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Old Today, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Meredith NH
1,495 posts, read 2,188,922 times
Reputation: 2511

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Engine light was on in my 2013 Avalanche.I have a OBD meter so I knew exactly what the problem was.
Brought it to the dealership for a fix and when I got the bill I was charged $120 "diagnostic fee"
Previously I've never been charged for that....takes two minutes to plug in the meter and read the code.
Also...ever sat in the waiting room for an oil change and watch the parade of techs come out because they've found some mysterious problem?
Techs get %5-%7 for upsells.Filters,fluid changes ,belts.....anything they can get away with.
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Old Today, 07:34 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,761 posts, read 40,178,396 times
Reputation: 41650
You must not have had many diagnostics done. A fee for that has been standard, at dealerships and most independents, for a couple decades. Many places will waive it if they do the repairs.

Some of the other stuff years you mentioned is recommended maintenance outlined in the Owner's Manual, especially fluids.
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Old Today, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Virginia
702 posts, read 298,613 times
Reputation: 451
Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
You must not have had many diagnostics done. A fee for that has been standard, at dealerships and most independents, for a couple decades. Many places will waive it if they do the repairs.

Some of the other stuff years you mentioned is recommended maintenance outlined in the Owner's Manual, especially fluids.
Not necessarily true, Iíve sat in waiting rooms where the techs come out to individuals waiting for oil changes and hear all kinds of comments regarding fluid changes or maintenance that should be done. Iíve also witnessed this with with several new cars Iíve owned when going for oil changes! They told me to have my tranny fluid changed with less than 20 K miles? I told them what the service manual stated and they said, oh, thatís just a guide, dusty conditions shorten that service? Meanwhile he didnít even know where I drive, definitely not dusty!

They are pushy and need to make money at your expense. You need to be your own advocate and do your own research unless you have too much money to burn!
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Old Today, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
25,303 posts, read 60,665,305 times
Reputation: 28036
It is shocking they charge you for something any auto parts store will do for free. In fact, for $120 you can buy your own scanner and have money left over. If you can operate google, you can hook up and read a scanner. There is nothing special about it.

I had my truck at the dealership recently to reprogram my key fobs that had stopped working ($80). During the reprogramming process they ran the battery down and had to jump start it ($60). Admittedly the battery needs replacing, but a jump takes seconds in a shop and they were the ones who ran it down.

What bothers me the most about dealership shops is how long they take. You have to leave your vehicles there for days just to get some simple job done. I asked them to call me when they have some time I would run it over right then. No, it has to sit there for several days. They tell you up front it will be here fro at least three days. I think it is some sort of game they are playing. Indy mechanics do not do that. I am not sure what the angle is, maybe they are trying to make you frustrated with repairs so you buy a new vehicle.
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Old Today, 08:32 AM
 
Location: trapped in the body of a dying animal
3,362 posts, read 1,437,779 times
Reputation: 3571
It's shocking that mechanics won't work for free!

And of course fixing it yourself is out of the question...
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Old Today, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
9,030 posts, read 9,360,899 times
Reputation: 12592
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samiamnh View Post
I was charged $120 "diagnostic fee"
That fee has always existed. Anytime they hook your car up to the code reader, you pay a ~$100 fee. Pretty standard as there is a little diagnostic work the dealer will do in addition to pulling codes.


Code readers have only recently become cheap, so now it seems outrageous given how easy it is to pull codes, but a decade or so ago nobody had them unless you wanted t pay $300-500 for one.

Last edited by BostonMike7; Today at 09:27 AM..
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Old Today, 09:04 AM
 
320 posts, read 264,876 times
Reputation: 589
One other piece here is that code readers don't always spit out the exact thing that needs fixing. So there is still some diagnosis needed with codes. But not all. I've always thought the best way to do it would be to charge a diagnostic fee, but waive it if the customer decides to have the repair work done at your shop. That eliminates the people that game the system and just want a free diagnosis.

I can argue both sides of the techs doing the routine maintenance checks and coming out to talk to customers with recommendations. They are always going to recommend the "severe" schedule because it is the most conservative and also makes them the most $$. AKA oil changes at 3,000 miles for everyone. Ultimately, its up to the owner to understand which maintenance schedule they should be following.
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Old Today, 09:19 AM
 
2,352 posts, read 2,782,237 times
Reputation: 1624
I have a $60 reader that allows me to get enough detail to figure out the problem on my own. It also helps to clear codes as well because that stupid light is very frustrating to see sometimes.

It is by no means some $300 reader that is going to give me color coded details of the car, but it runs a diagnostic and gets me what I need. Most shops waive the fee if you get it fixed there, but don't forget for all that a code reader can do today, sometimes you are not going to get the answer from plugging it in. A brake squeal or belt noise may not flash a code but require the tech to take time from their day to look over the car, test drive it, recreate the problem. So they have the fee to help recoup their cost of labor.
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Old Today, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
9,030 posts, read 9,360,899 times
Reputation: 12592
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWG1572 View Post
One other piece here is that code readers don't always spit out the exact thing that needs fixing. So there is still some diagnosis needed with codes. But not all. I've always thought the best way to do it would be to charge a diagnostic fee, but waive it if the customer decides to have the repair work done at your shop. That eliminates the people that game the system and just want a free diagnosis. .
Great point and you are correct. Some shops do waive the fee if you have the repair performed, but you are also right there is some diagnostic work that goes into it along with reading the code. If you get a P0304 code which is a misfire, you still need to determine if the cause is a coil pack, spark plug, injector or compression issue. Usually there's a few quick test the tech can do to narrow it down, and then present the customer with the repair.

In some cases, the customer can do it themselves, so the dealer should be compensated for their time.
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Old Today, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Central New Jersey
2,030 posts, read 706,946 times
Reputation: 3450
OP could save a lotta money by doing most repairs themselves.
You've got a code reader so you already know what it is. I do most my own work. Matter of fact the last 4 weekens I've done work to 3 of 5 of my vehicles. Nothing major but coulda been major costs if I had taken it to a dealership instead of rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty.
Google and YouTube are your friends. Oftentimes a repair fix is relatively easy once your shown how its done.
Any mechanic, dealer or private garage, needs to get compensated for their time. It's only fair that they charge a fee IMO.
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