At Cassels Garage we hear the same stories over and over from our valued customers regarding pressure from car dealerships. It sounds so wonderful when the new car salesman first says it: “Free oil changes for life.” The new car buyer dreams of expense-free maintenance, but of course oil changes are not the only maintenance your car will need.
It is easy to see what a free oil change gives to the car owner, but what it gives the dealer is more subtle. It gives the dealer a regular opportunity to sell services to their customers. Sometimes those services are overpriced, and sometimes they are unnecessary.
It happens like this. The second or third time you take your car in for the free oil change, you receive an estimate for the 12,000 or 15,000 mile routine service. It includes several services in addition to the oil change, and those services are not free. You may ask, “Is this necessary?” or “Do I have to do this now?” Depending on the dealer, the answer will likely be something on the order of “Failure to maintain the car invalidates the warranty.”
Those are scary words, but not actually responsive to the question. Of course, you should maintain your car properly, not only for the sake of the warranty, but for the sake of the car. However, some dealers use an “extreme use” schedule for routine maintenance that my not fit your car’s use. So many customers are replacing parts faster than necessary at dealership prices.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, makes it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to deny coverage under the warranty if routine maintenance is done at a shop other than the dealership. Many savvy car owners opt to have their routine maintenance done a shop of their choosing. In fact, one useful strategy is to take your dealer’s estimate to the shop you trust and ask for a competitive bid. Two good questions: “How much of this service do I really need now?” and “What will it cost me here?”
Cassels Garage in West Melbourne is a family-owned shop that is well equipped to provide routine maintenance on your car. We provide expert car repair and service to each and every customer that walks through our doors. You can count on a fair price, and you can expect service that is tailored to you and your vehicle rather than the dealership’s schedule.