Customers will often use phrases that they understand, and, which they assume everyone else does as well. It happens once in awhile It doesn’t run like it use to. It doesn’t sound/feel right. It works ok most of the time. It’s slipping. I’m not getting the same mileage as before. These are vague statements which may mean something to you, but don’t really give much of a starting point for the tech to look at.The more specific you are with the problem, the better service you’re going to receive. Imagine asking someone to come over to your house, but you don’t give them your address or how to get there. Chances are they will never find your house. unless they make the effort to seek additional information. To fill in the blank spaces. When you drop off your vehicle for repair, you need to fill in the spaces the best you can. Here are just a few examples of stating the problem a little better. I notice the problem when I first start the ca ... read more
Many shops and even some auto parts stores will read codes for free if your “check engine light” is on. Sound great, but it’s important to understand that code retrivial is just the first step in finding the real problem. Not having all the information or jumping to conclusions based on codes could be costly. Here are two examples: Today I had a 2007 Toyota Tacoma come in. The customer had a friend scan for codes and it had a P2714, shift solenoid stuck on. When he came to a sudden stop, it would slip on take off. When he went around a turn it would slip. He cleared the code and it came back. At this point the customer was thinking he needed to replace the soleniods, have valve body work done, or maybe even a rebuilt transmission. None of the above. He was two quarts low on fluid. A simple transmission service took care of the problem. Another customer recently read the codes that indicated bad shift solenoids on his Chevy S10. After spending the money and his own t ... read more
Often, in the automotive repair industry, people feel that the time we take to diagnosis a problem should be free or at least waived if repairs are done. That the time we spend should be on us, the shop. Well how about we become like the medical insurance industry. Would that be OK with you? Think about it. Just like the medical insurance industry’s, we’ll send you a bill every month for $200 or more. You’ll pay that amount whether you need repairs or not. If however you have a problem with your transmission, you’ll of course need to pay a co-pay of $50.00 before we do anything. Then we will cover up to 80% of your bill. Oh, and we’ll need to do lot’s of test. Each test will require another co-pay, and you will need to pay it whether we find a problem or not. Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? What, you don’t like that idea? Each month we try and educate you, the consumer, on how our industry works and how to keep from paying more th ... read more
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
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
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