Get your brains out of the gutter people – this is about oil changes! This entry is on the age-old topic of when finances meet car maintenance.
I believe in dedicated car maintenance: when your mechanic knows your specific car, such has been your loyalty. You know, reliability and maybe even freebies. So I started out this way with my Subaru dealership. But I stopped going to the dealership promptly after my promotional 2 years of free services were up, and started going to a Subaru specialist garage nearby. Prices are basically the same with better discounts on larger services (e.g., $400 vs. dealership quote of $589 for 30k mile service). So why did I do this? Mainly I go to this other garage because the people are nicer, and it’s easier to get in there.
For some reason, the service shop at the Subaru dealership is always booked 3 weeks out, and the smug mechanics are always acting like they are doing you a favor when they book your service a month away. And when you actually get to your scheduled service reservation, the service does not begin on time! Because they are running late, working on other peoples’ cars! Over time I decided this is just not worth it. Not so much money-wise but time-wise and hassle-wise. The cheerful people at the specialty shop have their edge just with bedside manor.
Enter the free oil change coupon. The dealership is starting to send me free things right on queue now that I’ve left. Normally I would see something totally FREE and feel like I’ve won! But even in my heightened, crazed level of frugality, I think I might walk away from this coupon. If that dealership weren’t so hard to deal with, I would still be going there per my 1 mechanic philosophy.
I actually already tried to schedule this “free” maintenance event via the dealership’s convenient email correspondence booking system, and it went like this:
Me: “Need an oil change. Got anything free on 6/21?”
Subie Guy: “No, we are booked through 7/2. Try again.”
Me: “I am out of town then. How about 7/11 or 7/12?”
Subie Guy: “Both are open.”
Me: “OK……. …… 7/11 then?”
Subie Guy: “Our records show your car is actually due for a 30k mile service. It will take 5 hours and costs $589. Plan to arrive by 10:30am. Reply to confirm this appointment.”
This is where I would have to “admit” to these jerks that I have already done my 30k service elsewhere, and am just trying to use a free oil change coupon. An added hassle. I don’t usually like to underscore my usage of coupons.
So there is no winning in this situation I think. I have also considered trying to sell my free coupon for like $20 on craigslist. Guess that’s probably illegal.
I’m willing to do plenty of things these days to save a buck, and better yet 34 of them, but wasting my time and putting up with arrogance from car mechanics is just not making the cut. Would you suck it up and use this coupon given the above? Better yet, do you have a Subaru and have anything to barter for a free oil change coupon? 🙂