Over the years, it has become a standing joke that Toyota service departments, in spite of written instructions, will:
1) over fill on oil changes
2) under inflate tires (even letting air out when NOT part of service)
3) leaving vehicle in maximum fuel burn modes
Do our Honda hybrid friends suffer the same problem? As for Lexus owners, I can only imagine!
Due to edge wear (previous owner under inflated tires,) I went tire shopping. On a hunch, I found low-rolling resistance tires at the Toyota parts store for a good price, $45/tire. Mounting and balancing seemed a little high but $350 was 'fair enough.'
I dropped off the car with instructions for 40 psi and to balance with my tire pressure sensor caps and went to work. My 40 psi pressure sensor caps show green when within the range. Researching my tires, I found a Sumitoro service bulletin on mounting these tires using yellow and red dot balancing marks. So I picked up the car and subsequently discovered:
1) The AC was set to MAX COOL, which forces the engine to run, blasting out cold air and the MPG was HALF of what I'd left.
1) The tires were mounted ignoring the balance paint marks.
2) The tires were at 37 psi, the minimum pressure the sensor caps would show 'green'.
I'm ranting about a service department pattern that works against MPG performance. Are Honda shops equally clueless? Do you come back to find the tires under inflated, oil overfilled, AC set to max and the MPG indicator looking as if the parking lot attendants from the movie "Beuller's Day Off" had 'parked' the car?
Actually, I can relate to some of your frustrations. However, I don't think they are limited to Hybrid owners only. In the decades that I've serviced my vehicles at Honda I've noticed that the service technicians will treat each vehicle as one more of the many they service daily. Quite often they simply execute the routine checklist without much thought of even interest on the unique attributes of the vehicle.
Because of this I've given them a little hand. I always emphasize to the service attendant my requirements: tires at 40psi, etc. They are very accommodating and each time I drop off the vehicle they are happy to enter that into the service request. Sure enough, ever since I started the routine they've never messed things up for me.
Since we discuss hybrid ignorance so much, I'd rather take my chances at a dealership than a 3rd-party chain. While the 88' CRX HF was not a hybrid - the tune up experience has made me leery of many auto repair places.
The CRX HF could easily get 50mpg when new - would go so far as to venture if I had it in mint condition driving it like my Insight these days it would get 55mpg. Back in 1996 some chain did a tune up that it seemed like one cylinder was missing. The next day I limped back and the coolant and freon erupted like Old Faithful. Really should have had an attorney - lost about a third of the power and economy. Had to drive the car five miles to barely make the emissions test that it had passed effortlessly. The fuel economy dove from about 45mpg to 35mpg (if that). My fast driving did not help....
I used to have the same annoying problems when I started taking my Insight to the local big Honda Dealer in town. After getting to know the service manager, and establishing a relationship with both of our cars, they seem to at least try to follow instructions not to touch the tire pressure, and not to overfill the oil. I even bring in my own Mobli 1 0w-20 synthetic now, and insist on getting all of the excess oil back to ensure both proper fill level, and right oil used.
No matter what I do though, the mileage still takes a dive when I go in for service. Once my Hondacare warranty runs out, I'm definitely considering doing my own maintenance or taking the car to a local garage owned by a HCH owner I know through the Milwaukee Hybrid Group.
Even without a hybrid, I've learned to maintain a healthy skepticism any time somebody else does something to my car. My first (and so far last) Honda service was fine, but it was probably a fluke. A friend found out recently that the mechanic who had been working on her Bimmer for the previous two years had done maybe ~20% of the routine work for which she had been billed. Today or tomorrow we get the verdict on my girlfriend's mom's car which was towed in at the very end of last week with a fairly impressive diesel leak. A quick internet search on my part revealed that this may be due to an extremely common problem in that year and model, requiring a $2 o-ring at least and a $140 shut off valve at worst. A tech at the dealer made a very quick inspection and wants to charge $2,000+ for a new diesel injection pump. Supposedly the car will be looked at by an actual diesel mechanic today. And if I got into my rant about Sears Automotive I would be sitting here typing for the next two hours.
It all makes a great case for DIY whenever possible.
I got mad at my Honda dealer, and won't go back there, when they wanted to charge me $350 for the 30k service. I asked what that included, and beyond the three air filters, nothing more than an oil change. I had them just do the oil change, purchased the filters myself for $35 and installed them myself. They wanted $115 just to change the cabin filter! I change the oil myself now.
My FORD dealer, when changing the oil didn't change the "O" rings, then said they had to keep the car for the day, because they had to order the "O" rings. I complained to the service manager that they should have had the parts onsite when they knew, a week in advance, that the car was coming in for an oil change. Sheesh.