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#51606 05/04/05 06:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 88
JFLS41 Offline OP
I couldn't help copying and pasting this from a car repair forum I was reading, here goes...

My Advice to You is
Don't Say This!

This topic and more is covered in my Ebook, click here to find out how I can save you money on your next trip to the mechanic.

Do you like to take your car in for repairs? Do you ever feel like you were cheated or taken advantage of by the shop or their mechanics? Do you know it could be what you are saying to the repair shop that could be costing you more? Most auto repair shops are run by honest hard-working people but in some circumstances you may bring out the dark side at some shops.

For instance, never tell the shop how much you are willing to spend without first getting an explanation of what you are going to have done. When you give the shop a "spending limit" they may have a tendency to do as little as possible but will manage to spend up to your limit. For example, a woman came into my shop and told me she had $500 to spend. She did not start off her conversation with "hello", or "can you fix my car", all she said was how much money she wanted to give me.

Now granted, it is nice to have people come into the shop and actually like to pay their bills, but this lady gave me a spending limit before she told me what she wanted to have fixed. She thought she had transmission trouble and assumed that it would cost her a fortune to repair. While on a test drive with her I concluded that the problem was not transmission-related, but that the car probably needed a tune up or something along those lines.

But wait, this person wanted to give me $500! If I was not an honest shop owner, I would have remained quiet on the test drive and taken the money that she was willing to pay. Let's say that I told this customer that I could fix her car because I am a nice guy and since she only had $500 to spend I would try to help her out as much as I could. In reality, the actual repairs needed would have only cost $200.

Because this customer thought she had expensive transmission trouble, she would probably be happy with a bill for $350 and she will also think the shop did her a favor. Her first mistake was to diagnose the problem herself. I wonder if she goes to her dentist and tells her which tooth to pull or if she thinks it is time for another root canal? You take your car to the repair shop to have someone else diagnose and repair your car; so let them do their job. Her second mistake was to tell the shop how much she was willing to spend.

Most of the mechanics and service writers that I know of work on commission, and in the example above, an additional $150 would sure be a nice tip. I see this happen all the time and it is so easy to prevent. Sometimes it is better to simply describe the symptoms to the service writer, remain quiet about your budget dollars and let the shop diagnose the problem with your car and how much it will cost to repair.

If the problem you are having with your car will require a test drive for the mechanic or service writer to hear make sure you ride in the car with them at the time you drop off your car for repairs. If they can't hear it or feel it they can't fix it, and you will probably just get frustrated and discouraged by them not being able to repair the problem you want them to fix. Have you been over-paying your mechanic?

I talk about this and other problems in my money saving eBook What Your Mechanic Doesn't Want You to Know Click Here to learn more.

#51607 05/05/05 06:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 42
I cant stand auto mechanics. I have 3 vans for the buisness plus my wifes truck and and my truck and i still havent found 1 auto mechanic who will do a break job and not tell me THIS ONE NEEDS ROTORS, or the calipers are frozen. I found that there simply part changers not diognostic and repair mechanics. CANT STAND THEM....

#51608 05/05/05 08:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
I would say to be more carefull with the shops that advertise the lowest prices.

You can get to the bottom of what they say with a few questions. If they say it needs rotors or drums ask why. If they say it's too thin to machine have them show you the micromiter readings and machine to spec. You could subtract .020 from a disk or add .010 to a drum for machining. It could be more if real warped.

If it has bad groves in it it is probibly junk. Another thing that happens a lot is the breaking service chips off from rust under the breaking serface. Pobibly junk then. More often on orignal break parts. Been told one reason for this is because manufactures use recycled scrap metal for some things like brake parts and oil pans (some of those rust out too).

For frozen calipers ask them to show you. With a big screw driver the piston should slide back in. On ABS it's a good idea to open the bleader so the old fluid in the caliper is not pushed back into the ABS controls. It is also posable for the ABS to keep the fluid from flowing back into the caliper.

If the piston moves but the caliper does not slide then it needs the slides cleaned and lubed. That should be part of a good break job but is skiped by the hacks. There is also a hardware kit it could use if it does not slide.

The guys doing oil changes, tires, and oil changes all day don't tend to be the best of the bunch. A Chevy tec told me the other day on some of their newer ones it takes 5 different computers in the car and a whole list of sencers before it will allow the car to start. And yes they are paid to chaing parts at the dealer. Most of the time the manufacture does not pay dignostic time. Reasons like that push good guys out of the trade. Is that the tecs fault?


#51609 05/06/05 08:13 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 135
Active1, very good post and you're correct. Good techs are pushed out of the trade by not being paid diagnostic time and from being treated like third class citizens.

#51610 05/06/05 11:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
I cant stand auto mechanics. I have 3 vans for the buisness plus my wifes truck and and my truck and i still havent found 1 auto mechanic who will do a break job and not tell me THIS ONE NEEDS ROTORS, or the calipers are frozen. I found that there simply part changers not diognostic and repair mechanics. CANT STAND THEM....

Ever hear of liability?? Brakes are kind of important and rotors do need to replaced at times and calipers do stick. I love it when people whine about someones work, why didn't you do it yourself or take it somewhere else.

#51611 05/06/05 12:13 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064

Would you do business with someone, who kept asking questions like that?
Show me.

I'm all for customer relations, but if some nut case kept asking me to show them everything, including breaking out a meter to prove to them that a switch was bad, I'd tell them to hit the road, and find another electrician.

Mechanics are just like electricians, the best ones don't advertise. They have enough work by word of mouth, to keep them busy.

You have to ask around to find them, If you picked one out of a phone book, then shame on you. You are asking for trouble, as he is working off a pricing sheet of his own.

It's all about trust, even with us, when people trust you, they don't ask questions.


#51612 05/06/05 02:07 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
It's not unreasonable to ask questions. The service writer should take the time to explain or even show what's going on. It's call show and tell. It helps the shop establish credibility from a skeptical customer. Works like this:

They put the car up, take the wheels off and inspect the breaks.

They should mike the drums / rotors unless there is no question. Many shops have the tec write down the readings on a check list or invoice along with the machine to spec.

It is priced out and availibility is checked on parts.

The writer takes the customer on a tour to show what's going on.

The customer signes a work order with the quoted price.

Many times on the invoice or quote it will have a box for the customer to check if they want to see or keep the removed parts.

An undersized rotor is not like a bad switch. A bad switch they just see is was changed and now things work. A bad rotor might not look much different than a good one.

Yes it is great when you can trust the auto shops or who ever your talking about. But the thread was more going about not believing any shop.

My point is it does not hurt to ask. If they would not take the time to show the bad parts or give the reading they should have taken then I would go elcewhere.

#51613 05/06/05 02:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
It is not unreasonable to ask at all.
However, I think we all at one time had some knucklehead take things too far with the questions, though.

And we agree that not all shops are bad, if we thought like that, then they would think all of us were bad too.

But I still like the little guys, when it comes to fixing my stuff. I know him, he knows me. If he needed something, he trusts me, Same on the other side.

That to me, is the best relationship vs opening the book and taking your chances.

But in my experience, the transmission shops were the worst, when it comes to "raping" you..

Maybe cause I don't know any good tranny shops?
That could be........


#51614 05/09/05 07:46 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 135
From what I've seen with auto techs is that there actually is more incompetence than dishonesty out there. But what can we expect when guidance counselors at schools push the worst students into that field figuring they won't make it anywhere else. It takes alot of intelligence to master todays vehicles, unfortunately, the pay, benefits and level of respect are not consistent with the knowledge required.(I'm speaking of employees here, not shop owners) The liability is also high, replacing rotors when they can no longer be machined is common sense and the law. If a tech machines rotors below allowable tolerance and something happens, he could go to jail for manslaughter, just like an electrician could if he is negligent in his judgements. (or is trying to save someone some money by shortcutting)

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