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This post isn’t so much of a “rant” but just to say “why?” - the stuff that dealerships like to “fluff” when you’re in for service sometimes is mind blowing.

Sooo... went in for a 15k service today - Oil Change and Tire Rotation is all I needed (currently in a apt so not a good access to a garage so the dealer does these for now). While I’m there the clerk asks me - do you also want our “15k service??”.

What’s that I asked and how much? He proceeds to tell me “it’s $309 and includes several needed things”.

Ok - I’m interested... WHAT things?

Well sir - we flush and fill your brake fluid, perform an alignment, replace the air filter, replace the in-cabin micro filter and key fob battery - plus you get your oil change and tire rotation.

All that for $309? Yes sir!
Is the alignment out? No but it’s recommended.
So the factory didn’t align it right and it needs to be done? No - it’s just needed to follow the recommended service.
That’s not listed in the manual? Well sir - we recommend.
What about the key fob - it works fine? Yes - but it’s recmmended.
What about the brake fluid flush - does it leak? No - but it’s recommended.
Why - do you expect it to fail? No it’s just recommended.

Sooo - out of all that the ONLY thing in the manual at 15k (other than oil/tire rotation) is the Key Fob Battery and In-Cabin Filter. I’ll buy a filter at AutoZone and save $50 - the Key Fob threw me though. If had the one for my 2013 Explorer since I bought it... still works fine? WHY would I replace it (for $75!!!) at 15k!

I politely told the clerk “I’ll pass” and will replace the micro filter when it goes bad along with the key fob - my air filter is pristine so I’ll be good for awhile on that. Most cars can go their lifetime without a brake fluid flush - so I’m good for there. Alignment? Unless the tires start to wear bad or I notice it pulling - I’ll pass.

However what angers me is how many people will pay for that without thinking because someone “recommended” it... sad.

I doubt anyone on this board would be so easily duped - however if you’re one who will pay for whatever the service dept. says you “need”... don’t say you haven’t been warned!
 

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It’s very sad that people pay for that stuff...when you buy a used car that’s the type of person you want to buy it from though!


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I change my brake fluid about every 100k since brake fluid is hydroscopic.
I do this from a couple incidences in the past.
Ive had calipers stick from internal corrosion.
Ive had brake line connectors corrode together.
Ive got a driveway to do the work in and a quart of brake fluid is cheap.
 

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Oh, yah, it's "recommended"...By our sales generation department!
 

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Oh, yah, it's "recommended"...By our sales generation department!
Well yeah?

Actually had the finance manager get rude when I would not let him upsell me anything by way of extended service or warranty, he also failed at getting me better financing than I walked in with so there was little hidden profit for them on my sale...
 

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However what angers me is how many people will pay for that without thinking because someone “recommended” it... sad.
I recommend people send me all their cash all the time... Never seems to work for me.


As a Locksmith, I am also a salesman for my shop and often recommend parts or replacements, even offer upgrades on hardware. I never recommend services or parts that are not needed, and always make myself clear when suggesting upgrades that they are not required. I give my customers options, not hard sales.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I never recommend services or parts that are not needed, and always make myself clear when suggesting upgrades that they are not required. I give my customers options, not hard sales.
THIS - Absolutely agree... trust me, I get it and we are all in business in some form. Companies exist on sales and there is nothing wrong with suggesting something that can improve a product or increase its worthiness.

However, spinning an absolutely needless service to people and saying it’s “recommended” is another matter. I will give them credit, they didn’t push it - but they also couldn’t explain it why they recommended it or it why it was needed.

Of course, we the consumer can always say no - so we have the ultimate choice and control of the situation.
 

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Service writers make a commission on a lot of the additional services they sell. A lot of dealerships also force them to push the extra sales, when they’re not as pushy it usually means that they want to be able to say they asked but don’t want to screw you either.


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My understanding is the profit center of dealerships has shifted from sales to service over the past decade or so. The internet has greatly increased competition and pricing on the sales side, but service is still as expensive as it's always been.

What gets me is charging $75 to replace a $1 battery. Are they charging an hour's labor on that? What's the justification for that I wonder?
 

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Give the guy a break, he's just doing his job.

He didn't force any of those extras on you - you're the one who got interested when he brought the 15k service up in the first place. It was all "recommendations" and granted, he's working for a dealership and if he is on commission, you can't blame him.

At the same time, there are a lot more people in this world that aren't part of this forum that have no idea what they're doing with vehicles other than driving them and putting gas in. People who don't know how to do basic "vehicle ownership" things like change a flat, check fluid levels, swap wiper blades. People who don't bother to research or go on a forum to find out how easy it is to change their cabin air filter or key fob battery.

These are the people who will take all those recommendations, because they just don't know or they don't bother to find out. Is it a case of the dealership/service writer taking advantage? Sure, it can be. Are they being dishonest? No, it's "recommendations". Are there people who fall for it? All the time...


And yeah - you just have to say "no thanks" and that's it.
 

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A lot of this started years ago as vehicles have decreased on required maintenance and warranties have extended. I saw this working as a Nissan tech starting in the mid-'80s until I left in 2003. Back in the 80's and 90's there was plenty of work for the dealer techs to do as timing belts needed to be changed every 60,000 or 105,000 miles, spark plugs and filters were due every 30,000 miles, as was coolant and automatic transmission fluid, etc.
As we moved into the 2000's, timing belts started going by the wayside as "silent timing chains" replaced them in engine designs. Distributor caps and wires, once serviceable items, were replaced by coil packs. Platinum and iridium spark plugs changed recommended replacement intervals to 100,000 miles plus. Long-life coolant and synthetic automatic transmission fluid greatly extended their service intervals, as well. Even fuel filters were eliminated as a maintenance item as they are now usually part of the fuel tank module. Anyone remember the Ford Focus and it's non-serviceable air filter which required replacing the whole air box as an assembly if you wanted to change it?
And then we look at warranties; while the 3-yr/36,000-mi. bumper-to-bumper warranties are still pretty standard, there are many manufacturers who are now selling vehicles with 100,000 miles on their powertrain. So, the typical dealer tech who used to make a decent paycheck doing a lot of customer pay, maintenance work and a little warranty work (which is usually a break-even, at best, situation for most techs in regards to paid time vs. time actually spent on vehicle). Now, the stuff that made them money is largely out the window as people with older cars won't bring them to a dealer and the typical dealer tech is saddled with a lot of warranty work and oil changes, which don't pay much. So, if the tech isn't getting as much "profitable work," then that typically means the service department as a whole isn't making as much money, either.
Going back to the '90s, companies like Envirolution started introducing their oil flush machines to dealers as a way to bring back some money back into the service department. Next thing you know, transmission flush, coolant flush, power steering flush and brake fluid flush machines followed suit as "not required, necessarily, but recommended services" for dealers to present to their customers as additional maintenance options. By this time, many franchised and independent auto repair facilities were on the bandwagon and thus we have the situation we have today when we go in for a "factory recommended" service at a dealer and get presented with a much more expensive alternative service that is "recommended" by the dealer. So, basically, dealers found a way to make their service departments profitable at a time when they might be suffering due to the lack of customer pay work available. I'm not defending this practice, only explaining how we got to this point.
To go back on a couple of things, brake fluid service is now becoming a manufacturer recommended service, lately, as they've found that copper can build up in the fluid due to the normal wear that occurs in the ABS actuator. They even sell a test kit that allows you to check for the amount of copper in your brake fluid. Excessive copper in the brake fluid can cause problems for the ABS actuator assembly, so, it's not uncommon to see a brake fluid flush recommended once a year in the manufacturer's service schedule.
Most cabin filters are recommend at 15,000 miles; I usually push mine to 30,000, but it is plenty dirty at that point!
 

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The service and maintenance guide that came with my 2014 lists the Brake Fluid as something to be changed every 20,000 miles. The 15,000-mile recommendation is only just a bit early by what the manual lists.
 
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