I feel that I’ve been overcharged by my Hyundai dealer for a 52500 mile service and am wondering what, if anything I can do about it. I’ve recently learned that Hyundai has very little control over “their” dealers since they’re independent. I’d been operating under the assumption that they would charge a fair price, even if it would be more than an unaffiliated mechanic.

At any rate, I guess my basic question is whether there are any rules governing what they can charge or is it completely up to them?

The details: I was charged 197.89 for labor and 123.83 for parts, for a toal of 321.72. Edmunds.com estimates that this service should be around 89.50 in my area. A close by dealer gave me a quote of 165.00 for the same service. I did ask them before they started if it was just the “standard” service, so I assume they’re not doing anything not required by Hyundai.

Obviously not the end of the world, but I’m curious to know whether or not I have any recourse and whether or not they can really just charge whatever they want.


I doubt if there is anything you can do about it.  They will just say, we did this and that.  "This" might be in the owner's manual for what should be done and "that" are just additional things that the dealer says he believes should be done.  You saw his hourly rate and you likely agreed in writing to what they did (both this and that).  

   Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

[b] Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. [/b]   They are fast cheap and very very bad.


most dealers service dept will screw you on anything you get done. if its not a dealer only deal, find a good local mechanic for service, unless you have to use them for your warranty, in that case complain to the dealer, see what happens.


You signed the paper to perform work so no recourse my friend. Ask for costs first always (typically given). If you feel uncomfortable call around.


Unfortunately, your mistake was to trust that they would charge a fair price, or to be more specific, that they would do only what Hyundai (the manufacturer) specifies. For the defense of your wallet, in the future you should use the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule that is sitting in your glove compartment (apparently un-used!). This maintenance schedule is either in your Owner’s Manual or in a separate booklet with an appropriate title.

When your next service interval comes due, copy the list of maintenance procedures in that manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and give it to your service writer, whether at a dealership or an independent mechanic. This list will be considerably shorter (and less expensive) than the “enhanced” list that the dealer would provide for that same mileage/elapsed time interval.

If dealerships (just like other businesses) were not interested in improving their “bottom line”, it would be fine to rely on their honesty. Unfortunately, you can’t do this, and you owe it to yourself to open your glove compartment, take out the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and follow it faithfully. The result will be that your car will operate longer, with lower maintenance costs, than if you relied on others to make your maintenance decisions for you.


It’s all a matter of interpretation.

Example, the owners manual for my 02 Hyundai Sonata tells me that at 52.5 K miles the following maintenance should be done: Replace fuel filter.

My interpretation of this is that at 52.5 K miles the fuel filter should be replaced.

However, if a dealer was to misinterpret this simple little requirement, you could end up paying:

About 80 bucks for an injector flush that the car does’nt need

About 40 bucks for a throttle body cleaning that the car does’nt need. (or if it does you could do it yourself for 5 bucks)

Maybe 30 bucks for a brake cleaning that the car does’nt need.

Maybe 50 bucks for an engine flush that the car does’nt need.

Just out of curiosty, what does the maintenance section for yours show and what are you driving.

As I said the manual for my 02 Sonata shows the fuel filter
should be replaced at 52.5K miles.

Not so as the 02 was the first year with the filter in the tank. It is no longer part of routine maintenance.


Dont know what your state is but in Calif. they have the Bureau of Automitive Repair all shops must play by their rules.They will look at the repair order and everything must be filled out correctly and I mean everything with estimate and signed or they will rule in the customers favor.


So break the bill down further. Depending on where you live a 197 bucks only furnishes about 2 to 3 hours of shop flat rate labor. It’s very easy to hit 123 dollars on parts.

Did they quote you the price up front before the work was performed? If so, you have no complaint.
Did you just assume things would be X amount of dollars? Ditto.

Forget Edmunds, that is not really the real world. It’s difficult to say whether this dealer is out of line or the other dealer (165) is too low.
Compare what was done with what is listed in the forgotten glove box booklet; a.k.a. the Owners Manual.

All dealers are independent operations, not just Hyundai. I have a feeling if you break this bill down here you’re going to find that you were not gouged at all. Spell out the details and we’ll see.


Thanks to everyone who replied. Sounds like I was making some really bad assumptions about what to expect from the dealer; I’ve certainly learned my lesson. I did agree to the charges up front; allthough I asked him when I signed whether this was just the standard service. Probably not enough to dispute the whole thing.

For what it’s worth, this is a 2004 Elantra; the owner’s manual recommends:
Replace fuel filter
Inspect vacuum and crank case ventilation/hoses
That’s it!

What they did:
Oil and filter change, lube chassis, repalce cabin air filter, replace fuel filter, rotate tires, check and fill fluids, check and adjust tire pressure, add oil and fuel additives, multi-point inspection, road test vehicle.

So they did a lot of extra stuff. They don’t say what the labor rate is (that spot is blank of the receipt) but they charged 197.89. The car was probably in there for about an hour, max 90 minutes. Their old labor rate was around $90.00. I think I heard that there was some list saying how long each job should take and they sometimes go off that even if it takes a shorter amount of time. Is there any way for me to verify that they’ve done that calculation accurately?

Thanks again for all the replies!


“I asked him when I signed whether this was just the standard service.”

That supports my earlier response. Yes, I’m sure that this was “the standard service” as per the dealership. However, unless you want to consistently pay for procedures that are not necessary, you will specify the “the standard service” that Hyundai (the manufacturer) specifies in the book that is sitting in your glove compartment.

As to the charges, if I were you, I would just chalk it up to learning something vital about car maintenance, and put the incident behind you. I am confident that the next time your car needs service, you will tell them exactly what you want to have done, rather than accept that their “standard service” is the same short list that the manufacturer specifies.


not to get into this too deep, but unfortunately you have found a dealership service writer who is taking advantage of you. (also, this is typical of all delaership service departments.)

if you look at the wording on your estimate, you will find the words recommended and required. these two words mean ALL the difference in your estimate. unfortunately the general public takes the dealership service writers’ service write up as an honest advice/experience trustworthy document. it is NOT. it is a dealership way to make obscene amounts of money doing frivolous unneeded repairs, which are most often unrelated to the need for the visit in the first place.

check out the words on your estimate. i think you will be surprised. read the estimate CAREFULLY, before you sign it next time. you asking the service writer if these are ‘standard’ maintenance items is irrelevant, and is trumped by your signature on the estimate authorizing the repairs and work.


The only recourse you have is to NOT use them again and to tell everyone you know not to use them…and make sure you buy your next car someplace else…AND let them know that’s what you’re doing.


That 52.5 maintenance schedule is pretty darned flimsy if all they recommend is a fuel filter and inspection of hoses. JMHO, but that’s ludicrous and hardly worth the time to bring the vehicle in.
I’m going to disagree completely with your owners manual. I think Hyundai is going overboard to make their cars appear to be more maintenance free; something that car makers are prone to do

On most cars, 7500 mile intervals are considered a minor maintenance, 15k miles a bit more major, and 30k mile intervals the largest maintenance services.
With many items, they should be serviced or replaced more often than recommended. The fuel filter for example. These should be replaced about every 15-20k miles. Does your manual state that 52.5 is the first time for this job?

With car servicing of any sort you’re dealing with the flat rate system. This means a certain job has a certain amount of time assigned to it. This is done to encourage getting the job done with no loitering around. With repetetive jobs a tech can usually do the job faster than the time assigned to it and there’s nothing wrong with that. (Except warranty labor times which are an absolute clock killer).
The other option would be to charge the customer by however long the job took and if you have a gabby tech who wanders off to the coffee pot a 100 times a day then you would be charged for an entire day of loitering. Not a good alternative at all.

Ninety dollars an hour is fairly high but could be normal; especially if you’re on the east or west coast.
JMHO but the price sounds fair for what was done and as I said, I have to strongly disagree with your owners manual here. It baffles me that they would even recommend bringing your car in for something like that.
Hope some of this helps.


A case of “Implied Consent”


In the future, consider this. Write down or just use the Ownwer’s Manual schedule for the next service REQUIRED. Pay attention to RECOMMENDED services, too. Find a good, reputable independent shop. (Ask friends, family, etc.). Go see the independent shop. Ask to see their “A.S.E.” certificates. Many places have A.S.E. certificates posted on their office walls or waiting room. Note that these certificates are in an individual service person’s name–not the shop’s name. The Manufacturer’s Warranty states that the work is to be performed by “qualified” technicians. A Dealer cannot demand that the Dealer is the only place that you can get the work done by a “qualified” or “certified” technician. Ask for their price to do the required maintenance. Ask which technicians, by name, will be doing the work. Also ask for their price on recommended service. Same thing—which mechanic(s) will be doing this work? Ask the service manager to point out each mechanic’s certificates. Now you’re cooking. Any shop that doesn’t want to “waste their time” doing this does not deserve your money. Find another shop. When you find a place that meets all of your criterias, ask them to write it up. Many times, “while they were there”, they legitimately find another area that should/could be taken care of. Ask them to fully explain why. Any legitimate shop should be happy to accommodate your inquiries. (Preventive maintenance is much less expensive than repair maintenance). You can also ask for and receive the old parts, if you want them. The exception to this is if a part needs to be turned in for a “core charge”. That is a legitimate explanation unless you want to take the part and later cash it in for the core charge. Remember that some of those parts are dirty and greasy/oily. After they show you the old parts, just let the shop keep the stuff. After whatever work YOU ordered is accomplished, ask for a copy of the final invoice. That should be provided to you automatically anyway. Also ask for, or acquire on your own, a photocopy. Take this photocopy to your Dealer. Direct the Dealer to place the photocopy on record into their computer. If the Dealer can’t scan it into their computer, which is often an “operator error” because they don’t know how to do it or they don’t get along with whomever CAN scan it in, make sure that they place it into a folder with your name and vehicle identification on the folder. You can, if you wish, leave the photocopy with the Dealer. Always keep your original or independent shop’s carbonless copy. Write down somewhere convenient the date and approximate time that you submitted your info to the Dealer. You might even ask that after the Dealer has placed the Job Order (Invoice from the independent shop) into their computer, that they print you out a copy right off of their computer. If they won’t do that, make a specific note about it. You should end up with the services as required by the ‘required’ service as well as any recommended services performed at a much better cost for the same services that the Dealer can provide and have the records to prove that the work was done by a qualified independent shop.


You got taken are there “chassis lube points” these have been sealed for so long,but maybe (tie-rod ends-then there two) Check and top off fluids should be a no-charge,tire pressures should be a no charge.since you paid to have the wheels rotated the brake inspection should be a no-charge this also applies to the"multi-point inspection" since the only real work is wheel removal and the to list “road test” as a chargeable operation is a insult. This is Dealer service(dont like to use the term service) at a very low point. Do you think this was a example that the Service Advisor did on his own or do you think a Service Manager was involved in creating this bill? Did they ask you if you wanted “oil and fuel” additives? Does Hyundai require these additives? Just terrible