During my brief time as a service advisor/writer, I worked in two types of shops. One was an “express lube” – meaning this shop only did basic maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations. Cars that needed more complex repairs were sent across the parking lot to the main service bays – the full-service ones.
The other type of shop I worked at was a full-service one. This dealership had no express lube – techs did everything from oil changes to fluid flushes to warranty work to major customer-pay jobs.
Car dealerships are a conundrum. For decades, they’ve prevailed despite changes in every aspect of what occurs at a new car dealership. The big question is whether they will continue doing business as they have, or will there be changes to a system that’s out of touch with buyers today?
Hi there! You’ve probably learned a bit about your author during my time at TTAC, but you might not know I toiled in the service department of various car dealerships early in my career.
I started as a porter in high school, then eventually worked as a greeter in the service bay (basically, managing the flow of cars and customers in the service drive), before finally working as a service writer (aka service advisor). I did that final job both in an express-service lane at a dealer (think oil changes and basic maintenance) as well as in a capacity as a “regular” advisor (not just oil changes, but all types of repair).
For a variety of reasons (the post-recession binge finally cooling off is the biggest), new-car sales are down in the United States. One would expect that would hurt the revenue of new-car dealerships. Not so much, it turns out, as dealers have found other ways to generate revenue. Or at least that’s what a Bloomberg report says. But there are caveats that suggest the Bloomberg piece may be generalizing. In other words, maybe some shops are seeing more revenue from more work, but other shops aren’t, even as they get busier, due to other factors.
Traditionally, new-car dealerships have always generated revenue and profit from their service and parts departments – and those departments outshine sales at many stores. So it’s not surprising to see dealers turning to a reliable profit center when sales slump.
It’s no secret that vehicle owners are becoming more hands-off when it comes to vehicle maintenance and repair. Some of that blame can be attributed to the increasing complexity of modern cars, and automakers are using that to their advantage as they attempt to make cars even more hands-off. The tool roll and spare tire you’d find in older cars have been replaced with a can of fix-a-flat and a roadside assistance card.
Changes like the disappearance of the spare tire are the result of chasing fuel economy standards, though others — like increased use of plastic engine covers — seem like the automaker’s way of telling owners they’ll need to subscribe to a service plan instead of trying to turn a wrench on their own. A recently published patent shows someone at Ford had the idea to take this to next level — so owners will never have to open the hood at all.
The saga of a welded transmission seems to have come to a somewhat happy ending.
The Reddit whistleblower at the center of this story, who is an employee of the dealership in question, provided TTAC the details on how the repair came to be. A representative from Jaguar Land Rover was also able to confirm that the incident was resolved, resulting in a satisfied Land Rover owner.
Dealer Technician Drops, Cracks, Welds and Attempts to Stuff Transmission Back in Land Rover Without Telling Customer
The “Just Rolled Into The Shop” subreddit usually shows an array of some of the worst maintained vehicles that customers bring into shops — but a post today showed negligence isn’t solely limited to those bringing in vehicles for service or repair.
User Valkyrier posted a picture of a welded transmission and explained the circumstances: that a dealership technician dropped and damaged it during an engine replacement and was planning to reinstall it … after welding it back together … without telling the vehicle’s owner.
TTAC commentator Patrickj writes:
Sajeev, an update:
My 2006 Ford Freestyle that started this series has been traded in after 184,000 miles. It’s replacement is a 2015 Subaru Legacy, so I guess I wasn’t scared off by the CVT.
The reason for getting the Subaru is mostly because of the second A/C failure of the summer in the Freestyle, though it also needed four struts, assorted bushings, and a steering shaft (u-joints doing a weird stick-slip thing). CVT and engine have been been fine to the end, with only two transmission fluid changes.
Sometime this year, Tesla Motors quietly ended its Ranger program that would dispatch service technicians to fix or send for service Tesla cars for a flat rate, Automotive News reported.
The program, which was touted by the company in 2012 as “ transforming automotive service” said the service would cost $100 “regardless of how far away owners live from a Tesla Service Center.” Tesla’s service page now says: “Tesla Ranger service may be available in your area. Service begins at $100 per visit and increases based on your distance from the nearest Tesla service center.”
A four-year, prepaid service plan for the cars, which cost $2,400 and included unlimited Ranger service visits, now only costs $1,900 without mentioning Ranger service, according to the company. A spokesman for Tesla didn’t immediately comment on the report.
Japanese tire giant Bridgestone agreed Monday to buy Pep Boys for $835 million and potentially create the largest chain of U.S. automotive service centers, the companies announced.
The deal would create a chain of more than 3,000 auto care stores — 2,200 Bridgestone-owned centers including Tires Plus, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works, and more than 800 company-owned Pep Boys stores.
According to the companies the deal will finalize in early 2016.
General Motors dealers in Russia are unhappy at the compensation the automaker is offering as it pulls out of the country, Wards Auto is reporting.
Russian dealers want more than it cost to start their dealerships, the report details. Negotiations stalled on how much GM would discount service contracts for thousands of GM cars currently on the road, and how much GM would offer dealers who need to change their businesses after GM leaves the country. The latest round of negotiations stalled in July.
GM sold more than 247,000 Chevrolet, Daewoo, Opel and Cadillac cars in Russia in 2014, which was down more than 24 percent from the prior year. This week, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen said the luxury automaker would focus on sales in Russia — and also China and the Middle East — even after GM announced it would be leaving that country.
Volvo announced today it will warranty any replaced part and labor, not including wear-and-tear items and accessories, for the life of the car. The coverage extends only to service at dealerships.
Volvo owners will pay for the initial replacement parts and labor on vehicles with expired warranties, but Volvo will pay for any additional service on that part for as long as the owner has the car. The parts warranty covers all models from all years and will be honored at all North American Volvo dealerships, according to the automaker.
I grew up in the back of two-door family cars ranging from a ’67 Camaro to an ’83 Civic 1500 “S”. It never seemed like a hardship to me. Nor does it seem like a hardship to have my six-year-old son in the back of my Accord Coupe. He knows how to let himself in and out of the back seat. It’s no different from having a four-door sedan and letting him out of the back door. Ninety-nine percent of the time I don’t even think about it.
The other one percent of the time is when I clean the interior of the car. It takes the strength of Hercules and the flexibility of a Cirque du Soleil headliner to get the explosion of fast food, Legos, school paperwork, and miscellaneous unidentifiable items out of the cave behind the front seats. And then I have to condition the leather, you see, which would work better if my arms were between six and eighteen inches longer. So having done all that this past Sunday, I figured I’d do my other least favorite job: brake dust removal. I was already in a bit of a bad mood, crouching next to my Griot’s Garage bucket and shaking out my favorite horse-hair wheel brush, when I saw it.
Oh, hell no.
I’m still only three years into the car business and I still haven’t wrapped my brain around one thing: xenon headlamps. As a used car manager I’ve replaced plenty of xenon bulbs (pricey) and even some ballasts (really pricey).
Are you sold on their usefulness? To me it seems like a giant waste of money.
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- Kat Laneaux Wonder if they will be able to be hacked into (the license plates) and then you get pulled over for invalid license plates or better yet, someone steal your car and transpose numbers to show that they are the owners. Just a food for thought.
- Tassos Government cheese for millionaires, while idiot Joe biden adds trillions to the debt.What a country (IT ONCE WAS!)
- Tassos screw the fat cat incompetents. Let them rot. No deal.
- MaintenanceCosts I think if there's one thing we can be sure of given Toyota's recent decisions it's that the strongest version of the next Camry will be a hybrid. Sadly, the buttery V6 is toast.A Camry with the Highlander/Sienna PSD powertrain would be basically competitive in the sedan market, with the slow death of V6 and big-turbo options. But for whatever reason it seems like that powertrain is capacity challenged. Not sure why, as there's nothing exotic in it.A Camry with the Hybrid Max powertrain would be bonkers, easily the fastest thing in segment. It would likewise be easy to build; again, there's nothing exotic in the Hybrid Max powertrain. (And Hybrid Max products don't seem to be all that constrained, so far.)
- Analoggrotto The readers of TTAC deserve better than a bunch of Kia shills posing as journalists.