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"B134" crap from dealership?

Hi cartalk,
My car, Richard a 2008 Honda Fit, has been through a lot. Recently he passed 102,000 miles and got a bit of diesel passed through him (shameful, I know, but I’ve already paid for this mistake dearly both personally and financially; I got new spark plugs and the guy warned me the engine light would flick on). As a result, Richard needed an oil and filter change and the engine light flicked off. So I take him into a dealership…
And they try to sell me on some “B134” check up package with all kinds of crap done to my car (goodbye both time and money, more than $300). I explained to them no that’s not what I wanted, etc. Now, were these guys just trying to scam me? It’s the first time I’ve ever encountered such behavior at a dealership. What are they talking about? To me it looked like he wrote “B134” down on Richards sheet from quickly looking at Richard and the computer. Do car guys always try to hoodwink people?
Almost Hoodwinked

“B134” is a code displayed by your vehicle’s maintenance computer. Each letter/number relates to a list of specific maintenance. The maintenance program was created by the manufacture and is explained in your owners manual.

You can expect the service department to offer the recommended maintenance that is shown on your display or by present mileage but you have the right to select only an oil change. If you believe that you have completed the necessary maintenance, ask for assistance resetting the maintenance computer.


Clearly, a significant percentage of people automatically assume that all dealerships are straight out trying to cheat the customers

Those same people would probably be upset if everybody else automatically assumed the worst about them


Here we have another case of not asking the service place for clarification of the invoice and also possibly not looking at the maintenance schedule in the vehicle manual.

All recommended service can be refused but the dealer has to mention what is on the schedule just to protect their selves from future conflict.

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Naomi … you have a reason for a complain imo, if they didn’t explain what they intended to do and give you an estimate of what it would cost. If they gave you a cost estimate and the actual cost was in line w/that, well, suggest you just tough it out and remember to pay att’n to the estimate better the next time.

One suggestion going forward, lose the dealership shop. This problem could have easily been fixed by an inde shop, and likely for less $$ than you paid at the dealership. For newer Honda models, yes the dealership is probably the better option, for for a 2008, not so much.

BTW, I don’t think they were attempting to hoodwink you. The dealership has a responsibility to service the owner’s car as stated in the owner’s manual. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of the Honda service schedule? They did it b/c they believe that’s what’s best for your long term car ownership interest. But they also have an equal responsibility to you to inform you prior of what they intend to do and provide you a cost estimate imo.

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I found the charges at my local Toyota dealer and the charges at my local Chevrolet dealer were comparable to the independent shop I had been using. The independent shop where I had been a customer for over 20 years changed managers and the shop began to try to do work that wasn’t needed. I switched to the Toyota dealership. The last time I took the Sienna in for servicing, I brought the service records from my independent shop. The service manager went through the records and figured out the service that should be done and what service at my mileage point wasn’t needed because it had already been done by the independent shop. One added bonus is that the dealer always does a car wash as part of the service and charges no more than my independent charged for the same service. I would rather drive away in a clean car after an oil change than a dirty car.


Wouldn’t it have been much easier and faster to ask the dealer to explain the B134 instead of registering here and poking in a paragraph about fraud?


I think it’s a form of stage fright, people aren’t prepared to have a conversation about their cars and panic in the service office when they hear prices.

I have been changing the oil on my neighbors car at work for a few years, I tell him which Saturday I will be working and he tells the service writer that I will be doing the work. On one Saturday his regular service writer wasn’t there so I told the next one to expect my neighbor at 2:00 PM for and oil change. When my neighbor arrived, the service writer looked at the vehicles mileage and said “your ready for the 50,000 mile service, $200”. My neighbor ran out the door. When I found out why he wasn’t there I called him and told him to return and ask for an oil change.

Did “B134” light up on your dash? At 100k it should have. I includes all these necessary items:

B - Replace engine oil and oil filter. Also inspect Brake system and components and perform a tire rotation.

1 - Rotate tires, and check tire pressure and condition

3 - Replace transmission fluid and transfer fluid (if equipped).

4 - Replace spark plugs, replace timing belt (if equipped), inspect water pump, and inspect/ adjust valve clearance


I did, and got a jumbled, unclear answer with a high price tag. It seemed like hogwash to me; my car has been running fine regardless of the high mileage. Glad to better understand what was going on.

Sometimes a service adviser isn’t a good communicator. He or she isn’t good at explaining automotive maintenance issues in everyday non-jargon English.

Next time this happens, ask to be reassigned to another service adviser who is good at communicating with customers. If that doesn’t work you might need to find another shop or dealership with whom you can establish a trusting relationship.

A shop owner/manager/customer service rep./service adviser can have all the technical skill in the world, but if he or she is a poor communicator, it’s time for this person to move on to a more appropriate job.


I’m sure your car will continue to run fine…until it doesn’t…


I think you are not being taken advantage of. A friend has a Fit and the good news is there is no timing belt to change, but there are accessory belts in all cars of that era. $300 at 100K if you have not recently done a major service previously sounds like a fair deal to me. It would be worth asking them if the spark plugs are included in that $300 and then let them know you don’t need that part and thus, it should be some lower cost. FYI, Your Fit is on the Taka airbag replacement recall list if I am not mistaken. I would have the dealer check the VIN and schedule the maintenance for the time when they have the airbag inflator available (recalls cost you nothing) and perhaps you will score a loaner if they offer them. The Takata airbag recall took about 90 minutes when my pal did hers on her Fit of your generation this month. Also, the ignition coils are often a replacement item on Fits.

I agree with all the replies. Establishing a good relationship with your dealer (or an independent mechanic) can be quite beneficial. Call the front office if need be and ask if they can have someone print you out a list of everything they intend to do, instead of verbally.
And, at 100K miles, please don’t assume it will continue to run just fine with minimal maintenance. The owners manual has the intended service listed for a very good reason. Oils, fluids, brakes, any moving parts can only go so long before they tend to reach the limit of their service life.
Based on what they may do, $300 may very well be acceptable.

No, I don’t think so. I’ve been in this business all my life and I can tell you from experience it’s much more common for the “customer” to try to scam the shop out of something than the other way around.

$300 isn’t much money in car terms. I ran my own shop for 8 years, $300 is less than the average ticket was there. And with the knowledge that the service recommended was what was listed in your car’s manual which was written not by your dealer but by Honda when they built the car, it seems that the service department was just trying to catch you up on some needed deferred maintenance.

I’m glad your car is running well. Keep up on the basic maintenance and you’ll get to 200,000 miles. It’s like going to the dentist. Some people go every 6 months. Some go only when they’re in pain. Which one is better?

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I hate to say it, but I agree with @asemaster about the customers trying to pull a fast one at the shop’s expense

It was usually the shop and/or the mechanics taking the loss, versus the customer

Sounds like it’s just regular factory-spec’d maintenance. For an oil change, tire rotation, transmission fluid fluid change, and new spark plugs, $300 is perfectly reasonable. It’s not “crap” nor are they ripping you off. Cars require maintenance.

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