Tale of two automotive service departments

We own two cars: A Honda Odyssey and a BMW 325i. Kim hauls the kids around in the Honda and I pamper the crap out of the BMW during my 1 mile drive to the park and ride each day of the week. Then, on the weekends, I drive it like a bat out of hell.

I’ve had both cars long enough to experience the service departments at each local dealer. And they couldn’t be more different from each other.

I noticed a light out on the instrument panel of the Honda the same day the new transmission was installed. So I took it back to Hinshaw’s Honda to see if they could fix it (the light worked before I took it in for repairs). I waited over 30 minutes in the service area and finally went up to the desk to see if I should come back later. The guy said, “Oh I forgot about you…what did you need again?”

Eventually a service technician escorted me to my car where I showed him the light that was out and this conversation took place:

Honda tech: “Yep, a bulb is out. We’ll have to pull the dash to get to it”

Me: “Wow, pull the entire dash?”

Honda tech: “That’s the only way to get to it. Maybe next time you come in for an oil change. It will take a few hours”

Me: “So I can’t just pull the instrument panel off to reach the bulbs like I did with my BMW? I can feel four screws that should remove the panel”

Honda tech: “Well….it takes special tool to remove those”

Me: “Like a Torx screwdriver?”

Honda tech: (visibly annoyed) “Those will release the whole dash. Most people wouldn’t attempt that”

Me: “I’ll search for instructions on the Honda forums. Thanks for your help”

I got in my van and drove home in a very grumpy mood having wasted an hour of my Saturday morning dealing with people who assume I know nothing about my car.

And that is the biggest difference I’ve noticed between Honda and BMW service departments. BMW assumes I’m a smart owner and doesn’t treat me like an idiot, whereas the Honda dealer believes I’m barely qualified to pump my own gas.

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