The number one competitor to the auto dealerships service department is looked on as both cheap and convenient. But are they
At team of independent folks decided to find out using a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid with over 87,000 miles on the odometer. They went shopping to find out.
Their first stop was the local Ford dealer where they asked for a comprehensive inspection to find if anything was wrong with the vehicle. They tagged along with the service technician as he worked on the vehicle. Oil was fine, filters were OK, tires safe, all fluids good-to-go, brakes with plenty of life left, shocks and struts working fine. All they found was a broken license plate light and a cracked windshield. When asked for the bill the dealership refused to charge anything.
Next stop, the competitor. The lube sticker in the car told them they were 1,000 miles past due for a new Signature Service. They parked the car and sat in the waiting room. By the way, those stickers are extremely effective at prompting customers for service. The top prompt for customers was a vehicle performance issue, followed by odometer mileage and window stickers.
The technician came into the waiting room and validated the owners address and said, "you still using synthetic oil?" (Remember, Ford had already told them the oil and filter were OK.) The customer stated they didn't use synthetic oil. He replied, "Well, that's what she's been using." The customer replied that he did not need synthetic oil. The technicians comeback, "Hybrids are supposed to use synthetic oil." The customer inquired as to the price and was told $64.99. So they let them put in the synthetic oil because, "Hybrids are supposed to use synthetic oil." They got the car back 15 minutes later, paid $67.25 and the shop didn't mention the license plate light.
They then went home and checked out the owner's manual.
Tomorrow the I will reveal the results of this study.