What to do with an incompetent service department

CansIt’s like some people don’t want our money. If I ran a dealership, one of my main concerns would be making sure customers are happy (so that they come back and buy more cars from me.) This is not the case at the dealership where we bought our 2006 Chevy Uplander (Riverton Chevy.) My wife has been the one to take our Uplander in for the free oil changes we got with our minivan…er…crossover. Every time she has gone in, I get to hear from her about the condescending tone they take with her and how much they suck. It takes them hours to do an oil change and last I checked it’s not fun to entertain two young kids for hours in a waiting room.

Recently, she took it in for some work covered under warranty. There were a few noises in the suspension that really annoyed her. There was also an annoying flicker in all the lights which really annoyed me.

They called her shortly after dropping it off to inform her that they would be able to fix the noises but weren’t able to see a problem that would cause the lights to flicker. They said they wouldn’t be able to fix it. I called them back and quickly asked if they were incapable of fixing the car. They dodged that question and said they’d see what they could do. I went in to pick it up when the “work” was finished to find that they hadn’t done anything about the flicker. The guy said, “Well, if it’s a problem, it will get worse and you can bring it in then.” I was a bit upset and told him that he was welcome to keep it overnight so he could see what it looks like in the dark. He showed no interest in that. I got the impression that he was long gone from the dealership by the time 5:00 rolled around. What an idiot.

I asked him if there were any TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) that referred to this issue, he said he was unable to find any. Luckily, I had previously done my own research and found one. I asked him if he could look up a number for me. He looked up the one I found and voila! the TSB states “HEADLIGHTS AND INTERIOR LIGHTS FLICKER.” Hmm…looks like a perfect description of the problem to me. What an idiot.

So, it turns out it was a bad voltage regulator on the alternator. They ordered the part and a week later it was fixed. It is so nice to drive around and not have those lights flickering anymore. I find it very disappointing that I had to do the footwork to isolate the problem for someone who is supposedly an expert in their field. What an idiot.

I’m so glad that we’re out of those free oil change coupons too (as is my wife.) I’ll encourage her to post a comment here with her version of the story since it will be much more entertaining than mine. Since the coupons are gone, I’ll be doing the maintenance on our Uplander now (which I really enjoy.)

In short, what do you do with an incompetent service department? Do their work for them and find someone else to help you next time.