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Dealership: Yes or No?


I’m planning to take my 2007 Hyundai Tucson into the dealership for the first time to get an oil change. I usually take it to a mechanic friend of mine who works at a Honda dealership but he’s unavailable. He usually also tells me anything that may be wrong with it or if it’s in good condition.

The only time my vehicle was taken to the Hyundai dealership was a few years ago when the “check engine” light came on and my father had taken it to get looked at. The dealership charged somewhere around $250 just to look at it, and “recommended” several things to help improve the vehicle (i.e. new tires, etc.) which would cost thousands. Even before my father came back with the SUV I had Googled why the “check engine” light was on and one of the possible problems was that the gas cap might not have been closed completely, which turned out to be the case, and I had closed it fully before he took it to the dealership. It also didn’t seem as if the dealership even checked up on or solved that issue anyway.

I’m a bit hesitant to take it into the dealership now, but the cold weather is already here and I’m close to the mileage mark for my next scheduled oil change. What should I do? Should I take a leap and take it to the dealership, or wait until my friend is available?


Check Mechanics Files link for an independent near you.


I would avoid THAT dealership for sure! Oil changes are no big deal and a good independent garage (not a Jiffy Lube) can do the job as long as they use the grade and weight of oil specified in the owner’s ,manual
Having said that I take my Toyota into the dealer down the road for oil changes since the price is right and they are reliable.


I think you’re going to find a bias against dealership service departments on this site due to the fact that many mechanics here prefer to be their own boss and have had bad experiences working for dealerships in the past. It’s kind of like my experience working for TGI Friday’s years ago. I can’t stand to go there now knowing how they exploit their workers (they used to pay their hosts/hostesses a decent hourly wage - now they get the same wages as bussers and get a share of the waitstaff’s tips) and because they took all my favorite dishes off the menu. I’m sure other restaurants exploit their workers too, but I don’t know the inner workings of those restaurants, and I like to go to family-owned restaurants because of my experience in the industry.

As far as this particular dealership goes, they tried to rip you off. You shouldn’t go back to that dealership no matter what you do, but you might find a good one you like better. They’re not all crooked.

Someone else recommended you check the Mechanics Files on this website, but that might not be a good idea. The last time I looked, they only published good reviews, so a shop that rips off 100 customers, but gets one positive review would show up as a recommended shop. If that has changed, I would be pleasantly surprised.

I’ve had mixed results with dealerships, national chain service shops (like Goodyear, Firestone, RPM Automotive, etc.), and independent mechanics, and no one type of shop is less likely than another to be crooked. The best thing to do is ask your friends and neighbors where they get their cars serviced and never go back to this particular dealership. A customer who has had a bad experience will often tell everyone who will listen about it, but a customer who has a good experience might only tell one or two friends at most, so you’re not going to hear about the good shops unless you ask.

Have you tried other Hyundai dealerships in your area? Are they all owned by the same company, or do they legitimately compete?

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Hi @knfenimore,

Thanks for the tip, but I have in the past looked at Mechanics Files and didn’t find the listings/reviews satisfactory. I did see alot of independent shops, which I’m not too confident in generally, as well as Hudson Nissan which is nearby and the one where my brother-in-law goes to for his oil changes (he owns a Nissan Altima). I’m still deciding whether or not to take my Hyundai there.

Hi @Docnick,

Do you take your Toyota to a Toyota dealership or another brand’s dealership?

Hi @Whitey,

Thanks for response, and I agree with what you’ve said. No, I haven’t tried other Hyundai dealerships nearby as I’m a bit turned off from that experience I described. I don’t know if they’re all owned by the same company(if they are, that’ll be worse) or whether they legitimately compete (which may be unlikely since they, like any business, will do anything to get a buck).

I’ve never had a problem with a dealership but then I deal with GM and Acura. They may be a little more expensive but not always-depending on the dealership. No reason though to not go to another shop or the dealer either way. Just not the quick lubes and either way, check the oil level before you leave the lot and after a few miles, crawl under and check for leaks at the filter and drain plug for your own good.

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I’d call the dealership, ask what an oil change cost (or check their web site, sometimes there are coupons). If it was reasonable, have them do it, and nothing else. They can’t force services on you.

Close to mileage mark for oil change. A few hundred miles past will not be catastrophic if that lets you use your regular person for oil changes.

$250 to diagnose a check engine light and an evaporative emission system test? Who would agree to that? Our diagnostic fee is $90, that seems like a lot if the problem found is a leaking fuel cap but connecting the test equipment and testing the system for leaks takes time.

Just the Toyota dealership where I bought the car. The only other things I go there for is warranty work and recall work. Their shop rate is $120 per hour, so for things like brakes I would go to a reliable independent shop.

Unfortunately, that seems to be the normal routine now whenever an older vehicle is brought to a dealer shop. Your '07 doesn’t need to be looked at/serviced, or even repaired, at the dealership. I’d recommend finding a reputable locally owned and operated shop for your future needs.

I’ve seen too many cases of friends with older vehicles being told at dealerships that their cars needed thousands of dollars worth of work when they actually didn’t. Generally the dealer will prey on their sense of safety and tell them the car is in “terrible shape” when none of what they claim can be confirmed by a private shop. I recently had an elderly friend bring a car to a dealership for an oil change and she was told “the brake system and fuel system are rotted out and ready to explode”. They offered her $200 for the car. he brought it to a reputable independent who could not find any evidence of their claims and found the car, including the referenced systems and the undercarriage, to be in excellent shape. I myself was under the car last year repairing an exhaust leak (the V-clamp bolt had rusted through and the clamp was loose) and Have photos of the vehicle’s underside. It’s in great shape. I took the photos to show her what her problem was and to show the repair, just so she could feel confident in what I told her.

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That dealership sounds like a den of thieves

To offer somebody $200 to take their “heap” off of their hands is downright insulting . . . especially when the car is in fact in fine shape

Makes me think they just plain wanted the car, so that they could do a quick oil change, maybe a detailing, then put it on the used car lot

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You can let your dealership do the oil change and most of the time they provide multi-point inspection for free. But just like what texases said, they can’t force other services on you.

Most dealers will not tolerate the service department staff attempting to purchase cars from customers, it is a conflict of interest.

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Once the warranty expires, there is NEVER any reason to take a car back to the dealership…
If all your car needs is a simple oil and filter change, learn how to do it yourself.

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Are you going to replace your airbag inflator yourself?

There are many specialized repairs that are performed at the dealer that independents choose to avoid.

Last month the local Japanese car specialist replaced a transmission and had it towed in to have the transmission filled with fluid. I find it odd they can’t learn to do that themselves.

I find the stories of people going from one independent to the next to repair simple evaporative emission system leaks interesting, it seems people will go to great lengths to save a dollar.

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Apartment dwellers , Condo owners, physically limited, are just 3 examples that might not be able to change it their selves. Count me among those if they got on the ground under a vehicle I will require assistance to make myself upright again.


I think that I may speak for a few others who are…getting on in years…when I say that my body doesn’t allow me to do all of the things that I used to do. Yes, crawling underneath my car to change the oil was a snap when I was younger, but nowadays it borders on impossible for me.

Back to the topic of dealers…
My dealership charges ~$50 to change my 2011 Outback’s oil, but I have the 3.6 liter engine, which takes 7 quarts. When you factor in the cost of those 2 extra qts of oil, plus their policy of “Pay for three and the fourth oil change is free” (meaning that I am actually only paying $37.50 per oil change), plus the free multi-point inspection, I don’t really think that I am being ripped off. I have never been pressured to do any questionable repairs or maintenance procedures, and–in fact–each time they do the inspection, I am prepared for them to tell me that my brake pads are ready for replacement, but each time I am told that my fears are groundless, and that I am good to go with the original brake pads, which now have close to 70k miles on them. Ergo–no “upsell” pressure.

I make an appointment to have the oil change done while I wait, and they always have me out of there within 45 minutes. Just going to Wal-Mart to buy oil and a filter, changing the oil myself, and then driving back to Wal-Mart in order to have them dispose of the old oil would definitely take a lot longer than 45 minutes.

Yes, it would be cheaper to do it myself, but it certainly wouldn’t take less time, and it definitely would not be good for my creaky old back, or my aching knees.

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