With its well-refined, majestic lines, a Mercedes car has always evoked desire in both drivers and passengers alike. The epitome of a superior, classy, almost aristocratic continental car, Mercedes has always been particularly adept at turning heads, from the understated elegance of an A-class to the stately S-class. However, the exclusive standing which it confers to its owners comes with a lofty price tag. Owning a Mercedes often costs more to acquire, when compared to Japanese makes of the same vehicle class. There is a premium on the cost price, servicing and repairs are likewise more expensive. A routine servicing for Mercedes under Service A and B costs between SG$250 to SG$500, while major servicing costs up to SG$1,200.
With repair expenses taking up a large proportion of the cost of owning a Mercedes, looking for a reliable Mercedes Benz servicing workshop is paramount. The difference between a trustworthy garage versus one that is not, could well be a wallet that is several thousand dollars lighter. The primary concern of all workshops is to generate profits and some may employ methods that range from the ubiquitous upselling marketing spiel to short changing customers on the services it offers.
Here are some ways that your Mercedes workshop could be overcharging you.
Topping off Fluids
Changing the engine oil is recommended for every 10,000km travelled or every 6 months, whichever is earlier. However, this rule of thumb has not kept up with advances in oil and lubrication technology. These days, engine oil can last between 10,000km to 15,000km before it has to be replenished, even for a continental car like the Mercedes which can run up to 20,000km between oil changes if synthetic oil is used. This, however, is not the main ruse. Since most cars come in on a regular basis to change the engine oil, it’s the perfect time to package the sale and refill other fluids such as coolant flushes, trans flushes, power steering flushes…. That is where the cost adds up.
It is important to recognise that the customer can choose to reject these services and if they are accepted, it is perfectly alright to request to have the empty bottles afterwards. This is to ensure that the specified genuine brand and quality of fluids are used, and that a new bottle was opened for this purpose. Otherwise, a cheaper alternative brand could be utilised or in certain cases, the leftovers from previous customers could be re-used.
Most people send in their Mercedes for servicing and choose between one of the three packages. However, each of these contain a predetermined list of items to replace. These include the oil filter and the air filter which may not be totally worn out yet. It is also at this point that other items such as the spark plugs, brake pads, gaskets, drive belt or even tyres are accessed and recommended for replacement.
Asking for the replaced items just to check the state of wear and whether it is appropriate to be discarded, as well as knowing some basic knowledge about car maintenance would go a long way to determine if the workshop is trying to make a little more money out of you.
Installing New Parts
Often, being informed that certain car parts have to be changed are accompanied by unpleasant warnings of what further damage could result if the same parts are not changed. Sometimes, this can be innocuous like driving with a damaged CV boot which initially manifests itself as an irritating squeaking sound when the car is driven but can result in much more serious and expensive damage. Changing the items outright is the most conservative solution but there are several other options that are much cheaper such as repairing the damaged part or sourcing for generic replacements.
How many times have drivers gone into a workshop for minor issues and been diagnosed with multiple expensive problems? It is not uncommon amongst dishonest mechanics to fabricate phantom car problems. Often, seeking a second opinion is a good way of putting one’s mind at ease as to which decision to take.
The stories recounted read like an urban legend. When visiting an unfamiliar workshop, a dishonest mechanic could swap out your newer parts with older ones, only to sell yours at a higher price later on. Similarly, inferior parts or refurbished parts could also be installed and your newer ones taken out. A different spin on this trick is installing used parts and selling them as brand new.
Charging for work not done is one of the most egregious examples of dishonesty that can happen. This can apply to the charge for parts that were allegedly installed when none were put in and also for the labour charges on work that was not done.
The only way to avoid such scams is to visit reputable Mercedes Benz workshops or build up a relationship with a trustworthy car workshop offering Mercedes Benz services.
This is a little hard to justify but being aware of competitors’ rates can help with making a choice on which workshop to visit. In many instances, overcharging is most effective when you are caught in a situation without an alternative. For instance, vehicle towing services are required when there is an accident, or if roadside assistance is necessary due to a faulty battery. In this case, the driver will have no choice but to accept any brand of battery, even if the price is inflated.
At the very heart of the matter, is trust. With shady mechanics, they first confuse you, then they distress you, and finally they overcharge you. Very often, most would be none the wiser therefore, it always pays dividends over the long run when you entrust a vehicle to a dependable workshop. ETHOZ, having offered Mercedes-Benz servicing for many years, prides itself on being a credible, knowledgeable and quality-assured automotive partner. At its service centers, Mercedes-Benz owners can be assured of premium service at reasonable package rates, with even more savings and perks as a member. Its comprehensive, up to 39-point vehicle health check has the same stringent standard applied to its large fleet of vehicles that has formed a significant portion of its leasing business for over 40-years. It is this long-standing assurance of excellence provided by ETHOZ’s skilled team of automotive experts that sets every client’s mind at ease.