Auto Dealer Service “Fun”

I have been spoilt. In Arizona, the major dealers all competed with each other to provide awesome customer service. As there was plenty of competition with the independent service shops, many who were excellent, they needed an edge to keep customers coming back.

I had become accustomed to fast internet, good coffee, fresh donuts and pastries, ample “quiet” comfortable chairs, and workstations to focus on doing my real work. I never minded spending a couple hours with them when I needed service.

Of course, here in California, I am in shock. Small, uncomfortable lounge area, bad coffee made by a machine, packaged pastries for free (but a vending machine), and a loud TV blaring gameshows and soap operas in the background.

Add to that prices that are about double for the same service in Arizona, and pushy upsell. I know I have a sports car, and I expect there to be additional service, but fuck me, you are taking advantage of me.

Since my extended warranty is long gone, it is time to find a local independent shop. Fortunately, in the San Jose area, I should be able to find someone who can treat my S2000 right.

Car Wash Madness

I own a nice car, a 2005 Honda S2000, and about 99% of the time I wash it in my driveway. With the move and the selling of our house, I have neglected it, so prior to it being loaded on a transport truck to get it to my new home, I took it to the local car wash.


It reminded my why I prefer to wash it myself.

  1. They do a terrible job.  The amount of crap they don’t get off is astounding. From the insect droppings, to just whiffing on my hood, I am completely unimpressed.  I would have asked them to run it again if I wasn’t headed out of town, and it wasn’t going to get on a truck.
  2. Even after doing a terrible job, they expect a tip. I know it is a crappy job that pays minimum wage, and I normally don’t mind tipping, but the effort that they put in, in no way justifies a 20% tip. But they expect $3 on a $15 wash.
  3. Even when you tell them no scent, they friggin’ spray it with “new car” scent. Really?  Is it that hard to just not spray anything in there?
  4. Upselling.  I just want a basic interior and exterior wash. I don’t want the extra undercarriage spray. I don’t want the faux spray on polymer sealant. I just hand waxed it a month ago, so I don’t want a mini detail. When I say no, I mean NO. 
  5. 3rd party harassment. I live in Arizona, the king of cracked and dinged windshields. I drive a 9 year old car, with the original windshield, so it has been dinged and repaired many times. Having someone who puts the high pressure sales pitch to replace your windshield, and who argues that the repaired dings need to be repaired again. I think I had to say no four or five times to that asshole.

I will go back to my 3 bucket hand wash, and 2x a year bringing out the polishing tools.


Things that drive a “car guy” crazy

I am a tech head, and I do have a thing for cars.  I drive a pretty sweet Honda S2000, and I have ridden performance motorcycles for most of my life.  So I know a thing or two about a well running car. 

This morning, while walking my dogs, I walked by a house where someone was leaving for work. He gets into a 2010 BMW M3.  Just about every M3 I have ever been near or in is a supremely functioning machine.  Fast, functional, and about as well tuned as you will fine.  The perfectly balanced inline 6 cylinder, mated to a 5 or 6 speed Getrag transmission equals a butter smooth ride, and more than a little “go”.

This car however ran ratty.  It would barely idle (usually an indication of someone screwing with the program of the ECU), and it had a loud exhaust.  Nothing wrong with increasing the breathing of the engine, but on something as highly tuned as an M3, you need to balance intake and exhaust modifications to keep the fine balance.

Alas, this example was poorly executed.  It ran about as rough as a 396CI 1969 Ford Mustang fastback.  Barely idled, and popped and backfired a lot as he (barely) got it away from the curb.

Sad really.  At least it wasn’t an automatic…