Twas the night before the 30,000-mile scheduled maintenance, and all through the house, stress was running rampant over dealership clout. Family members were restless, and for very good reason, as they prepared to spend a fortune unrelated to the holiday season. On the mantle sat a wallet and a check that was blank, with this family hoping that automotive maintenance would not break the bank.
Thoughts were running wild through all of their minds, and at 12:30 a.m. they still couldn’t unwind. Thinking, “keep the car running as well as can be,” but dealer service was required so as not to void the warranty. Accurately following the service schedule with an oil change here and tune-up there, they wondered whether there were any additional costs they needed to worry about with care.
The hours passed quickly until 7 a.m. when the alarm loudly rang, signaling the onerous process was soon to begin. They shuffled downstairs almost in a flash, wanting to arrive at the dealership and not be in line last. The car started with ease, nothing apparently wrong, with the family still questioning why this service would last 3 hours long. They paused for a moment and then with a sigh proceeded down the road for the 20-minute drive.
The streets were quite crowded with many 10+ year-old cars in sight, when a sudden squeaking was heard as the brakes were depressed to slow at the light. Was it our car or theirs — it was too hard to say, but if the dealership had its option we knew we would pay. For the 30,000-mile service would require a great deal, including an oil change, new filters and a rotation of the wheels. Perhaps a quick test drive to gauge the car’s overall condition, and let’s hope he doesn’t come back suggesting a new transmission.
As the advisor pulled out the service brochure they thought this can’t be that bad, he is only trying to determine what type of driving habits we had. Normal habits for certain, no way too severe, but look at the outrageous prices in here! Labor runs $125 per hour, but how can this be? Is the extra to eat donuts, drink coffee and watch TV? With questions arising at an unnerving pace, we thought perhaps it was time to find an alternate repair place.
Glancing out the window still wondering what to do, the dealership quickly began to fall farther from view. But then what to their wondering eyes should appear but an independent garage with six service bays drawing near. And to their relief the shop’s sign read clear as the day, “We can perform your factory-scheduled maintenance today.”
Yet how can this be, as right from the start, the family believed only the dealer provided the correct service and part? But as they drove up the message was clear, your warranty will remain valid should the 30,000-mile service be performed here. Our anxiousness fled as we stepped inside and noticed the prices were 40 percent lower than the dealer would provide.
The technician greeted them with a check list and complete safety inspection, yet factored only that which was needed into the final RO calculation. We paused as we thought this was simply too good to be true, and asked if this practice was something brand new? The technician quickly replied in a low humble voice, “There is nothing to fear, we exist to give you a non-OE choice. Our goal in the aftermarket is simple you will see, to provide high-quality service — satisfaction guaranteed.”
Our 30,000-mile service was finished in less than two hours as those technicians were hopping, leaving some time and money for more holiday shopping. And while dealer service is the right way for some car owners to go, this family learned that the independent installer is trustworthy and can save you some dough!
Happy Holidays from BB&T Capital Markets.