We chose to bring our mini-van to America's Service Station because of the convenient hours - that is a real plus! And in dealing with the counter people and the service manager, they were nothing but pleasant.
Now the bad news: our service engine light was on, and it was obvious, with the van backfiring and missing, that it was in need of a tune-up. However, when the manager called, the estimate was over $1,200 including the replacement of valve covers that were "leaking oil." The van sits in a garage over a clean mat - doesn't drop a lick. The manager explained that could be true since the oil was running along parts and burning off. Could be. I told him the van wasn't worth much, and his repairs would come close to the 50% threshold for totalling a vehicle. He assured me the van was worth the repairs, despite it's northern rust, but said that he'd talk to the inspection technician and see what he could do about the price - and I would talk to my wife. When talking with my wife, we agreed that we needed a second opinion on the repairs, so when we again spoke to the manager, he first said that he could do the repairs for $1,100 with no real explanation as to how he was getting this reduction. When we said we'd get a second opinion, he then remarked how we could just do the tune-up - plugs, wires, etc. - for about $400. At that point, we were pretty bull-headed determined to take the van elsewhere.
When I went to pick up the van, the diagnostic fee was $95. Thankfully, I had a coupon for $25 off, but $70 is still ridiculous. Two things that made it even more interesting: (1) I had to ask for the actual diagnostic code they had pulled from the computer - it wasn't even on the report for $70/$95. (2) The actual report was about six lines long (again, for $70 dollars!!) and included this statement - "CERTIFIED MASTER TECHNICIAN RECOMMENDS REPLACING THE SPARK PLUGS AND IGNITION CABLES AND RETESTING FOR THE MISFIRE." Nothing about replacing leaking valve cover gaskets. Now, in their defense on the cost, they did say that had we done the work there, our diagnostic fee would have been credited (i.e., zero).
Needless to say, we went elsewhere, and had the work done for about $270 which also included a fuel filter replacement. The van runs great and no oil leaks.
I did not appreciate the hard sales approach - while communicated with a smile and gentle manner, it still felt like old school stuff, and the reason why used auto dealers and car mechanics get a bad rap - i.e., not trustworthy. In short, we found that America's Service Station deserves its acronym.