Tag Archives: Dan Porter Toyota Dickinson North Dakota

More About Why And How Car Dealerships Might Try To Steal From People In Dickinson, North Dakota

In my previous blog post, I wrote about how Dan Porter Motors’ service department in Dickinson, North Dakota tried 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 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:

Very Angry At Car Dealership Service Department In Dickinson, North Dakota

I was very angry at Dan Porter Motors’ service department in Dickinson, North Dakota for attempting to take over $1,000 from me by performing repairs on my vehicle that didn’t need to be done.

When I first wrote this blog post article on Tuesday, I explained what happened to me, but I didn’t want to name this Dickinson car dealership at the time, for several different reasons.  One reason was, that in order to demonstrate very clearly that the repairs this dealership wanted to perform were not needed, I thought that I could show this in a video, and that may be the best time to name this dealership, when I showed video proof that there are no leaks on this vehicle.

A second reason was, I thought that I could have a second talk with this car dealership management and come to an understanding with them, that I am paying dealership prices in order to get the most competent and knowledgeable mechanic to perform repairs and maintenance on my vehicle, to advise me when repairs are needed, but how can I trust them when they are wanting to perform work that I know doesn’t need to be done?

A third reason for not wanting to name this car dealership at the time, was that I was sensing that something was wrong.  I saw many new people at this dealership, it seemed much different, it seemed like something bad had just happened, a mass firing, a mass quitting, a change in behavior of the owner?

In Dickinson, I have been to the Dodge dealer service department about six times, the Ford dealer service department about four times, and the Toyota dealer service department about six times.  At each car dealership service department in Dickinson, the maintenance and repairs were always performed competently, but the prices were pretty high.

In the past seven years of living in Dickinson, I have spent about $1,500 each, at the Dodge dealer, Ford dealer, and Toyota dealer on maintenance and repairs.  I never experienced a blatant attempt to rip me off at a car dealership in Dickinson, until today.  In the past, it was just a high shop rate for work that needed to be done.

In August I bought a very nice, very clean, very good-condition used vehicle for $2,250 from a private seller in Dickinson.  I drive 26,000 miles per year, to and from the industrial site where I work, so I want to have a low-cost, yet reliable vehicle, to get to and from work.

Before I bought this used vehicle, before I even spoke to the seller, I looked at it very closely where it had been parked in the same spot for two weeks, and I saw that this vehicle was not leaking any oil, transmission fluid, or coolant.  When I test drove this vehicle and parked it, left it running, and checked it again, it was not leaking anything at all.

After owning this vehicle for three months, driving it to and from work, putting as much as 700 miles on it per week, and checking where I park it in the same spot every day, it is not leaking oil, transmission fluid, or coolant, not one drop.  After putting 3,000 miles on it, I might have added 1/2 quart of motor oil, which is normal or very good oil consumption for an older, used, high-mileage vehicle.

On Monday, I went to work at 3:00 p.m., and I got home from work seventeen hours later at a little after 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.  I slept for two hours, and then I got up in order to take my vehicle to Dan Porter Motors’ service department for an oil change appointment at 10:15 a.m.

When I arrived at Dan Porter Motors’ service department, there were many new faces at this dealership, including several new-hires as service writers.  I said to the available service-writer, that I was here for a full-service oil change, that I had bought this vehicle a couple of months ago, could they be sure to check the rear differential fluid level, I don’t know when it was checked last.

I never requested a vehicle inspection, I was very happy with this vehicle, I had experienced no problems with it at all.  The service-writer somehow got the impression that I was interested in a vehicle inspection, or that I might have had doubts about this vehicle.  The mechanic “went to town”, and I had no idea that this was going to happen, this dealership had never done this to me before.

About two hours later, this is what the car dealership service-writer presented to me:

“Leaks Everywhere”

  • Engine oil leaking from oil pan gasket, oil leaking from oil pressure sensor, and oil leaking from engine crank shaft seal.  Oil pan gasket repair $487, oil pressure sensor leak repair $96, crank shaft seal leak repair $168.
  • Transmission fluid leaking from pan, leak repair $386.
  • Rear differential service $116.

This is $1,137 in “leak repair”.  I said to the service-writer, you must be mistaken, you must be talking about a different vehicle, my vehicle doesn’t leak anything at all.  I asked to speak to the service department manager, who I had spoken to before in the past about my other two vehicles that I had been bringing here for service and repairs.

I was very angry, but I think that I was able to convey my two main points to the service department manager.  One, I have owned this vehicle for several months, I regularly check where it is parked, and it doesn’t leak one drop of anything.  Two, I only paid $2,250 for this twenty year old, 200K mileage vehicle, why are you trying to tell me that it needs $1,137 in oil leak repairs, it doesn’t leak oil, and it doesn’t use oil.  And, I didn’t ask for a vehicle inspection in the first place.

I telephoned the private seller of this vehicle, whose profession is automobile mechanic, to ask him what he thought.  I told him that I was very happy with this vehicle, I knew that he had replaced the valve cover gasket as this was the only oil leak that he knew of, I never saw that this vehicle leaked anything whatsoever since I bought it.  I read to him the repair estimate from this car dealer service department.  I later made a copy of this repair estimate, and I went over it with the vehicle seller in person.

The vehicle seller was a little shocked at the repair estimate from the Dan Porter Motors that I showed to him, because this vehicle didn’t need these repairs.  Sometimes, either the mechanic or the dealership, takes the initiative to try to come up with repairs that they can perform, that aren’t needed.

On a twenty year old vehicle with 200K miles, there are all kinds of things that you could say needed to be replaced.  You could probably say that the wheel bearings needed to be replaced, the brake calipers needed to be replaced, the drive shaft universal joints should be replaced, the upper and lower ball joints needed to be replaced, the radiator needed to be replaced, the shocks and struts needed to be replaced, the catalytic converter needed to be replaced, …. because they are old, show signs of wear, or have play in them, this list is about $4,000 worth of work.  But you have to remember, the whole vehicle is 20 years old, and it only cost $2,250 to begin with, just about everything could be replaced, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced.

When the snow melts in a couple of days, when I drive this vehicle home from work, I am going to park it on a pristine, white concrete driveway and leave it running, and video underneath it while it is parked and running, then turn it off and come back later to video underneath it again, to show that it doesn’t leak a drop of anything.

If this dealership service department is going to make up repairs that don’t need to be done, how can I trust them in the future?  Would they go so far as to break things on my vehicle to cause repairs to be needed?

Here is a short video showing underneath this vehicle when it is running.  I recorded this several times with the vehicle running, not running, and coming back later after it was running, it looked the same as this each time, no leaks anywhere:

Here is a second short video that I recorded earlier in the day, each video just shows the same thing, no leaks at all:

I Wanted To Name My Cat After Dan Porter

On Monday, October 22, I pulled a six week old Siamese kitten out of the engine of a new Ford F350 pickup truck at the job site where I was working.  The driver of this truck did not want this kitten, and she said that she lived next door to a bar where there were a lot of stray kittens.

At the time, I was sure that this kitten was going to scratch and bite me, struggle and get away from me, so I put it on the front seat of my Jeep Cherokee and I shut the door.  I didn’t want it to get loose on the job site, because it was dangerous, it would get run over, and there were several packs of coyotes that lived close to this job site, they came through every night and they would eat this six week old kitten.

I realized that this kitten hadn’t tried to scratch or bite me, or tried to get away.  It sat calmly in the driver’s seat where I put it, and later it went and sat on the center console.  When I got off work and was driving back to Dickinson where I live, about half way through this more than one hour drive, this kitten climbed up the sleeve of my sweatshirt and it sat on my shoulder, looking out the window for the rest of the drive home.

I had to stop at the Family Dollar store to buy cat litter, a litter box, cat food, and cat food bowls.  I had gotten a cardboard box out of the dumpster at the job site before I left, and I carried this kitten up to my apartment in this cardboard box.  I put this kitten in the bathroom with the litter box, some water, and some cat food.  When I checked on it an hour later, it had eaten its food, drank some water, and it had pooped in the litter box.

I left the bathroom door open, and the kitten walked out to the living room and it did a little bit of exploring. Then it climbed up the lazy boy chair where I was sitting, and onto my shoulder where it sat for a while purring, then it climbed to the top of the back of the chair and went to sleep.

Early in the morning, about an hour before I had to wake up to go to work, the kitten came into the bedroom where I was sleeping, and it lay on top of my head on the pillows behind my head.  In order to turn over, I had to give up my pillows to the cat.

When I was driving to work that morning, and when I was at work that day, I was thinking that I wanted to keep this kitten, that it would be good company.  It seemed to be a particularly good and well behaved cat.  It didn’t try to scratch or bite me, get away from me, panic and go crazy in the car, or run around my apartment getting into everything.  And it was a big relief that it didn’t hesitate to go use the litter box several times, rather than pee or poop on the floor.

I was thinking about what to name this cat, it appeared to be a male.  I didn’t want to stick it with some stupid name, that would adversely affect its personality and the way people treated it.  I thought about what qualities and characteristics this cat had, and a fitting name based on these things.  After several hours, I decided to name it after Dan Porter.

Dan Porter, for those of you who don’t know, owns a Toyota/Honda car dealership in Dickinson, North Dakota, and he has financially supported many community projects and charity events.

So I decided to name this cat Dan Porter, but in order to not confuse this cat by using two names, I would have to say it as one word, Danporter.  For example, “Danporter leave that electrical cord alone!”

Now, when I took this cat to the veterinarian to get shots, I would tell them that the name of this cat was Dan Porter, and that he was a Methodist.  That way, he would get more respect and better medical treatment, because they would think that he was somehow related to Dan Porter, and I wouldn’t tell them anything different.

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But once I got home from work on Tuesday, this cat acted very, very bad climbing up my back many times while I was eating, and later scratching and biting me when I was already mad at it and trying to sleep.  So I don’t know what I am going to name this cat now, because this doesn’t act like Dan Porter.

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Dan Porter, My Favorite Person In Dickinson, North Dakota

I like Dan Porter.  Dan Porter is my favorite person in Dickinson, North Dakota.  He is not my favorite person just because he owns and operates a very nice Toyota, Scion, Honda dealership, that has a good service department, that is fair, and does not overcharge, this is just a small part of why I like Dan Porter.

Dan Porter is likeable because he does not go around Dickinson acting arrogant, pompous, elitist, greedy, or mean.  He goes to the West River Community Center just like everybody else, acts the same as everybody else while he is there, and avoids me just like everybody else.  He goes to the bars and talks to everybody, and acts the same as everybody else.  He drives a tiny, tiny mini-car that I don’t like, which is comical and amusing to everyone.  He could just as easily have a new Toyota Landcruiser, Porsche, or Ferrari.  This tiny mini-car is so funny, because he keeps driving it like it’s the best thing that money can buy.

All these things that I just described are reason enough to like Dan Porter, but there are other things that most people don’t know about Dan Porter, or they did know and have forgotten.  I want to tell everybody, and remind everybody.

Some of the nicest things in the small town of Dickinson are the Theodore Roosevelt Airport, the West River Community Center, the West River Ice Skating Rink, the Biesiot Activities Center, and the St. Alexius Hospital.  We all take it for granted that just south of town there is an airport that will allow you to fly out of Dickinson to get to anywhere in the World.  We all take it for granted that in the Winter when it is below zero, we can go swimming, walk the track, and play tennis inside the West River Community Center.

Most people, especially the people from out of state, just assume that all of these facilities that I mentioned above, were built with government money.  No they weren’t, they were built with Dan Porter’s money.

After I had lived in Dickinson for a year, I first heard it once from an old knowledgeable local person, and then I heard it from many more older local people, that the majority of people in Dickinson did not have an interest in the Theodore Roosevelt Airport, the West River Community Center, or the West River Ice Skating Rink.  For the Airport, it was primarily a group of private investors that spent the money to make it a viable commercial airport.  For the West River Community Center, again it was a group of private investors that had to build it.  For the West River Ice Skating Rink, same thing, it was a group of private investors that built it.  Several wealthy business owners told me that Dan Porter was one of the main promoters, organizer, and investor in building all these facilities in Dickinson that people mistakenly assume were built with government money.

If you look on the walls in the Biesiot Activities Center or the St. Alexius Hospital, you will see Dan Porter’s name on the wall as a donor.  In just about all the places that you see Dan Porter’s name as a donor, you will see DJ Charbonneau’s name.  After having to take my vehicles to Dan Porter Toyota and DJ Charbonneau Dodge, and after having met Dan Porter and DJ Charbonneau, I thought that these two guys were a lot alike.  I never saw or heard about either of them mistreating anyone, talking down to anyone, taking advantage of anyone, or doing anything in a greedy way.  I never met anyone that had anything bad to say about Dan Porter or DJ Charbonneau.  When I did have a positive image of Dickinson in my head, it was because of things like the West River Community Center, and business owners like Dan Porter and DJ Charbonneau.

I have wanted to write this blog post for about six months, but it is very difficult to get much information about Dan Porter, and he probably wants it this way.  Besides him being a lead organizer and large investor in many of the nicest facilities in Dickinson used by the public, Dan Porter has contributed to many other things in the community, such as Alive @ 5.  If the price of oil had not fallen so far in 2015, Dan Porter probably would have been one of the biggest sponsors to build a large indoor concert event center in Dickinson.  Though Dan Porter has remained mostly anonymous in spending a tremendous amount of his own money to make Dickinson a much better place to live for everybody, I thought that I should tell everybody that didn’t know, and remind everybody that forgot.