Auto Repair Coupons – Are You Really Saving Money?

A local car repair shop’s coupon insert in a local paper stated “Fall Money Savers”. It was a professional looking design loaded with savings on auto repair services. However, out of the 8 coupons, 5 were designed just to get you in the door, 2 services would never be needed, and 1 was a service they made up.

The 5 services to get you in the door offered small savings as follows:

  1. $20 off an alignment (a service you probably won’t need prior to the coupon’s expiration)
  2. $5 off an oil change (with a FREE 15-point inspection)
  3. $10 free gas with $100 or more in service work – a nice enticement if your car actually needs work
  4. $20 off brake work – not a lot given the mark up in aftermarket brake parts and the ease of the work
  5. $40 off a set of 4 tires – see sentiments from #4 – you can also negotiate a better deal than $40 off

The 2 services advertised that you’ll likely never need (for today’s cars anyway) were Flushes and Timing Belts – you can learn more about today’s car maintenance @ Auto Maintenance. The “Save $25” advertised on any coolant, power steering, and transmission flush might sound like a substantial savings, but your car doesn’t need them. And timing belts, which the coupon stated are needed on “Most” cars and at every “60,000” miles is information that’s more than a decade out of date.

The “Made Up” service was entitled “Fuel Savings Special.” It cost $49.95 plus tax. It included an Oil Change, Tire Rotation, Brake and Coolant Inspections, Starting and Charging Systems Test, Windshield Wiper and Headlight Inspections. Granted these services, especially windshield wipers and headlight inspections have been known to increase fuel efficiency exponentially – joking.

In short, I read this Special three times in earnest, struggling to find a service that would actually help with fuel savings. I didn’t find one that would help with gas mileage. Had the Special mentioned a “Tire Pressure Check” and/or a “Fuel System Cleaning Service,” or at least a gas additive that may have helped reduce some carbon build-up, the title “Fuel Savings Special” may have been warranted. As it was, it was a glorified oil change that included a tire rotation.

The above services and coupon specials are known as “Gravy Work.” That is, they are easy, profitable, and very effective in increasing the bottom line of any repair shop. These specials are designed to get you in the door so a shop’s technician can scour your vehicle for more work, which you may or may not need.

Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations only when servicing your vehicle.

Hope this helps.

~ Ted
Founder, RepairTrust – Saving You Money On Auto Repair


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