CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

I was charged too much, over 1,000 dollars

My car is Mazda3 2012, 65000 miles. I went to the dealer shop for regular check-up for my car and they recommended me to do series of inspections and replacements. Since I am not good at car and they recommended strongly, I accepted their offer. And come to think of it after two days, I think they charged too much. Also they showed me amount of money even before they inspect my car. I think it is also strange.

I am not sure if it is the usual case. Could you see my receipt and tell me if there is something wrong or strange? I want to know why the tech fee is too high. I was at the center from 11am to 1pm. From 12 to 1pm was lunch hour. I don’t understand why the tech fee (labor fee) is so high (600 dollars). And which parts of replacement or inspections were not necessary. If something is wrong or overcharged, I want to avoid this kinds of situation later. So I really want to know what was wrong with my receipt.

All of these are normal charges for each service done individually. Most of the services are valid unless they were just done recently. However you can check your owners manual for the service schedule and see when each of these services should be performed.

The ones I would question would be the spark plugs. The price you paid for each plug indicates that they are irridium/platinum double tipped which usually are rated for 100 to 120k miles. The induction cleaning was unnecessary and they should not have even mentioned it to you, much less putting on sales pressure to get you to buy it.

The transmission service will probably not be in the service schedule except for severe conditions such as trailer towing or a very hot climate. But most here would recommend that you get that done anyway as it will greatly lengthen the life of your transmission, so good on them for this one.

I believe that you should have gotten a discount on the labor because it was done as a combined service. Many shops will charge less for labor when multiple services are combined. The individual charges are based on the tech having to go get your car from the parking lot and putting it in the stall or on the lift, doing the job, clean up after and all the paper work. Since he doesn’t have to perform all these functions with each service, you should have gotten a discount, up to 50%.

I would recommend that you take your invoice back to the dealer and ask to speak to the general manager. Do not go into the service department but instead go to the showroom and ask for the general manager and present your case. Copy this response and take it with you if you like.

1 Like

Yes, you got burned. They recommended things your car shouldn’t need, but you say you approved the unnecessary services, and approved the charges ahead time, so I don’t think you’re entitled to any of that money back, assuming they did the work for which you paid.

Next time go in with your car’s maintenance schedule, and don’t let them sell you anything that isn’t on it. It pays to be an informed consumer.

1 Like

Having owned several Mazdas, starting with a 3 in 2012, I can tell you that they performed several services way too soon, based on the manufacturer recommendations. Spark plugs are rated to 75,000 miles, but my dealer said to leave them in until 100,000. They always come out after 100,000 miles looking great. The coolant is not due for service until 150,000 miles and the transmission is a sealed unit that should not (theoretically) be serviced. Most techs I have spoken with say that transmission service at 100,000 miles can’t hurt, but it is not vital based on the specialized synthetic fluid (note the high cost on your invoice).

The filters, alignment, and brake flush are all reasonable for this car’s mileage and age. FWIW, you can get the plugs online for about $12 each and do them yourself in less than an hour for all four. I can get them done in about 25 minutes, being careful and meticulous. The cabin air filter and engine air filters are each less than $15 online and can be replaced in less than five minutes each.

But at least they gave you a car wash!!!

I would like to be there and see the response that brings .

Never hurts to ask. All they can do is say no. But then I would let them know that that answer will weigh heavily on my decision on who works on my vehicle in the future and who I would buy a new vehicle from, also who I’d recommend to my friends.

@minkyu.choi8904_145903, Car maintenance is a business transaction. If you treat it like one, you will be less likely to be taken advantage of. When they recommend additional maintenance, ask for reasons why and documentation to support those reasons. Check against the maintenance schedule in your owners manual and when multiple services are recommended and you feel they have made their case, ask for multi-service discounts on the labor in advance. Better to take the information and go somewhere else for a second opinion and quote. Just business, nothing personal.

no such thing

75K miles on Skyativ-G

Not necessarily, as Mazda’s Skyactive-G tends to grow deposits on the intake valve, it is a direct injection engine.

Depends on the label under the hood. Unless it is long-life-something from Mzada, it is due much earlier.

You’re not going to get a straight answer from this web forum. There are just as many opinions here as there are anywhere else.

One poster above states that the fuel induction service was unneeded and never should have been mentioned to you. I’m saying it should be done every 30,000 miles, and I say that because I have had to repair engines that were carbon fouled by 90,000 miles when the customer declined the service at 30,000 and 60,000 miles.

I can’t believe that people pay me to replace their engine air and cabin filters, it’s rare that the process takes me more than 5 minutes. On the other hand, if they were inclined to do the work themselves they wouldn’t have brought the car in to me in the first place.

Look at it this way: if your toilet is plugged up and you don’t own a plunger or know how to use one, you will have to call a plumber and pay for his time and tooling. Auto service is no different.

Did you pay too much for the services? I don’t think so, they are priced fairly. Did you need all the services? Maybe not. But then again my dentist recommends checkups every 6 months when they’re clearly not needed that often. How many people think their dentist is ripping them off?

4 Likes

Nothing looks out of line to me.

For some perspective, I went through a surgery about 4 or 5 months ago. The bill on that was 128 grand…

Coolant is FL-22 long life coolant. I was slightly off. First coolant replacement is called for at 120,000 miles and then every 60,000 after that.

OEM spark-plugs are iridium and the maintenance interval is 75,000, but the Mazda techs told me to leave them alone for 100,000 miles. They looked great at 100,000 miles but I replaced them anyway. No difference in operation or fuel economy.

I agree that induction cleaning on direct injection engines is not a bad idea periodically. I let my dealer do it occasionally on my Skyactive-G engines and have not had any issues with deposits. Not sure if that is the reason, but it is relatively inexpensive so I let them do it.

@ok4450 - Glad to hear your surgery was successful! I sure hope you had a coupon for that!!!

If none of those things have been done before, then it’s reasonable to do most of them at 65k. Would I have done every single one? No, because I change my own air filters. No harm done, and you’re in good shape for quite a few miles.

You have FL-22, lucky you.
I don’t have it, so I flushed right after purchasing my wife’s Mazda3 at 68K miles.
Here is the “official info” from Mazda shop manual:

Automobile maintenance is expensive, but the alternative of not doing the maintenance is even more expensive in the long run.
I used to do a lot of my own maintenance and minor repairs. It made me appreciate what is involved and I am more than willing to pay to have the work done by a professional.
Time is money. I looked forward to being promoted in my job so that I would be able to hire service providers and have more time to advance even farther in my profession and have more time to spend with my family.
If a person enjoys working on his or her car, that’s one thing. I don’t like doing it, and it’s great for me to be in a financial position where I don’t have to.
One more thing: If a job is done properly, I soon forget about the price. If a job isn’t done correctly, I am upset even if the price was cheap.

2 Likes