Dealer says oil is dirty and must be changed!

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Dec 9, 2002
Eastern burbs, MN
So I take my '99 Taurus in to the local Ford dealer to have the coil spring shield recall performed. I get a call a few hours later saying the work is done, but the tech who was working on the car says the oil is really dirty and highly recommends an oil change (Mobil 1 5w/30 has been in only 4300 miles). And oh by the way, the fuel filter looks like it hasn't been changed in awhile also so we should replace that too (replaced 28,000 miles ago). I decline both service suggestions and say I'll be in to get the car in a bit. When I get there service writer/ advisor/ whatever still insists the oil should be changed, and then also states it's also a quart low. I politely say no thanks, I'll do it later. I get home, let the engine cool an hour, check the dipstick, oil level between add and full, yeah the oil isn't new out of the bottle golden but it isn't crude oil black. I guess Ford recommends oil changes based on visual analysis now...
Last Blackstone report with 6700 miles on oil still showed TBN of 2.9.
look like they tried to upsell you and did the work anyway. maybe you got a new fuel filter too?
What are they going to do -- deny your next warranty claim???

Sounds like you experienced their marketing department's imperative that the service folks push services, needed or not. If they really cared, knew what they were doing, or both, they would have asked you how long/how many miles the oil had been in service before they told you it had to have it changed.

In stark contrast, I just got back from a really good Infiniti dealer today. My car has about 33k on it, so naturally, they wanted, at first, for me to get the 30k service. I declined, telling them I just wanted the "hard core" mechanical things -- trans flush, diff oil changed, brake pads, etc. They complied without argument, and did all four brakes as a wty item (G35 pads have worn so badly that Infiniti replaces them free under 36k miles). My rears were 2mm thicker than the replacement spec, but they offered to do them for free anyway. First class experience all around. Free loaner car too. And I didn't even buy the car from them. They know I'm a refugee and likely won't be around to buy from them in the future.

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, the dealership was Nalley Infiniti, Marietta (Northwest Atlanta).

EDIT: Respectfully request that you name the dealer involved so that fellow members who live in the area will know what they're up against. Hey, it's their choice -- Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame!
They don't call them Stealership for nothing....

I try to avoid ANY Stealership at all costs.

Cheers, Bill
I doubt it. Even though the maintenance book states fuel filter changes at 30k, this dealer, for reason or another, recommends 15k replacements. Again, "It looks like the filter has been on awhile. It should be changed." Duh, it's a Minnesota car. The whole underside at 50K looks like it should be replaced


Originally posted by Cutehumor:
look like they tried to upsell you and did the work anyway. maybe you got a new fuel filter too?

Thing is, this is an OIL site... people have an interest in maintaining their cars, chaging oil, etc.

Most idiots wouldnt have the slightest clue when it was changed last, and likely could care less about OCIs, even if jiffy lube blasts 3000 miles into their head.

For most folks, its actually a service that is quite beneficial, especially if the dealer does it for $21.95 or so.

After all, look how many people on here think that all sorts of magic, good or bad, is going on when their oil changes color... which isnt necessarily so.


Originally posted by road_rascal:
I doubt it. Even though the maintenance book states fuel filter changes at 30k, this dealer, for reason or another, recommends 15k replacements. Again, "It looks like the filter has been on awhile. It should be changed." Duh, it's a Minnesota car. The whole underside at 50K looks like it should be replaced

There are a lot of folks in general, in the DIY community who reccomend such changes too... claims of fuel pumps going bad if the filter isnt changed, etc... Yeah, dealerships often do reccomend service that isnt necessarily needed, but did it ever hurt anyone? And, to the average schmuckwho doesnt know anything about anything, is it likely to help them get more longevity? YES!

If I may also defend the mechanic who made this observation... I agree with JHZR2. Put yourself in this mechanic's shoes. He probably sees a lot more neglected engines than we do. In his way he's trying to get people to maintain their engines. When the oil is black, he doesn't know if it's been in there for 3K or 7K. He naturally assumes the worst. It's up to you to tell him that you don't neglect the oil and that you keep it up to date. I'm sure he'd understand.
Kestas, this is the first time that this dealer has ever suggested that I have needed an oil change based on a visual inspection. Looking back at my records, I brought my van into that dealer 2 years ago so they could replace a headlamp assembly under warranty and the oil must have been in the crankcase at least 5,000+ miles. They never said anything about it. Like I said before, the oil was a little brown, not roofing tar black.
[off topic]
Cars have fuel filters??? (seriously, I've never seen one changed outside of my friends 1982 Oldsmobile 88 sedan), four vehicles I can think of with between 115,000 and 162,000 miles on them with their stock filter.

Is this a more serious issue on some makes than others?

[further off topic]
Speaking of stealerships and oil, a friend (of the oldsmobile above) and I went to look at a used truck at a dealership. Popped the hood, checked the dip was covered with what looked like lumpy rust and no oil. We took it for a spin, roaring out of the lot like the devil was on our heels. Brought it back, mentioned that it had no oil in the engine and they might want to check it. And it was on the lot 'for sale'. (no no no)

[/off topic]
Hey, at least he has a fuel filter you can see (and replace) without removing the back seat and opening up the fuel tank. . .

Seriously though, two things still bother me about this scenario. First, they told him he was a quart low when he was not. Had the oil been dirty as they said, it would be easy to read on the stick. Second, they should ASK if you want or need one service or another. Nope, to me anyway, this reeks of a push to pad sales, versus things being done out of concern for the customer and his car.

Please, what dealership was this?
I'm not going to mention the dealer as this was a one time occurence. The tech who checked the dipstick, in his/her opinion, may really have thought the oil was seriously dirty. Case in point: the diesel tractor at my plant turns its oil fairly dark in a matter of 100 hours, but only needs changing every 250 hours.
My wife and I took her Sentra to the dealer for some minor service, I don't recall what. In a few minutes they came to us to tell us the brakes were worn out and needed replacement linings, rotors, calipers, the works. They also wanted to replace the fuel pump and service the A/C. I declined all except the A/C srvice because I could do the brakes and change the fuel filter. I bought aftermarket parts for the brakes and got ready to do the replacements. When I got into the brakes there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with them. NOTHING. I still have the unused parts on hand becaust I'll probably use them someday.

Talk about an attempted rip-off......
I frequent dealership repair shops as little as possible. Had one repair shop scheduler tell me in an "Oh, by the way" tone that his job is partially commission depending on how many additional "recommended repairs" he can convince the customer to authorize in addition to that which the car was brought there for in the first place. I have NO IDEA why he told me this.

We've all known all along that repair shops in general make varying degrees of profit from unneeded service and repairs, I just never knew dealership repair schedulers were on commission for scheduling excess work. Only stands to reason, I guess.

Regards, Gary in Sandy Eggo
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