Do dealerships think ALL of us are stupid?

suspension

#1

…all of us being the general public. I got a coupon in the mail for some service specials at the dealership where I bought the car. Generally I only go back to the dealer for recalls or warranty issues. I usually go to my indy mechanic for any repairs and PMs. But my car was due for a coolant flush and the coupon I got saved me about $50. When I picked up the car the service manager told me they noticed one of my rear shocks “was blown” and gave me an estimate to replace both rear shocks. Here’s the part that surprised me. He told me I had to use OEM shocks because no one else made a replacement for my car (Mazda 3) and told me if I shopped around I would find that out. Needless to say, I checked with my trusted mechanic and got the job done saving about $75 using Monroe shocks not the OEM Mazda. I mean really?? I’ve been driving over 45 years. I’m not some kid or a damsel in distress. Just give me the quote and why bother telling me no one made an after market shock for a Mazda?


#2

'fraid so,I’ve had this happen more then once,trouble was they had me over a barrel,so I had to capitulate,never again is my mantra,strange thing when I switched to Hondas,most of my problems disappeared-Kevin


#3

Two cents worth for you:

A car mfr. will not and possibly could not tell a dealer how to stay in business. It’s like email spam; if only 2% are suckered in, the dealer keeps his business alive and his people working to be there for when you really need them.


#4

Well…the best advice that I can give you is to immediately throw away any advertisements or “coupons” from any car dealer. That action will save you more money than falling for any of these mailed gimmicks.


#5

Since Monroe makes mostly crappy stuff these days (IMHO) in the long run there’s a good chance that you haven’t saved any money. The OEM shocks would probably go a lot longer and a lot better.

I’d also add that it’s quite possible that the OEM’s are the only ones that precisely meet whatever the specs are, but that there are aftermarket items that meet it “well enough.” Monroe (and others) aren’t pumping out new part numbers for every make and model every year. They have designs that cover ranges.

So you got cheap shocks that will be good enough for a while. You did not get the optimum, and in the eyes of dealer service depts, that’s what they do.

And - btw - I don’t go to dealerships either, including when they send me the “let’s see what else we can hook them for” coupons. I’m just saying - your whole event is open to alternative interpretation. The world of car part replacement is often very gray with little black and white to it.


#6

Most service writers are just told what to say. They don’t have a clue themselves. Most never ever even picked up a wrench before.

It’s not so much they think we’re stupid…it’s that they’re soooooooo stupid they just don’t know any better.

Around 1999 - my wifes Accord had a recall for the cam seals. I asked them for quote to also replace the timing belt (since you have remove the belt to get to the cam seals - and I hate doing timing belts on a transverse mount engine). They offered no discount for replacing the timing belt. When I asked the service manner about it…he responded…we have this special tool that can remove the cam seal without removing the timing belt…I took it to a local mechanic I use and had it done for half the price.


#7

“we have this special tool that can remove the cam seal without removing the timing belt”

Holy cow. Like - wow.


#8

@my2cents‌

I agree with @ok4450‌

You spent $75 less to install crappy Monroes

You paid less and got less . . . far less, in fact

Did your independent mechanic confirm the shocks were leaking and/or blown, or did you simply ask him to replace them?

If your mechanic confirmed the shocks were bad, you would have been better off if he’d installed Mazda shocks. At least the labor would have been cheaper

How many miles are on this car?

What model year?


#9

Well my 2 cents is your car had a leaky shock or strut, it was no longer covered under warranty, they offered to replace it (them) for you, and you declined and had the work done somewhere else. Seems like a normal business transaction to me. Dealerships have tremendous overhead and their rates are often quite higher than an independent shop. Rightfully so. They are also held to higher standards than an independent shop.

For what it’s worth (and I rarely resort to bashing anyone or anything), I’ve noticed such a nosedive in the quality, durability, and reliability of Monroe over the last few years I won’t sell them anymore. Especially if the difference is a measly $75 over original equipment.


#10

Oh, by the way Mike and Cig, a good mechanic with the right tools can pull cam sprockets and change cam seals on a Honda without pulling the lower t-cover or belt. If the recall you mention was for the 4 cyl and was for the balance shaft seal, that procedure didn’t even require pulling the t-cover at all.


#11

@asemaster, I’ll defer to your expertise on the matter, in general, but it seems to me that once you’ve pulled the cam sprocket, you have pulled the belt - more or less.


#12
a good mechanic with the right tools can pull cam sprockets and change cam seals on a Honda without pulling the lower t-cover or belt.

Oh sure I understand that…But half the problem is getting TO the belt. And while you don’t remove the belt off the sprocket…you are detaching it from the engine.

Well my 2 cents is your car had a leaky shock or strut, it was no longer covered under warranty, they offered to replace it (them) for you, and you declined and had the work done somewhere else. Seems like a normal business transaction to me.

You missed the complete point…The services writer LIED…thinking the customer would be so stupid he’d never check any place else.

They are also held to higher standards than an independent shop.

I don’t hold them to a higher standard. I expect no better then a good local mechanic.

I've noticed such a nosedive in the quality, durability, and reliability of Monroe over the last few years I won't sell them anymore

I’ve never been fond of Monroe/Rancho truck shocks/struts. They seemed to stiffen up after a couple of years. Never failed…but the ride was no where near as comfortable. However…there are good aftermarket shocks like Bilstein or KYB that sell FAR FAR cheaper then OEM shocks and are BETTER.


#13

Nah, Honda (4 or 6) timing belts are among the easiest out there. The upper timing cover covering the cam sprocket come off with about 3 bolts. Line up the marks, remove the center bolt and off comes the sprocket and belt far enough to weasel a seal out and back in. No need to pull the external belts or anything else.

Dealers have the expectation that the car in their care will be maintained to as new condition for as long as they service the car. That’s a pretty high mark. That’s also why independent shops exist–or part of it. Local garages don’t have that kind of pressure. The guy that brings his car to me just kind of assumes that his 10 year old car may have a few squeaks and rattles and that in general it won’t run or drive as good as new. But the goal and training of the dealer service departments is to maintain the car in factory condition. And a good many people like that sort of service.


#14

I question whether new shocks were needed at all. Was the the “blown” shock tested with a bounce test ?


#15

Playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment, I could make the proposal that the dealer has run into a rear shock issue before and may have contacted a local parts house about them after discovering they’re a special order item and the customer wants the car done yesterday. The local parts house may have stated they’re not available at the time and that’s what the dealer was going on.

It’s not uncommon for local parts houses to have an item listed but yet cannot get it or lack it one month only to have it available the next.

My '96 Lincoln is a common car and no parts house carries rear shocks for that car. That’s the reason that the rear shocks on it now are actually made for a 1971 Lincoln Mark III.
O’Reilly’s has a listing for Motorcraft rear shocks but they’re simply not available and at 200 bucks each (shock, not strut) I’d probably pass on them anyway.

Regarding the point texases made about whether the rear shocks were actually needed in the first place, this brings up the issue of your local independent who did replace them. This means either the dealer was correct about the faulty shocks or the independent was going along with the program and changing out good shocks…


#16

I’ll go a little off topic here . . .

An acquaintance had been told by a dealer that her evaporator was leaking. She showed me all the invoices, and the mechanic had added some ultraviolet dye, which was then seen to be coming out of the condensation drain tube.

We determined that I could do the job at home . . . using OEM parts . . . for a significant cost savings. I told her straight out that I was only doing an evaporator replacement and recharge, NOT a diagnosis. I made it crystal clear that if the dealer’s initial diagnosis turned out to be wrong, that had nothing to do with me. She agreed to my terms.

I did the job at home, and everything went off without a hitch. I got it back to her at the promised time. She was so pleased, she paid me slightly more than the agreed upon price. I tried to talk her out of the “tip” . . . but she had already written the check.

The old evaporator was green with dye, proof enough for me that it was leaking. I took some pictures and saved the part for her to inspect.

So, in this case, the dealership mechanic had been absolutely correct in his diagnosis.


#17

My concern was misdiagnosis by the dealer followed by the OP telling the mechanic to replace the shocks. I don’t blame the mechanic (too much) if that’s what happened.


#18

What goes on at car dealerships goes on at retail stores all over this fair capitalistic society. We are more upset because the amounts we pay to buy and service a car are greater then a TV or washing machine. But, it’s no different. Go into the dealership service facility informed and you become well armed in this battle against this natural way of expressing our free enterprise system. Make no mistake, the better informed you are the more likely you are to get a fair deal on just about anything. If you can’t inform yourself, find an informed allie to work with you. Don’t hold your breath waiting for dealerships to take a full disclosure pill. It ain’t gonna happen.


#19

I would have hoped that the independent mechanic would not blindly take a customer’s word about the installation of a part to cure a problem that may or may not exist.

The situation would be no different than someone walking into a shop and asking that Part X be changed to cure a problem because CarMD said so…


#20

I made the assumption that the indy shop confirmed the leaky shock.