Honda Odyssey Repair Ripoff?

I brought my 2003 Odyssey in for 60k maintenance and repair of the door locks. (The key will not turn in the driver-side lock at all, and it works 50% of the time in the passenger side lock, so we lock/unlock from the hatch.) The dealership charged me $95 just to diagnose that the locks need to be replaced, and they estimated $384 to replace each lock. I told them “no thanks” since it sounds so expensive and we can still lock/unlock the van. They also told me I needed a new $99 battery, though I haven’t had any problems with it. (They recommend putting nitrogen in the tires, too.) They charged me almost $900 to replace the front brake pads and do the 60K maintenance. Is this dealership ripping me off?

Yes, but you’re allowing them to rip you off by going there. Aren’t there any decent independent mechanics in your area? You don’t need to pay dealer prices for maintenance on a 6 year old Odyssey.

If the battery is original to the vehicle the dealer may be correct about needing a new one. Parts stores usually test batteries free. I’d have it checked if it were mine.

The Odyssey is the Cadillac of minivans. They are not cheap to own or to maintain.

$95 is a reasonable amount to charge for diagnostic work, especially if they are willing to waive it when you pay for the repair. If you elect not to get it fixed after they diagnose it, they deserve to be paid for their time, don’t they?

$99 isn’t that much to pay for a new battery. They probably tested it and it might be on its last leg. You are better off getting it replaced before it shows symptoms, unless you don’t mind being stranded somewhere waiting for a jump start. If you want to be cheap about it and wait until it dies, make sure you carry some jumper cables with you. You can always get it tested for free at many local auto parts stores.

Nitrogen in the tires is a waste of money. There is no need for it.

When you own a minivan, especially a fancy one like the Odyssey or the Sienna, maintenance and repairs are more expensive than the average car, SUV or truck. The engine and its parts are harder to get to, so most jobs take more time.

You are driving the Cadillac of minivans. If you can’t afford to maintain it, you might do some research to find yourself a vehicle that doesn’t cost so much to maintain. You can save a little money by going to a good independent mechanic, but you should still expect to pay more for maintenance than the average car will cost.

First, if your keys are worn it may only require a freshly cut key to fix the problem. You would need to have the key cut from the code, not copied. In any case, a good locksmith will probably be able to fix these locks and/or keys cheaper than the dealer.

Since you don’t say specifically what the $900 paid for, it’s hard to say how much over normal they charged, if anything. For example, if they just swapped out the pads and replaced your spark plugs, I’d say that’s a lot of money. But, if they replaced the pads and rotors and replaced the timing belt and water pump and several other things $900 could be a good deal. You need to tell us what is listed on the bill. A “60K maintenance” has no fixed meaning, so you have to be specific.

You have not provided many details about what was actually done.
The fact that you have not had a problem with the battery does not mean the battery is good at all. A test may have shown that it was borderline and this is called heading off a problem before it occurs; a.k.a., stranded due to a dead battery.
What would your post be if you just had this service done and 2 days later you were stuck in a parking lot with a dead battery? Would the dealer then be guilty of not checking the battery and/or replacing it as they should?

The 60k service is a major one and the price could be about right depending on the locale, the details of what was done, both as to the service and the brake job, etc. Break the bill down hill and let’s take a look at it.

In the meantime, they did nothing that you did not authorize so you are not ripped off.

your post made me think about this for a while.

if you realize that nitrogen is a false gimmick, then what about the locks?

they sell graphite in a small tube that you open and squirt in the locks to lubricate them. why not try that first? if the locks are truly frozen, then this would be useless, but since you know the locks work, why not try to lube them?

I would also agree that the thought of finding another mechanic (other than a dealer) is paramount in your problem.

They aren’t called stealerships for nothing. Try some real spray lube in the locks or take them out to clean and lube them.

Lubricant may not go very far in curing an electric lock problem.