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Lets hear it for the dealership!

I have a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina. I’ve had a transmission replaced; intake gasket installed; and new radiator. My latest problem was the car stalling and backfiring. I sought suggestions from local mechanics and CAR TALK about the problem.

I took the car to a local mechanic, listed in the Mechanics File, and after a week was told it was a grounding problem. After a few days the problem reoccured.

Finally took it to a Chevrolet dealership. Within a day the shop called and informed me that it was a shorted wire from the ignition mode to crank sensor.

I haven’t had a problem. After a year of trying to resolve the problem a dealership solved it. I don’t know if GM is trying to change its image, but I would pay the cost, within reason, to get my vehicle fixed once and fixed right. Thanks dealership.

We really need to stop owners of dealerships from posting here!

I agree that a dealer’s mechanic can repair odd problems better than a one man shop, for example. A one man shop has no or few people with which to discuss intractable problems. A dealer’s mechanic can consult with factory people as they did in our case about a year and a half ago.

I’m not an owner; just a patron. I was really happy with the service I got from the dealership. I felt it important to know that there are reasonable and good dealerships out there. I was disappointed with my local mechanic because it took over six days to tell me the problem was as minor as a ground. And the problem reoccured.

The dealers imho will take the time and tackle any problem. When our mechanics are stumped off to the dealer it goes. Many times it is the expertise, tools and experience.

I’m concerned about you. It took you a year to get this problem fixed? What part of the car is “the ignition mode” and what does it do?

You are fortunate to have a good dealership in your area that can properly diagnose problems, especially a Chevy dealership. The one in my area is about the worst place to have your GM car serviced. The technicians are not very knowledgeable and the prices of services are through the roof. A friend of mine had a 1999 Cavalier that died going down the road and wouldn’t start. The car had fuel but no spark. I spent a few days on it with a multimeter and replaced a few suspect parts of the ignition system (crank and cam sensors). I deduced that the problem was likely in the main wiring harness or PCM. He offered to take the car to the dealer so I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. They charged him $180 to ‘diagnose’ the problem. They said the fuel pump was shot and gave him an estimate for over $1100 to replace the fuel pump ($370 part, $700 labor). He bought the pump and asked me to install it, even though the pump was proven good (pressure in spec, ran when it was supposed to). Long story short, I took my sweet time installing the fuel pump, including a trip to the auto parts store 15 miles away to get more parts to finish the job. I had less than three hours in the project when it was done, and the car, needless to say, still didn’t start. How they justify $700 labor to do that job is beyond me. He finally scrapped the car, accepting that he got his money’s worth out of it. The car had 480,000 miles on it.

Basically, I think a dealership service department is like any other shop. There are some good ones out there with good technicians, and there are some real bonehead ones out there with lousy people working there. Any shop is as good as the people working there, regardless of the name or logo on the sign. My local Chevy dealership just happens to have one of the worst shops in town attached to it. I’m glad the one near you has a good shop attached to it. By the way, based on your car’s symptoms, I probably would have started where your dealership did in resolving the problem. I went through the same set of tests on my friend’s Cavalier.

Most likely ‘module.’ A simple typographical error. That seems to happen a lot on here. The description of the problem is fitting.

I’m a big fan of dealerships for problems other than normal maintenance and straightforward repairs, if you can find a decent one. I was a little sad when we sold our Chevy because I had many good, and no bad, experiences with their service department.

I think some folks misinterpret the frequent advice given here, “find a good independent mechanic”, as “never use a dealership”. Not true.

It’s not GM or any other manufacturer. The specific dealer owns his own business and runs it his way. Since everyone knows what the dealer pays for cars, they often don’t make good money on sales. They can make a good living on service. Some choose to do it by hiring and keeping competent mechanics. You seem to have found one.

My local Honda dealership was pretty good to me, treated me right, got me appointments fairly quickly, just done what I asked, didn’t bother trying to upsell me, and were cheaper than most other places around here for oil changes(Spliffy Lube wants $30 after the $10 off coupon they send in the mail, Honda charges $26 after taxes). Of course the dealership is a bit more expensive when it comes to those oddball items that need replacing like window motors/regulators, brakes/calipers, stuff like that, but they still earned my business

So rather than fix the problem, you did what the dealer’s mechanic said to do? Why waste your friend’s time like that?

How 'bout that Mazda dealer? Have you dealt with the service department yet?

If this was said in jest then LOL. If you meant it as a sardonic comment designed to imply the OP is wrong then I must say you are in error and this was an irresponsible comment.

I don’t like their prices but I prefer a dealer shop any day. I have found them better educated and honest. That does not mean to say every time. I have learned this, that when I drop my car off at any shop, I set the ground rules for pricing, diag, etc. I try to make it so there is very little wiggle room for them.

Also let me add that it has been my experience that the dealerships have been the most honest and the independent shops have consistently tried to rip me off.

Dealerships are not as bad as they are often portrayed. Run 10,000 cars through the service department in a year and you will only hear about the 100 vehicles with complaints.
You will seldom hear of any praise about the 9900 that were satisfactory.

Just my opinion, but the medical profession (e.g., the doctors) are wrong far more often than mechanics and have BS down to a science.

Not yet, since I don’t have anything scheduled until 4 months, which will be September. But they’re open saturdays, a big plus however you look at it, especially when they’re an hour away.
Conversely, the local GM dealership service didn’t seem all that right to me. I dropped off my mom’s Cobalt for the power steering recall and and oil change. I also asked them to perform a brake inspection, since they didn’t seem quite right. I told them if anything came up, to give me a call and we’d go from there. During their inspection he called me and told me both front rotors were warped and could be machined down and that they recommended servicing the rear brakes as well. My mom calls me later and says they mentioned none of this to her, just that they told her the front brakes were in the yellow and the back ones were in the green.

And the waiting is longer too.

I have had the service department at various dealerships go the second mile for me to help me out.

The service department I remember most was a DeSoto/Plymouth dealer where my Dad did business back in the late 1950’s. I was a new teenage driver at the time. Sometimes when I would bring the car in, the servide manager would say, “You ought to be smart enough to fix this. Don’t waste our time and your Dad’s money”. He would then tell me what I needed to do and what part to buy.

More recently, I purchased a Ford from a small town dealer. The service department was always accomodating. One time when I had my vehicle in for servicing, a young high school student was asking the staff of the dealership if anybody knew anything about geometry. When nobody seemed to want to help her, I volunteered. I spent the time waiting for my car helping her with her problems. It turned out that the young lady was a daughter of one of the managers. I really got the royal treatment at that dealership. More recently, I had a Chevrolet that I purchased from a nearby Chevrolet agency. The agency has a very knowledgeable service writer who takes evening courses at my institution. When he isn’t having to wait on customers, he will come into the waiting area and talk to me about his school work.

I’ve learned that being courteous to the service staff and taking an interest in them goes a long way in getting the same treatment back. However, I’ll bet the crusty old service manager at the DeSoto/Plymouth dealer would be rolling in his grave if he knew that I was having a dealer’s service department do repairs that I should be doing for myself.

“…but the medical profession (e.g., the doctors) are wrong far more often than mechanics and have BS down to a science.”

But they have the reputation for always being right and always solving the problem. They can’t let on that they are human. At least some of them can’t. When I find one, I usually find another doctor. The process keeps on until I find one that allows himself to be human. And willing to admit that I might just be one, too.

I am a Ford dealer parts man and have been here 30 years.
I quietly listen to all the berating comments made about dealers in general to be able to learn and apply better practices here.
I talk to my dealership owner and share these opinions, " Let’s not allow that to be us." and I believe youall actually help us-all who can discuss differing opinions with an open mind.

Thank you.