In my previous blog post, I wrote about Dan Porter Motors’ service department in Dickinson, North Dakota, how I believed that they were trying to steal money from me by wanting to perform repairs on my vehicle that didn’t need to be done.
I was very angry and upset about what happened. I had taken two other vehicles that I own to this dealership service department about six times over the past five years, and they had never tried to do this to me before.
When I went to Dan Porter Motors on Tuesday, I did see many new people, and the service department seemed very different. To be honest, before any work was done on my vehicle, I got the impression that this dealership service department had been downgraded. I got the impression that there must have been a mass firing, a mass quitting, or many employees leaving Dickinson.
When the oil change was completed on my vehicle, the service-writer showed to me what the mechanic said needed to be done to my vehicle: engine oil pan gasket was leaking oil, engine crank shaft seal was leaking oil, engine oil pressure sensor was leaking oil, transmission pan gasket was leaking transmission fluid, repairs needed totaling $1,137.
The problem was, that I check this vehicle frequently when it is running, and where it is parked in the same spot every day, it doesn’t leak anything, not one drop. Why would Dan Porter Motors’ service department try to get me to have work performed, that does not need to be done?
I have read and heard from people who work in the automotive industry, that although car dealerships used to make most of their profit from car sales, now they make most of their profit from their service department. I have also read and heard from the automotive industry, that dealership owners and general managers hold meetings where they tell everyone in the service department: “When a customer brings a vehicle in for service, this is a good time to find additional work that could be performed.” and “We want to make money, and you want to make money, so you better find work that could be performed so you can keep your job.”
In Dickinson during the oil boom from 2007-2014, the local car dealership service departments were so busy that it was hard to get an appointment sooner than six weeks away. The local car dealership service departments were so busy with a backlog of repair and maintenance work, that they didn’t need to go looking for additional work to perform.
This is probably why I never experienced a car dealership service department in Dickinson wanting to perform repairs that didn’t need to be done, they had more than enough repair and maintenance work already.
It’s possible that the mechanic who worked on my vehicle this past Tuesday, that he personally may have been over eager to try to make more money, and he wrote-up repairs that didn’t need to be done. I think that it is more likely that the mechanic wasn’t acting alone, I think that the service-writer was in on this, and that both the mechanic and the service-writer were being pressured by this dealership to find work.
Beyond my belief that I can never trust Dan Porter Motors’ service department again to advise on repairs that actually need to be done soon, I wonder how far they were willing to go to find work? Was the mechanic about ready to loosen the bolts on my engine oil pan and my transmission fluid pan, to be able to say, “Look at these leaks”? Was the mechanic about ready to take a screw driver to puncture the engine crank shaft seal on my vehicle? Did he do these things already to my vehicle?
Going forward, I don’t know exactly how to handle this. I think that it is not safe to take my vehicle to Dan Porter Motors’ service department again. But what if it was just a rogue mechanic, who did this on his own, and not part of the business plan of this dealership? Complaining to the management of this dealership service department, may make it even more unsafe to ever let their mechanics work on my vehicle again.
Is this going to become something that all of the dealership service departments in Dickinson begin doing because business has slowed down?
It looks like my two best options are to take my vehicle to a different car manufacturer dealership service department in Dickinson, or drive to the actual manufacturer dealership service department in Bismarck 100 miles away to get work done.
Here is a short video showing underneath this vehicle while it is running. I recorded this several times, with the vehicle running, not running, and coming back later after the vehicle had been running, and it all looks the same as this, no leaks at all:
Here is a second short video that I recorded earlier in the day, each video just shows the same thing, no leaks at all: