After a fender bender or a blown-out tire, where do you take your vehicle? You may get it towed to the dealership, thinking they know your vehicle best. Dealerships are owned by national corporations, their service and repair departments are set up to focus on profit. Sometimes they pad your repair bill with hidden service fees.
The truth is that most local repair shops like Big Chief Tire will offer fair, honest prices and still provide the expertise your car needs to get you safely back on the road.
Now is the time to watch out for your wallet and take control of your repairs by understanding how dealership service fees work.
What Really Goes on in the Garage
Many car owners think dealerships make the most money off vehicle sales, but the most profitable department is usually the service center.
Dealerships often pay their service center employees based on commission. That means they make more money when you spend more. No matter how friendly they may be, these employees may not prioritize your budget, not when paid to pad the bottom line.
Another way dealerships generate profit is by encouraging more frequent service appointments. You’ve seen the sticker service shops place on your windshield, recommending the best time to come back for a service. However, sometimes these dates are listed as earlier than service is needed. This prompts customers to come in more often and potentially spend more money than they need to. Of course, it’s important to bring your vehicle in for regular services. At Big Chief Tire, we’ll never have you pay more than you need to keep your car safe and running smoothly.
Don’t fall for common car dealership service charges. Instead, take your business to a trusted, family-owned tire shop in Jacksonville, FL, like Big Chief Tire.
How to Spot Illegitimate Surcharges
Before you pay your bill, analyze each line item carefully. Dealerships tend to pad the invoice with expenses that consumers should never have to pay for. In the industry, these are called “shop supplies charges.”
Examples of these fees include but are not limited to shop rags, lubricants, transmission fluid, brake fluid, steering fluid, and even the service of disposing of your old engine fluid. These charges could factor another $30 or more on top of your already steep service bill.
Dealerships will not always explicitly list these fees out on your bill, so it’s important to challenge them and ask for clarification on any charges you don’t understand.
You may also be billed for any “recommendations” you agreed to that were outside of your original service requests. Watch out for unnecessary fluid flushes and part replacements, and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion from a different repair shop before you agree. Many local shops won’t charge a fee for inspections.
Instead of working with a dealership focused on profit, choose a local tire shop like Big Chief Tire in Jacksonville, FL, that won’t charge an extra fee. We conduct free evaluations and diagnose any issues with your vehicle before performing any services or repairs.
The Vehicle Manual: Not Just a Glove Box Accessory
Is your car manual collecting dust in the glove compartment? Before you bring your car in for your next service appointment, try giving the manual a glance. It is essential to know your vehicle and listen to your manufacturer.
Your vehicle manual will tell you precisely what your vehicle needs at any given time and how often it is necessary. That way, you’ll know when a service advisor is trying to convince you to spend more money than necessary.
Local Service and Repair
When you think, “should I service my car at the dealership,” consider instead choosing a partner who will put you first. An honest, local mechanic will go the extra mile and take a closer look at the issues that need to be addressed. Schedule your next repair with a local auto shop you can trust, like Big Chief Tire on Normandy or another location close to you. At Big Chief, you’ll always receive honest service. We were founded by a family, and we treat all of our customers like family.