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:) I am coming up to the end of Warranty Time on my Element. I didn't buy the extended warranty. It doesn't matter after that where I get the Element serviced, oil change, and check ups done? I think I'd pass going to Pep Boys but we have a repair shop in Mesa, AZ that does a lot of oil changes, check ups on newer vehicles, following along with manufacturer requirements on vehciles.

I am not sure if they offer many of the little things that my dealership offers but I want to make sure they have worked on Elements before I drive up onto the lift.

Just would appreciate it if you could let me know if I need to baby the Element after warranty or if it's OK to venture into other reliable repair shops?

Thanks, -Bill-
 

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Just my opinion here, based on my past experiences.. If you find a good knowlegeable and trust worthy mechanic I'd stay with them. You may find that something comes up once in a while that maybe you'd feel more comfortable taking back in to Honda facility. But for most part a good reliable mechanic should be able to take care of your E.
 

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Actually, it didn't matter before your warranty expired who you have do the work, so long as they are competent and you keep records of all maintenance work performed. While dealers may have easier access to OEM parts, there is no guaranty that their mechanics are better than an independent mechanic. Honda America MAY stand behind a dealer but your actual legal protections are the same with any licensed mechanic.

The way that major auto manufacturers are terminating contracts with dealers who have been with them for up to 100 years, it would be wise for you to locate alternative sources for service. While I don't have the personal experience to recommend all the services they provide or every one of their dealers, I have found my local PepBoys to be competent for basic maintenance services like oil changes, alignments and battery replacements.

If a maintenance activity calls for a special Honda OEM fluid such as the dual pump fluid, or a major part, I would be extra careful to be certain that you get that exact fluid or part from an independent mechanic. If you choose one, let him know up front that you are willing to pay for the Honda component and expect to get it. This is similar to requiring a mechanic to provide a full synthetic oil. What you ask for and pay for you should get.
 

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I prefer the dealer. I just know it will be right and that they warranty anything they put into my Element, part-wise. So if I do need work or a look at anything, they recognize me at a frequenter and they just hook me up with a check up. Making friends with your local dealer beats the rest.:D
 

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I prefer the dealer. I just know it will be right and that they warranty anything they put into my Element, part-wise. ...:D
In practice, I evaluate mechanics as individuals. I judge organizations by the quality of people they employ, not the other way around. I couldn't care less who employs them as long as they do good work for me, but if I encounter one bad mechanic working for a company, I will not willingly use that company for future service work. Bad employees means bad management.

You should read the multiple horror stories from people who had burned out instrument panel lamps in their Elements and were told by their Honda dealers' mechanics that they had to pay a $100+ diagnostic fee and then replace the instrument panels for $600, when at most it takes 30 minutes and $3 to change a lamp.

The ideal situation would be to have a local Honda dealer with competent mechanics who charged fair prices. If forced to choose, I'd use a non-dealer competent certified mechanic with a personal reputation for integrity and no warranty, rather than a random unknown mechanic who happened to work for a dealer who warrants the work.
 

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In practice, I evaluate mechanics as individuals. I judge organizations by the quality of people they employ, not the other way around. I couldn't care less who employs them as long as they do good work for me, but if I encounter one bad mechanic working for a company, I will not willingly use that company for future service work. Bad employees means bad management.

You should read the multiple horror stories from people who had burned out instrument panel lamps in their Elements and were told by their Honda dealers' mechanics that they had to pay a $100+ diagnostic fee and then replace the instrument panels for $600, when at most it takes 30 minutes and $3 to change a lamp.

The ideal situation would be to have a local Honda dealer with competent mechanics who charged fair prices. If forced to choose, I'd use a non-dealer competent certified mechanic with a personal reputation for integrity and no warranty, rather than a random unknown mechanic who happened to work for a dealer who warrants the work.
F.Y.I., I have probably the best dealer out there. From the customer service, to the parts rep., to the techs [they are not "mechanics"], everyone is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Techs actually come out of the service bay area to help me out when I am parked just outside in customer parking. It really depends on the dealer. So generalizations should not be made. Just because a couple people here and there have had poor experiences with their own dealers, does not mean that all dealers should not be trusted or are "stealerships." Not only that, but to find a good mechanic you would have to either get lucky and know someone who knows one or go through finding bad ones who have already worked on your car and messed something up. And, as someone who has worked for a dealership, the reason most charge a $100 diagnostic fee is because the problem is electrical. Further, if you are at a nice dealer, they will only charge that and fix the problem, whether it be a fuse, a wire, etc. It costs for someone to inspect your entire car when a light comes on as a warning or something goes out. If you want poor service, you can charge nothing and just have someone look over what they think it is and "replace the lamp for $3" or you can have them check if something else may be an underlying issue. It's like a check engine light comes on and it could be anything. Would you really rather opt for the light to be turned off to save a couple bucks and in the end have to spend hundreds to get something fixed you could have had prevented by a thorough check up? I would think not.
 

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F.Y.I., I have probably the best dealer out there.
It's great, but how exactly did you determine that your dealer and its mechanics were the best ? Blind faith in Honda's reputation and trust to luck, or did you do any investigation of the dealer and its service shop's reputation?

I have 3 Honda dealerships in my immediate vicinity, all about the same distance from my home. One of them has the lowest prices but can't retain mechanics. One of them is consistently adequate for routine service, a good source from OEM parts, and does a huge volume of business. The third has one top notch mechanic, several who are OK at doing work but only so-so at diagnostics and a mediocre parts operation. None of them have exhibited any particular skill at electronic systems troubleshooting. Which one would you take your Element to for most of your work?

How is this any different from how anyone would have to go about finding a good mechanic, technician or tradesman of any type? BTW, mechanic is not a derogatory label, they may all be "automotive systems technicians" but their work is practical and primarily mechanical in nature, and if they aren't good mechanics and good electricians they can't become good general automotive systems technicians.
 

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its a balancing act somewhere..... bad management = bad mechanics..... because the good ones will leave elsewhere.....
 

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It's great, but how exactly did you determine that your dealer and its mechanics were the best ? Blind faith in Honda's reputation and trust to luck, or did you do any investigation of the dealer and its service shop's reputation?

I have 3 Honda dealerships in my immediate vicinity, all about the same distance from my home. One of them has the lowest prices but can't retain mechanics. One of them is consistently adequate for routine service, a good source from OEM parts, and does a huge volume of business. The third has one top notch mechanic, several who are OK at doing work but only so-so at diagnostics and a mediocre parts operation. None of them have exhibited any particular skill at electronic systems troubleshooting. Which one would you take your Element to for most of your work?

How is this any different from how anyone would have to go about finding a good mechanic, technician or tradesman of any type? BTW, mechanic is not a derogatory label, they may all be "automotive systems technicians" but their work is practical and primarily mechanical in nature, and if they aren't good mechanics and good electricians they can't become good general automotive systems technicians.
It is all about connections in the world. I get the best prices and the best quality work and by far the best customer service anyone could ask for. The difference, to me, with going to a dealership with technicians and a good old mechanic is that you get an entire company backing you. The mechanic is just the mechanic and at most, just the shop. I have learned that you cannot go the one way route with businesses because you will get burned when they get burned. Whether they close down or someone gets fired or quits or retires. The dealership is consistent in not having that issue. The reason I use the term TECHS over MECHANICS is because of the techs I know. They find it very offensive when someone calls them a mechanic.:D
 

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It really depends on the dealer. So generalizations should not be made. Just because a couple people here and there have had poor experiences with their own dealers, does not mean that all dealers should not be trusted or are "stealerships."
Very true. And the statement about bad management is true. My dad has been a mechanic before they preferred to be called techs. Actually, before I was even born. Due to how poorly a lot of dealerships are run, and how poorly the dealer industry as a whole appears to be run, mechanics move around a lot. I think my dad has moved 9 times. All for one of two reasons: 1) not enough work or 2) management sucked (not paying bills, making it impossible for techs to do their job).

Most dealers allow you to request that a particular mechanic work on your car. If my dad knew somone who needed work on a brand he was working for, he'd have them bring it in and make sure they ask for him. If you can build a customer relationship with the mechanic, you might be able to get around the service writer, sorta.

What my dad has found is that service writers are really just sales people. When he diagnoses a car, the protocal is to tell the service writer what needs to be done. The service writer calls the customer and gets permission to do the work. The problem is that the service writer likes to add a laundry list of services designed primarily to drain your wallet.

So, if you find a dealer with a good mechanic, try to work more through them than the service writer if you can.

If you can avoid going on a Saturday, you'll probably get better work. Since a lot of people work M-F, Sat. is the day they can take their car in. If the place is crazy busy, the techs are rushing in order to keep the customers happy. On the weekdays (non-holiday), they are usually slower, so they don't rush around as much. You'll be more likely to get a decent look over the car as well as the service requested.
 
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