Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Mr Fox

I have been chatting to the guy at a local independant garage, who told me that the absolute worst car to buy is an ex lease car.

He has seen plenty of Audis and VWs where they are on long life servicing, so only 4 oil changes in 75 K miles over 3 years, and quite often they still have the ORIGINAL oil and air filters, the oilways are full of black gunge and to him it is very obvious that they supposed Full main Dealer history counts for nothing, as these main dealers regularly fail to perform many of the items that they should.

This is the kind of garage that will show you the old parts they've taken off, to prove they have changed them, but in the sterile premises of the main dealer, you rarely get to talk to anyone other than a vacant receptionist, to find out what they have done to the car, and quite often they have no idea, beyond that its ready and parked over there.

Anyone else have real experience of the Main dealer not performing the jobs they are supposed to ?

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Ordovices

So the guy in the local indie garage is trying to put people off using main dealers.

I wonder why? I mean, what could be in it for him?

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Rockvilla

Yes, they are ******** and should be avoided at all costs.

Stay with a local independant for sales and servicing. Much better and friendlier.

Was away looking at a used Swift yesterday at an independent and the salesman actively pointed out some imperfectons on the bodyshell (scrapes and 1 minor dent) that I struggled to see.

A main dealer wouldnt do this and would deny any knowledge even if you phyiscally pointed it out.

An (established) independent garage will tell you what needs done and quote you reasonably, whereas a main dealer will just charge you whether they have done the work or not.

Im sure not all main dealers are the same but the ones I've been to in Scotland (essentially all the same company under different trading names) I now wouldnt touch even for a brand new car.

BTW - Im not in the motor trade!

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - thunderbird

There are good and bad main dealers and there are good and bad independants.

Finding someone you can trust is important.

Smaller family owned main dealers are in my experience vey good, its the big national chains that let the side down sometimes.

Sites with mutiple brands are best avoided at all costs. Experience shows that getting the correct grade oil is a lottery, they tend to use the biggest seller in all the cars. Putting the incorrect spec oil in some modern cars (especially diesels) is a certain way to shorten the life of the DPF and Cat.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - madf

My experience of Toyotaa and Honda main delaers has been faultless service. And quite cheap. And clean waiting rooms..

Ford were OK as well.

My expeience of independents includes a collection of spanners, lights and bits found loose in cars, jobs not done and suspension shoock absorbers not reconnected.

Some are good.

So the man is surprise talking his book. I'd treat what he says as utter ####

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Mr Fox

The independent garage will do a full service on a Ford Mondeo for £ 140.00 using all the correct oils and Filters,

Its a fraction of what Ford would charge for the same job.

On a car out of warranty there is no need to use the main Dealer.

People are ( as usual ) missing the point of what I was asking.

I could easily have had the same conversation with a bloke in the pub . . .

My question is how common is it for Main dealers to not perform jobs that are part of the service schedule.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day . . .

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Armitage Shanks {p}

I took my car to a main delaer in April to have a fault fixed - £49 for 30 minutes labour and fault not fixed (heated windscreen so hard to check). Was given an unrequested "Safety Check" which revealed an urgent need to do £600 worth of work, parts in stock and booked in for the next day. Declined, took it my local small franchised dealer who put it on the ramp and said there was nothing of a safety nature at all and nothing that would not wait until the next service/MOT in October.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - quizman

A friend took his Volvo for a service to a main agent in East Anglia a few years ago. He went to a cafe over the road to wait while the service was done. After a while the car hadn't moved from the place he parked it, so he went to reception to see what was going on. The receptionist recognised him and anounced that the service had been completed and gave him the bill. He read the riot act and then they serviced it for him!

I know the man and beleive this to be true, how many more cases like this are there?

The new oil filters don't help when checking whether the service has been done properly, I used to mark the old ones with a scraper.

How do we know whether indie garages do the services properly. I always reckon they put whatever oil they have in the barrel in the corner, whether it is the correct spec or not.

The only way is to do it youself.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Ordovices

"My question is how common is it for Main dealers to not perform jobs that are part of the service schedule."

But you could just as easily ask the same question of independent garages, and probably find that they are guilty of the same things.

You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil has to be lead.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Andrew-T

Stay with a local independant for sales and servicing. Much better and friendlier.

And cheaper - unless you are very unlucky. And possibly more conveniently located.

I can't offer many horror stories about main dealers, though I am pretty sure that there are examples of unnecessary work being done for profit. A Pug dealer I used to patronise fitted two new lower suspension arms to a 306 with only 25K on the clock. When I asked to see the old ones they were produced, but I suspect they came off some other car. Maybe they were overstocked in spares?

Edited by Andrew-T on 12/08/2013 at 18:31

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Galaxy

Some years ago I took my Ford Mondeo to a main dealer in Rayleigh. It was just coming up to being three years old so the warranty was about to run out. Asked for it to be serviced and, also, for the aircon to be regassed/checked as I didn't think it was working. I didn't know very much about the working of aircon systems in those days, I'm afraid.

When I got the car back the aircon still didn't seem to be very good but, since I'd just had it checked by a Ford Main Dealer, I assumed that it was working correctly. However, after a very short period of time, and after the warranty had expired, of course, it stopped working completely!

I subsequently found the system had lost all it's gas because the bottom of the condenser had rotted away, a very common Mondeo fault. I can't believe the main dealer wasn't aware of this problem but they hadn't told me about it because, if they had, it would have cost them about a £600 repair! A genuine Ford condenser was about £400 on it's own.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - RT

One of the basic problems with workshops, dealer or independent, is that their status/charge rates simply don't reflect their quality or integrity.

In just over 40 years of buying new cars and having them serviced under warranty, I've been screwed by incompetents at every one of the Ford, Vauxhall and Subaru dealers I've used and a handful of independents as well.

But my luck changed 20 years ago when I stumbled on a good independent and have used them for all non-warranty work ever since and their staff turnover is very low - they're not perfect, having made a couple of errors, but rectified them instantly without any fuss. I'm in the middle of warranty period with my Hyundai and can't fault the supplying dealer - but I constantly keep my eye on them!

You have to vote with your feet - don't go back to poor workshops and regulartly use a good one if you can find one.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Cyd

I'll be putting up a little ditty about what happened to a friends C3 at a local garage. When you see it you will be shocked.

I do all my own repairs and servicing on my cars and van. Everything except the biggest of jobs. No one else will touch my cars untill the day I can no longer wield a spanner for myself.

I had a new clutch fitted by an independant agent under the terms of the warranty from where I bought my car. They left several bolts undone and the steering angle sensor not working. i had it fixed by my own local chap and didn't pay for the clutch plate (they were only going to replace the release bearing!).

I've been dealing with main dealers for years. I wouldn't trust most of them to service a walking stick.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - madf

Outside warranty I use my own independent. He's a lazy so and so, only carries out work when absolutley needed, uses the bare minimum of tools - no hoist, just a pit - and carries no stock so any parts needed mean a wait until delivered.

He takes at least twice the allowed time for a job, his work needs checking and he works in filthy overalls.. Looks like a tramp on a bad day. If the job is complicated he takes hours checking his work as he is usually unskilled in what he is doing.

But he is thorough - changes things he says he will. As he grows older, he becomes slower and lazier.He drinks and sometimes is hungover. I suppose I should fire him but as he is free, I cannot be bothered.

He's me.

Edited by madf on 12/08/2013 at 21:50

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - barney100
Years ago my Father in Law took his Rover into a now defunct main dealers in Eastbourne for a service and he asked them to rotate the wheels as he thought this minimised tyre wear. He marked the wheels and was charged for the job....the wheels had not been done and Fil had a lovely time with the service manager.
Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Smileyman

My local Nissan dealer is good - a smaller independant dealership, perhaps that's why. However I have had bad experience with previous dealers .... at one time I drove a Austin car, the dealership was awful, a situation not helped by the poorly made car .. it all started before I took delivery of the car when they increased the price ... something about a clause in the contract permitting such action, continued with a section of the body that had not been painted properly - PDI issues, and so forth.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Andrew-T

My local Nissan dealer is good - a smaller independant dealership, perhaps that's why.

Help me out here - I thought 'independent' meant not attached to any brand or franchise? That's what I mean when I say 'indie', anyway.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Smileyman

The dealership is not part of a multi - garage group, it's a stand alone business.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - RaineMan

I have used both main dealers and independents over the years. After years of buying cheap cars privately I brought a second hand one at a Renault main dealer. There were a number of issues with the car which I had to fix myself as the dealer did not want to know. Their parts department was also very poor. I have brought three cars from independents since. The first two were in excellent condition and totally reliable. Both sadly went prematurely – one was stolen and trashed and the other was side swiped by a “hit and run” driver. The next car I brought from an independent was a pile of carp (the dealer is still trading somehow). My current car was a private purchase.

As regards servicing both main dealers and independents are very variable. Only one main dealer has impressed me and that was a Ford main dealer outside Wadebridge when I was on holiday over twenty years ago. They started work immediately and the car was ready when they said. I think it was family run. Another Ford dealer had asked for the car to be delivered early and did not even start work that day! A major problem with many main dealers (bar the Renault experience I have only used Ford and Vauxhall ones) seems to be job creation and unnecessary replacement of parts. Generally I now use independents. I was very happy with one for over a decade but following a change of management it went downhill. The labour rate went up and the workmanship went down. On one occasion I was chased aggressively for payment when I had already paid. The last time I used them the wheel nuts had not been tightened on one wheel! I still have to find someone I am totally happy with.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - hillman

Experience recently tells me to avoid Car Supermarkets. They have no intention of keeping agreements. Once the car is off their premises you are dealing with their very experienced staff who delay, delay, delay, until you give up due to the time involved.

I bought several new Volvos, 340 and 440 from a main dealer in Stockport and experienced very poor service. I've been a fool all my life and it's too late to change, but I hate to be treated like one. I took the last 440 to an independant for regular servicing, at half the stated mileage intervals, being that I thought it better to do things that way. The only time it went back to the dealer was due to a call-back for a major problem.

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - skidpan

Experience recently tells me to avoid Car Supermarkets. They have no intention of keeping agreements.

We have bought 2 cars from supermarkets, compared to local dealers the price to swap was £3500 lower on the first and £4000 lower on the second. both were bargains.

Only had small issues with both and the local main dealer sorted these under the manufacturers warranty. Never had any intention of taking the car back to the supermarkets where we bought them from, they are only able to valet on site, servicing is way beyond what they do.

Some cars at supermarkets are right dogs but choose carefully and there are plenty of bargains to be had.

Edited by skidpan on 13/08/2013 at 17:51

Any - Main Dealer Horror Stories - Leif

A few years ago I had my Ford Ka MOT done at the Alton Ford garage, now fortunately out of business. I was told on the phone some things had to be done, sort of agreed, came back to the garage, and couldn't figure out what the chap was saying had to be done. Anyway, I ended up leaving the car with them and getting a loan car for a few days. I needed the car for work. They said it could not be driven due to failing the MOT. It ended up costing £1,000 for a 9 year old car, and when I got it back, I tried again to find out what needed doing. I ended up having to shout at the top of my voice, before he would give me the original MOT. Yes, I had been screwed, most fixes were advisories. Complete crooks. I spoke with my neighbour. He said his car once failed the MOT at that garage due to rusted brake cables/tubes. Which is odd as they were made from copper. Anyway, they have gone bust. A young mechanic told me noone was having their car serviced with them, they were all going independent. I wonder why.

The next service was at an independent, very polite and efficient, even took apart the non functioning hatch lock, greased it, and put it back, working, for a very reasonable sum. I now have a new car, so go to the VW main dealer, but once servicing gets pricey, I'll go to an independent again. The bad thing about them is that they do not have many parts in stock, so you might have to book the car in twice, and take time off work twice.


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