I just want to share a bit of an experience I had today.
I bought my first Compass (2007 North Edition) in Feb of this year. So in total I've had it for about 6 months. For the past few months I've been hearing a sort of creaking, tension sound when braking. I also noticed that the car would sometimes hesitate to start and would shutter in very cold weather (I live in Ontario, Canada) until it warmed up. I figured it could just be cold weather so I left it alone.
It's now August and the same things still happen. There are even times when I go to start the car and it feels like the engine has turned over, but it really hasn't and a lightning bolt icon appears on the dash until I turn the key to off and then start it again. As well, getting up to speed from a red light or a stop sign sometimes seemed sluggish. The engine would be revving high (4-5K) and I'd be struggling to pass 45KM/H for quite a while.
Anyhow, I took it in this morning for these issues (plus a regular oil change) to the dealer from where I bought the car. Here is what they quote:
Grinding noise - Front brakes need to be replaced. They're worn down to the 'squealers' (metal tabs that make noise for the purpose of letting you know it's time to replace the brakes). Needs new rotors and pads. Price: $450 plus taxes and labour costs.
Loose Control arm ball joint (not even something I had addressed in my original inspection request) - Needs: Replacement. Cost: $505.65 plus taxes and labour costs.
Labour: ~$300, and then taxes for another $200-ish.
Took it for another quote to a small auto shop. For the same exact work, minus the branded parts (Chrysler OEM vs Napa [or whatever]) was going to be a TOTAL (parts, labour and taxes incl.) of $480.
I called the dealership back with this information and after a lengthy conversation with the used car and services managers they told me they'll use a lesser quality brake (a brake is a brake when you use your vehicle less than 2 hours per week, IMO) for $250 installed and they'll do the ball joint for free because they feel that that shouldn't have happened on a car that was purchased this recently.
So my initial quote of $1400+ went down to $250 within 3 hours.
I also got the dealership to put new computer software into the computer of the Compass, which they said solves a LOT of power issues (no power when starting from red light / stop sign, some fuel mileage issues, etc). That cost $100.
So, all this is to say that I will likely never bring my car to a steal
ership again. After this one time, that is. Ridiculously over priced with a TON of hidden margins (it seems).
Hope this helps someone else, in some way, shape or form. Don't settle for one quote. Lesson: Always shop around.