Quick Tip: Shop Around for Car Service

March 28, 2007


My dad just learned this the hard way just recently. And usually he’s good about things like this. His 2002 car was due for a new water pump and timing belt. He took it to the dealer that he normally takes it to and they quoted him $1600 for the whole job. He just ok’d the job without getting quotes from other dealers because he “trusted them”.

Well, turns out that he shouldn’t have trusted them. After he told me the quote, I thought it was way too high so I did some calling of my own. At this point, the service was already done but he hadn’t picked up the car yet. I had them fax me the quotes so I could have a hard copy. The lowest quote was $925, tax included! That’s nearly $700 lower!

I told my dad that I was going to go the dealer myself and try to negotiate the price down because that seems like overkill to me. With the hard copy quote in hand I went to talk to the service manager. He basically wouldn’t budge on the price because my dad had already committed to the price and the service was already done. Despite the fact that labor was twice as much; $1000 vs $500, he made up a lie that they charge a flat rate for service on labor. In the end, he gave me a $100 discount, which still makes it almost $600 more!

Long story short, I told my dad to get quotes next time before taking it to service it. He will not taking it to that dealer anymore.

Lesson learned. Make some phone calls and get quotes from multiple dealers before bringing in your car for servicing. Get them to fax you a written quote if possible. It will make life a lot easier and will save you some bucks, too! In this case, it would have saved nearly $600! Definitely not chump change, indeed.


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