Implied consent

Hers the question. Customer brings vehicle in for minor repair (oil change) maybe some factory campaign lets say related to a seat concern. Is it allowed,legal,permitted,ethical for the garage to preform work not on the repair order (lets say remove all wheels and preform brake inspection, hope is sell a brake job). Do cooling system pressure test (hope for upsale). Not just eyeball vehicle but actually take stuff apart that the customer is not aware of and did not give his consent. The goal is upsale. The shop may eat some of this labor but the gamble is I can sell this work.

As long as the customer isn’t charged, the car is delivered on time, and nothing damaged in the process, there shouldn’t be a problem for most customers. However, I think you would be setting yourself up for complaints, justified or not, that you caused a problem. Better to advertise these free inspections, and have the customer agree in writing.

The shop can inspect what they want - but the bottom line is that they cannot incur additional costs for the customer without the customer’s consent. Also, the shop is liable for anything they take apart and put back incorrectly.

Agreed. As long as the customer is not charged there is no impropriety.


Personally, I would be one of the outraged if I found out you did that without my knowledge or consent. I don’t want anyone touching anything outside of the agreed upon work. No free inspections, no greasing, no alignment checks, nothing. I recently turned down a free alignment with my new set of tires. In fact, I brought the tires in loose because they advertise their xx point check service FREE. No thanks.

I have a funny story about one of my buddies who took his car into a shop for an oil change because they had a coupon. The guy comes out and says he needs a complete exhaust system. The guy walks him over to his car on the lift and shows him a squashed section of pipe and proceeds to demonstrate the weakness of the pipes using one of those mondo-sized slip joint pliers. My buddy grabs the pliers from him and heads over to their stash of brand new pipes and cinches one of them down in the same manner. He demands and receives a brand new pipe installed at their expense. Needless to say, neither he nor any of his friends ever went there again.

I would not be happy if I found out my mechanic was doing this whether I was getting charged for it or not. What if they messed something up or didn’t put something back together properly!?!?! i.e. loose bolts, etc. I have had mechanics mess up stuff on my car that I knew they were working on, so good thing I knew to check. If I was not aware of something they did, how would I know what to check to make sure nothing’s going to fall off my car?? Sorry, maybe I take my car to the wrong places or something, but I haven’t met any, dealerships anyway, that I trust that much.

Happens all the time…but usually at the more SLEAZY shops.

Many years ago I had to get a exhaust part for my 90 Pathfinder. I didn’t feel like doing it myself (I hate working on exhaust)…so I went to my mechanic…and he was real busy…but he looked up the part and told me it was dealer part only…so I took it to the local dealer (Team Nissan, Manchester NH).

I waited in the waiting room for them to replace the part. After about 20 minutes…the service manager comes out with a LIST of items they found that they would like to take care of for me (at a cost of $3000). They had NOT replaced the part I asked them to. And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE ITEMS ON THE LIST…were BOGUS…I was FURIOUS…And really got into an almost fight with the service manager…Turned out the list was GENERATED by the computer. I had never had my truck in there before and therefore according to THEM my truck was never serviced. So all their items where things that need to be done for a vehicle with the miles I had…It didn’t matter that I had preformed all those things myself…like Brakes…and timing belt…I asked the service manager to show me why my brakes need replacing…and thats when I found out how they generated the LIST. I grabbed my keys and walked out…And when I bought a new pathfinder in 98…I drove right past that dealership and 20 miles more north to Concord NH to buy. I wasn’t going to deal with such sleaze.

Any professional that performs an inspection, assumes some liability whether or not they remove and replace any hardware. Here’s an example of how things could go very wrong; let’s say you perform your 10 point inspection and find nothing wrong with the brakes. You’ve provided the customer with a receipt that indicates your shop performs these inspections and have not indicated there is any deficiency. The customer leaves and a short time later has a brake failure resulting in property damage and personal injury. Your fault or not, the lawyers will have your lunch. It will be up to you to prove you were not negligent and that could be an uphill battle.

I think looking at brakes is good practice by any garage for safety of customer. Same is true at inspecting suspension and exhaust. Hopefully you get upsale and a customer who gets a safer vehicle if they want to pay for it.

I think this is all good. In fact, when you take the car in for an oil change, you might be consenting to a “free 20 point inspection.”

The last time I had my timing belt replaced, the service advisor from the shop called me and said:

-Your fuel filter looks like it has never been changed.
-Your spark plug wires look like they have never been changed.
-You need new brakes in the front.
-Your valve cover gasket is leaking oil.

I appreciated these observations. The only extra upsale they got was the valve cover gasket. I knew it was leaking and I don’t have good luck replacing gasket seals. The other items I did myself and I might not have known to do them if the shop had not completed its “free inspection.”

The only time I have objected to a free indspection was when the mechanic didn’t properly refasten the air filter housing. Yes, their goal is to upsell you, but if you do your own maintenance, they are doing you a favor with very little upsale potential. As long as they don’t try to sell you something you don’t need, it is perfectly ethical and it is good customer service.

I agree. It will be an even worse situation if the brake failure (or wheel falling off, or whatever) can be traced to the unauthorized work performed. Lawyer up!

I hate it when they nose around uninvited. My daughter and I took her truck (a few years ago) for tires at Town Fair Tire. It seemed to be taking unacceptably long, so we asked the saleman why. He told us they were waiting in line for the free front end alignment, something they had not advertised, printed on the sales order, or asked us if we wanted. This was a place that also brings your car into a closed shop where the customer cannot watch except through a little door porthole, so we had no way of knowing what was going on.

They forever lost two customers that day, me and my daughter. And I learned that day to never bring a car to a shop where I can’t watch.

I like that.

we do NOT pull wheels,the 16 point insp is FREE,and FLAT RATE techs will never pull wheels or anything else, and we look at the brakes,we never write specs though,too much liabilty (for me anyway)

we get 18min to change your oil, and to be honest thats all you will GET for FREE. 1 oil change and a pencil whipped check sheet,if they paid us ,the dealer that is,we would do the insp in detail,

but till then its a joke.

flat rate and free ,plus tool payments=bogus check sheet,(we have mortgages also) nothing is FREE.

so if 3k down the road your BRAKES GRIND,after the oil change(SEE WHAT FREE GETS YOU) AND ME.

“we do NOT pull wheels,the 16 point insp is FREE,and FLAT RATE techs will never pull wheels or anything else, and we look at the brakes,we never write specs though,too much liabilty (for me anyway)”

Ok, I’ll bite: how do you look at the brakes without pulling the wheels? X-ray eyes?

You may be able to get a so-so idea on the front pads but if the rears are drums? To Crankwalk5 so your hourly people do the inspections if a concern is found you dispatch it to your flat-rate tech? Why dont you use the possibility of a paying job to motivate your flat-rate techs to do the inspection? Always wanted the most experienced personel to do my inspections.Then I didnt have to go out and verify their work.

I feel there is a story behind this question. Oldschool, what’s the real story, it sounds like it may be interesting. As for the law, that will vary from state to state and country to country.

drums have insp holes also,and to answer the above ???, yes a few years doing this you can tell 32 of an inch (we are not talking thousands) so yes we can tell.

ever really looked at the new wheels?

man trucks you can see what the brakes look like when walking through the parking lot,to see a movie.

Are we really just inspecting just the linings on the shoes? what about springs.wheel cyl/ e-brake cable drum surface axel brg leakage .there a reasons to pull the drums if you want to say you did a inspection.I have seen circumstances where the outside pad looked fine but the inside pad was ground into the rotor. Needed a wheels off inspection to find this.

Which question do you feel there is a interesting story behind? I will respond.The question of unauthorized work? Agressive upsales. Holding your customers vehicle hostage so that your people can look for ways to make money when all the guy wanted was a oil change. People wondering how their wheels got over tourqued(and they couldnt change their flats) when they never asked for a brake inspection. Is that the story?

you are correct,FOR FREE THOUGH)?

I know what lives there.