It seems like a good idea. You buy the parts and have some shop install them. You save a little money, and they still make a little. What’s the problem? Let’s start with liability. Most shops carry a garage keepers policy that protects the shop if they install parts that fail and causes an accident or death. That policy does not cover customer provided parts. So for a few bucks, the shop has his you know what on the line if something goes wrong. It’s not worth it. When you own a repair business, you need to make profit on both parts and labor. That profit helps pay the bills, and if something does go wrong, allows the shop to cover the warranty. When you provide your own parts, you are taking that profit away, which means he needs to make it up by charging you more per hour labor rate. Most shops want a good relationship with their customers. Nothing can damage a business faster than an angry customer. Nothing makes a customer angry faster than when you tell him th ... read more
We’ve all heard the expression “Penny wise and Pound Foolish’ I know that when financial times are rough and you’re confronted with a major car repair such as needing a transmission, it’s hard to think past “How much money can I afford right now?” However, stepping back and evaluating the options might be the most economical thing you can do and save you lots of money in the long run. Maybe even in the short run. I’ve worked with many customer who set a firm spending limit, rather that looking at the options for the best value. One customer wanted to install a used transmission from a junkyard, rather than having us do a complete rebuild, less solenoids. The savings would have been only $200.00 and she would have had only a 30 day warranty instead of a one year warranty with our rebuild. And, if there was a problem with the used transmissions, she then would’ve paid additional labor to install another one. One of my customer went t ... read more
So many customers will ask for “Worse Case Scenario” or “Ball Park Figures”. It’s easy to understand that they are looking for some kind of price. Naturally we want the best deal, especially when times are tough. Unfortunately, most shop owners have a tendency to answer that question all too quickly, hoping that their instant price quote gets them the job. But what if you found out that the instant price quote could cost you a lot more $$$. Let me explain. First, there is no single symptom when it comes to automatic transmission problems. Many customers will use the word “slipping “to describe late shifts or delays. Some will say it makes a noise. Today’s modern transmissions rely on a ton of computer sensors that tell it what to do. A bad sensor such as an input sensor, Throttle Position Sensor or Output sensor can cause a transmission to go nuts. It’s a lot cheaper to install a sensor. But lets say your transmission is bad, and you chose that shop that had the ... read more
Q What’s the difference between having a flush done and a transmission service?
A Most transmissions come with a removable pan and only by removing the pan can you first, get to the filter to change or clean it and second, to see if there is any abnormal metal or friction material in the pan. When you have a flush done, it means that the pan will not be removed, therefore the filter can not be changed or clean and if there is abnormal wear, you won’t know it. Also, since ATF is very high in detergents, changing all the fluid may cause drivability problems if your transmission has an internal problem already. Q I just want to go to the shop with the best price to fix my transmission. Why do some shops give prices over the phone and some don’t?
A Sometimes that price you got over the phone can cost you a whole lot more. I can give you hundreds of true stories to illistrate my point, but here is just one. Customer c ... read more
Dodge Durango Many general auto shops throughout San Diego send us work or refer their customers to us. Recently, a Dodge Durango was towed in for another shop. They were sure the transmission needed to be rebuilt or replaced, and they prepared the customer for the worst. When we dismantled the transmission, we found the torque converter was bad. We called the shop with three different options. Repair with no electrical repair; with electrical wires and solenoids, or a full rebuild. Since the customer wanted to keep the vehicle for a long time, she decided to have a complete rebuild. The truck had over 100,000 miles on it. If she went to the dealer or he decided to install a dealer unit, there would have been no choices
Most of us will show up at a shop with our vehicle, fill out some paperwork, tell the person at the counter the basic symptoms, and then leave, waiting for the dreaded phone. What we don’t understand is what happens after we leave and why sometimes it cost so much to fix our cars and trucks. Part of the cost is diagnosis time. The technician must first analyze what was written down on the work order, which in most cases is just a few words. Most of the time, he needs to do a road test, then put the car on the lift, and maybe scan for any codes. He then has to use his knowledge to try and match the symptoms with a possible cure. The more time he needs to take to find the symptoms, the more it will cost you. You can help save yourself money by writing down all the information you can as to what the symptoms are and when they occur. Does the problem happen when the vehicle is cold, or hot? After a long trip or going around the corner or up a hill. What exactly is the vehic ... read more