Rant on self servicing new cars

I’m not a big grease monkey or anything like that, but in general I like to take care of the simple maintenance that doesn’t require a lift or special tools, like air filters for example. My Acadia was in for an oil change today, and in addition to the “fuel system cleaning” on a leased vehicle with 22k miles on it they tried to up sell me on that I declined, they also went over a list of other things I “needed” with the oil and tires: New wipers (declined, mine were replaced pretty recently), wheel balancing (declined) and the engine and cabin air filters. I declined those too since I already bought new ones and I was just waiting for the proper maintenance intervals to do it. All told they wanted an additional 200 bucks on top of the oil and tires to do all that “work”. The filters really bugged me since that’s literally 10 minutes of work and they charge you an arm and a leg relatively speaking to do it.

I decided to just get it over with today myself, but little did I know that the Acadia has a brand new feature on the panel for the cabin air filter… TORX SCREWS! I’ve never seen anything like that on an air filter panel before and I’ve changed a bunch of them myself. I had the proper bit to do it so it wasn’t a huge deal, but is this where we’re at now, securing the air filter door with specialty screws to try and force people into paying dealer prices for something so trivial and easy? The engine air box was screwed down too, but at least that was Phillips head screws. And on top of that I realized that the engine filter they said I “needed” to replace has a maintenance interval of 45k, not 22.5k like the cabin filter, and it was practically spotless when I got the cover off. :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:. On a related note, if you have a GM rewards membership they are offering half priced service vouchers this month, so I ended up paying 10 bucks for the oil and rotation, and my 50 dollar voucher that covered the rest only cost me 5000 points instead of the usual 10,000.


Haha that’s crazy. Impressive that a bean counter at GM actually approved the extra $0.19 for torx screws!

When I took my Accord in for its third oil a few weeks ago change they tried to sell me on engine and cabin air filters as always. $30 in parts and $150 in labor for about seven minutes of actual work (all clips!!). Little did they know that I have a pile of cabin air filters 10 deep in my garage from Amazon deals.


Some people fall for that stuff hook line and sinker, it’s the standard to go for the upsell, easy :moneybag:


What kills me is that I’d probably just go for something like a filter if they would just charge a fair price for it. Standard labor rate was 45/hr last I checked, so I’ll pay you for 10 minutes of your time added onto the oil job, that’s fine. But I’m not paying for a full hour and probably 200% markup on a piece of cardboard and cloth. But I’m sure at least half the people that come in there just pay up.


Bulb replacement is another money maker. Lady at work takes her car to dealer religiously for service (tried to talk her out of it but she’s worried it will affect warranty, even after I assured her it won’t). Local dealer charged her 50 bucks to replace a burnt out rear bulb for state inspection that literally unscrews. It takes longer to open the trunk lid and pull back the carpeting than to replace the actual bulb.

I also just got a “coupon” for replacing brake pads and rotors. 299/axle for pads and 399 PER rotor. Glad I know how to do that as I can pick up pads for 20 bucks, and a rotor for 25 per. An hour of my time is worth it If I need to.

Those OEM PARTS (which are just relabeled auto parts store parts) must be made of gold.


I changed my Accord cabin air filter before I took it in for it’s first service. That’s my go to way to know if a place is honest. Do they say I need a new one when I just changed it myself.

Also changed my engine air filter although I managed to muck that up and somehow the plastic clip on the metal latch fell down into the engine. Doesn’t seem to matter for keeping engine air filter cover on and I check it every week.

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My jeep dealer wanted 179 bucks to replace cabin filter. I love it how i bring it to rotate tires and oil change, 30 minutes they come to waiting area with the filter in hand and ask to replace it. I guess for effect as to how dirty it is or whatever. The the guy says our filters are the best and has various chemicals or whatever bs he was trying to spew.

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Understand your frustration, but out of curiosity, what year is your Acadia? Mine is a 2017 (newer style — 2nd gen?) and I easily changed it without tools.

Not sure where you got your per hour labor rate, but as someone who has worked in service at multiple dealerships, standard labor rates for Hyundai/Toyota/Honda are around 125-145/hour (much higher than independent shops). Most dealerships charge .2 -.4 labor hours to change a filter, the tech flags his .2-.4, gets paid his (.4*~30 per flag hour), while the dealership pockets the rest to funnel into fixed ops.

Audi and BMW in the Houston area are all at 160-170/flag hour.

Of course, the above are all CP rates, warranty rates are typically 10-20/hour less.

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2018, I fully expected that to be the case, the owners manual seemed to indicate this too. But when I opened the glove box up it the panel was secured in place with torx screws.

So it’s basically worse than I thought? I don’t recall where I got that number from, I remember it being posted at a Buick/GMC dealer I visited, but it’s totally possible that I misread it or that I’m not properly remembering it.

Believe it or not this is endemic to nearly all marque’s. On my Sonata PHEV recommended services were still on 5K intervals despite 1/3 all miles being driven on EV mode. Consider the cost of that at $60/oil change and double that if it needed an air or cabin filter or wipers.

Don’t think I’ll be signing another MX excluded lease again which means I’ll be staying in the roundel pack unless their programs radically change. (I may try a PHEV once more or a full electric with good range in time)

That’s ridiculous. At least the Volt offers two oil changes in the first two years/24k miles, and the maintenance schedule is really forgiving about them too, it uses almost no oil at all. I’m probably just going to pay for a rotation at 15k and bank my final oil change until 24k and stretch that as long as they say you can.

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Yeah, I took another look at Volt/Bolt in TX before I dug my heels into Bavarian metal and because of our tax burden and lack of additional incentives leases were god awful. I even tried to take over a one-pay from a member here but GMF moved so slowly that the Mrs put her foot down on the deal after so much time passed…

They seem reliable enough to where a CPO purchase with low miles isn’t a terrible idea but I just couldn’t get behind buying into a model due/in process of being axed.

Well, the best way to find out is to just call whatever dealership service department and asks what their hourly rate is. If they don’t want to disclose that information, then there would be bigger issues afoot.

I just wanted to clarify that most of the time, the tech only flags .2-.4 for a filter (which is still 12 mins to 24 mins if you break it down that way) and the reason those filters get so expensive at dealerships is just the flag rate, not the actual flag time.

I’m really curious what they will be going for at my lease end. My buyout isn’t terrible at all and with the electric power train warranty it might not be a terrible idea. I’ll have to wait and see though, Carvana just offered around 19k and it’s not even a year old yet with 11k miles on it, so I’m pretty sure it will be worth way less than the buyout in about 2 years time.

Take and car in rent and take an apartment in rent is the same thing.

We leased a Nissan Rouge, at the first service my wife called me and said they wanted to replace the in cabin air filter. my wife ordered the filter from Amazon and changed it herself, and we’ve been getting oil changes at Midas ever since.

I have 100k miles on my grand Cherokee and have replaced the cabin air filter exactly twice. Second time it wasn’t even that dirty. I probably could have gotten away with a blow-off (was about to say job) from the air compressor.

While I understand the point of the filter, acting as if it has some dramatic impact on the function of your car and needs to be replaced at some fixed interval is absolute nonsense. It’s an invention to earn service departments more money (opinion).

And guys, a set of security/torx/whatever bits is about $5 at harbor freight for an assortment of everything you will likely ever need.

Even changing your own oil is simple. It’s literally a drain plug, a filter wrench, and an oil cap. I’m guilty of paying others to do it because they use it as a loss leader to get people to overpay for cabin air filters and wiper blades! Just remember that next time you pay $19.95 for an oil change. They have to come at you with an additional 100+ bucks in service to pay the rent on the place.

Opinion shared!