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How much is too much to pay for services at your dealership?

2162 Views 40 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  momotaroboy
I recently got my 2017 Mazda 3 GS serviced at Buds Mazda Oakville Canada. I was charged $280 for the labor (receipt attached) alone while parts was just $55.

I can see that all this labor cost was for engine oil change and the rest was mostly just inspection for the 72k service. I even declined tire rotation since I had recently installed winter tires on my own.

My car is not under warrany anymore and I feel like dealerships charge an exorbitant price for these regular maintenances. Am I paying too much and should I move off the dealership for servicing? What do I risk with leaving the dealership?

Also, for Candian folks out there, any recommendations for a good place to service my Mazda 3 in the Halton / Hamilton region?
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they don't call them stealerships for nothing. i have a 2.0L 2015 GS and have been doing my own maintenance from day one. from what i'm seeing here:

- brake fluid flush was likely completely unnecessary. not saying don't flush it, but at 72k kms it was probably fine for a while. i did mine for the first time last year at over 200k kms. amazon sells brake fluid moisture detectors very cheap and can give you an idea when it needs to be done. FYI a flush isn't even in the maintenance schedule.

- wheel alignment. you need this when it's not driving straight or there's abnormal wear on the tires. did you have either?

- cabin air filter....you can easily do this on your own, filters are cheap. personally, i just buy cheap ones from amazon a few at a time but what you use is your choice. they are NOT dependent on mileage or age. take it out and look at it.

- engine air filter, same as above. the consequences of a dirty filter are pretty much nothing until it really starts to get plugged and that will take a while. this is also stupid easy for you to replace, no tools required. what they're charging is a complete scam for both filters.

- throttle body cleaning. completely unnecessary at your mileage - or mine for that matter. you do this when there is a problem. this is also not in your maintenance schedule.

-fuel injector cleaning. so they put a bottle of cleaner in your gas tank for you at the tune of $170. no thanks. injector cleaner is almost always completely unnecessary because it's already in the fuel you buy. if you're worried, go buy yourself a good injector cleaner at CT every now and then. myself, i don't use it and never have. it has never been an issue. another item not in the maintenance schedule.

so yes you've been robbed.
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I can only assume you've at least been changing your brake fluid and just not "flushing" the system. If you've changed your brake fluid for the first time in over 200k kms then wow...
It was around 200k, maybe a little earlier. I did a full flush for the first time. I've been keeping an eye on it both fluid color and moisture content. It wasn't even that bad when I flushed it.

Truth is it just isn't as big a deal as it's made out to be. The brake systems are far better sealed than they were in the past so it's less of a problem. With that in mind, I'd never recommend anyone goes this far without a tester to monitor moisture content.

The dealer on the other hand would very much prefer that you flush the brakes far more often. Unnecessary maintenance is just good business.
Interesting. I'll still stick to the manual's intervals since I just do it myself but that's good to know.
that's just it, there is no flush interval. it's listed as inspect fluid level every 8k kms for us canucks and nothing more.

it does list 40k kms as severe use in mexico to flush the brake fluid. severe use in the US is only inspect fluid level. use your judgement on that one, from my experience here and with other cars that's usually excessive.

most of the time the dealers will tell you what is 'required' maintenance. rarely do we check against the official maintenance schedule. remember, the dealers are there to make money, not be your friend. so when you stop and think about it, the people who designed and built your car came up with this schedule to keep it running. the dealer just wants business. as far as warranty goes, the dealer only facilitates the warranty - despite what they would want you to believe they do not dictate the terms and conditions of the warranty.

so if a dealer is 'recommending' certain service that is not part of your schedule, think long and hard about it. i like to tell people "never trust anyone with a motive that does not coincide with your own". the dealer wants your money, so therefore i don't trust them until proven. the manufacturer wants me to buy another mazda one day and they know it being reliable will be strong persuasion so the manufacturer is more trustworthy in this scenario.
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Up until warranty expires.. do as much DIY as possible and only take it in for serious issues or warranty repairs.

After warranty expires.. dealership are just a place to get parts from (when it's easier to pickup versus order online).
although i totally agree and did just that, do remember that it isn't quite so simple elsewhere in the world. you guys have this wonderful magnuson-moss warranty act that effectively protects your warranty and gives you legal rights to that warranty even when doing DIY maintenance. everyone else isn't so lucky. it's quite the grey area here so it's entirely possible that one could be denied warranty for DIY. even that isn't so simple, for us there's the consumer protection act but it's not very clear on specific matters like this.

this was one thing that pulled me in for mazda. their warranty clearly states that you can do your own maintenance and how to document it to maintain that warranty. at least it was like this when i bought my car 8 years ago...others don't tell you what documentation is expected for DIY but the warranty does not specifically prohibit DIY. it's all very murky.

in fact this is one shady tactic dealers often use to get your business. the not so great ones will tell you that you need an expert for everything and anything else will immediately void the warranty, tear the fabric of space-time and make baby jesus cry. the one i got my car from isn't so bad. one guy tried to tell me i didn't have a warranty because i DIY. i may have told him to do his job and go read the warranty document...after which time i still had a warranty and he didn't want to talk to me.
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I have always been confused about this. I have a newer 2021 Mazda 3 as well that's still under warranty. If I take it to a general mechanic for regular maintenance instead of dealership, do I void my Mazda warranty?
no our consumer protection act protects us from that kind of nonsense
Hey @rafay
Some dealer in the GTA charge less for packaged services like 72K/36month
including some those declined services.
Some dealerships offer discounts to TM3 members (parts and some services)

Cabin and engine filter is an easy DIY is you have the time.
4wheel aligment $150 is the going rate. I use Canalign (he mostly works on track cars but also can do brake flush)
Brake flush is about an hour labor ($90+ at local independant) with proper bleeding + a higher quality Dot4 product.
Throttle body cleaning - ask then to show you pictures of the build up before doing it (find a local guy who uses crushed walnuts)
Fuel injector cleaner - do several Liqui Moly fuel system cleaner per year should suffice.

BTW there are alot of great local mechanics on Speers and one have used before when i worked in Oakville
was the Oakville Auto Centre on north service road. The Shadi & Jamal brother who own are really good and have their own modded car they work one after hours . Shadi with his lowered E46. They installed my coilovers and cams.
Great advice as usual. The engine and cabin filters really get me when I look at the invoice that the OP posted. I'm not sure how anyone wouldn't have time for those, about 5 minutes each after you look up how it's done and that's being generous.

Brake fluid I'm more of the mind to test first, but if you're not going to do that then yes just replace it. Better too often than not at all.

Wheel alignment I do when there's a problem. Almost 8 years and 240k kms on mine. The car drives straight and the tires wear evenly. Not needed yet!

The OP should have come to visit one of us in Ontario. Any one of us could have done that for a fraction of the cost in about an hour or two minus the alignment. And he would have learned a few things. Just bring a case of beer for payment lol.
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I always learn something sensei Zero G too

Zero works cheap oh wait
A case of 24 is a mortgage payment now
Just about these days ...
I don't think it's ridiculous at all, your paying for a 72K service, not an oil change. Had you just went and got an oil change it would have been much cheaper, but your paying to have all those things that are supposed to be checked at 72K...checked.
I change my own oil and it costs me about $35 for a full synthetic change.
well you're about the only one here that thinks those charges are reasonable and the fact that the dealer is ignoring the maintenance schedule. $90 to replace an air filter?? you're welcome to pay that if you think that's reasonable.
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