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The costs of owning a used Cadillac,


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The dealership which had serviced my Brougham for the last three years before I bought it last September with 84,000 miles kindly agreed to mail to me the service records. It was fun to dig in! In three years the car (1995 Fleetwood Brougham) was serviced five times. That includes regular inspection, oil changes, etc. In three years (74,300 - 82,500 miles) the owner was charged totally about $5,600. The parts replaced: two window regulators, an idler arm, starter, water pump, intake gasket, spark plugs, fuel and air filters. The transmission has been FLUSHED without filter change... A dead mouse has been removed from the blower motor area.

The car sometimes hesitates while climbing a hill. Looks like the owner complained and the dealer tried to do something about it to no avail (transmission flush, fuel filter, spark plugs, engine decarbonization). I did not find any evidence of selling unnecessary repairs/parts by the dealership.

I would be able to do all those repairs if I had to. I would probably spend $600-750 for quality parts from rockauto.com and other sources. The difference - $5,000 is the cost of not doing the repairs independently.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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I learned years ago that dealerships are really "stealerships"... They push unnecessary services, etc. I have maintained my own cars ever since I bought my first car. I can say that my Cadillacs have not cost me any more money to maintain over the years than the Buicks and Chevrolets I owned previously.

I visited my local dealer last Friday to inquire on a rear main seal install on a Northstar engine I'm working on. With me providing the cartridge seal and bringing them the engine, they quoted me $50.00-$75.00 and then leaned toward the $75.00 mark which was 45 minutes of labor. I figured I could install the seal in a half hour if I had the special tools and an experienced tech. could surely do it in less time than that...

I bought the tools on ebay for less than they quoted and I don't have to haul the engine down there. I would have paid them $50.00 to install the seal and not even thought twice but they had to gouge an extra 50% which caused me to look at buying the tools and it paid off.

'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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I think the only way I would ever bring my car to a dealership to be worked on is if it were under warranty. It's almost always cheaper to do it yourself, unless you don't know what you are doing. Then you run the risk of making things worse, or breaking something else, resulting in more money than if you brought it to a qualified person to do the job in the first place. I learn pretty quickly and easily so if I don't know how to do something I ask. If I still don't get it, I bring it to my brother. I consider myself lucky as not everyone has the ability to do things themselves, or has someone else they can trust to do it for them. It's those people who don't that keep "stealerships" and other businesses like them going.


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