What are the pro and cons of bringing a modified car into the dealer for work? Should you even bring them to the dealer? This can be a hot issue from a technician standpoint, as well as a customer standpoint. For the most part it is not an issue. Plus we don't see a ton of modified cars at the dealership.
Do you bring your modified car to the dealership for work?
Join me today as we break down:
Cool part about modified cars at the dealership
Well modified cars are great
Poorly modified cars are not so great
Why modified cars may be more work for the technician
Areas where modified cars are a problem
How modified cars impact labor times and work flow
Who pays for repairs under warranty
Being honest about your car mods
It only matters when it matters
Humble Mechanic Podcasts
Failed VW parts videos
How To videos
MK1 VR6 Swap Videos
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First new car I ever bought (I'm 60) and 1st first oil change. I didn't look under the hood and it seems a mouse had built a nest on oil fill cap. I only know this because mouse nest and crap were in the oil fill area. So needless to say, I don't have a good relationship with my dealers service department.
I know this video is old and I'm late but for us the worst is when someone want an alignment and have a lifted/lowered vehicle and then get upset with us when we can't adjust their camber from -4° back to manufacturer specs
Probably the most customized vehicle I have worked on so far was a Ram 3500(4X2) and the only stock thing was 'maybe' the block and it took over 45 minutes to do that oil change because it was one of the 2014-on bodies where the frame has an extra crossmember going directly under the filter. Because of how many mods had lines all around the filter, we ended up basically tearing out basically the entire intake up to the turbo to fit the filter through.
When my Mustang was under warranty most Ford dealerships would not want to touch the car at all. They tried to tell me since the car was modified it had been "raced" so therefore they didn't want to cover anything. Too damn bad!!! So when I had installed Eibach springs and Tokico shocks they tried to tell me that those were the cause of the throw out bearing squealing. I told them to prove this to me, and they couldn't so warranty covered my TOB. In fact, I had my TOB changed twice under warranty. Oh yeah, they also tried to tell me that the short throw shifter messed up the TOB. Again, I called their bullsh*t and it still was fixed.
I worked at toyota for a bit had a bunch of moded tundra tacos and fj' s same deal. You would pick it up a bit quicker but the skid plates front bumper guards with lights and 16 inch wheels with mud slingers and bolted in center caps lol I don't miss that
lol detektiv, you lie or you just want to sound like its too much with the modules... if you fuck something up beyond recovery.. update the module and it puts the car to stock... it takes 20 minutes and costs 40€ .. fucking simple as this... you dont have to go and look and figure crap out, no, you plug it in and press one button, done...
I had a fairly highly modded BMW E46 M3 under warranty still. I was SO lucky to have my local dealer work on it NO PROBLEM. In fact I was given unbelievable breaks and latitude when I broke my half shaft TWICE! LOL.
I did give the shop foreman a bottle of very expensive Single Malt scotch from time to time.
And yes, the guys loved seeing my car. It was well done and most issues had zero to do with my mods. Basically I had very few issues because I must have had a car built on a Wednesday in Germany.
The shop did rent me a car for free for two days while they checked out a clicking noise. It was some after market lug bolts that were too long. They ground them down and DID NOT CHARGE ME A DIME!!!
They never messed with my DCM which DID have a custom tune on it.
I consider my self very very lucky to have a dealer that was so cool.
So modifications aside... If there is a part that is defective (like a timing belt) and it is covered under warranty (legally, by the terms of the warranty contract) but the dealership still charges you, do they turn around and also bill the warranty?
I started working at a Lincoln dealership in Maine back in 1998. I can remember the days of the early 90's to mid 95 Continentals coming in for services and every tech in the building hiding so they wouldn't have to work on them. For those unfamiliar with these they were the 3.8L front wheel drive ones. Also know as the Lincoln Guinea pigs. All the newer technologies were tested out on these models at the time. Which made for a mess of problems. Most were wiring and sensor related. But also the Lincoln air ride suspension was somewhat unique. They also had serious issues related to head gaskets and power steering line blow outs. All of which were major repairs that booked many hours of labor but always took hours more then they called for. I do work on the side and these cars I would actually refuse to work on. That says a lot cause I'll work on anything, factory, modified, custom, and such. But those evil Continentals and quad four pontiac/Gm engine rebuilds are about the only things I refuse to work on. This episode just brought those old memories flooding back. Are there any cars or specific engines that make you feel the same?
I see this a lot working at a Chrysler dealership with Jeep Wranglers. They do all these crazy lives and suspension mods etc then they want stuff fixed under warranty and you have to hassle with them about that. The offroad shop will break their wheel speed sensor when installing their lift, their jeep group in th says bring it in and have it fixed under warranty etc.
I agree, if you modify something let whomever is to do your fixes (garage, dealer, family) know, and don't lie about it. there have been times helping my dad that it turns out a modification they did was the actual culprit but would have meant something else was wrong with a completely stock vehicle. plus if you know your vehicle's modification would make it harder for the mechanic to get the job done saying "thanks" at the least, hopefully more, should be an easy thing to do.
I do minor mods, usually for durability or health boosting in mind. my truck used to be 2 wheel drive because of where I lived. I moved to another state and we made it a 4x4 because we found a truck frame, front axle, and transfer case for a year younger, but same. mine is a 2004 ram 2500 5.9L Cummins with a NV5600 transmission (I greatly enjoy the reliability of my truck) the donor parts were for a 2003. what bothered me was I was told my truck was going to fail inspection because the VIN number said it was a 2x4, but it was obviously a 4x4 (well trying at this point) due to the front axle (though at this time didn't have a 4x4 transmission so nothing was able to drive the front axle). it passed but it was because one of the guys at the autoparts store next door was in and noticed the truck, knew it was mine and said what we had done. for all I know it could have been the autoparts guy made up story to look better, but if it is true is bugs me that it would fail because they ran the VIN number and it came back as a 2x4. currently I look at it as a "are you serious story" with some laughs. if it had failed I wouldn't have been happy. with what my family and I did the ONLY way anyone could tell it wasn't originally a 2x4 is if they looked up the vin number. other than that it seems completely factory, and in a sense is since it is all the correct parts, just from 2 different trucks that have about a year difference
keep up the great work
I hate trying to sift through what a customer tells you and what is the truth usually the 2nd time around you get the my cousin Jim bob cooter try to fix her and now it’s been molested and worse then it was to begin
I modify my computer, if there is an issue, I know how to fix it myself, I understand it completely. I can ID sounds made if its software or Hardware. I feel if you mod cars yourself to that degree, you should be able to do the same.
shut up and fix my 92 corrado with 4motion VRT swap and it better be under warranty lol the only problem ive ever had with dealer/mechanics has been with stainless steel exhaust flex hoses (for me they always brake same spot every time, on different cars too lol) but trying to find some place to replace it or repair it has been a huge problem for me, other wise ive never really had a problem with modified cars and dealing with shops or dealer ships(even when the car wasnt mine, dropped a buddies off once for service) but i think honesty plays a big part
If you're going to change stuff in VAG-com, make a list of mods with the original factory coding so you can either set it back to factory or let your tech know beforehand. It's like any other coding, comment comment comment. In this case the comments are not in the code but no matter how you document changes...document! Saves everyone a whole lot of time.
Some are.. Many are just hard working dudes and chicks trying to do good work. But saying it that way is the same as saying all customers are assholes.. Many of my customers were awesome. I got to see their kids grow up, go off to college, and so on. I am even good friends with many of them outside of the dealer.
No offence Charles,. but I know for sure that if it was Me, I probably wouldn't say anything cause many People who've Modded, know that as soon as they admit it, the Dealer is gonna suck through His/Her teeth, and say "It's gonna cost Ya.!"
But I totally get that it's gonna really help the Diag...
I agree bro i had so many customers bringing a vehicle in complaining about a problem and then not telling you that it's got a ecu piggyback on it or pedal booster. So yeah i feal you man
thanx for the video bro
I'm a rat! If I get a modified truck in my work bay especially diesels, I contact the manufacturer, do a data drop from the vehicle and information from all the modules on that truck is uploaded to the corporate servers. Usually end up in a warranty restriction being placed on the vehicle.
my opinion on moded vehicles is this, if ur gonna mod a "under warranty" vehicle make the simple ones first. intake exhaust and ECM tune. just tell the tech that it's got bolt on mods. there cheap and benefit your vehicle. and with ECM tuners most if not all of them save the factory settings before they tune. I have taken my ram into dodge with an ecm issue and the tech asked me to reinstall the factory tune cuz the mod tune was not allowing him to fix the issue. (it was a m.a.s mapping issue found out the sensor was bad) and the tech liked my truck so much he offered to buy it that day from me. (I guess the test drive seal the deal on that) so anyways I'm waiting until my truck is paid off even though I drove it out of warranty 6k miles ago. and I think that's all anyone should do until the vehicle is out of warranty power train wise.
so inshort if ur going to have custom mods on a car make sure ur the one moding it and understand engineering.its like me going to best buy with my PC that I build and saying hey I need this fix then leave, no u don't do that u come in and u explain how it's all set up and everything and tell them in detail whats going on and work with them. earring is caring
Now that I think we can agree on. There are times however that dealers are really fair in their pricing. The dealer I worked at was cheaper for an oil change than most of the jiffy change places. When you compare like for like oil change
As soon as he said I change the stuff/things/settings back to OEM in order to fix your problem I stopped watching. I could endure these "mechanics" aka fitters bitching and not wanting to do the work on a modded car but at least be upfront honest with your customer.
I drive a mildly modified Mitsubishi. I take my car to the Dealership all the time, I know the Managers, Staff, and Techs, etc. they all know the work I have done. If my car ends up running the tech some time, I will always take care of the tech who performed the work. The way I look at it, the tech takes care of my car so I will do the same in return, whether its giving them $20 bucks on the side or a case of Monster or Gatorade because I know they have a long day.
When I was working as a tyre fitter I had this guy come in with a Mk4 Golf R32 and he was very much in love with his car and did not hesitate to tell us all about it. It came in for a tracking (wheel alignment) as the car was pulling to one side. Now at first sight the car looked and pretty much sounded like a R32 so at no point did I need to question it being a R32. The problem came when I was under the car and having put it in the air I realised the centre section of the exhaust was very small for a R32. As I got under the engine to get to the track rod ends I started to notice that the engine was also very small for what the car was so I asked the guy what engine was in the car as I needed to know for the tracking geometry. He said that it was a R32. So now knowing that it was not by looking at the sump and the standard middle section of the exhaust going to these custom twin cans sticking out the back I then asked what engine size is it really? He very sheepishly responded 1.4.
Now, I'm not judging the guy for driving a replica R32 and it was a very good rep. Exterior, interior, wheels, everything! But don't assume I'm just some dumb ass tyre fitter. I was a fully trained vehicle tech and quickly realised it was a sheep in wolfs clothing. The bit that made me laugh was he was as bold as brass at telling me it was a R32 before hand and bragged at how "fast" it was. Silly billy!
And for needing to know the engine size to begin with? Our alignment chart is ordered by brand, model and engine size and each car differs in alignment in accordance to these. Thus needing to know.
I'll never forget that. Made me and my colleagues chuckle for days XD
Be it age or modification, at some point no manufacturer shops will even look at your car. When I was a kid I installed side draft carbs on my car and couldn't even pay the dealer shop to replace the clutch. I even offered to let them nullify any warranty, but no go. I get a sense that "point" is different from one dealer/service manager to the next though. Today if I drove my modified 1972 Datsun 510 into a Nissan shop they would't even know what they were looking at.
The problem you run into with a 72 Datsun 510 is everyone at the dealer was born well after the car was made. You don't see too many seasoned "old timers" in dealers these days because the young guys know it all and will work for peanuts compared to a guy in his 50s or 60s, who might know that the OEM dual point distributor was put there for emissions and the second set of points was supposed to be adjusted for a 5 degree offset on the timing. They also wont have a clue about those "flat top" carbs in the 260Z that had vapor lock issues due to a thermostat problem. Yeah, they had coolant lines under the carbs to keep them warm in cold weather for emissions. In that era you needed a brain to fix a car, not a computer. Back in the day we charged a full 8 hours flat rate to clean and overhaul those 260Z carbs, and when it left it was running like a Swiss watch while still meeting factory specs. A good technician could go through the stock carbs, do it in maybe 5-6 hours, and still make money for himself, while making the customer happy. Today they'd rip it out and screw on some aftermarket stuff then wonder why there were quirks!
I've had pretty good experience with my dealer. The only thing that made me laugh was that the service adviser told me that the mechanic recommended on my next check in to do a fuel system clean because "These new GDI engines are known to produce excessive carbon build up on the injectors." The problem is my car is like 3 model years before they had GDI.
When I was 15 I bought a modified Volvo 242. They had converted it to a pickup but it was all healed together by epoxy and underneath the truck bed it was filed with water and tangled unconnected wires plus there was a hole in the floor so you could see the driveshaft spinning while driving it...
No I didn't mean like international modifications. They just did a really horrible job converting it so the rain got into the car and almost short-circuited it and the rust made that hole in the floor.
if i bought it new, i wouldn't modify it until the warranty runs out. but i have never bought new or had a warranty so i just modify away. also dealer rates are too high typically so unless it is a real specialty item or i know the tech has the solution i need, i stay away from the dealer.
I bought my current car new and did a few mods in the warranty period. I simply discussed my plans before doing them and I didn't do anything they didn't like me doing. I also chose my dealership based on how open they are about mods. Why would you buy a car you know you'll modify at a dealership that doesn't know or approve your plans?
Our local dealership is where I used to take my car for service. I have a full cat-back magnaflow exhaust on the 3.6L VR6. There's always that one tech there that would come out to say hey to me when he heard it roll into the shop bay. However, I started taking it to a local Euro shop that only deals with VW, Audi, and Mini. They're ALL enthusiasts and all have a wonderful time working on my car. Owner of the shop has a lower'd Audi wagon and a lower'd MKVI GTI. Such an awesome community to be a part of.
Indeed, and when I sealed the deal that I'd be bringing it back there for future services, they gave me a bunch of stickers, ECS tuning lanyard, and a hat. Something you may not always get going to the dealer. XD
VW wont even work on my car haha. Slammed, tuned, modified 2 the extend that nothing is original anymore... changed engine, platework, interior everyting haha... The VW dealer looks at it, say nice car dude, but we are not going to work on it... too much out of the books. even ordering parts is difficult...
Years in the trade and never ever got a true story from the customer until I told them ,NO YOU'RE trying to bullshit me,then they tell the truth. I don't care about the water pump,brakes ,window .Unless it is 100% related.Why do people think they can pull one over on a teck who does this every day? It pisses me off and I will find anyway to charge more if someone LIES!
I made the mistake once... My car had a problem with acceleration and the car wouldn't go past 15 mph (Somebody told me that the engine was in "Defense mode"). The dealership spent 4 hours on the car trying to solve the problem, and it finally came to the conclusion that the engine was doing that because I changed my rear lights to some LED ones. As the car is 2 years old, they are so many computers on the car that check every electric circuit that one of them was picking up that my rear lights weren't working at all... So it cost me nearly 475$ (104.95$ per hour, times four, plus 14.975% taxes, plus brand new 3rd brake light. as it was broken) to know that the 120$ pair of Plasma LED I bought on eBay didn't fit on my car.
TL;DR : Cost me 600$ to upgrade something that didn't fit on my car, because technology
I agree with you about communicating with your Tech and Service Writer about mods. Before i bought my tiguan i talked with the service writer who than set me up with the 2 techs i should work with. The tiguan only gets worked on by them and ill wait in line to work with the service writer i trust. They do what is requested which is just oil changes and i make sure the tiguan is aired up so its easy for lift access.
HumbleMechanic i understamd that but what could really go wrong from doing the muffler and resonator delete. still have stock down pipe .. i put the stock intake in whenever it looks like rain. domt want to suck any water in it
Having to think about something critically shouldn't have to be seen as an inconvenience. It should offer a mental challenge. Which after Passat after Passat I would think that a challenge would be welcome & refreshing.
The Infiniti dealership refused to even scan the codes on my G35 because I had an intake. I do 99% of the work on my car but I had no idea the reason that it shut off while driving was because the fuel pump went out.
lol have had a corolla and a Camry now. They're okay just not everything I'd like them to be. Im pretty sure HumbleMechanic works close enough to Jason in Colorado. What I want: used sedan under 10 years old....must have horsepower > 165 and weigh less that 3400lbs
Your question is way too vague. You didnt even say what country youre in so even if you did get a response like "yeah, always buy a marmaduke skyhigh, and nothing else ever its the best car in existence" but then you say "oh well we dont have that in Scandinavia, what else?". Its requires personal research of what you need, what you want, and what you like, but failing that, just get a toyota corolla
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