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Confessions of a service manager

If you’ve ever felt you got a raw deal taking your car in for service at the dealer, our anonymous service manager says that may well be true. But he also cites a number of reasons to take your car to the dealer for work anyway—and tells how not to get the short end of the stick when you do. He should know. He’s spent 23 years as a manager for brands as varied as Nissan, Ford and Mitsubishi, and has also served as a warranty administrator and customer relations manager for multiple dealerships.

Read more: Confessions of a Car Dealership Service Manager - Popular Mechanics

Some of the stuff seems spot on from what we’ve had being said on here, but he goes on to say that a dealership might work with you a bit more if you’ve brought the car in for maintenance the whole time and something breaks a little while after the warranty expires.

"Some of the stuff seems spot on from what we’ve had being said on here, but he goes on to say that a dealership might work with you a bit more if you’ve brought the car in for maintenance the whole time and something breaks a little while after the warranty expires. "

That exact thing happened to my SIL - her Honda’s AT went out years out of warranty, it was not covered by the added warranty Honda gave out on some ATs, but the dealer went in 50% on the repair because she got it serviced there.

After reading that article I’d say that the service manager is correct on some of those points and dead wrong on others.

I should have added that what is unknown to me is if this service manager has ever had any actual mechanic experience.

My dad did business with a DeSoto/Plymouth dealer whose service manager was also the head mechanic. He took care of the Chrysler products my dad owned and after my dad bought a used Buick from a friend, he had a lot of the service work done at this dealership on the Buick. When the DeSoto line was discontinued, the dealership picked up the Studebaker line. My dad bought a new Studebaker Lark from the dealer because he knew that he would receive good service. The service manager actually sold him on buying the car–dad was buying service, not the nameplate.
I do remember that somtimes when I would take my parents’ car to the dealership, the service manager would say “You’re smart enough to fix that yourself. Don’t waste our time and your dad’s money”. He would then tell me where to get the parts and how to make the repair. He would then send me off saying, “Boy, I’m going to make a mechanic out of you yet”. This was more than 50 years ago, but there was a lot to be said for smaller agencies in the good old days.

I guess nothing earth shaking in what he says. I do disagree that only 5% of cars operate under severe service. Frequent stop and go is severe service in my book. You’d think PM would proof read a little better though-I think they meant bait not bate.

I purchased a 2000 Ford Windstar as a brand new car from a small town dealer. When I took it back for the 30,000 mile service interval, the dealer had done the transmission service. When I checked the manual, servicing the transmission at 30,000 miles was required only for servere service. I didn’t say anything, but I did learn later that the Windstar transmission wasn’t the most rugged and the dealer did me a favor. In 120,000 miles of driving, I didn’t have a transmission problem. For the later service intervals, I had an independent transmission shop service the transmission.