The fact is most dealers mark up filtration by an astonishing amount. Generally, the costs of maintaining a dealership, as well as what profit margin the dealer wants to achieve, is all worked into the price. Is it not unheard of for dealers to achieve in excess of 100% margin of profit on air and cabin air filters. Customers for the most part just don’t question or realize how inexpensive filters are for the dealer to procure. It is important for people to understand a bit more about the dealerships they trust their vehicles with. Their goal is to maximize profitability with each customer visit, not provide an inexpensive location to service your vehicle.
Air filters and cabin air filters will be recommended to be replaced quite often during customer visits. Dealers will generally request replacement on these filters every other service (that is if you always bring your vehicle to the dealer). Customers tend to not challenge the service writer’s requests and trust the fact that when they hear something is “dirty”, it always means it needs to be replaced. Oil change specials are a lost leader for dealerships and the intention is to draw you in so that additional parts and service can potentially be sold to you. An air & cabin air filter replacement sold along with an oil change is an easy way for a dealer to make more money out of a visit with little to no effort on the service writer’s behalf.
It is important to note that we are referring specifically to large chain dealerships where the public generally buys their vehicles new and potentially brings them back for service. Many small chain companies and family owned repair shops have different attitudes about service work considering they are not in the business of selling vehicles. People have different experiences with smaller shops and most often bring their vehicles elsewhere after purchase once they realize the overinflated cost of parts and service from a dealership in regards to simple part changes such as air filters & cabin air filters.