Often when visiting with friends and customers the subject of service and warranty comes up regarding different makes of vehicles. It’s important to consider your time and convenience when purchasing a vehicle. If you buy a vehicle that requires you to take it 35 miles for service, does that fit your lifestyle? Many times I’ve had people tell me that they do their own service, or their vehicle never needs warranty repair. I agree, a majority of vehicles never need anything except for routine maintenance which can be done many places. However, vehicles are complicated; they have over 20,000 parts on average. Most parts are designed to last the life of your vehicle, but sometimes things go wrong.

So, here are some things to consider:

Does the dealer offer free loaners? The Birdnow Dealerships do for as long as you own a vehicle that was purchased from us. A customer told me the other day that he had to rent a vehicle while he had his vehicle serviced at a metro dealer. The rent was $175.00 for the four days his car was in the shop.

What happens if there’s a recall? The average vehicle needs to be checked at a dealership four times and those numbers are basically the same for American brands as is for foreign brands. Most customers only hear of safety recalls such as is the case right now with millions of Toyota models. Many times there are what are called “campaigns” where the manufacturer sends you a card asking you to stop so a dealer can check something that might be a problem, that is different than a recall.

How much is the dealers labor rate? The Birdnow Dealerships offer just as good of service, with technicians that have the same levels of training, if not more, for a fraction of the labor charged by many other dealers.

In conclusion, here’s a story that I think will really drive home what I’m describing. One day a customer came in with a GMC truck that was a year old and still under warranty. He wanted to trade for a new Chevy. Trading every year isn’t unusual, but his reason was a bit unusual. He’d become angry at the treatment he’d received at the GMC dealer he’d bought his truck from. He left angry, telling them he’d never be back. When he got home, he opened the phone book to look in the yellow page for another GMC dealer. He was unpleasantly surprised to see that the closest one was 45 miles away!

2/1/2010 UPDATE:

WOW! I just listened to the president of Toyota beat around the bush for ten minutes on the Today Show about the problems that over half the Toyotas have with accelerators that stick. This problem has been happening for around ten years. He wouldn’t guarantee that the repair they’ve come up with would fix the problem. Also, does anyone else wonder how a problem they’ve been aware of for ten years can all of a sudden be fixed with a washer under the pedal and that they’ve come up with this in less than a week? He referred to this as a rare problem….I hope no one I know experiences that rare problem!

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