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Since I started participating on this forum (April, when we bought our 07) I have noticed that people with out of warranty cars seem to either go to dealers for service or do work themselves, but few seem to go to independents. I have also noticed that people complain about dealer service prices and practices (bait and switch 20$ maintenance offers that turn into 2000$ suggested work lists...). Add to that that dealers' reputation is not very good (stealerships, anyone? ;-) ) and I am honestly wondering...

Why are people going to dealers for service after their warranty is over?

Is it because there are no good independents where you live, so the dealer is the lesser of two evils option? Is it to maintain a relationship with the dealer for the time when you will need to buy a new car? Is it just out of habit?

FYI, we go to an independent. He was referred to us by friends whose parents went there, and he has been very good for the last 5 years. I used to do mechanical stuff myself, but the second kid and a realisation that new cars were just a bit above my DIY skills put a stop to that.

Nicolas
 

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I have always wondered that too. I didn't even go to the dealer while in warranty. Now, I am on extended HondaCare. I do my own work.

Based on my reading of so many prior posts, it seems Honda (and the dealers) were easy on goodwilling trannies in the prior gen if there was a strong dealer history/relationship. So, having a relationship with your SA does help based on several posts on here.
 

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I think the biggest issue for me is finding a good independant. Thus the dealer is the best of a bad lot.

In terms of doing service at a dealer to maintain the relationship for when buying a new car I say no way. The sales department and the service department might as well be 2 totally different companies. I have never met a dealer who would consider whether or not you service at the dealer as being an advantage for purchasing.

Dealerships are all about the next deal. As soon as yours is signed they no longer care.

Cheers.
 

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The only time I bring any car to the dealer is for warranty work. The only exception to that was the tranny for the Odyssey. I wanted to get it with the 3-yr/36,000 warranty for the piece of mind. Anything other than that I do. If it is above what I can do I take it to my mechanic. Since he is also a memeber of my car club he will work on it on my schedule so I don't have any downtime with the car.
 

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Even though they are more expensive, I go to the dealer for the following reasons:

- Convenience (Main Reason): The dealer is near my work and shuttles me back and forth.
- Service Advisor: I've been going to the same service advisor for 7+ years now. When my tranny failed for the 2nd time at over 115K+ miles, Honda covered it 100%. I'm sure a good working relationship helped.
- Tough to find a GOOD independent mechanic.
 

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I haven't been to a Honda Dealer for 6 years (except when I needed warranty work, which only happened while I still had the extended warranty. Now that that has expired, no more visits to the Honda Dealer period). Saved a ton by using a local shop. One thing I learnt was lots of shops (dealer / independent), they charge you a 'suggested / flat' labor hours by the job, in other words, if your vehicle needed to replace say a head gasket, if their computer says '8 hrs' labor, they'll charge you 8 hrs labor + parts + tax even if they could finish the job in 5 hrs. This is totally unacceptable. I should be paying for labor WHILE they are doing the work on my vehicle, and NOT by what the computer says. So I went to a local shop where I could 'watch' them (not that I don't trust them or something, but rather I like to learn a bit and see what and how they do the repair) and getting billed on a fair basis (if it's a big job, they don't charge me based on # of hrs, but rather a flat rate which happened to be my advantage - they showed me how many hrs the dealer will charge me for that, and how many hrs his computer shows such a job will take, but he'll get me a say 50% or so discount on the expected labor rate, sometimes don't even charge me for diagnostics). My honda's been running well for the past 10 years (well of course a few repairs were needed but other than that, it's been quite reliable - except the tranny issue!). So i would go for the local guys unless u needed warranty work.
 

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I have not found a good reliable independent in my area. I have gone to a mechanic recommended by friends. However this mechanic, though good according to friends, recommend me to dealer :). That was for motor mount and alternator that dealer told me to change. Did not change either, eventually sold the car as the tranny is dead. I do get the tranny replace 100% at Honda cost when it was 159.000 km. (Odyssey 2001)
 

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I still get most (but not all) of the work on my '02 done at the dealership. They cost a little more because they charge by the book, but I was never ripped off or baited.

Last year I sought from the same dealership a trade-in price on a 2010 Odyssey. After I refused their first offer of $8K (I was expecting $6K), I told the salesman to look at the van's service log and see that the van was well maintained. The sales manager came back with $12K! That's a sizeable return on the money I spent there.
 

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I typically use an Indi once the warranty is up. I have continued to have the dealer drain/fill the transmission fluid as I hope that might equal some good will if this thing grenades prematurely. So far the only thing I've had my guy do is to replace the pads/rotors. I do most maintenance and such myself as long as I have time. Outside of the PS issue we've been smooth sailing since around 40k.
 

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I have used the Honda dealer for general maintenance, but changed due to some issues with their work, such as leaving a pair of pliers in the radiator fan. The other Honda dealer I've used is even worse (had trouble changing out a timing belt in my Civic) so I won't go there.

Even with the warranty still valid for the Odyssey, I've switched to the same independent that I use for my Civic for general maintenance with very few problems. The only problem I had with this independent is they changed the oil with 10W30, not the 5W20 that is in the owners manual. I am not worried about it since the oil thins out quicker here in Florida, but the next time I take it, I will insist on using the proper weight of oil.

I trust the independents more than the dealers.
 

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spacecst4now said:
***snip*** I trust the independents more than the dealers.
The June issue of Consumer Reports found that statement to be generally true. People trust the independents a little more for routine work and a lot more for repairs.
 

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I get all service done at a Honda dealer. Never have had a problem and they always do the job correctly. I tend to think a Honda service shop will know more about Hondas than will an independent shop.
 

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Simple stuff I do myself. I can't figure out why more people don't do THAT.

But I use the dealer when I chicken out, like the timing belt. I'm willing to pay another $100 for the peace of mind knowing that the guy doing the work is using genuine Honda parts and has most likely done this exact work on this make and model of car dozens of times before. I don't care how many Mitsubishi belts and indie guy has changed, I still don't want him doing his first Honda 3.5 job on MY car!

I think I paid $850 for the timing belt, water pump, accessory belts and coolant change. Yeah, I probably could have gotten a good Chicago area indie to beat that by $100, but since I do my own work I don't KNOW who's good and who's a schlock. For $100, I'll play it safe. New vans are expensive!
 

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manualman said:
Simple stuff I do myself. I can't figure out why more people don't do THAT.
A very good reason I don't do that: Time
I don't have much free time, and would rather have the dealer do the work, and I keep my limited time. :)
 

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Local dealer does poor work.

My local dealer has proven to do poor work some requiring re visit. Also dealer is misleading and deceptive so I have taken mine there as little as possible. Before, I wasted significant time taking it to the Honda dealer and waiting for the shuttle or wasting someones time picking me up and taking me back to the dealer. Now buy parts on line or at a local store on a trip combined with some other task. Time spent at home doing maintenance is less than time spent traveling to and from dealer and waiting.

So routine maintenance things I do myself. Any repair I can manage, I do myself. Magnefine and Atf cooler, done myself. Broken transmission, could not do myself.
 

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I'm 30 minutes from a bad Honda dealer...and 45 minutes from a good one. So unless it's more than routine stuff I can do it far quicker myself. I like doing some things...maintenance stuff. But repairs can eat up your time if something doesn't go as planned. My Indi is steps from my office so that's far more convenient as well. At least the good dealer will give me a loaner car...but it still adds 1.5 hours to my day if I need to take it in.
 

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I was using an independent for years until I found out that he was ripping me off. So I've been doing a lot myself plus going to the dealer for things I can't do.
 

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How did you find out he was ripping you off?
An indy shop can charge you more than necessary.

Example:
I brought the 12 year old Toyota Sienna to an indy shop I trusted to replace a leaking steering rack.
This indy shop has a nice waiting room, internet on wifi, ROUND-TRIP shuttle service, free coffee. You know you'll pay for the convenience.
The service adviser gave the estimate and it was a bit less than Toyota dealer. If I signed off the work order, then there would be no story to tell. Out of curiosity, I asked if there was anything he could do to make it less painful. The SA kind of hesitated then said there was nothing he could do about the labor cost (at $95/hr), but maybe he could look at other steering rack options. He showed me several options and I chose a rebuilt rack that saved me about $60.

Example:
Later, I took the Sienna again to get to the above indy shop for new timing belt, waterpump, drive belts, sparkplugs b/c the Toyota dealer estimate was sky high.
I received the first estimate and of course it was less than dealer's sky high numbers.
Now that I knew how the shop operated, I asked the SA to show me options on timing belt, water pump, drive belts and spark plugs. The SA insisted that I get the OEM water pump, saying that he'd not trust aftermarket ones. Alright OEM it is. For the timing belt, 2 drive belts and spark plugs, I chose less expensive options and saved about $50.

This indy shop was very busy. 15 to 20 cars a day and most were there for repair works. If 10 customers overpays $50/each, that's a nice $500/day extra profit for the owner to share with the employees.
 
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