Starting March 1, running a “check-engine” diagnostic on a vehicle comes free of charge at all 14 Fred Beans automotive service departments across southeastern Pennsylvania and in Flemington, New Jersey.
The service managers hope this will encourage vehicle owners not to ignore the light that indicates something is amiss with their car or truck, but instead give a Fred Beans service department the chance to take a look. It could be as simple as the cap on the gas tank not being replaced after the last fill-up, or it could signal a more important issue.
“If the initial diagnostic doesn’t sufficiently pinpoint the reason for the check-engine light illuminating, customers can ask the technician to complete an analysis and present an estimate for fixing what the tech finds,” says Service Operations Director Julian Dragos.
“As is our practice, the service department will waive the cost of this analysis, which is more in-depth and can take two hours or more, when customers authorize us to perform the recommended service.”
If, however, the customer chooses to forgo or postpone the recommended repairs for any number of excellent reasons, that in-depth analysis will be billed at a flat rate of $49.95.
“We’ve significantly lowered our charge for a full analysis, which had been roughly the same among all area dealer service departments,” says Dragos. “In an effort to reassure customers that it doesn’t have to cost a lot for us just to figure out what’s wrong, we’ve made a conscious choice to be more ‘wallet friendly.’”
Compared to the competition
While many independent service businesses and auto parts stores have offered free diagnostics for the check-engine light, they are unable to provide the level of service that Fred Beans service departments offer.
“Most independent service stations can perform repairs,” says Dragos. “But unlike our dealerships, they don’t have access to OEM parts through the largest inventory in the Northeast, put factory-trained technicians and factory-certified equipment into award-winning service departments, or offer a 12-month/12,000-mile warranty on all parts and labor.
“We make it easier and faster – in most cases we can complete repairs that same day – and our repair charges are competitive with neighborhood independents.”