auto mechanic and service center

AgronAlum

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Jul 12, 2014
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Car is like two years old only 25,000 miles! That’s insane to have three failures.

Throwing in my 2 cents but there’s something else going on there for sure. It’s a part that very rarely just fails on its own (especially repeatedly) and the culprit can be a very expensive fix (cylinder misfires, bad spark, low compression, burning oil, etc.) It's either getting excessive heat or clogging. They need to get rid of the car or figure it out before it’s beyond the warranty period. My guess is the dealer keeps throwing one on so they don’t have fix the source of the issue.
 

NorthCyd

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Aug 22, 2011
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I've got a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/ 114,000 miles and it either has a leaking radiator or water pump that needs fixed or replace.

I took it to the dealer where it was purchased from for service and repair Saturday night without an appointment hoping to get it back within a week.

I hadn't heard anything from the dealership service center so I called to follow-up and was told they might not be able to get to it until the 28th of Feb to get a diagnosis. That seems unreal to me. I took the same car there to replace an alternator and got it back from them in less than a week.

Is anyone else experiencing this?

TIA
Yeah, it's ridiculous. I called the dealership to get my van fixed. It wasn't really drivable and they basically told me they couldn't get to it. They didn't even give me a timeline. I just laughed and said I would never be bringing my car back for service. It was relatively new and did still have warranty left on the drive train but whatever. I went to Christian Brothers in Ankeny and have been happy with the service I get there.
 

Die4Cy

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Jan 2, 2010
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I've got a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/ 114,000 miles and it either has a leaking radiator or water pump that needs fixed or replace.

I took it to the dealer where it was purchased from for service and repair Saturday night without an appointment hoping to get it back within a week.

I hadn't heard anything from the dealership service center so I called to follow-up and was told they might not be able to get to it until the 28th of Feb to get a diagnosis. That seems unreal to me. I took the same car there to replace an alternator and got it back from them in less than a week.

Is anyone else experiencing this?

TIA
Are you handy with tools? What engine is it? If it's got the 3.6 or the 5.7 there probably isn't an easier water pump you can swap out on a vehicle out there nowadays. A little YouTube and some tools you can probably fix it in your garage. Pulling the radiator would be harder, but doable.
 
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AgronAlum

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Jul 12, 2014
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Yeah, it's ridiculous. I called the dealership to get my van fixed. It wasn't really drivable and they basically told me they couldn't get to it. They didn't even give me a timeline. I just laughed and said I would never be bringing my car back for service. It was relatively new and did still have warranty left on the drive train but whatever. I went to Christian Brothers in Ankeny and have been happy with the service I get there.

Christian Brothers in Ankeny is where our cars go when it’s something I can’t or don’t want to do. They’re great.
 
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Agclone91

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Feb 5, 2011
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Ames
Dealerships don't want to pay the good mechanics enough to keep them from working for themselves since most mechanics will own their own tools and the investment for space for typical vehicles just isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things. They can charge like $50/hour, be less than the dealership and probably double their gross pay all while not having a boss.
There's no independent mechanic working for $50/hour these days, most are going to be pushing, or over, $100. I called the Honda dealership in Ames this week to get a starter replacement quoted just out of curiosity and they were $170/hr. Book time was 2.5 hours and they wanted $425 for labor.
 
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FLYINGCYCLONE

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Aug 27, 2022
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LuVerne Iowa
Just stay will the big car dealerships. Never go to the independent guys in smaller towns. Haha, just kidding. Ask around to find good places to go.
 

Cy4All

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Aug 20, 2022
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There's no independent mechanic working for $50/hour these days, most are going to be pushing, or over, $100. I called the Honda dealership in Ames this week to get a starter replacement quoted just out of curiosity and they were $170/hr. Book time was 2.5 hours and they wanted $425 for labor.
I believe the tre4isu was saying that mechanics working on the side maybe out of their own garage can charge $50 an hour. This would be more than they would get paid at a shop and much less than a customer would pay a shop. You are right independent shops will be right in the $100 range. The dealer i worked at 8 years ago was at $105 and jumped up to $115 in the 4 years I was there. I've been at an independent for almost 5 years now and this past year we went from $90 to $100. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if most dealers aren't in the $150 to $200 range now.
 
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AgronAlum

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Jul 12, 2014
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I believe the tre4isu was saying that mechanics working on the side maybe out of their own garage can charge $50 an hour. This would be more than they would get paid at a shop and much less than a customer would pay a shop. You are right independent shops will be right in the $100 range. The dealer i worked at 8 years ago was at $105 and jumped up to $115 in the 4 years I was there. I've been at an independent for almost 5 years now and this past year we went from $90 to $100. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if most dealers aren't in the $150 to $200 range now.

It has gone the same way as everything else. Pay techs less and the owner profits more. It’s all about finding a shop where the techs are still paid enough that they still care. Those shops are getting fewer and farther between. I’m glad I can tackle most of the stuff that I want to but get a little more skiddish as tech advances. My fear is something craps out on my newer Volvo and I have to pay those rates.

I had my tires changed at Sam’s recently and the tech had to call and get my permission to try a breaker bar on the lugs. After saying yes I got a call saying they wouldn’t touch the keyed lugs in fear of stripping them. I had to bring a breaker bar and take them off in the parking lot… I was the last one to pull the wheels when I did my brakes and torqued them to spec. These are the types still taking 80 bucks an hour in labor but paying techs like 15.
 

cyfan21

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Aug 24, 2010
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Davenport
Are you handy with tools? What engine is it? If it's got the 3.6 or the 5.7 there probably isn't an easier water pump you can swap out on a vehicle out there nowadays. A little YouTube and some tools you can probably fix it in your garage. Pulling the radiator would be harder, but doable.
No I am not confident in my mechanical skills. I took it to a professional because I prioritized time over money and am starting to now regret that decision.
 

cyfan21

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Aug 24, 2010
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Davenport
Yeah, it's ridiculous. I called the dealership to get my van fixed. It wasn't really drivable and they basically told me they couldn't get to it. They didn't even give me a timeline. I just laughed and said I would never be bringing my car back for service. It was relatively new and did still have warranty left on the drive train but whatever. I went to Christian Brothers in Ankeny and have been happy with the service I get there.
I checked their webpage for services and didn’t see anything about radiators or water pumps. Did you call ahead and ask before going to them?
 

cyfan21

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Aug 24, 2010
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Davenport
From my experience working for a dealership and independent shops they both will usually have 1-3 top level mechanics that make good money. From there independent shops depending on the size may have 1 or 2 entry level oil change/tire guys. Dealerships will have a few mid level guys. Some probably should be high level and some should not touch a wrench. These guys don't get taken care of so if they are worth anything they figure that out and go work for an independent. The rest of the dealership is filled with a revolving door of kids who think cars are cool and think they want to work on them. Then realize it sucks to change oil and tires all day so they go to college or switch to a different line of work.

At the end of the day either a dealership or independent will have the same amount of techs who can do anything. The difference is dealers have way more cars coming in than independents so you either wait for weeks or get someone who shouldn't be working on your car trying to learn at you expense.
Are you in central Iowa? If so what what local dealership do you believe has the best rates and service if you don’t mind sharing.
 

cyfan21

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Aug 24, 2010
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Davenport
Went to the dealership for a long time until I tried Beckley Auto in DSM, have never gone back.
There’s an Indy mechanic in Grimes that is pretty highly recommended. I decided not to go that direction because the few people I spoke with said that he was booked out for a month. I’m starting to regretting that decision now.
 
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BCClone

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Not exactly sure.
If young people want to be their own boss there are so many opportunities right now. Mechanics, plumbers, electricians and other skilled blue collar jobs are in short supply and can pay well once you spin out on your own. I know you generally need to apprentice under someone for several years but when you consider a college degree is 4 years and many of these skills are 12-18 months of schooling and 3 years of apprenticeship, they aren’t too different.
 

SEIOWA CLONE

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Dec 19, 2018
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I have a good friend that his pickup has been sitting at a dealership in Oksy for 2 years waiting for warranty work. I asked him about it, and he says the dealer tells him they cannot get the parts. No clue what the problem is but 2 damn years is crazy.
We have a great local shop here in town, took my 2018 Camry down for oil change and transmission fluid change on Monday, vehicle has 101K miles. Total cost was $272 dollars, my SOL had the transmission fluid changed on their Honda at their dealership in Ames, total price was over $400, and no oil change.
 
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StormnClone58

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Jan 24, 2008
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West Des Moines
There’s an Indy mechanic in Grimes that is pretty highly recommended. I decided not to go that direction because the few people I spoke with said that he was booked out for a month. I’m starting to regretting that decision now.

If this is the shop i think you’re talking about, i would highly recommend them. Good people, reasonable pricing, and they stand by their work.
 
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CoachHines3

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I get more satisfaction with customer service going through my small town mechanic than i do with anything dealership related

havent had a problem he couldnt fix.. yet.
 

JM4CY

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Aug 23, 2012
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I go the private mechanic route. But that can be the Wild West and it’s very very wise to get some recommendations (not one, multiple). There are some absolute horrid mechanics out there that will most definitely hose you if you don’t know what you’re doing. But there are good ones too. Ask until you hear multiple people recommend the same shop.
 
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Cy4All

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Aug 20, 2022
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Are you in central Iowa? If so what what local dealership do you believe has the best rates and service if you don’t mind sharing.
Yeah I work in des moines. I worked at stew hansen hyundai. I always felt as far as dealerships go their rates were on the low end. The problem is the dealership service business model is not geared towards helping people fix their cars the most economical and fastest way. They way they pay their employees and operate their buildings leads to less than honest business practices. For instance as a service writer I was paid a commission on how much labor I sold a customer. On anything that the customer pays for I would get the highest percentage of pay. On warranty work I would get less than half of what customer pay is. In internals (if the used car department was paying) it was so low I didn't even notice it on my paycheck. This will incentivize selling add on repairs that aren't necessary to make a paycheck high enough to pay your own bills. They also pay "spiffs" on added sales of things like air filters, alignments, fluid flushes or wiper blades. Dealer recommended services are not usually the same as manufacture recommended services. When the manufacturer will suggest trans flush at 100k the dealer will suggest it at 60k. As a mechanic you have to do the work that is sold. So if I saw a loose ball joint on the driver's side I would recommend replacing that loose ball joint. Then the service writer will sell the repair. Usually they will sell ball joints on both sides as "they are the same age if one is loose the other will probably fail soon too." There may be nothing wrong with the other one but it gets sold padding the invoice. So the mechanic has a choice. Replace a good part or say no thank you I don't want the extra labor you sold.

TLDR: I don't think the dealership model is an economical or fast way to service your car. I would find an independent shop that you trust or people you know trust.

Note: This isn't to say all dealerships operate this way but generally speaking it is the norm.
 

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