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Old 14.10.2011, 16:48
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Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

So I put my car into the Renault dealer in Glattbrugg and specifically ask for an oil change, oil filter change and to check the tracking on my front tires, NOTHING ELSE.

Later when picking up the car we get a 700 CHF bill which included other work such as replacing my brake fluid "because Renault recommends it" !!!!
They said "has to be done every 60.000km". Well the car was in that very shop 3 months ago and they didnt say anything then (tat the time driven 85.000 and now about 90.000km).

My girlfreind picked up the car so she was not really aware of what had to be done to the car, but I didnt think I would have to worry about getting ripped off like that.

I will be going to them on monday morning and trying to get this corrected, but somehow think I will only be wasting my time.

Is it normal for car dealers to perform all the work that they think should be done without any approval from the owner of the car? How can I protest this?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 14.10.2011, 16:58
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

In German what did you ask for?

If you used any phrase that could be construed as requesting a service (in line with Renault servicing guidelines) you won't stand a chance.

700chf - how much labour? how much for the parts/materials? 3 hours labour could easily set you back (@130chf per hour) 421chf (inc MWST)
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Old 14.10.2011, 17:33
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

Don't go to main dealers if you don't want main dealer service (translated as rip off) BTW brake fluid is important to change, ideally every 18 months.
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Old 14.10.2011, 17:43
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

Brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts and accumulates moisture over time, lessening the braking effectiveness and possibly causing corrosion. It is necessary to change the brake fluid at prescribed intervals, usually every two years, not on the basis of kilometers as a matter of safety, for you and others on the road.

Changing the fluid takes a bit of work, emptying the system, refilling, bleeding all air out of the system and testing, perhaps replacing seals and filters too
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Old 14.10.2011, 17:53
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

Its about 2 hrs of labor and the rest is parts/fluids.

I specifically requested ONLY oil, filter and wheel tracking IN GERMAN (I got a freind to write it down for me in german to avoid any misunderstanding).

I totally disagree with changing brake fluid every 2 years but that is completly beside the point. The point is if they belive it should be changed they should contact me (they had my number) and ask if I want that done. Not just do what they think should be done and then send me the bill.
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Old 14.10.2011, 18:07
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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Its about 2 hrs of labor and the rest is parts/fluids.

I specifically requested ONLY oil, filter and wheel tracking IN GERMAN (I got a freind to write it down for me in german to avoid any misunderstanding).

I totally disagree with changing brake fluid every 2 years but that is completly beside the point. The point is if they belive it should be changed they should contact me (they had my number) and ask if I want that done. Not just do what they think should be done and then send me the bill.
Tracking could be expensive depending on the technology they use, don't go to a main dealer if you think you know better than they do on safety related matters. A back street under the arches garage is more what your looking for.
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Old 14.10.2011, 18:12
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

My last bill for "tracking" = alignment = lenkgeometrie at Boegli was CHF170.-
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Old 14.10.2011, 18:56
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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My last bill for "tracking" = alignment = lenkgeometrie at Boegli was CHF170.-
That sounds quite reasonable if they were using 4 wheel laser measurement equipment. It's probably a good hours work to do well. The important thing to check is they put the right vehicle details into the computer!
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Old 14.10.2011, 19:07
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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That sounds quite reasonable if they were using 4 wheel laser measurement equipment. It's probably a good hours work to do well. The important thing to check is they put the right vehicle details into the computer!

alignment takes a around 15 min. but they prob got the mechanic and the apprentice doing it together.

Brake fluid does not need to be changed every 2 years. maybe once or twice in the lifespan of the vehicle. at 250k k im still on my original, same in the transmission, as well as the powersteering and rear diff..... Garages try to hit you with everything they can and that is why you should contest like the OP should. They tried something here with my (Similar to the OP ) and paid back 400chf
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Old 14.10.2011, 19:10
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

Boegli, Zuchwil, SO is reputed to be one of the best in CH, and yep, they use a Beissbarth ML 8 R with car geometry profiles uploaded online.
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Old 14.10.2011, 19:25
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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Its about 2 hrs of labor and the rest is parts/fluids.

I specifically requested ONLY oil, filter and wheel tracking IN GERMAN (I got a freind to write it down for me in german to avoid any misunderstanding).

I totally disagree with changing brake fluid every 2 years but that is completly beside the point. The point is if they belive it should be changed they should contact me (they had my number) and ask if I want that done. Not just do what they think should be done and then send me the bill.
This is common here in Switzerland. I am Swiss but personally I can't stand it. Maybe because I have spent 5 years in the UK, where this would never happen.

In short you have been switzerlanded, you have no choice but to pay, otherwise you will be in trouble.

Next time it may be cheaper to drive up to Dover, go to a garage, and then drive back when the work is done-
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Old 14.10.2011, 19:32
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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Brake fluid does not need to be changed every 2 years.:
TBH it's the only fluid that does need regular changes as it absorbed water so brake fade or total loss of braking is possible if you drive in the mountains. It's actually easy to test the boiling point by drawing used fluid from a bleed nipple.

BMW has lifetime ATF, so both Auto Gearbox & power steering has the original fluid after 297,000KM.

Synthetic oil could well last a very long time, but why risk it, it's only Anti Freeze & Brake fluid that age over time.
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Old 14.10.2011, 19:34
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

Even with a slim chance of getting my money back I am not going to take this sitting down.

My strongest argument is a list which the provided to my girlfreind stating that the spark plugs and brake fluid should be changed every 120.000km. My car is only at 92.000km so why change it when its not even on Renault´s own list?

I realize the dealer is often the worst place to go to but we had put the car there once before and that turned out ok.
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Old 14.10.2011, 19:37
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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Even with a slim chance of getting my money back I am not going to take this sitting down.

My strongest argument is a list which the provided to my girlfreind stating that the spark plugs and brake fluid should be changed every 120.000km. My car is only at 92.000km so why change it when its not even on Renault´s own list?

I realize the dealer is often the worst place to go to but we had put the car there once before and that turned out ok.
120K with spark plugs is pushing your luck IMHO, I stretch it to 40K, however if anything broke off you could kiss your engine goodbye, seems a false economy to me.
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Old 14.10.2011, 19:39
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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alignment takes a around 15 min. but they prob got the mechanic and the apprentice doing it together.

Brake fluid does not need to be changed every 2 years. maybe once or twice in the lifespan of the vehicle. at 250k k im still on my original, same in the transmission, as well as the powersteering and rear diff..... Garages try to hit you with everything they can and that is why you should contest like the OP should. They tried something here with my (Similar to the OP ) and paid back 400chf
Sorry to contradict you, however in a high humidity wet weather climate such as Switzerland, and most of Europe for that matter, you do need to change your glycol based brake fluid at least every two years to prevent damage to the brake system and maintain safe and stable braking. Not to do this is irresponsible.

On a Beissbarth or similar equipment it will take one man approx. 30 min. to do a complete and competent alignment.
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Old 14.10.2011, 20:33
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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120K with spark plugs is pushing your luck IMHO, I stretch it to 40K, however if anything broke off you could kiss your engine goodbye, seems a false economy to me.
That is what the manufacturer recommends according to the document they presented to us.

And to continue off topic, I have never heard of anything braking of a spark plug causing and engine failure. They just fowl up and fail to give a good spark or they wear down.
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Old 14.10.2011, 20:41
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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That is what the manufacturer recommends according to the document they presented to us.

And to continue off topic, I have never heard of anything braking of a spark plug causing and engine failure. They just fowl up and fail to give a good spark or they wear down.
I have seen burnt plugs where the electrode has burnt through, probably why I never saw a Renault with 400,000km.

Off topic but how often to you change the cam belt? It's probably about 30chf for the belt, just a pain on many cars to change.
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Old 14.10.2011, 20:58
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

Fouled and/or burnt electrodes will bring secondary problems, loss of power, fuel consumption, engine vibration working at motor mounts, seals, right down the line to the gear box and drive train. Not checking the gaps and replacing plugs at reasonable intervals is really mid to long term false economy. Besides, who wants to drive a car that doesn't run smoothly. Sufficient power is also a safety issue.

...even more so if it is a four-banger.
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Old 14.10.2011, 21:30
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

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Fouled and/or burnt electrodes will bring secondary problems, loss of power, fuel consumption, engine vibration working at motor mounts, seals, right down the line to the gear box and drive train. Not checking the gaps and replacing plugs at reasonable intervals is really mid to long term false economy. Besides, who wants to drive a car that doesn't run smoothly. Sufficient power is also a safety issue.

...even more so if it is a four-banger.
That reminds me of a guy I worked with 30 years ago, his mini was running really badly, he had replaced the carburettor, plugs, points leads & distributor cap & was getting desperate.
I asked if he had changed the air filter...........He took this soot ridden thing out & the car ran like a dream.
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Old 14.10.2011, 21:43
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Re: Car dealer performing work without you asking for it.

I appreciate the comments and recomendations regarding when to replace different things in a car. Having rebuild a few engines myself, studied car mechanic and being an aircraft engineer today I do keep my car in a good conditions because I understand what the consequences can be.

Heading back to the reason of my post, it is my responsibility to keep my car in a safe and good condition and not the dealers. Manufacturers come up with various recommendations of how long they feel it is practical and or safe to use a certain item before it needs to be replaced.

But the dealer has no idea if the items were replaced the week before or not. And even so, they do not have the authority to change what they feel like and send me the bill for it.

Its like being forced to by 2 liters of milk every time you go to COOP because the farmer recommends it.
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