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Twas the night before scheduled maintenance

Monday, January 3, 2011 - 01:00

Twas the night before the 30,000-mile scheduled maintenance, and all through the house, stress was running rampant over dealership clout. Family members were restless, and for very good reason, as they prepared to spend a fortune unrelated to the holiday season. On the mantle sat a wallet and a check that was blank, with this family hoping that automotive maintenance would not break the bank.

Thoughts were running wild through all of their minds, and at 12:30 a.m. they still couldn’t unwind. Thinking, “keep the car running as well as can be,” but dealer service was required so as not to void the warranty. Accurately following the service schedule with an oil change here and tune-up there, they wondered whether there were any additional costs they needed to worry about with care.

The hours passed quickly until 7 a.m. when the alarm loudly rang, signaling the onerous process was soon to begin. They shuffled downstairs almost in a flash, wanting to arrive at the dealership and not be in line last. The car started with ease, nothing apparently wrong, with the family still questioning why this service would last 3 hours long. They paused for a moment and then with a sigh proceeded down the road for the 20-minute drive.

The streets were quite crowded with many 10+ year-old cars in sight, when a sudden squeaking was heard as the brakes were depressed to slow at the light. Was it our car or theirs — it was too hard to say, but if the dealership had its option we knew we would pay. For the 30,000-mile service would require a great deal, including an oil change, new filters and a rotation of the wheels. Perhaps a quick test drive to gauge the car’s overall condition, and let’s hope he doesn’t come back suggesting a new transmission.

As the advisor pulled out the service brochure they thought this can’t be that bad, he is only trying to determine what type of driving habits we had. Normal habits for certain, no way too severe, but look at the outrageous prices in here! Labor runs $125 per hour, but how can this be? Is the extra to eat donuts, drink coffee and watch TV? With questions arising at an unnerving pace, we thought perhaps it was time to find an alternate repair place.

Glancing out the window still wondering what to do, the dealership quickly began to fall farther from view. But then what to their wondering eyes should appear but an independent garage with six service bays drawing near. And to their relief the shop’s sign read clear as the day, “We can perform your factory-scheduled maintenance today.”

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