Dealer Policies re: Westys


Gary B. Dixner

New member
I suggested my daughter have her 87 Westy serviced by her nearest VW dealer in Nashville. She called them for an appointment and they told her they no longer work on Vanagons. I was surprised at this since my dealer in Knoxville is very accommodating. Has anyone else had a negative response from a VW dealer? Hope it's not the start of an alarming trend.

Moderator Note: If you run into a dealer that won't service a Westy, please NAME him (include address!) so the rest of us know who NOT to buy a car or parts from. Then send him & VW copies so they know they've alienated a major market.

[ 10-09-2001: Message edited by: Capt. Mike ]
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I know some dealers do not carry the Eurovan line, but I've never heard of a dealer refusing to service one. When VW split out the Winnie version of the camper to selected dealers, you could then understand a non-camper dealer not working on the camper section of the Winnie, but this . . .?

I'd be on the horn to VW US pronto! VW very strongly advertised that your bus could be serviced at ANY dealer. I was under the impression from the dealer contracts I read many years ago it was a requirement to maintain the franchise. I know the ambulance chasers can figure out a way to get out of anything but paying their bill, but VW US needs to know -- it may just be a rougue dealer.

In the meantime, my dealer loves to work on them! Competently and at normal prices.

That's a mixed bag -- you might can force them to work on the vehicle, but who would want them with that attitude?

Please post the name, address and all info both here and on the Mechanics Boards so we know where NOT to do business or take ANY of our cars for service.
 

Gary B. Dixner

New member
It's Nashville Volkswagen, phone number 615-780-2255. Since I hadn't talked to them directly, I called this morning. The woman who answered the phone verified that they don't work on Vanagons, in fact, no VW product older than 94. They refer people to an independent garage. I told her that Westy's have a loyal following and we depend on dealer networks for service, especially when travelling. She said: "Wouldn't you rather go to someone who knows how to do repairs?" I asked her about parts and she said: "I guess we could order them." I was tempted to explain to her about accountability, etc. but realized that would be badgering. We are about to go away for a couple of months so you won't hear from me til April. Am willing to follow up on this after that. Will try to call VW of America today. Thanks for all you do.
 

frito

New member
Nope. This is NOT an isolated event. Here in Boston I have had a similar experience. There are several dealers around here and I have been to a couple so far. I bought my 85 westy during the summer and soon after went to a dealer close by. I picked up oil and air filters, plugs etc. The parts guy discouraged me from doing business there. Go to so and so garage he said, the parts are cheaper their. Another day I went to buy a second battery hold down. The parts guy was less than willing to put the effort into finding a part number, he was more interested in arguing that my battery was in the engine compartment. Ok, perhaps this guy is not representative. However, I called another local dealer to fix a leaking gas tank. I was told that they don't have anyone that knows how to work on vanagons and like Gary pointed me in the direction of a local independent. Well, I put my westy away for the winter and my gas tank still leaks.

This spring I will call around to find a willing dealer.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Well, it's nice to know there are still some ethical and conscientious dealers still around. I took Volksrat in to Southern States here in Raleigh NC for state inspection. [I can't believe I'm still pulling 0.00% CO at 134K!]

They had an early air-cooled Vanagon awaiting a major engine job and the Durham dealer was sending over an automatic bus for tranny rebuild.

I actually take my Porsche to Brumos in Jacksonville FL (500 miles) for those things I can't handle. I guess I'd do the same for Volksrat. Those dealers too damn lazy to do their job can do without my business, sales or service. Hope y'all tell VW! Remember when having a franchise meant having standards? Or you lost it?

And do post them on the Mechanics Boards. They're for warnings as well as recommendations. Then send a copy of it to them.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have had nothing but bad service from VW dealers so if one told me he didn't work on my Vanagon I'd thank him for it. Bob Hoy VW here in El Paso has screwed me the worst. Turns out the son of the couple across the back fence was working in Bob Hoy's parts department. We were chatting over the back fence one summer evening as he told me about the VW mechanic learning on some guy's camper. That was my camper!! At least I knew why the gas mileage kept getting worse with each visit. Memorial VW in Tulsa, OK charged me about $400 for a fuel pump they didn't put on. Mid-America VW in Hazelwood, MO charged me to "re-route" incorrectly connected fuel lines. I now know that what they claimed they did is pysically impossible. Green Toyota/VW replaced a fuel pressure regulator unnecessarily. I'm heading for Philadelphia next month so if anyone can refer me to an honest VW dealer somewhere along Interstate 70 in Indiana, Ohio or Pennsylvania I'd appreciate it. For now I've just assumed all VW service departments are peopled by dishonest people. Gee, the foregoing sounds awfully bitter but I really feel that way.
 

Doug

New member
I also was refused service at a Grand Rapids Mi Dealer. I could not even make an appointment for a Vanagon. I was told that they did not have a "Van Mechanic"
 

volkswagenolli

New member
Hi, I am new to this site. After reading how badly some dealers seem to treat VW Bus drivers - what is the advice for someone with a 93 Westy Eurovan who wants to travel East-West and back next year. Should I have a list of independent garages ready at hand, should I get some spare parts to be safe? I am thankful for any advice on this travelling (problem?). Olli
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Although you "hear" about the bad ones, you rarely hear about the good ones. A '93 is basically still in production, so I would expect most dealers still servicing them. I wouldn't take any particular precautions beyond a spare set of belts AND the shop manuals in case you do need an independent. If a long trip, I usually carry the routine items of the services that will occur during the trip just to be sure I have them and of known quality.
 

MikeC

New member
I'm surprised reading some of the posts here about nasty dealers as my experiences have mostly been good. When I am going to a new dealer for routine service I will usually stop in ahead of time and talk to the service reps to see how they react to my 83 vanagon. Most places I have been are willing and only a few have been hesitant. I figure if the place doesn't want to work on my van I probably don't want them working on it anyway. On the other hand, if I were stranded or needed emergency work done I would expect ANY VW dealer to help me out. I think a quick call to VW's corporate customer service would help any time a dealer refuses to service your van.
I had a great experience with Broadway Auto (VW dealer) in Green Bay, WI. I broke down and the guys at this place bent over backwards to get me on the road again. They admitted upfront that they had little experience with Vanagons, but they ended up doing a great job.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Old Guideline #8: Your dealer can still be your best friend.

Don't alienate him because you don't like Corporate VW's pricing or parts policies. Most dealers will be quite cooperative at letting you look at the parts fiche and answering questions on price & availability. They'll probably let you read the technical bulletins if approached right.

Dealers, like any car related business, can be good or bad, depending on the personnel and ownership and the customer's attitude. Take your mechanic to lunch now & then; it pays remarkable dividends.

I'm still amazed at the number of people that go in with no comprehension of the dealer's operation or expenses and have an immediate chip on their shoulder. They curse the car, the parts, the prices and the labor rate, then wonder why the service guys "don't work on buses." They're probably the same guys that say, "What a moron!" when a customer comes into their place of work and wants half-price, delivery yesterday and free coffee while they wait.

Excellent tactic to stop in ahead of time when things aren't hectic, introduce yourself and ask if they've got somebody with real bus expertise. In well over a ¼ million Westy miles, I've NEVER had a dealer do anything but go out of their way for a traveler in distress. My only less than excellent experience was a dealer in the Yukon who couldn't do a full engine pull for about 3 days because of backlog. (I made it to the next.) But he let me use his phone to call long distance to the States to arrange a dealer there to have the parts on hand when I arrived.
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Capt. Mike
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Copied from an LP post about getting good service at fair prices from LP dealers. Applies everywhere!

Original posted July 12, 2003 08:42 AM:

I get -- and they're usually cut under our "no parts/shops wanted ads" policy -- so many posts of members complaining they are being overcharged for either tanks or services and wanting them cheaper. Judging from the attitude of some of those posts, I have to wonder how many go into the shop or dealer with that same chip on their shoulder and then are surpised when nobody wants to go out of their way to help them.

I, too, have had only favorable services from LP dealers including some 'no charge' adjustments or tips. I've never had a problem getting a tank filled anywhere in the country or Canada. I know that reasonable priced proper replacement tanks are available. Often it's appearance, approach and expectations.

[Reasonable isn't always in the eye of the buyer but whether the price is fair and competetive -- yea, I'd like one for $50, too, but it ain't gonna happen!]

I'll pass on a parable. Recently, a friend of mine and I went to buy a 20' container for club storage. We chatted with the general manager about common interests and acquintances, antique cars, ships and the used container market, which we had the good sense to research a bit before coming in. We got a refurbished and freshly painted unit for $500 plus $95 exact spot delivery (they weigh 2½ tons!). While we were writing the check, a loud-mouth, know it all came in, talking down to them. Without blinking, they quoted him $2000 for what would be a worse unit than ours (we'd already looked over all the stock).

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Hello, mouth. Meet foot. See guideline #8. It applies to outside vendors, too.
 

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