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Main dealer service - invoiced for wrong oil, claims that correct oil was used


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Dear CAG users,



I recently put my 3-year-old car in for service at a main dealer that is part of a much larger chain. It was a special fixed-price deal for an interim service.



I noticed the next day that the invoice listed an oil of the correct viscosity, but which is not in line with the car manufacturer's recommendations and is not appropriate for an engine with DPF.



It is also suspiciously cheap for the spec that should have gone in (£20 for 4.5L), however the pricing on the itemised invoice was fudged for the price-fixed offer so I'm aware it may not have actually been £20.



After phoning the dealer twice and getting nowhere, I went by in person to speak the service manager.


  1. He showed me some top up bottles of the oil they said they used on the car, which would be a suitable oil but was not what I was invoiced for.
  2. He was not aware of the differences between the oil listed on the invoice and that which they were using (from the same manufacturer with similar but still distinct names).
  3. The chain of dealers appear to have a deal with this oil manufacturer, but it wasn't clear whether they get one product that is used in all cars (in which case I got the right stuff) or several products (in which case its still possible they put the wrong one in).



All through this I was being made to feel like a very awkward customer. Their normal clientele evidently don't ask many questions!



I'm still not convinced that I got the correct oil, but don't know what I can do next. Any ideas?




Edited by mrn21
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I too know of a large car retailer (many branches) who use cheap oil when car presented for "service plan" service.

There is no quick cheap way to identify oil used, but if you take a sample from the sump i think it can be analysed---but don't know by which body.

PM Heliosuk on this one---he will probably know just what can and can't be done.

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The main thing here is that it's the correct viscosity. That's the killer on any engine especially with todays extreme tolerances. The fact it is suitable for a DPF is a myth. Oils suitable for these only have an additive which aids to a small and certain extent the emissions. The additives have little or no effect on the actual lubrication properties.


When a garage buys oil it's in vast quantities such as 2000 litres at a time. Oil companies promote this and discount it which enable garages to discount. When invoicing this to the end user the computer systems are not usually set up to determine this so there is a default oil price for the fixed price servicing which is what you probably saw.


As Conniff points out, the mark up on garages oil is horrendous.


On balance you probably got the correct oil but because of computer system limitations it does not show as such.

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Got to the bottom of it with the service manager:

- The dealer only receive one oil, which is appropriate for the car

- The description used on the invoice is incorrect and hasn't been updated for a while, and I was apparently the first person to notice

- I'm satisfied that everything is fine and they are updating the details for future invoices


On the matter of what made the oil on the invoice inappropriate:

- It was of the correct viscosity and met some of the manufacturer specs

- It was not low-SAPS / ACEA C3 (one of the req specs), which could lead to accelerated DPF ash buildup that would not be shifted by regeneration

- It was semi-synthetic

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As pointed out this invoicing issue is not uncommon. It probably met all of the manufacturers specs as well as they are very difficult to differentiate unfortunately. If a diesel with a DPF is used correctly there is no need to use a specific supposedly low ash oil, it just gives dealers an excuse to hype the oil prices.


If an engine can meet Euro 5 regs there is probably no need for DPF's any way. It's just another EU reg that controls imports from countries where cars engines have to have them to meet Euro 4.


Wait until Euro 6 kicks in where the exhausts have to have a substance injected which smells like cats pee!! Coming soon to your area!!


Glad it's all been cleared up though.

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