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Old 08-28-2008, 03:37 PM   #1
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Service ripoff?

Need some opinions from people familiar with routine Jeep service and service prices.

My son took his (my) 04 Jeep TJ (40K) miles into the local dealer to check into wobble problems. The dealer charged him $60 to tell him there is nothing wrong but that the tires were worn unevenly. Seems something would be wrong to cause that.

Then he upsold him on "routine maintenance" which was

$43.42 for an oil change and lube
$269.21 for service of the front and rear differentials - a service not even listed on the manuals maintenance schedule and:
$73.12 for servicing the transfer case - again not the maintenance schedule.

Bottom line, the wobble wasn't fixed and the bill totaled $477.

Do I have a beef?

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:49 PM   #2
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Around here even a Jiffy Lube oil change runs $35 so I don't think the dealer was out of line. As for the tire issue.. Depending on the size, the brand of tire, and how they have been maintained, again I could see where the tires would be toast with nothing mechanically wrong with the Wrangler.

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:56 PM   #3
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What about the differential and transfer case service?
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:19 PM   #4
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Wobble problems can be a few things.

- tire balancing issue
- tire wear issue
- steering component issue

Assuming the tires are OK (no cupping or excessive wear on any particular portion of the tire) I'd suggest a front end alignment and rebalance the tires then retest. I'd also suggest troubleshooting the front end steering linkages for loose or worn componentry.

Is the wobble at a particular speed range then goes away?
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:25 PM   #5
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There is no doubt the tires need to be replaced. That's not the question even if it is the tires that are causing the wobble.

1) Something caused the tires to wear unevenly.

2) What does servicing the differential and transfer case have to do with wobble or even routine maintenance and were the charges listed reasonable?
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:29 PM   #6
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There is a TSB on the wobble if you experience it at highway speeds, around 50 mph, only. The steering damper needs to be replaced. I have the TSB and when I ordered the replacement part that part was replaced by a different part. I plan to replace mine this weekend. The TSB shows 0.3 hours to replace and the part has a list price of a little under 150.00. I picked up the OEM damper for 95.00. PM me with your e.mail address if you would like to see a copy.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:04 PM   #7
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if you know the tires are shot, then you have to start there to fix the wobble. tire rotations are recomended every 6k. lack of rotation is biggest cause of tire wear, next would be alignment and front end parts worn.

they would've, or at least should've told you if the front end needed work, and there's no sense in aligning the jeep till you replace the bad tires, then align it. i wouldn't have believed it till i saw it personally, new tires changed the alignment on a car in my shop first hand. so thats why they didn't suggest alignment yet most likely

oil change wasn't too expensive, and as far as the maintenance they sold you on it is all good to do by 40k, its all preventative maintenance on your driveline. and if you aren't doing it yourself thats what it costs. and as far as manufacturer recomended maintenance its all garbage now days. they try to make it sound low maintenance. my wifes caravan doesn't recomend a trans service till 100k. they won't warranty it that long.

edit: oh yeah, and depending on driving conditions 40k is about wen tires will need to be replaced 50k average, 60k above average.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:49 PM   #8
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I would suggest that a $100 factory service maual, $60 Sears floor jack with two jack stands, $99 200 piece Sears tool set, 6 quarts of oil, oil filter and a few quarts of 90 weight gear oil and about 2 hours would have saved you about $100 on the first use. The dealer is expensive and with a factory service manual in hand a jeep wrangler is just so easy to work on. No idea how to do this stuff, take a basic mechanical course at the local high school or vo tech, in fact both of you take it, something to do together. Both my son and daughter have worked on our jeeps, good quality time in fact.
$269 for changing diff fluid, wow, glad I never had a dealer do one of mine, I'd have blown a gasket or had a stroke. Man, thats two new front tires, mounted and balanced out the door.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:57 PM   #9
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I would suggest that a $100 factory service maual, $60 Sears floor jack with two jack stands, $99 200 piece Sears tool set, 6 quarts of oil, oil filter and a few quarts of 90 weight gear oil and about 2 hours would have saved you about $100 on the first use. T
I don't disagree. If they had told me I needed that service I would have said no thanks and done just what you suggested. Unfortunately, it was my son that took it in, they said he needed the routine maintenance and he foolishly Ok'd it thinking it would just be an oil change. I think they knew when they had a fish on the hook and took full advantage of him.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:57 PM   #10
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I would suggest that a $100 factory service maual, $60 Sears floor jack with two jack stands, $99 200 piece Sears tool set, 6 quarts of oil, oil filter and a few quarts of 90 weight gear oil and about 2 hours would have saved you about $100 on the first use. The dealer is expensive and with a factory service manual in hand a jeep wrangler is just so easy to work on. No idea how to do this stuff, take a basic mechanical course at the local high school or vo tech, in fact both of you take it, something to do together. Both my son and daughter have worked on our jeeps, good quality time in fact.
$269 for changing diff fluid, wow, glad I never had a dealer do one of mine, I'd have blown a gasket or had a stroke. Man, thats two new front tires, mounted and balanced out the door.
yup, doing it yourself is much cheaper, but that is life. tech gets around .7 an axle at over $110/hr dealer labor, gear oil, sealer and parts cleaner and you're there
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:40 PM   #11
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I worked in the service department of a Chevy dealer for 13 years, 1968-1981, and we did not rip off our customers like that. But when the new owners took it over and started that type of program I quit and went to work for a major corporation and we do all our own maintenance on the 190,000 vehicles we own.
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:33 PM   #12
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I would never pay for something that was not authorized by me. They were out of line and if the work was not authorized I would speak to them about a reduction on the bill. If not contact the Better Business Bureau. I got $679 back as a settlement after getting the BBB involved. Always get an estimate in writing and never sign a blank work order.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:48 AM   #13
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you got off easy, the poor SOB previous owner of my jeep kept all the receipts and gave them to me in the sale.
he paid 3000.00 for a 30,000mile service(plus 550 for a windshield). and the sheet only says checked this, checked that, not changed fluids or anything, hell they even charged him $48.00 for grease and $34.00 a quart for oil!!!!!
Myself being a mechanic went through the vehicle entirely when i bought it and ALL the oils except the engine had NOT been changed.
I doubt the stealership even checked the diffs as the diffs had a normal amount of metal on the plugs for 36000 miles and have not accumulated any metal at all in the 10,000miles since ive owned it.
I cannot believe a person could run a business like that and survive(litteraly)
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ecbuck View Post
There is no doubt the tires need to be replaced. That's not the question even if it is the tires that are causing the wobble.

1) Something caused the tires to wear unevenly.

2) What does servicing the differential and transfer case have to do with wobble or even routine maintenance and were the charges listed reasonable?
1) The tire wear can be a result of few things:

- Maintenence (improper inflation, lack of rotation, misalignment, wear and age)
- Driving habits (excessive acceleration will prematurely wear the back tires, excessive speeds in turns wears the front tires)
- Road conditions (off roading with street tires will cause premature wear and vice versa, bad road conditions will also cause premature wear)

2) Servicing the differential and T-Case has absolutley nothing to do with wobble. The charges at the stealership are what they are....expensive! They always cost more than the mom and pop garage which is usually half the labor rate. Reasonable for a dealership, unreasonable IMO for a do-it-yourselfer.... I do my own work so any charge for labor is unreasonable.

I would highly suggest, after you purchase those new tires to get the rig re-aligned. It's cheap insurance and they will find any component wear issue in this process. Take it to a shop that specializes in alignments since you have reservations about the dealership.

Good luck.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 4X4RDSTR View Post
I would never pay for something that was not authorized by me. They were out of line and if the work was not authorized I would speak to them about a reduction on the bill. If not contact the Better Business Bureau. I got $679 back as a settlement after getting the BBB involved. Always get an estimate in writing and never sign a blank work order.
does not sound like work was not authorized. upsold means they suggested maintenance or other repairs, and they said ok. and it was routine maintenance that should be done, just expensive, like someone previously said, not unreasonable for the dealership
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:56 AM   #16
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Jeep seems to disagree with you.

Servicing the differential is not listed EVER on the A maintenance schedule. I would therefore have a hard time classifying that as "routine maintenance".
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:06 AM   #17
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I picked up a used 94 yj 10 years ago and the father told me his daughter had it serviced by the dealer where she bought it new. He even told me his son in law worked there and that is why she took it there. He gave me copies of all the receipts. Well low and behold on my way home something felt wrong with the steering, it was all over the road. Now I crawl under it to change the oil and filter and I look over the steering linkage and everything look great so I take out my grease gun and start greasing the joints. Everything was fine until I tried to grease the upper ball joints, they were both frozen and completely dry. Had to have a helper turn the steering wheel back and forth while I tried to pump grease and I lucked out. Both joints took grease and freed up with out any rpoblems. I changed the oil and greased it every 3k and after 200k it never cost me a dime in front end parts and rode like a dream. I cannot believe I need to replace the damper on my 04tj at 60k. I am just glad I can do it my self and I have access to OEM parts at a very very good discount.

I would never use a dealer, all they want is your money.
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:24 PM   #18
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Jeep seems to disagree with you.

Servicing the differential is not listed EVER on the A maintenance schedule. I would therefore have a hard time classifying that as "routine maintenance".
That's interesting: I thought Jeep specified the differential fluid replacement at 50K mile s in the User Manual.. I'm just going by memory so I may be wrong... I'll have to check my manual when I get home.
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:47 PM   #19
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Jeep seems to disagree with you.

Servicing the differential is not listed EVER on the A maintenance schedule. I would therefore have a hard time classifying that as "routine maintenance".
i'm not gonna repeat myself, read what i've already posted about scheduled maintenance by the manufacturer. if you don't ever wanna service your diffs cuz its not on your maintenance schedule have fun. just like my wifes minivan that isn't scheduled to have a trans service till 100k. ya i'll wait that long.

anyone else think you shouldn't service your differentials cuz the manual doesn't recomend it? what about brake fluid? i guess that should never get flushed, and fuel system should never be serviced and cleaned, how often do they say to do a fuel filter? i could go on, but i don't think i need to.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:58 PM   #20
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i'm not gonna repeat myself, read what i've already posted about scheduled maintenance by the manufacturer. if you don't ever wanna service your diffs cuz its not on your maintenance schedule have fun. just like my wifes minivan that isn't scheduled to have a trans service till 100k. ya i'll wait that long.

anyone else think you shouldn't service your differentials cuz the manual doesn't recomend it? what about brake fluid? i guess that should never get flushed, and fuel system should never be serviced and cleaned, how often do they say to do a fuel filter? i could go on, but i don't think i need to.
Chill....it's Friday dude.
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:08 PM   #21
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i if you don't ever wanna service your diffs cuz its not on your maintenance schedule have fun.

I've owned 30 or more cars, never serviced a diff and never had a diff problem.

These guys seem to agree with me.

Differential service usually a disservice | The San Diego Union-Tribune


But hey - I asked for opinions and you gave me yours. No sweat.
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:26 PM   #22
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i just found out that my rim is 6 oz off but the tire was fine so that could also be a weird problem.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:03 PM   #23
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I've owned 30 or more cars, never serviced a diff and never had a diff problem.

These guys seem to agree with me.

Differential service usually a disservice | The San Diego Union-Tribune


But hey - I asked for opinions and you gave me yours. No sweat.
wow, lets stop servicing our diffs, listen to that newspaper, thats cool. i'm an ase certified technician and shop manager, and i've rebuilt over 30 differentials cuz people don't service them. now many will go 100k without going bad, many will not. if you want it to last forever, service it regularly, 50k is good in my mind, i do more like 30k cuz its almost free for me and very easy at work.

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