A simple way for dealerships to increase their bottom line is to install aftermarket parts, but charge the customer OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part prices. This is a total scam and the dealership is blatantly ripping you off! The sad part about this scam is even the factory reps know about these deceptive operations and do nothing about it!
This is how it all works when you bring your vehicle in for service. Let's say you own a Ford, you bring it to a Ford dealership because you trust the brand name, (and Mike Rowe) and because you know the service department will use Genuine Ford parts. You don't mind paying premium parts prices because you expect the highest quality automotive parts to be used on your vehicle.
Here's What Really Happens
Unfortunately, that's not how it always works, you see, without your knowledge; the dealership could use inferior aftermarket parts from the local auto parts store, and you would never know the difference. The dealership knows there are very few customers who even open the hood after the service work is done, never mind pull the parts to check for the Ford logo stamped on it! So the dealership can charge you premium parts prices, and install substandard parts while doubling if not tripling their profits!
The dealership can also charge these premium prices on fluids, once the fluid is installed in the vehicle, there is no way to prove that a specific brand of fluid was installed unless you have it sent out to a lab or if you caught them red handed using lesser quality brands. Manufactures like Honda and Toyota use their own brands of fluids like; brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant. The prices for their fluids are premium prices, so make sure you're getting what you pay for.
How to Avoid This From Happening to YOU!
Buy the parts yourself and have your mechanic install them
One of the best ways to save money, avoid dealership parts scams, and insure premium parts are being installed in your vehicle is to buy the parts yourself before you bring your car in for service. Some mechanics will refuse to install parts bought outside of their facility, so if they refuse to install your part, find a new mechanic, you'll be better off in the long run.
If you would like a certain brand fluid installed in your vehicle, you can even buy premium fluids beforehand and have them installed as well. Hopefully the parts you bring in will be used in your vehicle, and you will only pay for labor.
To save even more money on labor, read my other article "Flat Rate Grid Pricing Matrix." The flat rate grid matrix system is just another trick the dealership has up its sleeve to suck more money out of the pockets of their loyal and oblivious customers, it's not your fault! Dealership parts scams are wide spread and can go undetected for as long as that dealership is in business, so a little preparation before you bring your vehicle in for service can save you big bucks, and guarantee quality parts!