Implied consent

So many of the greatly dispised and disrespected chain stores will do free wheels off brake inspections. Motivation is they want to sell a job. Even my local independent in town here will do this. You are missing chances to sell. And the service does add a nice personal touch to the bussiness. My only complaint is you should tell/ask the customer if he wants this done. How you pay your people to do this (or not pay them) Is a personal bussiness decision,but I will pull the wheels for free just because there may be a job that developes from it. I hate to stand around.

There was a thread like this not long ago. A man had his oil changed somewhere in Idaho, they filled out a form stating they had checked certain things, which apparently included belts, though I am going by memory here. A few minutes later his belt broke and left him stranded way out in the boonies. He was pretty upset, and some, ahem, wonderful folks here really trashed him out big time.

I agree. IF you give a customer a form that says you checked something and didn’t, you can expect some real hostility. As a car owner, I’d much rather they don’t check stuff than say they did, but did not.

A couple years ago, I took my Sienna to the Amarillo Toyota dealer for some routine maintenance. When I got it back, they handed me a form which gave brake pad wear, and that it was close to needing replaced. I bought the pads; when we got it apart, it had about twice as much pad left as they claimed. So, I no longer trust those recommendations

Not long ago, my car was in the shop for the charcoal canister. They told me the rear brakes needed cleaned and adjusted, which made no sense for automatic adjusting brakes. I had a thread on this problem. Turns out using the parking brake does the adjusting, and I use the parking brake most times, due to habits developed here in the mountains of Mexico. They admitted they simply jot that adjusting recommendation down as a matter of course.

My view on these recommendations is they are usually bogus, with no basis in reality. I always check them out, even a blind hog will find an acorn once in a while. But, I no longer take them seriously.

Personally, it pisses me off as a customer. There are times that I wouldn’t mind the ol’ “20 point check”, but ASK me for consent to do those checks. I took my car in to Walmart to plug a leaking tire (I know, my first mistake), and then ended up checking all sorts of things for me.

Some places, I don’t even trust them to check my oil or touch any other fluids on any of my vehicles. So ask me first.

Very, very much against anyone TOUCHING a critical system on my car without my express authorization.
It’s no secret that one of the times you’re MOST likely to have problems is immediately after service. Back when I was flying commercially, it was required that any plane in for maintenance be test flown (or otherwise have proper ops of affected system checked) before puting passengers on board.

Now, you want to disassemble a critical system on my car without my consent–and thus without my being cognisant of an increased probability of compromized function of said system? We’re gonna have problems!

Drum brakes do not have inspection holes that I have seen. There are ADJUSTMENT holes in the backing plate, but you can’t gauge the thickness of the shoe lining through them.

And it’s a rare case that you can see the THICKNESS of the disk pad lining through the wheel as well.

If you’re inspecting the brakes without pulling the wheels your inspection is utterly worthless.

Just from my experience, and guys I’ve worked with, is that nothing is disassembled in an effort to inspect something that is not related to the job that was requested.

If something seems a bit iffy then a request was made as to whether something should be partially diassembled, removed, or further inspection used in an effort to make a better determination. Removal of wheels to get a closer look at pad thickness for example.

“As a car owner, I’d much rather they don’t check stuff than say they did, but did not.”

I am so with you on this one. I took my car to the dealership for service and expressly asked them if they checked my air filter (an aftermarket cold-air intake with a K&N style filter). They said they did check it and it was dirty so they cleaned and re-oiled it. I asked them how they do this to make sure they let it dry completely before oiling it and they gave me an explanation on how they did it. I was not reasonable confident with their explanation so when I got home I checked it myself. They didn’t even take it out or look at it or they would have seen that it was filthy.

So, yeah, don’t say you did something that you didn’t do; just say you didn’t do it so I know that I need to.

Do you get your wheels balanced and rotated? If so, I would expect a cursory check of the brake pads and the suspension components every time.

I can’t believe there is so much animosity toward a shop doing this.

My regular mechanic routinely checks my truck out every time he does an oil change. Honestly, I kind of expect it.

Of course we start by draining the oil. While it’s draining, we grease up the ball joints and tie rods and check them out. Check both front hubs for bad bearings by trying to wiggle the tire up and down. Take a look at the brake pads and check the air in the tires and roll them around to inspect for any screws, nails, slices, evidence of front end problems or wear.

Walking toward the back we check the drive shaft u joints and the grease in the tranny and transfer case.

On the rear axle we’ll check the grease in the stump, inspect the brakes and check the air in the tires and inspect the tires.

Visually check the brake lines that I’ve not drug one loose somewhere also visually check the shocks to see if there are any leakes in them. Check the air in the spare tire and by that time the oil is drained and it’s time to put the plug back and install the filter.

We drop the lift and pour in 3 gallons of oil then push the truck out of the garage (mechanic doesn’t like to start diesels inside). Fire it up, check for leaks, then shut it down and finish filling the oil pan, usually another 3/4 to 1 quart. Then check the brake fluid, power steering, clutch fluid, batteries. Pop the air filter housing off and check it. Slide a pan under the water tube and dump the water out of the separator then pull the cap off the fuel filter and change the filter, pump fuel back up and install the cap. Start it up and let it run for a few minutes while I pay him in case we got a little air in the fuel system changing the filter.

Back when I had drum brakes we used to pull a rear wheel every once in a while and check the brakes.

It wouldn’t bother me at all if Dave decided to pull whatever off my truck and check it out. I’ve got enough trust in my mechanic that I know he’s not going to do something he can’t and he’s not trying to sell me a job (Shoot, he’s been trying to retire on me for 5 or 6 years now).

I just wouldn’t go to a mechanic I didn’t trust and who had me of the notion that I was getting hosed everytime I went to his garage.


Skip, I have a mechanic that I trust implicitly, and I have no problem with him checking anything on my vehicle. It’s other places (if I’m stuck and am out of town, for example) that check anything other than what I’ve asked that bother me.

My regular mechanic
Apples<->Oranges. For example, would you feel the same way if the pimply-faced oil jockey at SpiffyLube had your rear tire and drum off looking for an upsell when you all you came in for was an oil change? I think those are the type of situations people are getting riled up about.

The only time I ever had alignment issues was when I let some yokel “check” my alignment. I once bought a full set of new load range E truck tires and drove home 30 miles on the freeway only to discover they only filled them to 30 psi. I could go on and give more examples of the times when, in a moment of weakness, I allowed someone else to touch my vehicle and they screwed it up. That LAST thing I want is someone doing it without my knowledge or consent.

They may look, but they can’t take anything off to inspect. At least that is the way it was back in the late 60’s. A shop could get into a bind if the customer knew that the shop took something off the car for a look, if the car was just in for maintenance. For repairs was a different story.

I’ve never had my truck at Spiffy Lube, and know what you mean about igits putting 30 psi in an E range tire. Ford Dealer used to let the air out of my fronts on my F250 when they were in there screwing around with the 6 liter. I’d get it back and it’d have 35 psi or something like that. First turn I’d go into I’d realize I had a problem.


This seems like the important difference in this whole discussion. If a customer has built up a long-term relationship with a garage and has confidence in the quality and integrity of their work, and the mechanics know the customer’s expectations and preferences, it’s not likely to be an issue if the garage brings needed repairs and maintenance to the customer’s attention. Anyone else doing that is likely to be regarded as a scammer. Implied consent comes from the circumstances, and driving into a quick lube chain shop for an oil change gives no one the right to start taking parts off the vehicle looking for a way to make another sale. Certainly not if the merchant can’t even be up-front enough to prominantly display a notice regarding such “service” and give the customer the opportunity to decline it in advance. If these services are genuine, the garage should WANT to make customers aware of them in advance.

I don’t know why people go to a shop they don’t trust even if it’s just to change oil. I consider an oil change fairly serious business because I expect my truck to be properly greased, other fluids checked and stuff to be looked at. Yeah, my mechanic is a little more expensive than a quick lube, at least I suppose he is. Diesels are more expensive to service because of the filters and 3 to 4 gallons of oil they need v’s 5 quarts for most cars. My mechanic charges $20 for a change and I supply the oil and filters. At one time several of us that have diesels kept a barrel of oil at his place, but we haven’t lately, and to this point I’ve only used Mopar oil filters and he doesn’t have them, has another brand. I guess we could wait on Advance to bring one out, but not much sense in that given I’ll generally pass a store on the way out there.

I honestly just don’t feel like the Wally World or Spiffy Lube monkeys have the experience to do the job right in the first place, so why take it there?


This should not be allowed. This is not ethical. If the garage is incompetent or a part is working but seized, there is a great chance that they will damage the car. It may be that they damage the car to the point that it is not legal to drive. When they contact your wife, they will state that you car can’t leave the garage because of X, Y and Zed. Assuming that your wife just wants the car back, will give authorization to do the additional repairs. This whole process could spiral out of control and run up their profit. IN the end your car is broken and it has to be fixed to leave the lot so they have you.

The question dealt with removing extra parts. If a part is off, my experience is that most responsible garages will call you and keep your car up until you can come and let them know what you want to do or tell them on the phone. So good garages will check things when they can see them. This does not deal with lubing. Attaching a grease gun and pumping the joint full of grease is not really covered in the intent of the question.