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This Is Why You Read Your Owner’s Manual 26
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser, Automotive, Automotive Help, Car Dealers, Kurt, Maintenance, TOYOTA on 10 26th, 2011

Road trips give you time to think, and more importantly, time to read things like the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for your car, which would otherwise sit undisturbed in your glove box. I’m used to driving cars that are essentially maintenance-free (excluding oil changes, air cleaner, etc.) for the first 60,000 miles, so imagine my surprise when I found “replace spark plugs” at 3 years or 36,000 miles as a recommendation for my 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

It gets better: if you read the footnote by the recommendation to change spark plugs, it tells you “required for emission warranty.” Uh oh, this is one that you’d better not ignore, and because the service is necessary for warranty compliance, it’s best performed by a Toyota dealer. Yes, I know that I can change the plugs myself and save all receipts, carefully documenting the date and mileage that I did the work. Still, if I ever have to file a warranty claim on the emission system, I know I’ll have to battle Toyota to convince them the work was done. Having it done by a dealer eliminates this headache.

I haven’s scheduled the appointment with my Toyota dealer yet, so I don’t have any idea how much extra peace of mind will cost me (versus doing the work myself). Worse, I expect I’ll have to do the usual Service Department dance, where they call me up and tell me that my truck needs tires, brakes, blinker fluid and a new left-handed Rankin valve. I tell them to only perform the work specified (and I’m good about providing detailed lists), then they remind me that stale blinker fluid is the number one cause of sudden car explosions, like you see in Hollywood. Times are tough for car dealers these days, so even auto journalists with pro-wrenching backgrounds are potential marks for service scams.

On second thought, maybe I’ll just drop in a set of platinum-tipped plugs myself, being careful to save the receipt and log the work. Sometimes, peace of mind simply isn’t worth the cost or aggravation.

Would You Buy A Car From This Dealership? 25
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Car Dealers, epic fail, Kurt, Volkswagen on 05 25th, 2011

Larry Roesch Volkswagen is a VW dealer in the Chicago metropolitan area. Instead of describing how well-built VW products are, they prefer to demonstrate it in a series of uber-cheesy YouTube videos. I’ll spare you the video of sales manager Nick Pontarelli riding the door of a new Jetta like a mechanical bull, since you can get a feel for the type of abuse heaped on new Volkswagens in the name of internet advertising in the video below.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity, and this dealer has gotten more than their share of free press from websites running their videos. Sensationalism aside, car door weren’t meant to take that kind of loading, and neither is the door attachment point on the car’s unibody. It may not look like any damage is done, but I certainly wouldn’t want to buy a car subject to that kind of unnecessary abuse. If you think the dealership is regretful of their antics, think again: when a YouTube viewer commented “Nobody buy the red 4 door GTI at Larry Roesch VW”, the dealership was quick to counter with, “It was sold the same day you commented. lol.” Buyer beware…

YouTube, via Carscoop