People are paying for car repairs every day that they could have gotten for FREE!!! I am the co-creator of www.pedalsandpumps.com and we have compiled a list of ways to save money at a dealership:
1. Keep up on your recalls: Many people contact a mechanic when they notice something may be wrong with their car, not realizing that it is something that has been recalled and the repair is free. Safecar.gov is a great site where you can search for recalls on your vehicle. Make sure that the place you purchased your car from has your current address; they will usually send you a letter if something on your car has been recalled. Don’t assume that your service consultant or technician is going to know this information.
2. Call the manufacturer: Before paying for a repair, call the manufacturer and see if you can get a goodwill warranty. If there is a common problem with a vehicle, even if it isn’t technically a recall, the manufacturer will sometimes extend the warranty to cover the repair. A mechanic, no matter how honest they are, might not always be aware of this. Make sure you call the manufacturer to find out if this is the case. Some companies, especially if you are a loyal customer, will offer to pay for part or all of your repairs. You’d be surprised at how often this happens!
3. Talk to the right person: If there are six different service consultants, you are probably going to get six different prices and recommendations. Be aware of this and if you don’t like what you hear the first, second, or third time, call back and talk to the next guy. Find one you trust, some service consultants are more honest than others. It’s also not a bad idea to compare the prices of different dealerships.
4. A rose by another name is still a rose: Let’s talk basic maintenance. If you are going to a dealership for a 10,000 mile tune-up, you would assume a dealership is going to offer you the services that are recommended in your owner’s manual. This is almost never the case. As we previously stated, different dealerships and different service consultants are going to have their own idea of what they think needs to be done to your vehicle. The smartest thing to do is to look in your owner’s manual and see what is recommended. If it says it’s time for an oil change and tire rotation, ask for the oil change and tire rotation. This saves you money and helps you avoid people who are trying to sell you things you don’t need. Look at it like this, if you request a 10,000 mile tune-up, you could get charged $180. If you go in ask for an oil change and tire rotation, the price will be closer to $80.
5. Look for coupons: The first thing you should do before you even go into your dealership is check their website for coupons; you never know what you can find on there. Under service coupons, you can find anything from $10 off all season floor mats to 25% off new brake pads. Sometimes they will mail coupons or specials to you. For example, you may get a coupon in the mail that says something like, “It’s time for an oil change, we will provide one for $21.95 and throw in a free 16 point inspection.” If you have a specific dealership that you go to, it may be helpful to “like” their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. Your dealership’s Facebook or Twitter should let you know about any specials or coupons they have as well as remind you to take your car in.
NOTE: A benefit of dealerships, that may or may not save you money, is that they might be more likely to find common problems with your vehicle because they are experts in that brand. This doesn’t mean that a general mechanic won’t find the same problem with your vehicle. The difference is that dealerships have access to manufacturer specific information and repair mostly one type of vehicle, allowing them to see patterns of common problems.