When you’ve taken your vehicle in for a service, a thorough shop will have information for you because they’ve conducted a multi-point inspection of your car, regardless of the type of service they performed. They should assure you either that your car is in great shape or provide you with a list of recommended maintenance or repair items.
Ask questions about the recommendations, as many as it takes to feel comfortable with the person you’re dealing with or to understand the issue with your vehicle, to understand why they’re making those recommendations, and what the benefit is to you for following their advice. If you don’t understand what they tell you, ask again. It’s the Service Advisor’s job to answer your questions fully and to your satisfaction. If you’ve asked the question twice and they just made you feel stupid, they’re not doing a good job. Knowledge is power and they should make you feel empowered.
You should never feel pressured to make a decision about additional services on the spot. You may want to take their recommendations and compare them to the factory-recommended service intervals in your owner’s manual. Although those intervals may not match up, the Service Advisor should be able to explain why you might need a particular service earlier than the factory recommendation. If not, you are probably right to be concerned about the shop’s ethics. Remember, here in the desert southwest, we fall into the “Severe Conditions” service category in your owner’s manual.
By the time you’ve done all the homework outlined above, you shouldn’t have any issues when you take your car in for service. But, if for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your service, give them an opportunity to make it right with you. You can tell a lot about the culture of the business by how they handle a customer concern.
If you cannot reach a resolution with the staff, ask to speak to the owner. There are many owners who will go much farther than staff is empowered to do in an effort to repair their relationship with you. If the owner is uninterested in resolving your issue, well, it’s not hard to figure out you’re going to have to find another company to deal with.