15,000-Mile Service, Part 2 - 2011 Mazda 2 Long-Term Road Test

2011 Mazda 2 Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Mazda 2: 15,000-Mile Service, Part 2

October 29, 2011


Upon my return from the local Mazda dealership, I relayed my riveting story of not having the Mazda 2 serviced to my colleague Rex Tokeshi-Torres, who listened and was spurred into action. He set out to see just how reasonable Santa Monica Mazda's $89.95 estimate for a simple oil change (0W-20 oil) and a tire rotation actually was for this area. Rex called around to the next four closest Mazda dealerships and this is his report:

My opening inquiry: "How much would it cost for an oil change and tire rotation for a 2011 Mazda 2?"
--> Star Mazda in Glendale: On the phone they immediately stated that it required "full-synthetic". $75 for the oil change and an additional $22 for the tire rotation. Include tax and the total was around $110.
--> Galpin Mazda in Van Nuys: Gave me a quote of $60. I asked if that was for "full-synthetic" they replied "no" and said it would cost an additional $25 for full-synthetic. The total would probably be around $97 (including tax).
--> Long Beach Mazda: Very upfront. Said it would cost $39.95 for the synthetic blend and $69.95 for full-synthetic. This included the tire rotation (I asked a couple of times to make sure since the price was so much lower).
--> Browning Mazda in Cerritos: Pretty much stated that a full-synthetic oil change would cost around $69.95.

The different prices Rex got for oil changes with full synthetic and synthetic-blend oil opened up another can of worms for us: What kind of oil does the 2 have in it right now?

Looking back at our paperwork from the 2's first oil change around the 7,500-mile mark back in March 2011, we were charged $7.75/quart for 4 quarts of 0W20 oil (well, we were charged at that rate, and then a $20 parts discount was applied, following by an even big discout for labor... ultimately resulting in a cheap-for-this-area $32 oil change). But the receipt didn't specify which type of oil was used. So I called Santa Monica Mazda's parts department to see what kind of oil they sell.

The first person I spoke to in Parts said that this dealer only sells synthetic 0W20 for its cars, except for the "Mazdaspeed 2" which still uses non-synthetic. Uh... And then it turned out he wasn't working at this dealership back in March, so I asked, well, would it be possible for me to talk to somebody who was. He tracked down the parts manager, who asked me to read him the parts number from the original receipt (0000-77-0W20-QT). Yep, he said. That's full synthetic. "Do you sell a synthetic blend?" I asked. The answer was no. (He added that the price of their 0W20 synthetic fluctuates monthly; for October it's up to $9.54/quart.)

Since our Mazda 2 already has full synthetic in it, we made an executive decision to stick with that and therefore not do a cheaper oil change using one of the blends. The 2's owner's manual (viewable here as a PDF) does not a make a distinction between the two.

So we had a choice: go have the work done at either Long Beach Mazda or Browning Mazda (since these dealers had the lowest quotes for full synthetic changes), or I could call my advisor at Santa Monica Mazda and see if he'd match the offer.

I called him, he remembered me and was still polite. I told him I'd made some calls (well, Rex made the calls, but he doesn't know Rex) and that the Long Beach and Cerritos dealers were willing to do an oil change and tire rotation for $69.95.

"Are you willing to match that?"

"Yeah, I'll match it -- I'm not going to argue over $20."

"OK," I said, "when can I bring the car in?"

"Anytime," he said.

"I'll be over soon."

I arrived at the dealer, and the service advisor was polite and acted as if our earlier dust-up had never gone down. He typed up a new service order for $69.95 and I was out the door again in less than 5 minutes. It was now 10:45, and after over two hours of discussion and phonework by multiple Edmunds.com/Edmunds employees, we were possibly on the verge of saving the company a whole 20 bucks.


Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,770 miles

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