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Service Departments Rant

So Im about to change the trans fluid in the cadillac. I read online that all modern cadillac transmission fluids are compatible with previous (now obsolete) transmission fluids. In order to verify that I simply wanted to ask a cadillac service tech. I have literally made 6 phone calls to cadillac dealers from city to city and cannot even get a single person from the service dept on the phone. I get their operator who transfers me to the service dept and then it just keeps ringing and ringing. Not to mention the phone etiquette is “Hello?”
“Uh…yes Id like to speak to somebody in the service department please”
“Ok” (clicks transfer button)
Freakin hilarious. And people are spending God knows what on a modern Cadillac.

I ended up calling a specialty shop and got my answer.
/end rant

I think that the service department at dealerships don’t really want to see cars more than ten or fifteen years old. Your 1950 Cadillac would really scare them if you drove into the service department. There are probably no technicians in the service department who could answer your question if you did get through. A long established independent transmission shop might be a better place for the old Hydramatic transmission on your Cadillac.

Yes, it is frustrating. But the staff at the shop may have been just to busy to talk. I doubt they were purposely avoiding your call. I’ve discovered by trial and error that those kinds of telephone calls are best made on a Monday or Tuesday morning around 10 AM, when they aren’t quite as busy.

I agree with @Triedaq‌

However, I’m not holding it against a Cadillac dealer if they aren’t prepared to service a 1950s Cadillac

After all, it’s been decades since those cars regularly came in to be serviced

They probably don’t even have service manuals for those classic cars on the shelves

But the telephone etiquette is a problem

Several years ago, when I was still working at the Benz dealer, a classic . . . about 40 years old, came in for an oil leak. I clearly saw what part was leaking. I spent a few minutes looking at the vehicle, and determined I could do the repair, if I had a new seal. The service manager told me that we’re not going to do the repair, because he wasn’t confident of the shop’s ability to work on classics

Oh well, the shop lost that customer. It’s too bad, because the car was meticulously maintained, with an obviously high dollar paint job and interior. I sensed that the customer would have willingly spent some money, if he felt he was getting good advice

There’s not a one of the modern Cadillacs that even appeal to me. They may run well and handle well but that Robo-Caddy look is a groaner.

The Cadillac dealer here already went the way Sears is going; deceased. GM was going to force them to spend a ton of money on a building revamp and due to the location and building type it was just not feasible. So the dealer lost Pontiac a few years ago, Cadillac sooner than that, and they’re Nissan only now.

Due to the number of elderly around here I would imagine a fair number of peeved because if they want Cadillac service it’s going to be a 100 miles or 200 miles one way trip, all depending, to the closest dealer.

Kind of a shame to turn down work, especially non-warranty, on a Benz no matter the age.

I once thought I would give a service department a hard time about an old car. I had a 22 year old Oldsmobile and the left door sagged and was hard to close without lifting it up. I took it to a body shop and the verdict was that it needed a new hinge. The body shop told me that I would have to bring them the part and would probably have to go to a recycling yard. I decided to try the dealer. When I drove in, the service writer determined, correctly, that it was problem for the dealer’s body shop. The woman who managed the body shop came out and said that the hinge wasn’t available. I told her that I had purchased the car from that agency and was assured that the parts and service would always be available for the car. She replied, “Well, we didn’t expect you to drive it 22 years and 225,000 miles, but I’ll see what I can do”. She disappeared into the body shop and came back with a great big technician who was carrying a big box end wrench, a drift pin and a sledge hammer. He loosened the bolts on the hinge, put the pin on the bottom of
the hinge and pounded it with the sledge hammer. He then tightened the bolts and the door worked perfectly. When I asked about the charges, I was told “It’s free. We guarantee these babies for 25 years or 250,000 miles”.

You guys missed the point. I didnt expect any work done on my 1950 cadillac.

The point was that not a single service department (6 of them) picked up the phone.

My question was if dexron 6 was backwards compatible with all other previous GM trans fluids, which there is a service bulletin about. Seems like a reasonable question.

I ended up calling a hydramatic rebuilder and he told me the 6 would be fine.

When people have technical questions in general…I would do the following. Try the parts department. Rather then being interested in making an appointment which is what service is all about, the parts department needs to sell you goods…you may get a real person. Secondly, look on line for customer service from the home page of Cadillac and try to get an email address or phone number. Next, but a reliable source to search for your info, go to a Cadillac or GM forum and post your question. Lastly, like you did, go to a specialist.
Remember, the service department writer who would answer the phone, is not a qualified person to necessarily answer your technical question. You might be better off not talking to one. The guys who really know at a service station are working and too busy to answer the phone.

So many companies simply do not understand how important the person who answers their telephone is. One time, I worked for a PBX manufacturer. We had a temp in for a receptionist for a couple of weeks. She was very pleasant in person, but on the phone, she was a real witch. We don’t know how many sales we lost because of her, but we do know that we lost at least one, and each sale is very important as each sale starts at $20k and can go over a mill.

Answering a phone and proper etiquette shouldnt be an issue whatsoever for any business but it effects so many.

When I used to work at Sam Ash music we were drilled to answer the phone quickly no matter what. Even if you had a customer you had to excuse yourself. Theres money on the end of that line. But many dont understand or care.

Matter of fact I drove up to the local dealer who wouldnt answer the phone. They also acted like I didnt exist when I walked into the service dept. Sure enough a pretty woman walked in to get some help and “how can I help you?” Meanwhile I was standing there for 5 minutes before her. I was ready to give the guy a piece of my mind but bypassed the idiots working there and stopped a tech walking by.

Its just amazing how dumb people can be.

Sorry you were treated like this. The service desk people should instantly and politely greet every customer that walks in the door unless they’re tied up with someone else. Even in a case like that they should have the courtesy to state they will be with as quickly as possible.

No idea what the snafu on the phone situation is. The dealers around here have always been PDQ in answering the phones and redirecting a call to the proper department.

I get a real person on the phone at both Acura and GM but its the receptionist. Then she directs the call to where you want to go. Then you get a real person either at parts or service. But you’ll never get a technician on the line because they are working. Best bet is to visit in person but I agree, unless the tech is 60 years old, he’s probably not going to know. Dex 6 though is full syn I believe though.

Well I did get a receptionist every time, who did redirect to the service dept. as requested - but no one ever picked up the phone at any of the dealers by then.

Got the dex 6 in today no problems. Caddy seems happier


let’s not forget that techs get paid based on the amount of work they do

15 minutes spent gabbing with a customer means 0.25hrs that he will not get paid

If, for example, a mechanic earns $30 per flagged hour, that means that conversation cost him $7.50

And in those 15 minutes gabbing with the customer, that gravy major service job which was next to be dispatched might have gone to another tech, who wasn’t busy gabbing with the customer

And when the tech that was talking with the customer goes up to the dispatcher or service writer for that next job, it might be a warranty nightmare job, on which he’ll lose his a . .

That exact scenario has happened to me plenty of times

We must remember there is more than 1 side to this

You might go to the Cadillac dealer around 10AM. A few mechanicals might be on break. I was in the Honda lot near a couple of techs on break. They walked over and started a conversation about issues with my car. If they are on break, they aren’t taking time away from their work.

"let’s not forget that techs get paid based on the amount of work they do

15 minutes spent gabbing with a customer means 0.25hrs that he will not get paid

If, for example, a mechanic earns $30 per flagged hour, that means that conversation cost him $7.50"

+1 for db4690
I would be happy to pay a technician for a consulting fee. I was paid for consulting work I did as a statistician and I think others with a particular skill should receive the same treatment. I once had a HVAC problem at my house and had called one company. This company didn’t show when promised and then said they would come on Saturday, but would charge a higher week-end rate. I was unhappy as I had left work early on Friday to meet with them. I told them not to come at all. I then called another company and the receptionist answered the phone. She said before she would send a technician to my house, she wanted me to talk to one of their technicians. The technician called me and told me how to fix the problem myself which I did. I asked to be sent a bill for his time, but he wouldn’t do it. I became a customer of an independent shop 20 years ago after I had a new starter installed at Western Auto. When the car was hot, the engine would barely crank. Western Auto claimed that they couldn’t duplicate the problem. In desperation, I tried this independent shop. The technician measured the current draw of the starter, wrote it on shop’s letterhead and sent me to Western Auto. I thought I should pay for the diagnosis, but was told there was no charge. After Western Auto’s manager saw the figures on the independent shop’s letterhead, the starter was replaced with no questions asked.

Honestly I wasnt planning on talking to a technician. In my opinion a service writer should know about a standard service bulletin regarding trans fluid, or atleast be able to quickly check his computer for service bulletins, and theyre not paid the same way a mechanic is to the best of my knowledge

When our newer generation starts working, forget about “calling” the dealership, you will have to text them and you will get OMG back as a response.


you’re being awfully optimistic

When I was at the dealership, none of the writers really kept up to date with the bulletins, recalls, campagins, warranty extensions, etc.

In fact, there are some writers who will plead ignorance about a particular issue, UNTIL the customer shoves the TSB in their face. At which point, they will say “That’s the first time I ever heard of that.” Yeah, some of them lie like a rug