BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Apr 2009
Vehicle: 2001 E320 4-matic, 160K miles
Location: Amherst, NH, USA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
musings on service.....
Here in the states, a manufacturer may not invalidate a warranty simply because required service was performed by someone other than the manufacturer's service department. If, however, you use sub-standard parts, that is a reason to invalidate. So, when you get service from your local mechanic or you do it yourself, make sure you use at least OEM quality parts and save your receipts in case you get into a urinating contest with the manufacturer's rep. See Title 15, US Code, section 2032, subdivision c.
Regarding the extra you pay to service at the shop...a)Labor rates, b)Capital Equipment Costs, c)Piracy
a)I find that labor rates in competent local shops are not all that much lower than the Dealers' rates.
b)Considering that Dealers have to purchase all the special equipment and training, somewhat higher rates is understandable. However, there will always be dealers who charge 3 or 4 times what is reasonable. Avoid them, of course.
c)The main difference I find is that Dealers like to recommend far more service than the guys who designed and built the cars. Think about that. An Engineering team working with representatives from a field service department design the product and specify what maintenance is required. Having personally led many design teams, I can attest that the members want to design and specify the best product they can - especially in a premium product where they know cost is not really an issue. And then along comes a Service Manager whose job is to sell you service and he tells you that you need something different, and more expensive. When getting serviced at the dealership, I walk in with the Users Manual and ask for the service required by the Manufacturer. I save a lot of money that way.
My own policy is to have the dealer do the service at least during the warranty period. It avoids unnecessary arguing when something covered goes wrong. After the warranty, the dealer's shop is on the same par as an independent shop. If I am satisfied with the dealer's service and rates (understanding they may be somewhat higher) I will stay with the dealer.
As an aside, there often are advantages to having the dealer do all your maintenance. I also drive a 2005 Acura MDX purchased new (fantastic vehicle, far more reliable than anything MB sells in the states - but that is a discussion for another thread :-) ). It has always been serviced by my local Acura dealer. At around 120K miles the transmission was "noisy" and diagnosed as a $4K replacement candidate. The local dealer proactively worked the paperwork with Honda to get me a new transmission and a 3 year warranty on it for less than $400. It was because I had purchased new from Acura and always had it serviced by Acura. I had a similar experience with brake rotors on a 1990 Volvo. Sadly, when my MB Catalytic converter needed replacement at 110K miles, MB would not provide any assistance.
Finally, I have my E320 serviced locally by an independent shop; very high "Customer Satisfaction", competent mechanics who know MBs, reasonable rates. Understandably very busy shop.
Of course, just my humble opinion......