The best way to proceed is to be sensible, and if you’re buying a used car from a used car dealership, get some expert outside advice before you buy. Two months ago my son bought a used Ford and didn’t have it checked out by a qualified mechanic first. It has taken one thousand dollars, three weeks of being without a car and a day off from work to go to court to try to sort this out. Not to mention me flying back to Boston to help.
A new car dealership is a different story. They’re divided into basically three parts; Sales, Parts and Service. Each part has a manager running that department. Ideally they all work together but many times they don’t and are really in conflict. The customer isn’t supposed to notice this.
The sales department will be so eager to make a sale that they will make promises for services that they have no control over. Sales personnel get paid when the deal is made and the car leaves. The Sales Manager has final say on any deal made, which is why, if you haggle over price, your sales person has to keep going back to the manager to get his OK. Generally everyone except the parts counter personnel is on commission. The sales personnel are your best friends until they get your money.
After you buy the car, if any problems develop, you will be led to the service manager or a service writer. You might never come in contact with the service manager. He’s the final say on any problems you may have with service or the car. He keeps the peace in the shop, makes sure service runs smoothly and the work gets completed on time. If the service department has ten mechanics and the department is open eight hours per day, he has to schedule eighty hours of work per day. If a worker doesn’t come to work the manager has a problem. If a customer doesn’t come in with their car he also has a problem.
If a customer comes in for an oil change and the car is found to have dangerously bad brakes, that is another problem: How to get all the work done and the car and you out the door? I encourage you to have patience because service personnel want to keep their jobs and they will make every human effort to do their job well and to complete your car on time.
David Tavares is available to consult on car issues at [email protected] Happy Motoring!