Auto Repair Service – Do Coupons Really Save You Money?


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

The 2 services advertised that you’ll likely never need (for today’s cars anyway) were Flushes and Timing Belts. The repair shop stated one could save $25 on any coolant, power steering, or transmission flush. This 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belts, which the Coupon stated are needed on “Most” cars, and at every “60,000” miles, is information that’s 10 years out of date.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. I read this Special three times in earnest, struggling to find a service that would actually help with fuel savings. There were none. 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, which in turn “may” have helped save fuel, then the title “Fuel Savings Special” would have been warranted. As it was, it was just an oil change that included a tire rotation. The last 5 services (listed below) included minimal savings:

  1. $20 off an alignment – a service you probably wouldn’t need prior to the coupon’s expiration)
  2. $5 off an oil change
  3. $10 free gas with $100 or more in service work – a nice enticement if your car actually needs work and gas
  4. $20 off brake work – not a lot given the mark up on brake parts and the ease of work
  5. $40 off a set of 4 tires – you can negotiate a better deal than $40 off (at any shop) if your replacing all 4 tires

The above services 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. Tip – follow your manufacturer’s recommendations “only” when maintaining your vehicle. Learn more at Auto Repair Service

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