Dealership messed up my air filter- What to do when I confront them?

I’ll try to make this brief. Friday I took my 2017 Chevy Cruze to the dealership closest to my house (bout a mile away) for an oil change and routine maintenance. While I was there the person working with me suggested I get the air filter changed as I hadn’t done that yet since I bought the car (in 2018), so I agreed and it cost me about $90. After all was said and done and the report showed my car running fine, I drove the car home and didn’t drive it all weekend.

Tuesday morning rolls around and I drive to work and noticed the “check engine light” coming on along with the car acting rather sluggish and slow to accelerate. After work I took to the Autozone where I got the P101 code meaning there was an issue with the air filter. Even took it to O’Riley’s to get a second opinion and it said the same thing.

So I’m guessing either the mechanic at the dealership installed my air filter incorrectly, and/or someone did a botched up job at inspecting. I have an appointment on Thursday to get this fixed but I wanted to ask for some advice on how to go about it. I’m not good at confrontation and I’m worried about getting screwed over. For the record, I have the paperwork showing that my air filter was changed, the point inspection indicated that there was nothing wrong with the engine quality, and I literally only drove <10miles before the check engine light came up.

So aside from obviously never going to this dealership again, advice?

Well before you write the dealer off forever see how they handle the problem. Stuff happens and if you give them a chance to fix it and if they do it well all is good, if they give you a hard time then consider another dealership or independent shop.

An air filter is easy to change, $90 is a lot to pay for that job. Check out you tube for instructions on how to do it yourself


Is your filter flat or cylindrical? Videos seem to show both for same years?

you didn’t give us the entire code to look at (it should have 4 digits after the P,) but this could be a very simple fix, and not really that big a deal. Could be a wire got left unplugged, or clamp left loose, or something similar. as was stated above, don’t be so quick to write off the dealership until you give them an opportunity to fix it.

Go in, tell them that immediately after they serviced your car the check engine light came on. Let them diagnose it. you know what the code says (and really, the second opinion on a code read wasn’t necessary,) so see where they go with it. If they come back saying you need $$$ of work done, remind them that you had no code BEFORE the service, and don’t be afraid to go elsewhere (and not back to Autozone or O’rilelly’s,) for a second opinion.


If there’s an issue with the air filter it should be pretty evident upon just simple observation. Have you actually opened the hood and looked at it? Presumably, it’s still there. If it’s not seated correctly you could simply remove it and place it correctly. or if it’s the wrong filter that should be pretty evident as well. Replacing an air filter is something that’s pretty hard to screw up.

The P101 code means that the MAF sensor is getting a reading that is out of the range of what it expects. While it could a result of an air-filter related problem, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an air filter problem.

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Amen to this. I swapped out the air filter in my Corolla and it cost me maybe $20 for a brand name filter and took about 5 minutes.

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Before worrying about confrontation and never visiting the place again, how about just politely go in and mention there’s a problem since this job was done. They will likely take care of any problem without argument; assuming the issue is actually related to something they did incorrectly. It’s premature to start getting bent out of shape.

As for the cost, several sites show that price is within the norm.