7 On Your Side: Cyber Car Service

Scheduling car service can sometimes be a hassle just ask Anthin Zito. "By the time you make the phone call, get a hold of actually someone who can actually talk ---at least five, ten minutes each time I schedule the car, minimum," says Anthin.
  But now Anthin can step on the accelerator thanks to e-scheduling. "It's convenient. I can be on the phone for a conference call and schedule the appointment to get my car worked on at an appropriate time," says Anthin. With just a few clicks, a growing number of dealerships now allow you to book an appointment for all kinds of routine service.
  Dealerships in East Texas are catching on too. "Roughly 30 to 40 percent of all of our service appointments are from online," says Jamie Boersma, Business Development Manager for Classic Toyota in Tyler. Boersma says East Texans are taking advantage of their "cyber car service" feature. All you do is go to the "Parts and Service" link on Classic Toyota's website and fill out the required fields. You can even specify a preferred appointment time to accommodate your busy lifestyle. "The last thing that people want to do is spend time trying to get somebody on the phone, schedule as appointment or find out info whether it's for a car or vehicle they already brought in," says Boersma.
  We put this feature to the test to see how well it works. Our request was emailed to the service department in a matter of minutes. "E-scheduling is definitely the wave of the future," says Philip Reed with Edmunds.com. Reed says it's no surprise that car service is revving up in cyberspace. Reed says there are times, though, when a phone call is still better. "In some cases you may have a complicated repair, you may not even know what is wrong with your car and how much it is going to cost," says Reed. Despite the limits, Anthin says he's hooked on the information superhighway when it comes to taking care of his car. "Without a doubt, it's just better than waiting on the phone," says Anthin. And if your dealership is not offering this service yet, chances are it won't be long until they do.
  Other East Texas dealerships offering the online service appointments include Peltier and Jack O' Diamonds in Tyler.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com