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The Other Side: Problem Customers

A former Chrysler Corporation employee wrote, around 1999, about the “other side” of dealer service: false warranty claims and technicians working into the night, doing unneeded repairs, to keep customers happy. He saw everything from drivers saying their floor mats didn't fit, when they had to be moved an inch to align properly. One customer was angry because he didn't understand how the tech’s retractable pen worked. Many over-reacted to the slightest perceived insult, and went straight to the store’s general manager or owner.

Another customer complained that a different dealer had tried to con him into an expensive brake job. It turned out he had put power steering fluid into the brake fluid reservoir, and in the end, had to pay a great deal to flush out the system and replace his brakes and wheels — because the calipers locked up from rubber swollen by the power steering fluid.

In another case, the customer insistent that since a tune-up at the dealership, her car had lurched. It turned out the ABS was activating intermittently with no reason; the dealership replaced the system for free, loaned the customer a car, and washed her car for the inconvenience, but she still gave the dealer a bad grade on the survey for doing a “bad tune-up.”

The writer pointed out that buyers do not have to return to the dealer they bought the car from to have repairs done, and if (in 1998-99) they did change dealers for service, the company would try to find out why you changed; and the original dealership would lose customer service rating points.


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