Rant: The Dealer’s Mechanics are Messing with My Truck
I’ve been taking my Honda Ridgeline to a Honda dealer in Rockville for service for the last 18 months of ownership, and I just need to rant about one thing: the mechanics. Let me say this up front, though, that the guy’s checking in the vehicles are always very pleasant and courteous. My beef is with the guys working on the cars, and anyone who may also be driving them.
Here’s a little history. I’ll preface this with an explanation of all the “warranty fixes”. I’m a complainer. If there’s a squeak, rattle or other noise or inconvenience that I don’t expect to be there, especially on a new vehicle, I’m utilizing that warranty. I still think the truck is a quality vehicle:
- The first time I took my truck in to get a few things checked, and when I picked it up, I found that they had eaten all of my gum (6 sticks), listened to my CDs (it was on a different disc than when I dropped it off) and left my A/C running on full blast at 60 degrees. I went in and only complained about the missing gum (oh sorry, they left me 1 piece). The manager was “amazed” that his guys would do that.
- The second time, I took all of my belongings out, except the CDs in the changer and again they had messed around with the CDs and left the A/C on full blast. I didn’t complain because I know they were jamming to NeedtoBreathe and figured since it was summertime, they only used the A/C for a short test drive.
- The third time (more warranty fixes and a tire rotation), just last month. It was 40 degrees outside. I picked the truck up and found that yet again they had messed with the CDs, but this time I was listening to The Golden Compass on CD and was peeved that I lost my place. Even better was the A/C was on full blast again…in 40 degree weather! I had a half-tank of fuel left, so I went and got gas before a long trip to PA. I found that I got 12 MPG on that half tank! I’ve never gotten lower than 16 mpg, and that was on full city driving.
- The fourth time, I complained about the horrible gas mileage and how they keep running the A/C at full blast. I asked for an explanation of why they leave my truck running, especially with the A/C on in such cold weather. No answer. But when I got the truck back this time (they had to replace my seat rails), they had reset my tripometer…perhaps so I would lose track of my gas usage this time, which I did and couldn’t calculate the MPG. Oh, but the A/C wasn’t on, but they had messed with the CDs again.
- This last time, when they had to replace the steering column moulding (creaky steering wheel again), I asked them to “not touch anything they aren’t fixing”. I got the truck back and the tripometer was reset again, they had put 7 miles on the truck and messed with the CDs again. I went in to the manager this time and complained. Perhaps they needed to unplug a connection or fuse that would reset the tripometer, but I wanted to know why they needed to drive 7 miles in my truck. You only need to go 1-2 miles to test the steering fix. He’ll be “getting back to me today with an answer”.
Yes, overall I’m a complainer, but after a horrible experience with Jiffy Lube and another mechanic, and finding 20 new miles on my wife’s Chevy Malibu when we took it in for a minor fix at a different dealer, I keep track of small things with my truck before and after I take it in. I remove as many personal belongings as possible, but it’s inconvenient to remove every CD from the changer, and honestly I shouldn’t need to do that. But I can’t stop them from driving it around for no reason, or blasting my A/C, or stealing/wasting gas. Only then do I go to the manager to complain.
I told the manager that they give me quality service, but that I worry every time I bring the truck in what I’ll find missing, reset or just messed with. I’ve asked the service tech to relay information when I drop the truck off, but apparently the mechanics just don’t care or don’t understand that people notice what they’re doing.
Just another reason not to own a vehicle. And to clarify, I don’t care anymore about all the squeaks and rattles on our Pontiac Grand Am. It has almost 130,000 miles and I just expect it to rattle. It’s made of cheap plastic and there’s no tightening, gluing or welding I can do at this point to fix it. But that car has almost 10 years on my truck, which is one reason I hold the truck to a higher standard. Oh, and it’s a Honda.
I will say this: when I had the 2002 Acura TL-S, I never had any problem at any of the 4+ Acura dealers that I visited in the almost 5 years of ownership. I always got a loaner, even for an oil change, and I didn’t find my A/C, CDs or any other component messed with. But that’s what you should expect for an ~$8,000 premium over a standard Accord (at the time).
My rant is done…for now.