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Old 02-05-2004, 12:52 PM   #1
dcloues
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Default Cost of 60k Mile Tuneup

I took my 2000 Impreza L (automatic) in to a local Subaru dealership earlier this week (Monday night) for two things: it'd been throwing a check-engine light, and it needed the 60k mile tuneup.

They called me on Tuesday and said that the check-engine light was because of the air/fuel sensor, and that it would cost $375. They hadn't run it through my carmax extended warranty yet, though; I gave them the number, and they said they would call me back when they'd figured it out.

Well, today (Thursday) I decided to give them a call, because I hadn't heard back. It turns out the car is done, and the cost had ballooned to ~$1050.

The air/fuel sensor was $75. The 60k tuneup was around $860. Tax makes up the difference. Is this at all reasonable? I've looked over Subaru's maintence schedule for my car, and I really don't see $860 worth of work there. I'm also a little annoyed because that cost wasn't in what I was originally quoted - I assumed that they would run it by me after they called me back. But they never called me back; they just did the work.

I'm going tomorrow to pick the car up. What should I be prepared to tell them?
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Old 02-05-2004, 04:07 PM   #2
Julian
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It may be too late, as they did the work and you approved it.

What most likely happened is that they did THEIR 60K maintenance program, NOT what is required via the Maintenance Schedule located in your owner's manual.

$860 for 60K maintenance is FAR beyond highway robbery. The vast majority of 60K maintenance is inspections. When you look at the service record, you'll probably find lots of flushes and treatments for all your fluids. Just frosting on the cake for the dealership.

I'd bring your owner's manual and compare what was required to what they performed. Then I'd talk with the service manager and explain to him that you weren't advised that his service department didn't follow Subaru's recommendations, but made up their own. That may be an out. If that doesn't work, run it up the chain at SOA.
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Old 02-05-2004, 04:16 PM   #3
grindMARC
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I hope you got a timing belt for that price!
That's INSANITY! A G for 60k maintenance?
I'm guessing there's a brake job in there or something relatively big.
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Old 02-05-2004, 04:26 PM   #4
Chewy-WRX
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If the timing belt and/or brakes where included thats not too bad. Timing belt can be expensive.

Especially since 60,000 miles is like middle age for a car .... things just start to break and need to be replaced. The 60k tune up is always a biggie.
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Old 02-05-2004, 06:27 PM   #5
dcloues
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I approved the warranty work for the air/fuel sensor. They *never* told me how much the 60k tuneup was going to cost, until today when I called them and they told me that they'd done it and how much the bill was. I thought that they would call me back and give me a final quote, taking into account the warranty and the tuneup, but they didn't. If they'd told me the price before they did it, I would have gone to another garage, plain and simple.

Julian - I'm guessing that you're right, and that they have their own 60k program. The problem is that they didn't tell me this. I would expect a Subaru dealership to follow Subaru's maintenance plans, and at the very least make it explicitly clear when they deviate. There was no indication of this here.

Chewy-WRX: considering that Subaru doesn't recommend replacing the timing belt until 105k, I'd be a little upset if they changed it at 60k. There's a difference between erring on the side of caution, and just flat out ripping someone off.
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Old 02-05-2004, 06:59 PM   #6
BlueBox
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Iím extremely curious which dealer you used for this. PM me with it if you donít wish to post it in the thread?
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Old 02-05-2004, 07:25 PM   #7
dcloues
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Quote:
Originally posted by BlueBox
Iím extremely curious which dealer you used for this. PM me with it if you donít wish to post it in the thread?
Royal Subaru: http://www.royal.subaru.com/en_US/

What's interesting is that they're listed as a "Stellar Performer" on Subaru's dealer list.

My father has taken his car to the Royal Buick garage (same family, different brand, right down the street) several times, and has always been impressed with how well they treated him. This contributed significantly to convincing me to take my car to Royal Subaru - presumably, two dealerships owned by the same family would have similar business tactics. It just seems strange.

But I'll wait until talking with them tomorrow before saying anything final.
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Old 02-05-2004, 10:17 PM   #8
BlueBox
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I had never heard of that dealership until I saw a commercial a night or two ago on TV. The only experience I have had with that ownership was years ago shopping for a Nissan truck. I bought at another dealership.

Hopefully when you go see them things will seem clearer and it will not seem as outrageous as it does going on what you have said so far. A misunderstanding or misquote maybe. Good luck.

Going on what you have said I would have been extremely disappointed if it had been the dealership I now use. I put little faith in ĎStellar Performerí lists and such. Word of mouth is much better. Check out the Reviews Ė dealership forum next time maybe. Of course different folks will have different experiences with the same dealer.
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Old 02-05-2004, 11:12 PM   #9
reks
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My $60k was like $400 I think
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Old 02-06-2004, 12:32 AM   #10
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Rip-offs! It should cost less than $400 unless they did your timing belt which is about $300 plus something hidden. Example; I paid $1500 for failed water pump=both head gaskets replaced+resurfacing(driver's side, only one blew),new belts(timing also), and tune-up. I was quoted less than $400 for the tune-up and the price was similar in another state.

I did hear the mechanic say that the timing belts should be replaced around to prevent the driver's side head gasket from failing, which I had not read about.
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Old 02-06-2004, 01:08 PM   #11
Kyguy
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My 60k was quoted to be $600 and that was WITH a timing belt change. Fortunatley, the car I bought already had the 60k tuneup but the timing belt wasn't changed because the car was sold in california (thus 105k for some reason).
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Old 02-07-2004, 12:27 PM   #12
Mike Wevrick
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It's 105k on CA-spec cars because of emission rules. AFAIK the belt is not actually any better and should still be changed every 60k to be on the safe side.

Since you authorized the 60k service without asking for a list of what would be done or a cost estimate they were within their rights to go ahead and do it. I would still go through the list of everything they did and question anything that is not listed in the manual. If there are any really bogus items, demand to have them taken off.

As a general rule, I never authorize any work without a full list of what will be done and what the cost of each item will be. Just saying "go ahead" is asking to be overcharged.
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Old 02-07-2004, 02:09 PM   #13
dcloues
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Wevrick
As a general rule, I never authorize any work without a full list of what will be done and what the cost of each item will be. Just saying "go ahead" is asking to be overcharged.
That's a good point, and it's something I'm going to watch for in the future.

I picked up the car yesterday. The dealership has their own maintenance plan, and it turns out that that's what they did. Fortunately, the plan was reasonable - the main additional item was the timing belt. I don't *really* think it needed to be replace, but it was a legitimate price for the work they did. So while I still didn't want to pay that much, I don't think I got ripped off.

The thing that bothers me is that they insisted that they went over the price with me on the phone beforehand. This *never* happened, because, like I said before, if I knew they were going to charge that much, I would have taken it somewhere else.

Normally I'd be more paranoid about the timing belt, but it's covered under my carmax warranty, which is going to be good for quite a while. Granted, a broken timing belt and the associated warranty claims are a pain to deal with, but if it's covered, it's covered, and I don't want to pay another ~$300 now to 'guarantee' it again.

But in the end, I'm not angry at them. I'm a little disappointed because I think they should have made their prices more clear on the phone (which they didn't do), but I don't feel like they tried to rip me off - it was just sort of a misunderstanding by both sides.
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Old 02-07-2004, 05:48 PM   #14
Mike Wevrick
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When they changed the timing belt, did they also change all the other belts? How about the water pump? That should all be done at once because much of the cost is the labor for taking all the stuff off the front of the engine. (Water pump is optional but often done with the belts because it is cheap and easy to replace when the belts are being done and will cause big problems if it fails. (Note joubtt's story above))

$860 still seem excessive based on what others have listed.
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Old 02-07-2004, 06:32 PM   #15
dcloues
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Wevrick
When they changed the timing belt, did they also change all the other belts? How about the water pump? That should all be done at once because much of the cost is the labor for taking all the stuff off the front of the engine. (Water pump is optional but often done with the belts because it is cheap and easy to replace when the belts are being done and will cause big problems if it fails. (Note joubtt's story above))

$860 still seem excessive based on what others have listed.
I believe they replaced the other belts as well. I don't remember the exact details, but I know the chart they showed me mentioned other belts.

Another clarification on the price - the total bill, included the warranty deductible and tax, started out at $860, and we talked them down to about ~$730. (The ~$1k-something that they orginally quoted was before they'd received payment from carmax for the warranty work). This makes the cost of the tuneup a little over $600, which seems more reasonable considering that it included the timing belt.
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Old 02-07-2004, 07:26 PM   #16
Mike Wevrick
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So they took 130 off just because you complained? That makes it seem like they deliberately overcharged you to begin with.

I assume then that they did not change the water pump? Keep that in mind next time the belts are done, or any other work on the front of the engine.
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Old 02-08-2004, 04:06 PM   #17
dcloues
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I agree that their prices are on the high side, however, they didn't try to charge me any more than they would have charged anyone else. They did exactly what was in their service plan, and nothing more. Granted, I would rather have had them stick to the Subaru recommended schedule, but after seeing what they did, I don't feel as though they just tacked on a bunch of trivial stuff to raise the price. Since I don't seem to be able to say this enough times, I'll say it again: their prices are higher, but I *don't* think they were maliciously trying to rip me off.

We were able to talk them down because we pointed out how they hadn't told us the price beforehand (right after the service manager had told us how rigorously they stress the importance of that to their employees), and that we would have taken the car somewhere else. It was a misunderstanding. They did work that I didn't expect them to do, but they didn't just do to rip me off. Believe me, I've seen enough shady garages to have a good feel for when people are trying to rip me off.
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Old 02-08-2004, 08:13 PM   #18
vile
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before i say u got ripped too...i'd be interested to see the RO and see what was done
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