Jun 2, 2019 update to the Honda Civic Si Coupe project car

Project Civic Si: OMG, We Let the Dealer Service It

Of course there’s something satisfying in doing it yourself.

And, we have to admit, sometimes it’s nice to kick back and let someone else do the heavy lifting. After two track outings–well, we’re not counting the aborted one at Daytona–we figured it was time to change the oil in our 2019 Honda Civic Si. Call it mechanic sympathy.

We did the math. Buying four quarts of synthetic oil plus a filter would cost us about $40. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less.

Our local Honda dealer offered an online coupon: $39.95 for a full synthetic oil change. That included an OE filter plus an alignment check and a car wash. Sold.

We booked the appointment online, and the day of the service we were greeted in an air-conditioned reception area. They did the work while we hung out in the comfy waiting area: free Wi-Fi, a kids play area and four giant TV viewing areas.

More signs that showed that they knew we were coming: The B-52’s playing in the showroom, a new Type R on display, and “The Rockford Files” on one of those screens. (Eleven minutes in, though, and Jim was already getting beat up.)

They said that the service would take an hour. What we’d do? Get some writing done–including the update that you’re reading now. (No food was offered, though, as it looked like their Bistro was closed for some reason.)

An hour and five minutes after arriving, the car returned, serviced, washed and ready to go. They said that the alignment was within factory specs. No one commented about our various tech stickers.

On the way home, we made a stop: Speedcom Communications, where we picked up a fresh Roux helmet.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/2/19 8:51 a.m.

Bumping the thread up. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/2/19 6:36 p.m.

And check this out.

I tweeted something about catching some Rockford Files while getting the car serviced. And it was retweeted by Gigi Garner, James Garner's daughter.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
6/2/19 8:21 p.m.

I love your long-term stories in general, but man..... you refer to an oil change as "the heavy lifting" , and then make an actual post about sitting at a dealer. Grassroots level 0.1 out of 10 ;)

So, I'm just posting this so you don't feel so bad that nobody is posting in this thread ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
6/2/19 8:33 p.m.

I'm glad you were well treated, but... for an hour of general building overhead, plus a guy to wash the car, plus a guy to check the alignment, plus a guy to change the oil, plus the oil itself, plus a filter, you handed over less than the cost of buying just the oil and filter at retail.  I'm not a Harvard MBA (or one of the Baruth brothers), but this doesn't sound sustainable to me.  I'm not totally surprised the bistro was closed.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
6/2/19 8:59 p.m.
Stealthtercel said:

I'm glad you were well treated, but... for an hour of general building overhead, plus a guy to wash the car, plus a guy to check the alignment, plus a guy to change the oil, plus the oil itself, plus a filter, you handed over less than the cost of buying just the oil and filter at retail.  I'm not a Harvard MBA (or one of the Baruth brothers), but this doesn't sound sustainable to me.  I'm not totally surprised the bistro was closed.

It's sustainable because that same dealer is making millions a year charging "non-GRM" customers (read: the 99% of the populace who doesn't know jack about cars) for bullE36 M3 they don't actually need done to their cars, and $1000 "scheduled maintenance" packages (oil change, filters, rotate tires, fill washer fluid) or hugely-marked-up OEM parts..

 

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/2/19 11:04 p.m.
irish44j said:
Stealthtercel said:

I'm glad you were well treated, but... for an hour of general building overhead, plus a guy to wash the car, plus a guy to check the alignment, plus a guy to change the oil, plus the oil itself, plus a filter, you handed over less than the cost of buying just the oil and filter at retail.  I'm not a Harvard MBA (or one of the Baruth brothers), but this doesn't sound sustainable to me.  I'm not totally surprised the bistro was closed.

It's sustainable because that same dealer is making millions a year charging "non-GRM" customers (read: the 99% of the populace who doesn't know jack about cars) for bullE36 M3 they don't actually need done to their cars, and $1000 "scheduled maintenance" packages (oil change, filters, rotate tires, fill washer fluid) or hugely-marked-up OEM parts..

 

Or its a minimal profit or partial loss leader to bring people in and then the dealership can build a relationship and over time recommend services and maintenance as it's needed by building a loyalty and trust level. 

there are bad dealers/shops/people out there. it does not mean everyone is. 

just because a oil change is inexpensive, does not make it a bad deal or a lead into a scam. 

dealerships, more than any time in the past, have to live and die by surveys from the manufacturer and 3rd party reviews on the internet. 

people cross shop repairs and maintenance if it feels expensive or as if they are being taken advantage of. this is why building these relationships is more crucial than ever. it can be the difference of you getting business if you're slightly more expensive than another shop. 

 

 

 

 

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
6/2/19 11:04 p.m.

Why do they call it "mechanical sympathy?"  It sounds like feeling sorry for the car.  Shouldn't it be mechanical empathy?  Meaning you understand what the car needs?

StuntmanMike
StuntmanMike New Reader
6/4/19 6:12 a.m.

I try to remove my track stickers before i take mine in. Lots of random comments that sound unfavorable towards the result of their work.

tcora
tcora New Reader
6/5/19 8:56 p.m.

I've done the same math. When the dealer will do the entire job for less than I have to pay for materials, what's the downside? I don't see one.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/6/19 8:15 a.m.
tcora said:

I've done the same math. When the dealer will do the entire job for less than I have to pay for materials, what's the downside? I don't see one.

There isn't. But it's a car forum, people will demand your man card if you can't rebuild your engine in a day while smoking a pork butt.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/6/19 9:45 a.m.

That paradox of "it's the same cost or cheaper than the materials for me to do it myself" is always on my mind; but, if I'm at WalMart while simultaneously browsing Amazon I can get all the materials to my house in an evening and knock out the oil change at my convenience without having to deal with a dealership. The upside to the dealer is they do the disposal of the waste for you. 

IDK having worked at Honda for many years and knowing the quality of talent they put in the lube tech spots, I'd be doing them myself. The mishaps that never made their way to the customer when I was there make me never ever ever ever trust dealerships LOL. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/6/19 10:29 a.m.
DirtyBird222 said:

That paradox of "it's the same cost or cheaper than the materials for me to do it myself" is always on my mind; but, if I'm at WalMart while simultaneously browsing Amazon I can get all the materials to my house in an evening and knock out the oil change at my convenience without having to deal with a dealership. The upside to the dealer is they do the disposal of the waste for you. 

IDK having worked at Honda for many years and knowing the quality of talent they put in the lube tech spots, I'd be doing them myself. The mishaps that never made their way to the customer when I was there make me never ever ever ever trust dealerships LOL. 

To be fair, I don't use the dealership, I use my loca BMW/Exotic indy shop. The last time I went in for an oil leak, they had a Saleen S7, a Lambo, and 458 in the shop as well.

I looked at my last invoice, because he gets a better price on the full-syn and oil filter, it costs me about $15 in labor to sit in lobby and connect to the WiFi and work. No disposal for me, no crawling around in the garage, etc. 

Totally worth it.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/6/19 10:33 a.m.
tcora said:

I've done the same math. When the dealer will do the entire job for less than I have to pay for materials, what's the downside? I don't see one.

For me, it's finding time to get to the dealer during a work day, waiting around while they do it, then fending off the service manager's upsell.

It's easier just to do it myself at my convenience in most cases.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
6/7/19 2:53 a.m.

If the dealer charges less for an oil change than the cost of the oil/filter alone, then the customer gets that message that this is a place with great prices that doesn’t rip you off. They’ll probably be more likely to trust you for bigger and much more costly jobs when they arise. 

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
6/7/19 6:33 a.m.

I've seen the f-ups up close and personal of "quickly lube" techs from all places...

That's why I still do my own. FLAPS will take the used oil without issue, even when I bring in 15 gals worth. laugh

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/7/19 6:50 a.m.
Ranger50 said:

I've seen the f-ups up close and personal of "quickly lube" techs from all places...

That's why I still do my own. FLAPS will take the used oil without issue, even when I bring in 15 gals worth. laugh

We are all talking about dealerships and specialized indy places...........not Kwik Lube in the parking lot of the mall.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
6/7/19 6:57 a.m.
z31maniac said:

We are all talking about dealerships and specialized indy places...........not Kwik Lube in the parking lot of the mall.

I'm talking from my dealership experience... Doesn't matter where, nobody, realistically about 95%, really gives a rats ass about your E36 M3.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/7/19 7:37 a.m.

Most if not all dealerships have "lube techs" that do just oil changes, tire rotations, wheel balances, filters, and other various quick services to get those customers in and out fast. These are usually the guys right off the street, no formal training, no background, learning the ropes, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just that there is a larger margin for error or gross negligence of the customers (your) property. You pay $40 bucks for your oil change, lube tech gets his 3/10 of an hour at his $12/hr flat rate, and you cross your fingers everything goes well and at least have the piece of mind that if something does get messed up, the dealer is the one liable. 

 

noddaz
noddaz SuperDork
6/7/19 7:55 a.m.

So GRM had a good experience at their local Honda dealership, yet people attempt to bring out the pitchforks and fire anyway.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/7/19 8:01 a.m.
noddaz said:

So GRM had a good experience at their local Honda dealership, yet people attempt to bring out the pitchforks and fire anyway.

some choose to grind their ax regardless of if it's justified or the correct time and place. I lightly dabble in other parts of the motorsports interwebs and this place is still overall calm and welcoming, as I'm sure GRM wants it to be. 

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 UltraDork
6/7/19 9:24 p.m.

All this flaming and comparing what it would cost to buy the material. Nothing mentioned on what the dealer paid for the material. I would think considerably less than it would cost us at any store so no doubt there is a profit, maybe not a significant profit but definitely not losing or close to breaking even.

I admit to taking my vehicles that are under warranty to the dealer to get serviced. Another that's out of warranty (SWMBO's car) I do take to a general lube service place just because it is easier and doesn't really matter to me about the type of oil that goes into it as long as it is oil. Now, my other cars I am particular about and do those myself. Usually costs more than a quick-lube or dealer can do it because I'm particular on the type of oil and filter that goes in them. My Miata autocross car and my Opel GT I do myself.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
6/8/19 2:47 a.m.

In reply to wlkelley3 :

Given the dealer pulls bulk fluid from a 100-500 gal tank that is filled with manufacturer spec’d fluid from a territory regulated supplier that charges the dealer about $1/qt for the old school conventional oil or about $3 for bulk synthetic, and a $5 filter that gets sold for pennies over cost, about $3.50 total, then a charge from the tech of about $10-12. Then don’t forget all the governmental charges...

For comparison, I use $13/5qt and $3/qt, I need 6 qts in total, Rural king synthetic oil and a wix xp filter from rockauto at $7.

Toebra
Toebra Dork
6/8/19 8:31 a.m.
z31maniac said:
Ranger50 said:

I've seen the f-ups up close and personal of "quickly lube" techs from all places...

That's why I still do my own. FLAPS will take the used oil without issue, even when I bring in 15 gals worth. laugh

We are all talking about dealerships and specialized indy places...........not Kwik Lube in the parking lot of the mall.

I have seen the same crap at the stealership.  When my integra was under warranty, there was a service bulletin on the air conditioner vent.  I took it in clean with plenty of brake pads.  Got it back covered with black tire residue and the brake pads worn enough to make the light come on.  Complained, could not prove they abused my car and the response was, "Sorry you feel that way."  I would not consider a new Porsche because there is not a dealership within 100 miles I would trust.  When the VW bug was new, it went to the dealership while under warranty.  They overfilled it with oil and never adjusted the valves, perhaps because they had no low on the totem pole service monkeys that were familiar with air cooled cars, because they quit making them a few years earlier. 

AaronBalto
AaronBalto Reader
6/20/19 9:35 a.m.

I bought a '19 Si sedan last night from a local dealer. Interesting experience. A few observations:

1) When I started asking about a color that they didn't have on the lot, the price came down a few thousand dollars right away. The reasoning presented was that if they bring a car in from another dealer, they don't get a replacement car--the other dealer does. Now this kind of sounds like BS, but they were really concerned about how it impacted their numbers. It motivated them to come down more than I would have even asked for. And I only wanted to SEE the car in red--I wasn't actually interested in buying red!

2) I have really great credit. When I told the finance guy that I wasn't going to take his number because I could get a half percent lower through multiple other lenders, they immediately dropped the rate to reflect my number. No argument, just a few clicks and done.

3) They actually tried to sell me UNDERCOATING! Seriously, undercoating!!! I had no idea that this was even a thing anymore. I was blown away. Factory coated steel has been around for forty years. And STILL!

All told, though, great sales guy, good experience. Great car for small money. Final observation: a 1989 CRX Si had an MSRP of $11,160. That CPI adjusts to $22,600 today. I paid $300 over that. Think about that. Horsepower is up 89.8%. Bluetooth, screens, airbags, big wheels, limited slip, etc, etc--all for an extra $300. That. Is. Crazy.

Sponsored by

GRM Ad Dept

Our Preferred Partners
X3iTw9DuWhgDxaeu13rKddxbD1QZKY9UkFzxVLUu6B60kcsGwamnPNNBnMzrSCQf