The just-throw-money-at-the-problem school of auto repair

It is not entirely clear to me that my car really needs functional oxygen sensors. Although it could well be that NCDOT needs me to have them before it will let me pass inspection next year, which is functionally the same as my car needing them.

It is fairly clear to me that I probably could have saved a fair bit of money by taking my car to Autozone rather than the dealer for a free diagnostic check, buying the part off the internet rather than from the dealer, and having my local independent shop install it rather than the dealer.

(That is, of course, on the assumption that the Autozone diagnostic check could have pinpointed which of my oxygen sensors needed replacing. Which is not entirely clear to me.)

It is clear enough to me for my satisfaction and peace of mind that what the dealership charged me for parts and service was within a reasonable range -- not a bargain, but not highway robbery.

It is also clear to me that it is worth a considerable surcharge to have it all taken care of in one visit. And also not to have to keep going back to Autozone every couple of months to make sure nothing new is wrong with the car (which would be the story if the check engine light signaled something that I could live with and that was too expensive to easily remedy).

The folks at the dealership were professional, prompt, and respectful. I appreciated that they did not hard-sell me to throw money at any of the other things that are obviously wrong with my car, but are not safety hazards. It even looks like someone managed to jimmy my busted interior door-release handle back into place so it works again without sticking out oddly. (This was one of the obviously-wrong-with-my-car things that was on my list of things to get around to fixing eventually.)

And they had free (I didn't say good) coffee, and free wireless. And a shuttle, if I had had somewhere I needed to be.

So all in all, I am a satisfied customer.

This does not mean I'm going to start going to the dealership for routine maintenance.


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