Excellent anser by GaryT, as always, including detailed explanations.
I have seven years’ experience in installing car alarms, remote starters, and other electronics at various car dealerships. I’ve come to know many service writers, managers, and mechanics.
Once I was at the local Infiniti dealership just after closing time, and the rep from BG Products was there showing the technicians how to use their newly-acquired power steering fluid flush machine. I walked over and took a look at what was going on.
The rep actually did quite a good and detailed job of showing how to use the machine and how to perform the service.
The next day, the service writers all had sales literature on their desks, including vials of clean and “dirty” fluid, and a place mat showing someone having difficulty steering their car.
Interestingly, the generic car dashboard pictured in the place mat was that of a 2004-2006 Chevrolet Malibu, one of the few cars equipped with electric power steering, and therefore no hydraulic fluid to replace!
It’s clear that the companies who sell and set up these machines are well-run, what with the literature, the trainings, the fancy machine and whatnot.
Here’s what I think you’ll encounter if you complain about this sales pitch at the dealership:
–The service writers might know more about cars than the average person, but they’re salespeople, not mechanics. They’ve seen the slick presentations from the company that makes the machine, and probably believe them. They’re also happy to make a good commission selling the service.
–Some of the mechanics might believe the service is worthwhile, while the sharper ones won’t fall for it. Regardless, they’re not going to admit that to the customers and get in trouble with the boss.
–The service manager will certainly know that the whole thing has been brought on board as something to make extra money, but he also might not see it as an unneccessary repair.
–Surely everyone at the dealership will stick to the story that their customers drive under more severe conditions than other Honda owners, or live in a harsher climate, or something like that. They’ll tell you that they’ve come up with their own service and maintence schedule that’s somehow “better” than what the factory specifies. They’ll point out that many of their customers opt for this service and rarely have power steering problems. (That last phrase would be true, except they wouldn’t have had problems even without the treatment.)
–They’re far too clever to do anything so foolish that you could outright call it a “scam” and get them in some kind of trouble. Like Gary said, it’s unneccessary, costly, sold with scare tactics…it may be hard for an honest person to say it with a straight face, but it is technically still “preventive maintenance.”
You might choose to speak with, or write to, either the general manager or the owner of the dealership. You could remind them that you bought your Honda in part because it was supposed to both reliable and inexpensive to maintain, and that you don’t appreciate being pressured to purchase unnecessary services. Remind them that if this “service” were so important, Honda would have included it in the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.
Link to the BG Products site: Link: http://www.bgprod.com/products/steering.html