A tale of two service experiences

A tale of two service experiences

Yesterday I experienced the stark difference between Tesla service and old-world auto dealership service, and it reminded me why I bought a Model 3 and hope to never set foot in the legacy auto dealership world ever again.

Story 1:

My mom is in her late 70's. She is retired, lives in a semi-rural part of northern Illinois, and she is by no means poor but lives on a fixed retirement income (school teacher's pension) and is far from wealthy. My father, meanwhile, is in a Veteran's home in rural Illinois suffering from advanced dementia. He's been there for a few years now - basically since it became too difficult for my mom to care for him any longer. She has tried to sell her house to move closer to where he is but has been unable due to market conditions in the area of Illinois where she lives. So she makes the drive once a week to visit him which is about 150 miles round trip.

Last year she bought a 2018 Subaru Impreza, and she's quite proud of it and generally happy with it. Because of the long drives to visit my father, she has already put 30,000 miles on it and brought it in yesterday to the Subaru dealer for its 30,000 mile service. The dealer recommended apx. $800 worth of service which included changing the oil and filter, replacing the brake fluid, cleaning and lubricating the brake calipers, replacing the spark plugs, replace the engine and cabin air filters, replacing the front and rear differential oil, tire rotation and fuel system service and "MIST" service (which appears to be an anti-mold treatment based on web searches). My mom told them that she couldn't afford that and asked if she could put off any of the service, and they told her she could get by with only $200 worth of service (oil change, brake fluid replacement and tire rotation). But she called me later and asked if she made a mistake, and she was very worried that it would harm her car if she didn't go back and have the other service items performed soon. I asked her to pull out her maintenance schedule from her glovebox, and while she had a difficult time deciphering the chart - and was completely unsuccessful attempting to text or email me a photo of it - we went over it together on the phone and learned that the $200 worth of service she had performed was, not surprisingly, the ONLY service actually recommended by the manufacturer for this vehicle.

Suffice it to say, I called the dealer's service department and had a few words with them. The service advisor there stood by their recommendation for all of this unnecessary maintenance and even insisted that due to the "harsh environment" there in the midwest that they recommend replacing the differential oil every 15,000 miles, implying that I really didn't know what I was talking about. The factory maintenance schedule, by the way, lists spark plugs to be replaced at 60,000 miles and differential oil to be inspected every 30,000 miles and replaced as needed. (I also called my local Subaru dealer here in Colorado Springs, and they confirmed that maintenance schedule and told me that the differential oil is usually good for 120,000 miles).

But my mom is quite upset by this experience and still a bit worried that she is not taking care of her car properly by not doing all of the maintenance that this dealer recommended.

Story 2:

On the same day, in the parallel universe of Colorado Springs as my wife drove home from dropping off kids at school she spotted a pickup truck with a "Tesla" logo in front of a neighbor's house, and she saw and waved at a guy wearing a Tesla jacket. Five minutes later we had a knock on our door from the Tesla mobile service guy. He told us that he saw my wife drive by and spotted our car in front of our house and just stopped by to introduce himself and tell us that there was a minor service bulletin on a possible charge port issue - something to do with the locking pins could get damaged over time - that it was nothing serious, but that he could preemptively fix it for us right then if we wanted. I say, um.... OK... so you want to fix a service bulletin issue, at my house, without me even calling you? He says, yep, should only take 5 minutes. By the time I got my shoes on and walked out to talk to him, he was about finished. I chatted with him briefly - super nice, professional guy, glad to know he's around the area - and then he was on his way. I got the $0 invoice later that day by email.


mbirnie51 | 25. Oktober 2019

Nice story to tell folks that think EVs are not ready for prime time.

Tesla2018 | 25. Oktober 2019

When my patents retired to FL, most of their neighbors were widows. The local dealer used to bs them into unneeded service since they didnt know any better. Then my dad started taking their cars in when they needed service so they wouldnt get away with unnecessary replies. I went once for a recall on the Onstar package and they told me it was already done a few months ago in Arizona. They mentioned the make and model and color which was correct but the mileage was way off..I said the car had never been out of FL.then they said they goofed and.that another car had the same last 7 or 8 digits of the Vin and that it was a wierd coincidence. They said they replaced the unit so I tested it on the way homexand the Onstar rep said the car was showing as being in Canada. So I had to make another trip to the dealer since I think it was picking up the info for the car with the other VIN. I was parked on the beach near Cape Canaveral when I rested it, so they may have had an illerate Onstar employee who mistook Canaveral for Canada.

Tesla2018 | 25. Oktober 2019

Replies should be repairs.I wish we could edit our posts.

jer67075 | 14. November 2019

Thats a great story indeed. Check out if you use KCPL electricity in your house or offices