Authorised workshops or dealerships are the main preference for servicing of a customers' new car. There are dealerships that are genuine and would not fleece your money while after sales treatment, however, there are others who would try and take every penny from you. This would also involve you to be thorough with the detailed billing as well as being cautious about understanding if a requisite task is at all required in your car. Here are some tips on how to avoid being overcharged while getting your car serviced
*One key area where sales executives of a said dealership can suggest unnecessary expense is anything related to the engine. Tasks like engine de-carbonisation or engine flushing are suggested right from the first service, however, it is not required in a vehicle's early years. A car's decarbonisation should ideally take place when the response from the engine is sluggish or there are frequent misfires despite regular services. This usually starts to happen after 60,000 kms or more. In case it is recommended by a sales executive and he or she insists, simply avoid by saying no! Another popular unnecessary expense is fuel line cleaning, which is suggested at every service. Remember that petrol is itself used as a cleaning agent in many applications so fuel line cleaning should be carried out only in case of a problem.
*Another aspect where customers are cheated is due to the lack of knowledge about their respective vehicle. There have been cases where a dealership has conned a customer by putting spark plugs in a diesel car or heater plugs in a petrol engine powered vehicle. A diesel car does not have spark plugs (but a petrol car does) and similarly, a petrol car doesn't have heater plugs (which are present in diesel cars). Additives are advised by many service advisors but these aren't needed unless specified by the carmaker. Knowing the basic mechanical and electrical parts of your car can go a long way in saving you your money.
*Other mechanical parts where a person can be overcharged is the clutch adjustment. Most modern manual transmission cars sold in India have a hydraulic clutch which is self adjusting till the time the pressure plates and the clutch plates are completely worn out. A worn out clutch system will require more pressure to depress the pedal thereby indicating the clutch plates and/or pressure plates would need replacement. Ideal time to replace is not at every service which clever dealerships would suggest but at least a gap of three service intervals is recommended (with the service interval at every 10,000 kms).
*All carmakers offer an owners booklet which has all the details of which part needs to be replaced when and the recommended service interval. When getting your car serviced, always refer to this manual and insist on only the aspects mentioned in the manual to be done.
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In case a sales executive or a mechanic at a dealership insists on replacing a part earlier than the recommended timeline, ask them why has it happened and what can be done in order to avoid such a situation. Also, ask them to show the new part before replacing it in the car and then making sure you can see it being replaced. A part is often cleaned or repaired and put back while the final bill states a replacement. With these tips in mind, a cunning sales executive at a dealership would be unable to fleece you and you have complete peace of mind as to what part has been replaced during a service interval.