General Question

chyna's avatar

Am I being scammed?

Asked by chyna (34121 points ) December 21st, 2009

I took my car into the Honda dealership today for an oil change only. When I went in to pick it up, they told me I need rear brakes and wanted to set up an appointment for me tomorrow. (Funny, it took me a week to get an appointment for an oil change.) I told them I would set it up later as I couldn’t afford 165.00 right now. I didn’t think to ask until I was driving home, but how did they know I needed brakes by just changing my oil? Wouldn’t they have to take the tires off to see that my brakes are bad? Am I being scammed?

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25 Answers

jerv's avatar

Most likely.

The only way they would be able to narrow it down like that without removing the rear wheels (something totally unnecessary for an oil change) is by trying the handbrake. If you have a stick-shift, they might need to use it, but read on…

I have done a few brakes in my time and it’s never taken me more than 30 minutes or cost me more than $30 for pads/shoes. At $165, that goes beyond scam and borders on sodomy.

TominLasVegas's avatar

Find a place that does free brake checks.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

(I have no knowledge of cars or anything but…) if you have to ask, then probably. Trust your gut.

kevbo's avatar

They might run a routine vehicle inspection with every oil change. Also, brakes are diagonsed with a visual inspection. I can’t comment on whether you are being scammed, but the business end of a brake is designed to wear out over time. It’s cheaper to replace that part than to repair the part behind it that is not designed to wear out over time.

lillycoyote's avatar

Actually, it’s something of a courtesy sometimes, that a dealership or mechanic will often do, they will look over your car for you in order to check for things, before they become a real problem. I have such a great mechanic, maybe I’m naive but ..Ask them about it. If you really need your brakes done, they should be able to explain why. You don’t want to fool around with brakes. Call them on it. Be assertive, if the explanation or description of the problem doesn’t seem reasonable, then don’t do it. Or take it to another mechanic and get a second opinion, and what @TominLasVegas and @kevbo said. :)

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

It is quite easy to see the wear on your pads without removing the wheels when your vehicle is up in the air during an oil change.

$165 for rear brakes at a dealership is a deal. They will probably turn or replace the rotors at that price. Why don’t you ask them what all you get for $165,
and ask them how they knew you needed them.

jerv's avatar

@kevbo That depends on where you go, but remember that rotors and drums are also “wear and tear” items; they just need to be replaced less often.

@Kelly_Obrien For that price, they damn well better! Actually, I can get them turned for $20/pair, new pads that are better than OEM/dealer for about $30 or so, and put it all together in under an hour ($50 max, assuming your dealership rapes you for labor), so they better throw in a minor sexual favor for $165!

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

A lot of times the dealership will do an all over curtesy inspection. But just to make sure your breaks actually do need replacing, go somewhere else for a second opinion.

chyna's avatar

Jerv is determined I get sex out of this one way or another.

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

LOL @chyna…@jerv Most people can’t do their own brake work. So they pay for the safety of having it done by an insured professional. Silly, isn’t it?

jerv's avatar

@Kelly_Obrien That price assumes you pay a local garage. I used to go places that charged half of what a dealer does on jobs that I lacked the tools/skill to do myself.

DIY is $30 or less. I replaced my own pads and rotors for under $60.
Reasonable shop rate is $85 or so unless they do all four corners.

filmfann's avatar

Take it to a tire shop. get a second opinion.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@jerv, I’ve had lots of problems with “the local garage.” I’ve tried 4–5 different ones and had problems with most of them—the problem they were supposed to fix was either not fixed, or a new problem springs up. The one that does good work charges almost as much as the Honda dealership. One I really liked went out of business. Also, with the local garage, I’m usually without a car for 2–3 days, because they have to order parts, or overbooked.

@chyna, I’ve found with my Honda dealership, they’re usually proactive with diagnosing what I need in terms of maintenance. I pay a little more sometimes, but it’s worth it. The oil change at Honda is much cheaper than Valvoline.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Just be careful they did not F* up your brakes so they could repair them ! That has known to happen.
*Make sure they didn’t replace your brake pads with a pair of Pop Tarts !!

chyna's avatar

@PandoraBoxx I’ve never had a problem with the Honda dealership before, but I thought it was odd they diagnosed this problem during an oil change. My breaks are not making a noise, and I thought they had to take the tires off to diagnosis the issue. I will call them tomorrow to find out what is wrong with them.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Lots of times they look at your mileage, and your last brake service, and give you a heads up. Like the timing belt. Do you want to change it at 90,000 miles, or wait until it breaks? Me, I change it at 90,000 miles because I had one break on another car at 98,000 miles, 100 miles from home. It was less fun than paying to have it done when it didn’t seem to be necessary.

HighShaman's avatar

More than likely you ARE being scammed…..

Have you heard any squealing or grinding when you apply the brakes ? If not, I doubt that you need brakes.

Also; Shop Around before taking your car to the dealer just for brakes as they are usually HIGHER.

Many chain type auto service companies like Pep Boys etc will change brakes for about $99 or even less…. so it does pay to SHOP AROUND !

Good Luck !

Tomfafa's avatar

They fix your brakes to brake again?

casheroo's avatar

Hmmm. When was the last time you got new brakes?
Brakes are the easiest way for places to scam people, because when you hear you need new brakes…you comply since it’s such a safety risk. I had a place that refused to pass my inspection because I “might” need roters or whatever the heck it was..but something that’s under the wheel and brake completely. Something that you rarely need. It was a pita, and we got around it by doing the work ourselves, just to pass inspection with the assholes who wanted hundreds of dollars just to look and see.
I’ve also had a Pepboys do an inspection and put new brakes in and try to get me to pay…when they had just installed new brakes that year, and I had a warranty on them. Like I would forget or something (it had been like, three months)

I’d be very cautious. Is there anyone you really trust with your car who could inspect?

Taciturnu's avatar

On the few times I don’t go with someone I know (I always advise finding “those” kinds of friends!), I tell them not to do anything to the car other than what I specifically ask to be done. (I put it on paper. If they do, they can’t bill me.) If I hear back that I need something done, I bring it to another spot to check out for confirmation. A lot of places will do it for free, but if not the cost is minimal, especially in comparison to what you may end up paying in unnecessary repairs!

Tomfafa's avatar

I must say that here in the NYC metro area, everybody complains about the dealers! They will shamelessly screw you! Never go back to the dealer for simple fixes or fluids. There are cost estimators on line that are very useful… You just have to sound like you know what you are talking about when you go to the dealer.

john65pennington's avatar

Forget the Honda dealers and locate a private mechanics shop. a person you can trust to do the maintenance and repairs on your vehicle. i have such a friend. i trust him. if he says my Honda needs brakes, he lets me buy the pads and whatever, at a wholesale price. this is what friends are for. ask around and find you a trusted mechanic friend. my oil change only costs me 18.95 plus tax. have you been scammed? just check out the difference in the oil change prices and see for yourself.

jerv's avatar

@PandoraBoxx There is an advantage to being from and in a small town; the type of mechanic you describe goes under pretty quick. Reputation travels quickly and there isn’t any room for jack-offs like there is in a city full of people who may not have heard your rep. Besides, I can weed them out a little better than most because I am… well, me.
Also, many dealerships only really deal with newer cars. The newest car I’ve had was 12 years old and many of the parts I’ve tried to get from a dealership are “Class F”, as in “no longer made my the car-maker, and we don’t even want to admit that cars that old exist”. That pretty much forces me to deal with mechanics that actually know how to deal with things like carburetors and who know how to troubleshoot a non-OBDII car.

friendinsameboat's avatar

ok so I worked at a Honda dealer and I can tell you they plug your car into this high tech machine and the car basically tells the machine what is wrong with your car – only hinda dealers have this…
As for the scam dealerships are huge rip offs – the service departments make way more money on fixing and parts than on the cars… so be careful as they often push things on people that “could be replaced, but not in a dire way” – get a second opinion or leave it until there are problems.

Shockingmatey's avatar

Never let anyone touch you if u don’t want to be touched. U have to put your foot down & simply say “No, Graham, u cannot do this to me, I am my own person!” let
me know how it goes dear, best of luck!

Darren.

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