Changing oil on a new car.

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Old 05-04-02, 07:06 AM
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Changing oil on a new car.

I've been fixing my own cars since I was 16. Last month my wife and I bought a brand new Nissan Altima 3.5 SE V6. I wanted to change my own car oil but the dealer told me if I do it will void my warranty. Is this realy true? I don't really trust their mechanics here in Michigan. Pleas advice.
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Old 05-04-02, 02:53 PM
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That sounds to me like a line of bull... You should read your warranty entirely, and if need be, call Nissan to be sure. I may be wrong, but it shouldn't void the warranty. The use of oil and filters that do not meet warranty requirements would void it, so check the box/bottle to make sure it says it meets or exceeds your manufacturer warranty requirements. Joe_F will be along soon and can probably tell you an answer with more certainty.
Old 05-04-02, 03:45 PM
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Fact of the matter is: The dealer or manufacturer cannot require you to have your vehicle serviced at their facility unless they want to provide that service free of charge!

Good luck
Old 05-04-02, 06:46 PM
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Thumbs up Your Owners manual

I would be willing to bet your Owners manual will not only tell you how to add oil, but how when and what to use, to change your oil.

BUZZ : Dealer caught lying!!

Me thinks I know why you don't trust the (work makers) posing as mechanics. The only time you are ever required to take your car to any dealer is for warranty work.
Old 05-05-02, 01:09 PM
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As Cheese pointed out, the dealer is not correct.

Bull buscuits on what they told you if that's the case. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Tell them to read the Maguson Moss Act and then get back to you with a revised statement. Ask them how their "policy" supersedes Federal (I believe it's Federal) law. If they say it does, we've got a problem Houston. Lol.

As long as the parts meet or exceed the new car warranty requirements, you are fine. They will have to eat any repairs even if you don't use their parts. Save all your receipts for oil and filters to back up your case in case of anything. Write the mileage and what you do in the back of the owner's manual.

The dealer is trying to sell you a line of bull. Another reason I don't patronize them except for when I need OEM parts I can't get anywhere else .
Old 05-06-02, 06:01 PM
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Just out of interest, this was the subject of a number of legal actions in Australia a few months ago. The results were mixed. In all the cases, the court found there was NO WAY the dealer could force you to come to him for normal servicing. HOWEVER, there were one or two that said you must use a "qualified person" - whatever the hell that means - and even one case found you must use original parts.

I got the feeling that if you were not a qualified mechanic, the dealer MAY be able to claim you did the service incorrectly and caused further problems in the vehicle.
Old 05-06-02, 06:14 PM
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Keep all records

This one gets me too I just took a 2003 toyota matrix home a few days ago.
I asked about the oil change if I could do it myself The response was YES but if you buy the oil and filter KEEP the reciepts and keep a log of when you did it.Same goes for if you take it someplace like walmart keep the paper work and log maintenance.I am not sure if Nissan is diffrent from Toyota but I venture to say not.Also an interesting fact any maintenance can be done by any shop as long as they have ASE certified mechanics.I dont have to worry about that yet since my car only has 167 miles on it.
Old 05-06-02, 06:33 PM
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one more point

There is ONE advantage to having your servicing done by a dealership:

Their willingness to play ball once the vehicle is out of warranty. A dealer is more apt to "good will" a repair for a regular client as opposed to the one that never darkens the doorway of a service department.
Old 05-06-02, 06:53 PM
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You can change your own oil,but you need to document everything to maintain your warranty.As J oe said save receipts and attach a paper showing the mileage of the oil change.Proper documentation will hold up in court if need be.Congratulations on your new purchase.
Old 05-08-02, 04:11 PM
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Old 05-08-02, 05:30 PM
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The Altima is a sweet looking car. Take it to the dealer, its not so expencive. Voiding warranty by changing your own oil? nah
Old 05-08-02, 07:04 PM
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hey boman....

I work for a gm dealer and here's what I've seen first hand:

Ms. customer comes in with a shot power steering pump at 3yrs, 7months, 3 year warranty now expired. Power steering pump=$700 plus labour. By the book, customer pays. Customer not happy with prospect of shelling out a pile of money.

Quick sit down with service mgr. He checks service history of car. Every time so much as a bolt needed to be turned, the car's been in our shop.

End result: she pays $100, the rest of the expense is shared between mfg and dealer. Mfg will pay their share and it will stand up under audit as long as we can justify the goodwill.

One thing is for service history, no goodwill.

If a client is willing to spend money in our shop, we're willing to help down the road.

SO, NO WE DO NOT JUST SAY THAT TO GET THEIR BUSINESS. We say it to build a business relationship. You scratch our back and we'll scratch yours.
Old 05-09-02, 02:01 AM
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Otter, what 3 year old GM car uses a $700 p/s pump? I checked through a bunch of GM apps & the most expensive pump I could find was a 1998 Catera unit at a list price of $576.
Old 05-09-02, 03:50 AM
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Goodwill has little to do with service history!

It is the MANUFACTURER authorizing the dealer to make a repair with compensation on behalf of the customer to keep THEIR confidence.

If you don't take care of the customer, both the dealer AND the manufacturer likely lose the confidence (and subsequent sale) from that consumer.

Saturn ate the repair on my A/C compressor after warranty. My car never saw a paid service in their bay once. I serviced it from day one and still do. I called on SATURN to empower the dealer, not the other way around .

Given your scenario, if I had a three year old car with a bad power steering pump, you know I'd be making the manufacturer eat that repair. No 3 year old car should need that type of repair. That is a valid argument. The power steering pump likely lasts almost the useful life of the car!

There are honest dealers out there, I'm sure of that. This poster's dealer is not one of them if he's telling us verbatim what the dealer told him. It's not correct or even legal .

That's the point at hand.
Old 05-09-02, 10:01 AM
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re price: canadian retail pricing, plus federal and local tax totalling 15%

true, it's not that rare that mfg or dealer will "eat" certain work once the vehicle is out of warranty. The point that I was trying to make is that it's our call whether or not to cover work outside of the scope of the manufacturer's warranty and yes, we are given some latitude. Goodwill still has to be justified though and I'll stand by my statement that most franchised dealers are more apt to extend goodwill to a "good client" because, guess what, we get audited on a regular basis. If we can't make a good case for a claim we get charged back. Make sense?
Old 05-09-02, 10:02 AM
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anyway, this thread is getting off topic. I wholeheartedly agree that you can service your vehicle wherever you like as long as you keep records (I can't speak for other manufacturers of course).

Sorry for opening up a can of worms.
Old 05-09-02, 12:43 PM
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Sure. It's a good discussion that's for sure.

A goodwill warranty is irrespective of maintenance and where you do it. It has to do with hidden warranties and known defects which the manufacturer takes care of to keep consumer confidence in that marque, dealership or brand.

Some folks don't press the issue and in turn get rolled over as a result. However, whether or not you had your car serviced at that dealership should have no bearing.

Most times it requires the factory's approval so they are usually involved .
Old 05-09-02, 01:42 PM
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Unless you've worked on the service operations side at the mfg level or dealer level or know something that I don't here's how it goes: We have the lattitude to administer goodwill without prior authorization from the District Service Manager, unless the failure is extreme (ie catastrophic engine failure). When its time for our warranty audit, generous motors will charge us back at will if they feel we didn't have a good enough reason to extend free or reduced price parts and labour to a client whose vehicle is outside of basic warranty coverage. Period.

The long and short of it is that freebies are given when it can be demonstrated that the client is/will be purchasing again or has had multiple failures on a specific item within the warranty period and the same item is failing or has been a "good client" by bringing their vehicle to a franchised facility for maintenance.

If one was to read a warranty booklet, it becomes pretty clear that technically a customer is on their own once out of basic warranty unless a campaign exists to cover a specific failure. Other than that we're under no obligation to give out freebies.

Any sole proprieter who has good business sense will help out someone who regularly contributes to the success of his or her enterprise.
Old 05-09-02, 07:07 PM
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I disagree for the most part. It depends on the problem and the nature of it.

A car that pukes a power steering pump in 3 years is a flat out defect. Period. My power steering pumps are all ORIGINAL on my GM's and they are 20+ years old.

If there is a design defect, GM will eat the repair. It's that or a possible class action lawsuit. Most times they concede.

1) GM extended warranties not out of the goodness of their heart on the 5.7 vin code N diesels, but because they faced wicked bad publicity if they didn't do so. Not to mention the courts took them to task on it.

2) Ford is now sending letters to people with cars as old as 1983 with the problematic TFI module. Again, a class action lawsuit is brewing.

Whether or not these people will ever buy those marques again is not relevant. The fact that the public relations nightmare will cost 10 times more than just fixing the problem which should have been fixed in the first place is what is at hand.

The carmakers will choose the less costly method. Likely they have lost customers they will never get back, but they STILL offer them goodwill warranties. They may HAVE to!

Not to be a wiseass, but if the dealer told me "No" on a goodwill warranty, I'd promptly be on the phone with the manufacturer. The dealer is merely a manufacturer's rep and DOES NOT have the final say in a situation like this. As terrible as it sounds, I pitted Saturn against the dealership to expose the dealer's incompetence. Sure enough, I was not the only complaining guy and that service manager got fired as a resuilt of poor customer service. Saturn also subsequently ate the repair on the A/C compressor.

The dealer didn't have a handle in it. Saturn did. After my phone call.

Courts WILL uphold goodwill type warranties and take manufacturers to task on various problems. Any reasonable judge would agree that it's reasonable for certain components to last the life of the car.
Old 05-09-02, 07:45 PM
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I see your point

but our take on certain aspects differs. Perhaps you and I look at the term goodwill from different angles. Part has a high failure rate? Of course manufacturer and dealer are aware of it and it will be taken care of accordingly. And there are lots of examples: special policy on 6.5L TD injector pumps, head gaskets on 2.2 and 2.4L engines. (the above are not defined as "goodwill")

The flip side is that genuine freebies might be a little harder to come by on this side of the border as litigation is a little tougher to launch here. Ambulances can make it through most neibourhoods without getting chased, so to speak.

What I'm talking about is random failures. My power steering example is based on a w-body. Is there an inherent defect in the w-body steering pump? Nope. Was the customer outside of their warranty period? yes Does the customer's warranty book state that extensions can be granted outside of the basic warranty period? No. By the book, customer is outside of the warranty period time wise therefore the work is done on a customer pay basis. (Try to bring a TV, washer, automatic dog polisher - I don't care what it is- back to a retailer or mfg with an expired warranty and see how many free repairs they will give you).

So then we look at the big picture: is customer purchasing another vehicle and therefore contributing to bottom line? Maybe, if we keep them happy. Did they spend a pile of money in our service department and therefore support both us and mfg's parts and service operations. Most definitely. Customer that we would want to keep? A big yes to that one to. At the end of the day, she pays $100 and the rest is paid out of warranty pool. Did we take a chance? Sure, because GM can still bounce the claim even though we get paid for the repair at present.

If a customer is not paying for a repair on a vehicle, the money is going to come out of one or two of two places: the mfg's pockets or / and the dealer's pockets. The trick is to get the mfg or customer to pay, otherwise we become a charity. Warranty is up to us to administrate (the risk of course is chargebacks when an auditor doesn't like how we handled a claim).

To repeat, there's no reason that a customer should not get what is coming to them as far as no charge goes when an identified high-failure rate component is the issue. Anybody in this forum can say whatever they want but GM is more generous than most when it comes to "special policy adjustments". Where the trouble starts is dealing with a dealership that may have been busted for warranty fraud in the past or has a high 'bounce' rate on their claims. These clowns have less latitude as to what they can and can't do.

When a vehicle is purchased the warranty is clearly stated and extended warranty backed by the mfg is offered. Joe, from a business point of view, can you give me a good reason as to why we should offer goodwill (as described above) to someone we have never seen in our shop knowing full well that we might get stuck with the entire cost of the repair?
Old 05-09-02, 08:29 PM
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The reason is many fold:

1) If the customer goes to the neighboring dealer and gets resolution and you said it couldn't be done, you've lost that customer. He now thinks you're a liar. In the same respect, if the dealer says no and the customer makes a stink with the OEM and now the dealer is charged by the OEM to make the repair, the confidence is lost in that dealer. The customer thinks he got the runaround and figures now he must call the mfgr each time.

2) That customer (like me) might not take any answer except from the top. That customer can also cause you a day's worth of grief by being persistent and it's probably worth it in time to give them some resolution. With some companies, I ALWAYS call the corporate office. When the store personnel ask why, I show them by example how they continually failed the same way 4 times. Lol. Or that I have done their associates homework for them.

3) Word of mouth travels fast and bad publicity is not fun. Some places are not truthful and give the company a bad rap.

4) Chances are the anamoly you think is one is not. It is indicative of more to come. No one feasibly burns out a power steering pump in three years. In fact, there is not likely scheduled maintenance for it during the life of the car .

You are talking about some parts that last the life of the car. A head gasket is a major repair. Vehicles are junked as a result of needing such repairs. My friends parent's 1997 Stratus 2.4 at 40k needs a head gasket due to an oil leak. Owing to the fact that Chrysler alludes to a redesigned gasket and has superseded the part four times in a TSB, that's a problem. No where will you "see" such a problem, but if you read between the lines it's there. Will Chrysler admit it? No way. You have to make them eat their words. A TSB admits there is a problem sometimes .

The high failure rate is not known the the customer! It's known to you, the dealer with the data.

Are all TSBs problems? No. Do some silently admit there is a problem and catch the mfgr with their pants down? You bet. I have read plenty that admit that sheepishly.

As for getting "stuck", as the manufacturer's rep, that is your balliwick to do so and represent the company. The customer doesn't care, unfortunately.

A good dealership makes a profit in sales, parts and service. One might carry the other in times of downed sales.
Old 05-09-02, 10:05 PM
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In case you didn't notice

I agree with you that when a design flaw exists, by all means the customer IS entitled to a freebie and the mfg WILL pay for it so I don't understand why you keep arguing that point.

My power steering pump example was simply for illustrative purposes so maybe I should have picked something else. I wasn't aware of the fact that subsystems are supposed to last the life of the vehicle. Maybe I'll talk about guy whose power window motor we replaced 15k out of warranty or the coil at 10k or the oxygen sensor, or a set of ignition wires. If you ran a business, and I suspect you don't, you would agree that there are customers you want to keep and customers that you have no future with. (no future with defined by: the only time we see them is with their hand out and ready to pick a fight because somehow they have been wronged by the expirey of their warranty and now they have to pay for repairs).

I never said we were stuck as the manufacturers rep. To paraphrase what I said, "Chargebacks suck, they cost money off the bottom line, therefore extend goodwill where no TSB is involved with caution only to protect a business relationship with client that you do not want to lose in today's competative market"

That's great that you go to the top to get satisfaction. I often do as well when I feel I have been wronged. But I certainly would have a hard time walking into my local best buy with a straight face asking them to fix my TV once the warranty had expired. (Imagine, this started out as an oil change thread, now it's consumer vs business - yikes)

Correct me if I'm wrong......I would think that warranties have time limits on them so that the mfg is not stuck paying for repairs for life. If that was the case, everything we as consumers buy would be priced out of reach.

"the customer doesn't care unfortunately"
absolutely correct on your part, and having worked in and around this industry for 11yrs, I have met many people with unrealistic expectations who think that we have bottomless coffers and should cover anything and everything that breaks on their cars / trucks, whatever the reason. With some people, as soon as the automotive retailing and repair industry becomes the topic of discussion, they start spewing nonsense.

"good dealerships..."
The one I work for is within the top 10 nationally for sales / service satisfaction, sales and parts volume.

I'll correct my last sentence with "never seen in our shop or any other dealer's service department..."
Old 05-09-02, 10:54 PM
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Wow, you guys have really gotten off on a tangent! LOL

I've been on both sides of this issue & here's what I've observed:

1. You are far more likely to receive a goodwill adjustment from a dealership if you are a regular service customer. This is just common sense. People are more willing to go the extra mile for a good customer (someone who regularly puts money in the dealer's pocket) as opposed to someone who only shows up for recalls & warranty repairs. Don't take my word for it...just ask any of the SMs who regularly post at Dealer's

2. Many dealership service "customers" expect the manufacturer and/or dealer to repair their car for free regardless of the problem at hand, the car's age, mileage or service history.

3. Manufacturers (particularly domestic manufacturers) perpetuate this habit by offering goodwill warranty coverage when it is not really applicable. For example, I once saw a Ford Zone Rep authorize a goodwill engine replacement on an F-150 that had never seen an oil change in 40K miles. The dealer is often stuck in the middle...he/she doesn't want bad publicity from a disgruntled customer, but can't afford to be charged back if a goodwill claim gets bounced by the manufacturer.

4. Manufacturers further sour the customer/dealer relationship by recommending ridiculous service schedules. 7500 mile oil changes & 100k transmission services, 100k spark plugs, 5 year/60k coolant service, etc. come to mind. The dealers respond with ridiculous service schedules of their own, which are at odds with the OEM recommendation. In the end, the customer thinks the dealer is lying to them.

The dealers aren't blameless in this situation though...their service schedules often include ridiculously low service intervals & services that don't even apply to the vehicle in question (Belt adjustment on cars equipped w/ automatic tensioners, transmission band adjustments on cars that have no provision for adjustment, etc.). This further compromises the dealer's credibility & keeps potential customers out of the dealer service bay.


Warranties are sales tools, nothing more. The mfr. is required to honor the warranty while it is in effect. Anything you get beyond that is "goodwill", which itself is a sales tool. The manufacturer is not obligated to goodwill a repair, but may opt to do so in the hope that you'll buy another car/truck/tv/whatever from them.


Now, back to the oil change thing...

As others have stated, no mfr. can require you to return to them for service unless they are willing to pay for said service.

Change your own oil, keep accurate records & you'll never have a problem in the U.S.
Old 05-10-02, 06:27 AM
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I agree

that domestic mfgs are pushing ridiculous service shcedules:

"your new vehicle is equipped with an oil life monitoring system. Change engine oil once a year or when monitor directs you to, whichever comes first.", while we still encourage the customer to come in every three months.

even better, I'm sure you're aware of the looming Dex-cool monster:

"Dex-cool is designed to last 5yrs or 240 000km (120 000miles?)"


I smell class action.
Old 05-10-02, 09:28 AM
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Either way, it depends on the consumer.

People get rolled over when they don't speak up. If I buy product A and product B lasts longer and doesn't have the problems that A has, company A needs to do a ton of homework or B will be eating their lunch and their customer base too .

That being said, depending on how you package your compliant or issue, it doesn't matter if your car has never seen the inside of the dealer's service bay. Mine hasn't and I get action mostly every time. Because the proof of the problem exists somewhere .

You might ask yourself why those customers find satisfaction elsewhere. Because they get what they want. Those same complainers are likely satisfied customers elsewhere!

Knuckles: The dealer might tell you NO, but a call to the manufacturer may net you a home run. One reason to skip the dealer and go right to the source, especially if there has been trouble at the dealer.

In my case with Saturn, dealing with the dealer was a circle. But a simple phone call to Saturn put a fire under someone's ass and got it roling in a hurry. All of a sudden those guys were my friends. Lol.

It's not likely that a person spending 50k on a Caddy will do so for another 7 or so years, so fixing the problem now will likely keep that customer a Caddy customer, even if he never does anything but buy a car from you . Also, word of mouth travels fast!

The bottom line is "it depends". If you have the proof, the argument, the methods and the know how, it doesn't matter who services the vehicle. A problem is a problem.

Years ago if you got 50k out of a tranny, it was great. Now 100k is the norm. It's because the bar has been raised. Today if you bring your car to the dealer out of warranty at 50k with a bad tranny, you're going to get a goodwill adjustment more so than 20 years ago. Why? Because precedent has said it should last longer than 50k. Other car makers don't have this problem, so courts are sympathetic to the cause.

Counterman magazine did a recent survey on experiences. One of the worst was getting car repairs. It ranked up there with going to the dentist.

The way this is turned around is education, good customer service and going the extra mile for ALL customers to gain their support. Your market could depend on it.

That being said, if you keep copious records of your maintenance, I agree, you will not have a problem.
Old 05-10-02, 12:47 PM
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all in all

I'm sticking by my statement that its easier to get goodwill if you are a good client. Please don't refer to it as "goodwill warranty" because warranty it ain't, it's someone other than the customer dipping into their pocket.

Thanks for the great debate!
Old 05-10-02, 01:31 PM
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It's a warranty if the manufacturer is eating the repair!

Adjustment, warranty, whatever you want to call it, the customer should not have to eat it .

Maintenance is one thing. Part failure before its time is something else. More so when similar designs from different companies don't have problems. .

In the end, the customer "pays" for the warranty, after all it is the customer's dollars that keep the car maker in business and every one else down the food chain . That goes for parts and service.

That being said, it's goodwill if you will for whatever reason deemed as such. To keep the customer, prevent a lawsuit, save face, etc.

I agree, good debate .
Old 05-10-02, 02:02 PM
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no, it's not

Warranty is for a fixed period of time and clearly stated.

The only problem I have with bouncing this debate back and forth is there seems to be an attitude of entitlement.

Do you at least agree that at some point mfg responsibility for their product ends (usually with the expiration of a clearly stated warranty) and the customer then becomes responsible for repairs?
Old 05-10-02, 03:27 PM
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Call it what you want, but it doesn't matter. The customer doesn't care. All he knows is that he's got a broken car before its time. .

The only way many manufacturers raise the quality bar is when the next guy doesn't have that problem . Car A eats power steering pumps. Car B doesn't. Car A's manufacturer should look at why B's failure rate is lower. Might be a supplier issue, assembly problem, etc.

Remember that customers keep you in business. There are people that don't bring you a car to service, but buy cars from you. So, if you deny a goodwill deal to the guy simply because he doesn't bring you his vehicle, you may lose that guy to someone else.

That being said, I might buy all my parts from you, but if you don't do the right thing, I'll go to the next guy who will! .

The customer is responsible for MAINTENANCE which will prevent repairs.

Depending on the age and mileage, certain parts should just last. You shouldn't have tranny issues before 100k. Why? Because many manufacturers seal trannies now and don't "recommend" servicing them for 100k. So, there is not likely much the customer can do to ruin the car excepting abuse. In normal driving, 100k is expected. Anything before that is flat out failure or poor design.

Engine woes (knocks, oil burning, etc) before 100k with correct maintenance (even if you extend it to 7500 mile intervals) are not acceptable.

The bar is only raised when a company's lunch is eaten by the next guy who does it better. In turn, that company has to do what it can to keep that customer from believing they've bought a heap and should have (and likely will) go to the next guy for repairs.

We've gotten off the topic here, the bottom line is that the original poster's dealer is not correct, truthful, or forthright by making that statement, nor would I do business with such a dealer.

Done deal . Post closed. We can take it elsewhere if you want
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