand they replace it unless you are absolutley certain it's bad and are willing to accept the results of the repair whatever they are.
6. Finally, if you have a good experience by all means let the business know. Everyone appreciates a thank you once in a while.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:19 AM   #20
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Problem is that *many* repair shops & techs have absolutely no pride in their workmanship! It's all about getting it in, getting it out & seeing the $$$.

I have always done my own repairs, I am good at what I do because I do things right. I don't rig things up or make questionable repairs.

There has been a couple of times when I had a few extra bucks in my pocket & just didn't want to mess with it myself. WHAT A MISTAKE! Each time I had to fix their mistakes or damage. I'll go further & say that even if you're a tech at a dealership that doesn't mean you are any better than the guy at the jiffy lube. There are great techs and there are crappy ones, where you work has no outcome IMO. It all comes down to the individuals ethics & honesty.

There can be a tech with 20 certifications hanging on the wall, He could be great at what he does or just book smart but clueless in actual hands on work. It happens!

I worked at a auto accessory store as a installer/mechanic. They just wanted to get the customers in & out without any quality. I refused to do this & the customers always thanked me for being honest & doing things correctly. For me it's hard to sleep at night knowing that you are screwing somebody over.

There is nothing wrong with a customer expecting a job well done. They paid big money for their vehicle & I don't blame them one bit. Shouldn't matter if it's a new 60,000 truck or a 10 year old vehicle that's worth $3,000, The same quality of workmanship should be given to both.
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