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Main dealer service costs, a joke

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Chris M
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Post by groundhog Thu Oct 26, 2023 7:32 pm

Had a call from Mercedes today, our old mercedes car is due a service." For older cars we do a special cheaper service would you like a quote"....
£250 plus vat inclusive, including vital checks like the horn, mirrors, number plates and then we will MOT it. Of course if they did the service AFTER they had MOT'd it then they would have already checked half the things listed in the service within the MOT cost. Then we come to the "add ons" whatever that means 
Spark plugs ...... £145. I can buy the same plugs for about £6 each that must mean I have about 18 cylinders I didn't know were there.
Transmission oils..... £325. Clearly this is being hand delivered from Saudi Arabia.
Brake fluid...... £80, That is just the fluid, not the cost of changing it, they must spill an awful lot.

Local classic and sports car garage, same service £220 including vat and a £25 voucher towards the cost of the MOT.

Hard choice I know.

Option three of course is to put my overalls on and ......
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Post by IanH Thu Oct 26, 2023 7:41 pm

Wifey moped garage  £83/hr!
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Post by The Jacobite Thu Oct 26, 2023 10:11 pm

Put the overalls on!  up!   

Most people are more than capable of servicing a vehicle themselves. Spend £200 and get a pair of solid, reliable jacks. Also the manual for your vehicle and watch plenty videos. You may need some tools that you don't already have, specific to car mechanics. If people done that, I'm pretty sure they'd be able do 90%+ servicing and repairs to their vehicle. I have a 2012 Chrysler Delta. Many a mechanic boaked at the thought of doing any work on it. Most couldn't even source the parts and when they did, they quoted a fortune to do any work. It may be be a "rare" car in the UK, but sold in the EU as a Lancia Delta. It's basically a Fiat under the bonnet and bodywork looks like an Alfa Romeo. I do pretty much all the servicing and repairs myself.
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Post by burlingtonboaby Fri Oct 27, 2023 3:34 pm

As an old owner driver I used to do most of my own servicing when I had the workshop, since I moved down to Brid I don't have the facilities.
Wee car had a 9 year service this morning £151 00 at our local Indy garage,Kia main dealer £215
MOT last week £35, main dealer £54, you do the maths
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Post by groundhog Fri Oct 27, 2023 7:24 pm

The Jacobite wrote:Put the overalls on!  up!   

Most people are more than capable of servicing a vehicle themselves. Spend £200 and get a pair of solid, reliable jacks. Also the manual for your vehicle and watch plenty videos. You may need some tools that you don't already have, specific to car mechanics. If people done that, I'm pretty sure they'd be able do 90%+ servicing and repairs to their vehicle. I have a 2012 Chrysler Delta. Many a mechanic boaked at the thought of doing any work on it. Most couldn't even source the parts and when they did, they quoted a fortune to do any work. It may be be a "rare" car in the UK, but sold in the EU as a Lancia Delta. It's basically a Fiat under the bonnet and bodywork looks like an Alfa Romeo. I do pretty much all the servicing and repairs myself.
Chrysler Delta, now there is a rare car in the UK. I owned several Lancia cars in the past including a couple of Delta's, one of which I used to rally. Great cars, you should hang on to that!
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Post by The Jacobite Sat Oct 28, 2023 1:01 am

groundhog wrote:
Chrysler Delta, now there is a rare car in the UK. I owned several Lancia cars in the past including a couple of Delta's, one of which I used to rally. Great cars, you should hang on to that!


Definitely will hang onto it!  Never had or drove a car as comfortable or reliable. Space in rear is also unmatched across similar size cars. People are in awe of rear reclining seats on longer journeys. Weird shape boot, so getting stuff in is a wee Krypton Factor exercise, but never had an issue. Even my wife dreads the day it gives up on us. Hopefully many years and miles in it yet!
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Post by bikeralw Sat Oct 28, 2023 9:31 am

I kind of split the difference. Only doing relatively low mileage in both car and van, I do the servicing myself, maybe book in to a garage every third year. Doomsters say 'Oh what about the full service history, you'll need that when it comes to selling on'. I'm not really bothered, at least I know thing are done right when I've done a job.
The last time I took the car for a service the list of jobs included topping up the washer fluid for which I was charged £4.50 plus VAT.. Only that morning I'd topped the reservoir up with fluid myself! Robbers, I never went back.
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Post by Dave Gee Sat Oct 28, 2023 10:58 am

Never use main dealers now, always found them to be rip-off merchants.  Word of mouth led me, years ago, to a local mechanic who got a really good reputation.  He only done 'homers' at that time but has now opened his own garage and does MOT's too.

I know a lot of people will always say '....oh, but the main dealers know the vehicles and use the correct parts..'  As long as the book is stamped I couldn't care less and, as Al says, at least I know the job has been done properly.
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Post by rgermain Sat Oct 28, 2023 1:43 pm

Hmmm, not sure I agree with "  couldn't care less"  cheap filters etc, wrong grade of oil!
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Post by Askit Sat Oct 28, 2023 5:56 pm

I used a main Pug dealership to do all my servicing and warranty work for when we got our van. Prices were very good and each service and MOT included getting a video of the work carried out. Earlier this year they informed me that they are no longer Peugeot dealers and don't have a ramp suitable for either servicing of doing the MOT so it's back to shopping around for me.

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Post by Dave Gee Sat Oct 28, 2023 7:20 pm

As I said, I know the mechanic and he doesn't use cheap filters and oils, he uses the correct parts.  Being an 'independent' who doesn't advertise and who gets work through word of mouth, reputation is everything.

As GH said - £145 for spark plugs and £325 for oils, there's £470 without even mentioning filters.  

Don't get me wrong - I did use main dealers years ago and some were OK but when I had a Vauxhall and they told me I needed a new gearbox which would cost £3000 when it was only a defective sensor which cost £450 (inc labour) or charged me near enough £1000 or so for a full brake refit when it was only 33 miles over the warranty period for the brakes I decided enough was enough.
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Post by groundhog Sat Oct 28, 2023 7:53 pm

I use Perranwell Garage who are morgan specialists and also have carry out sales and servicing on all makes of classic and sports cars. They do get some lovely cars in there. Alternator failed on the Z4 a few years ago and BMW wanted squillions to replace it. These guys knew of an elderly gent with years of experience who rebuilt it and charged me £40. You wont get that from a main dealer.
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Post by Chris M Tue Oct 31, 2023 4:48 pm

Purchased a 1 yr old Merc B 180 with 12k on the clock 1yr later at 16k had a Merc service to keep the warranty,stated I will have the pollen and air filter,480 quid later,we don’t change those on this sevice,mind you they sent me a nice video of the underside of my car.Purchased a 5yr old Northants on a Merc chassis,full yearly service on Merc and habitation,1yr later quote from Merc dealership 580quid,total cost with all filters and oil 65 to do it myself,observations,the air filter and pollen had never been changed,usually a mechanic puts a date mark on the brake fluid reservoir when changing ,nope.One tip,I purchased a cheap pump that sucks old oil up the dip stick tube,worked well.Habitation service,LPG cyl hose out of date and a deep cut,fridge burner had never been decoked but plenty of OK damp test sheets.
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Post by Dave 418 Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:29 pm

Being involved in the motor trade until retiring I find having to pay for repairs to our car and the Rienza a costly necessity. We use one of the more expensive none dealer garages that I have dealt with for years and gained trust in them.
I did work for a main dealer for a short time but seeing the way they treated customers and the price they were charging was appalling. When I handed my notice in I was told I was too honest to work for them.
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Post by gassygassy Sun Nov 05, 2023 6:49 pm

I had an old (1989) Merc and half curiously and half seriously I went to the main Merc dealer in Leicester and asked what an annual service would cost. I expected them to have a fixed, known price but instead they just said "don't know, it depends what is involved." So obviously as it didn't have a OBD port for the computer to tell them what to do, they hadn't a clue.
The trouble is that any mechanic who knows what 25 thou, 11 thou and 13 thou are for, has retired or is about to retire. If your car hasn't got an OBD port they don't know what to do and if it has they just blindly do what the analyser tells them. Then it isn't that at all, and having replaced the £450 EGR valve they decide it's the EGR valve controller (computer) that needs replacing so that's another £500. That was my 2006 Volvo. The original EGR valve was fine but of course I had to pay the £950.
I took my Subaru to a Nissan dealer for a major service including spark plugs - special November offer £150 any make and model. I wanted a stamp in the book. I gave them a weeks notice in case they had to get parts. Took the car in, waited while they did it, got the invoice and paid it. STUPID ME! and then I noticed they hadn't listed spark plugs. 
"Why not?"
Scuttles round the back to the workshop. Returns.
"Well sir, your car is a diesel, and diesels don't have spark plugs."
I paused for thought . .
"I'm a Christian and I don't swear, but honestly I can't think of anything else to say."
Very  loud:
"Its a petrol engine. Go and change the spark plugs"
Scuttles round the back to the workshop. Returns.
"Your car has a Wankel engine and we don't do Wankel engines"
I was thinking of buying an electric car which is why I was at a Nissan dealer. I cup my hands and shout across the sales floor over the potential customers looking at the new cars to the electric car salesman at the far end:
" You expect me to buy an electric car and you can't even tell the difference between a petrol engine and a diesel engine! What hope is there of you looking after an electric car?"
I turn to the receptionist and trying to stay calm, but failing:
"It has four round cylinders with four valves and one spark plug to each cylinder . It is not a Wankel engine it is a regular four cylinder petrol engine. Go and change the spark plugs that you have charged me for"
Scuttles round the back to the workshop. Returns. In a rather timid voice:
" We don't know how".
 So their 'technician' and presumably the workshop manager are incapable of distinguishing a petrol engine from a diesel engine, cannot count to four, cannot hear, cannot smell or read the label inside the fuel filler cap and can't work a spark plug spanner. That, dear friends is Westway Nissan in Coventry.
I had to buy my own spark plugs and change them in my driveway at home.

Contrasting that, we have spent the last three weeks touring France in our new to us four year old A/S Bourton on a Mercedes Sprinter. The cab heater wasn't working and when it got really cold outside we were shivering whilst driving along. Spotted a MB commercial garage, did a quick U turn and called in and explained the problem to the guy who was just about to lock up as it was 6:30pm. No problem, he took some video and mailed it to his mate who was the van mechanic. Stay here overnight and we'll fix it tomorrow. Next day they took it in and diagnosed it needed 3 servo actuators, cost €750. I said go ahead. 3.5 hours later it's all done, bill is €680. I reckon that is cheaper than our local MB commercial garage would charge, as the servos were about €90 each and our local place charges £180 / hour. That French MB garage had some leaflets with special offers on brake work. All those prices I thought were very reasonable and I would willingly pay if I needed pads, discs etc.
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Post by RML Mon Nov 06, 2023 7:02 am

Surely it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that premium brand ownership attracts premium running costs. I've never owned a premium brand because of this. 
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Post by Tinwheeler Mon Nov 06, 2023 9:14 am

I found the running costs of a Ducato higher than a Sprinter but I don’t think Fiat is regarded as a premium brand  scratch head
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Post by groundhog Mon Nov 06, 2023 9:38 am

Tinwheeler wrote:I found the running costs of a Ducato higher than a Sprinter but I don’t think Fiat is regarded as a premium brand  scratch head
Agree with that having owned 3 peugeot / fiats before the sprinter
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Post by gassygassy Mon Nov 06, 2023 9:49 am

The prices of genuine MB parts for my old cars from the dealer are less than the after market suppliers. I have been very surprised at the price and availability of obscure parts for pre-1990 cars.

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