What Was Your Best Experience at a Dealer?

Dealers are, generally, bad, but sometimes they are good. When were they good to you?

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We talk a lot of shit about dealers in these parts, because they make it easy, because their incentives are all wrong, because state franchise laws, because capitalism, because life. But I’m trying to be more optimistic these days. What’s your best experience at a dealer? Not that time they ripped you off.

I go to my local Honda dealer in Queens for service and inspections, because on some days their service department is open 24 hours and I value the convenience, though I could get the work done cheaper at other mechanics. I’ve also been to Honda dealers elsewhere, including in Los Angeles, where they gave me a tune-up once before I drove across the country back to New York.

It is always the same drill: I take the car in, and they suggest a bunch of work that “needs” performed. Only half of it is necessary at best, which is the part I agree to. The rest — I’m not paying you motherfuckers to change my cabin air filter, obviously — I can usually do myself.

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And while I’ve never had a genuinely great customer experience with a dealer, the best thing I can say for them is that they will, usually, do the work, which is not something you can say for every mechanic. I needed my spark plugs replaced, for example, that time in Los Angeles, and only went to the dealer after a different mechanic complained that my Honda Fit was a “New York car” and thus rusty and thus difficult to change the spark plugs and he’d rather not bother. I took it to the dealer and they said it would cost a fair amount but also got it done with no complaints. When they were done they called me and said, “We’re done, come pick up the car,” and I did and it was painless aside from my lightened wallet.

Anyhow, I’m curious about your experiences. We’ve asked this question in the past but not since the pandemic, and I wonder if anything has changed. Has it always been painful at best at your dealer? What was your best experience at a dealership?