Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Excessive Dealer Maintenance?

2005 Honda Pilot, 30,000 mile routine maintenance. Honda dealer price out the door $545.46. The dealer took it upon itself, in addition to the service items listed for the 30K maintenance in my Honda Service History booklet, to change my transmission fluid ($25.86 + labor) and add “ATF conditioner” ($13.25), add “ADVANCEFO” oil conditioner ($11.25), add “MI 3000” fuel conditioner ($14.25) (sounds like STP injector cleaner to me), and managed with a straight face to charge $5.65 per quart for engine oil. I’m also not real enthused about $39.84 for an A/C air filter and $32.60 for differential fluid, but both were a scheduled change-outs.

The dealer has professed alarm that I would consider taking my business outside the Honda dealer network. Are any of these actions and costs excessive?

All his actions outside of the required maintenance were excessive. Demand he show you where in the manual it requires addition of all this snake oil. Those additives are absolutely useless. Ask for a refund, if none given, go elsewhere.

NONE of those items are required or recommended. Also they are NOT allowed to do any of that “Added Service” without your WRITTEN consent. ANY dealer that pulls this crap can’t be trusted and should be avoided at ALL COSTS. Find a good independent to do your PM. It will NOT void your warranty and it’ll be far cheaper…especially with these crooks.

Yes they were. The dealer figures that after you see the regular bill, you will never be seen again, so they charge you to the maximum for the one time gold rush that they think is their only chance to gouge you with.

If you used a credit card you may want to threaten a charge back if they added the various concoctions and potions that are not called for in the manual and without your permission. The cabin filter and the diff service are probably legit though.

Thanks all. Pretty much confirmed my gut feel. The topper for me was when, having responded to a post-service QA follow-up phone call with an observation that pricing seemed excessive and being advised that another survey was enroute by e-mail, I then received a telephone call from the dealer asking that I grade the dealer as “outstanding” on the follow-up survey.

The transmission fluid change is a valid one.
The transmission conditioner may not be needed but it sure would not hurt; depending on what it is.
The A/C filter is valid and the diff. fluid is also valid if it’s scheduled.

The oil conditioner and fuel conditioner are not really needed.
The price per quart on the oil can also be legit depending on the type of oil, etc.
Even the price of Wal Mart’s store brand of plain old dino motor oil has skyrocketed and going on about 2.40 a quart here.

(Changing the transmission fluid every 30k miles, even if the book does not require it, is one of the smartest things that can be done to a car. Not all of the factory recommendations are done in the best interest of the vehicle owner. Many items are delayed to promote the fuzzy warm feeling of having a car that requires less maintenance. If the factory really felt that way then let them guarantee transmissions for a quarter million miles, etc.)

You need to be a better consumer for auto services and ask upfront for cost. If not satisfied with cost ask what is being done and cross check with your maintenance manual.

good luck