With only days away from my big Texas Road Trip, you can already bet that I’m scrambling to get everything in order between squeezing in those last few days of work and packing before hitting the road. Since I’ll be trekking in my little 2010 Mazda3 Sedan from NJ to Texas and back, I definitely needed to take my car in for an oil change prior to the trip.
It’s bad enough being a woman and taking your car to get serviced, so I usually present myself in a knowledgeable and firm way to avoid getting ripped off. I’ve been maintaining my own cars since I was 17, so don’t assume I am too much of a bargainista leading me to neglect the maintenance and upkeep of my car. In fact, I still have my car from high school – a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire with over 130K miles on it, and it runs like a charm.
My experience I had on Saturday at my car dealership’s service center was utterly ridiculous. Before I get into details, allow me provide you with a back story. In August 2010, I treated myself and purchased a brand new car. Fast-forward 18 months, my little Mazda3 has roughly 25,000 miles on it, and I make it a point to take it in to get serviced every 5,000 miles or so since I do a lot of highway driving. My servicing has never cost me more than $50 for a basic oil change/tune-up/tire rotation. However, things were a little different this time around.
On Saturday, I pulled into Mazda’s service center and told them that I’d like a routine oil change. All is good so far. I then start chit-chatting with the service manager while my car is on the lift, and somehow I slipped that I’ll be driving round trip to Texas this week (mistake). After the conversation dies, I help myself to some tea and a magazine to pass time while waiting.
Fifteen minutes pass and the mechanic comes out to talk to me. He presents me with a list totaling over $650 worth of services I need!! I honestly though it was a joke until he actually starts going over each charge with me. He told me I’d be needing a transmission flush for $200, power-steering fluid, new coolant, new wipers, radiator flush of some sort, and a bunch of other random replacements. There was no way I’d be giving in to this non-sense.
Granted I’m no mechanic, but heck, I’m not an idiot either! Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Listen, my car is a little over a year old with only 25,000 miles on it; I’m shocked that there are all of these things “wrong” with it. I’m happy with just the oil change and air filter for the time being since I have been regularly maintaining it without a problem.
Mechanic: Well, it’s extremely necessary that you go ahead and go with the mechanic’s recommendations. After all, you are going to Texas. You want to be safe, right?
Me: My car has been running fine, and I’ve been following the manual as far as scheduled maintenance.
Mechanic: Well your transmission fluid is brown, a flush will remove all of the burnt sediment.
Me: Well you and I already know that my car is new, I find it hard to believe that I’ll be needing all of those recommended services at this time, but like I said before, I’ll stick to an oil change and new air filter.
What really irked me about this experience is that it happens all the time to [most] women. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve taken my car in for service and have been pressured to spend hundreds of dollars more. However, when I go in with a male friend, somehow “my car is running like new”. Hmmm…
To sum up my rant, I’ll leave you off with something my friend Sheldon posted on my Facebook status thread regarding this situation: “I have told you and every woman this for years. If you’re not related to or sleeping with a mechanic, they will continue to take advantage of you throughout your life.”
P.S. On a much happier note, I want to welcome all of my new readers from my recent interview with Million Mile Secrets! Do note that I don’t always rant LOL. I look forward to sharing stories of how I have earned points and miles. Stay tuned! :)