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    • The vendors who are my current suppliers are an AC Delco/Motocraft warehouse, World Pac and my local Bumper to Bumper store. I have no idea what is available to you locally but my thoughts are that you need to spend your time not attempting to fix manufacturing problems but spend it finding suppliers who can get you quality parts. Warranty? I am curious why discussion is what warranty a supplier has? Any supplier I have has some sort of program with a warranty attached. Bumper to Bumper has a 2 year nationwide warranty. Great if they break down more than 50 miles from me, but if they do not and I have to fix it they pay up to 3 hours and a discounted rate and supply a new part. I dont have time to chase labor warranties. IMO you will waste a lot of time chasing down discounted labor dollars that could be spent chasing down retail labor dollars. When you do a job and give a warranty to the customer, who's warranty are you giving, yours? or the vendors? We offer a 3 year/36k nationwide warranty on all of our repairs. We do this because we do things right, we don't cut corners and we use quality components in our service. Our warranty costs are built into our pricing and we have less than a 1% warranty rate and most of it is customer satisfaction anyhow. I have not written a labor claim in years and I don't plan to. When I have a part that fails I usually get a new one no questions asked. My vendors know how I do business and I've already told them what I expect if they would like my business. I take care of it and move on. When I run into a manufacturing problem I may tell my vendor about it but if my guys dont like something we find a new line to deal with. Keep in mind the cost of a line that we like is not put up against a line we dont. For instance of Centric brake parts are 20% more than Wagner but we have next to 0% complaints or defect from centric and 10% from wagner WE DONT USE WAGNER. We also dont complain to the vendor who sells Centric that we can get shit parts a lot less. We do negotiate discounts from our vendors if we are loyal to a certain line.    
    • Find a new vendor. AAP and AutoZone are junk, for me last resort. Dorman quality dropped to junk after they moved production off shore. We use mostly AC Delco and are a PSC Dealer. Have a 2 year part AND labor warranty from them. As with my old computer programming days, “Junk in, Junk out”.
    • Which vendors have you had luck with? Do they give better warranties? Better quality parts?
    • As a technician you are great at solving problems. Now, put on the owner/manager hat and start solving business problems. We are always going to run into problems when dealing with aftermarket parts. What you learn and the decisions you make will cause a significantly different outcome. I am not a tech, never have been. As I read about the issues you describe I think of solving them differently. Dorman?? Junk...absolutely last option. AAP....deals in a lot of junk IMO.  Time to find and create relationships with quality vendors. 3 month labor warranty at half price and ALL the paperwork to collect. hmmm...it seems to be if you cut your prices in half and had no warranty you'd be in much better shape....not a consideration though? Then who the heck cares about a labor warranty...(BTW it's built into their pricing) As a tech you should be billing out somewhere between $3-$4 an hour. As an owner you need to figure out how to keep the tech billing....is the tech calling the parts company trying to get them to fix manufacturing issues? Thats a LOT of time wasted by the tech....owner needs to get techs head on correctly. You make it sound like quality parts are more difficult to obtain, if so the repair process needs to be streamlined to account for it rather than wasting all that time trying to push the boulder uphill. Order parts ahead of time, get a couple of loaners so customers can wait for the right parts to show up..... there are a lot of creative ways to solve the problems other than doing the same ol same ol....
    • Last week I was at a resort with family and the grandkids.  We had a great time and it was a much-needed vacaction.  For one day, I did it....I left my cell phone in the hotel room safe.  It was not easy, and we all know how addicted we all are to our phones and laptops. The day passed and guess what?  Nothing urgent happened.  And if it did, I need to put trust in the people I employ that all will be taken care of. So, the question is: Can shop owners truly ever unplug from the outside world?       
    • In addition to finding techs, we need to also consider "home grown" techs.  There are shops that have been very sucessful with hiring entry level techs and creating a career path and training program.  Let's face it, at one time every Master Tech was an enrty level tech.   I know this takes time, but it's worth considering for the long term. 
    • There are days I want to set the place on fire (sometimes just customers cars) ok just kidding. I seem to be getting a streak of problematic parts lately. I am so tired of reps telling me about quality, oem specs, warranty blah blah. My main supplier is AAP. Here are some examples below. - 2000 wrangler needing rear axles due to bearing failure. Ordered Dorman axles and both had fitment issues where once installed the differential pin wouldn't fit in due to improper clearances on the axle. Ordered another brand online Yukon Axles. - 1995 Lexus SC300 (mint cond, low miles) Felpro valve cover gasket was manufactured too thick and didn't fit in the groove on the valve cover. Ordered from Lexus and fit fine. - Forgot the year (Chrysler van) water pump with a pulley that wobbled and even the online reviews had the same issue.  - 1993 Wrangler water pump machined incorrectly where once bolted to the block, the ears of the pump where the ps pump bracket bolts to was not machined correctly and if you tried to bolt it on it would bend the water pump. Ordered AC Delco (i think) from Cold air distributors and worked fine. - 1999 Lexus ES300 front left brake hose manufactured incorrectly. Ordered another brand, probably Raybestos from Cold Air Distributors, and all is well. - 2003 Taurus 3.0 OHV timing cover from Dorman 635-117. Online reviews had some issues but the oem unit was expensive. I ordered 3 before I found one that was machined good enough then installed. Came back a while later leaking. I ordered a replacement under warranty and the quality control was horrible. Just ended up getting the ford one and looked and seemed to work great. Time will tell - 2005 Honda Element Monroe struts all the way around (these are the ones) in the front like the civics where the strut has the bracket where the tie rod bolts to. Left front was fine. Right front couldn't get aligned properly as the bracket for the tie rod was welded on at the wrong angle. Went through a couple from the local parts store then I think Monroe sent me a strut that was tested to be ok on their manufacturing/ quality control/ measurement jig and it still failed. They paid to have the old Honda part sent back for inspection. I think i ordered KYB for the front and all was well.  I use the AAP Wearever Platinum which have been great brake pad material and braking, but lately they don't fit properly and I have taken video to show the reps and I believe when the backing plate is cut, there are imperfections where it wont fit into the caliper bracket without me grinding the backing plate on the edges. The actual manufacturing company for them sent a rep to a local AAP BBQ event and I talked to him and he is very aware and they supposedly changed the manufacturing process to address this issue but recently I did a brake job and had the same issue then installed Akebono and all was well. I am considering switching to the Wagner TQ which they stock as well. They give me an across the board pricing on the Platinum pads of $34.99 on most vehicles. Has anybody got a good pricing structure on the Wagners? AAP gives a 3 month parts and labor warranty on pretty much everything they sell. The labor is reimbursed on my parts account at 1/2 my shop labor rate times the book time. The problem is I still have to write up an invoice showing that I replaced the part and didn't charge the customer, and spend time calling their hotline and explain what happened, then fax or scan and email the original invoice, warranty invoice, original parts invoice with the claim numbers and I still have to call and check in to make sure the claims have been processed and paid out. This takes time and is not very encouraging. Otherwise the parts themselves have the standard warranties, 2 year, 3 year, lifetime, etc. though this still requires me to redo the repair that should have been successful the first time. I am the owner and mechanic and I waste so much time in the office dealing with parts, Calling manufacturers tech support lines, taking measurements, sending pictures of parts problems. Then if I cannot get it resolved having to research another part. The Dorman timing covers were terrible. the metal was porous and i sent them a screenshot of their website talking about "High quality plastic or metal construction resists warping, cracking and porousness". I am surprised that these companies don't look at the reviews of their own products and correct the issues. I do need another technician so I don't have to wear so many hats but in the meantime how do you folks deal with these types of issues.  The other issue is because I am not a high volume purchaser, although it is getting better as I grow, I have to purchase the majority of my parts from AAP to keep myself on a reasonable tier level. If I spread my purchases around then I can fall off the tier level in a short time. I like AAP and they have a warehouse near me and have a vast inventory available locally as opposed to other suppliers. Most of the stuff I get is name brand stuff to avoid junk parts. I like Moog, National, Motorcraft, Delco, Etc so its not like I am trying to be cheap on everything, I just seem to get burned a lot. When the commercial reps come by, it is usually to check up on business and try to sell me something or a service or a package deal, however when I show them the issues I am having, they really don't or cannot do anything other than listen and tell me about their "quality parts". I ask for the numbers to the engineering departments to try and at least get some of these issues resolved and I cannot get through. How do ya'll deal with these situations?
    • Indeed has become more popular in some cases than monster and careerbuilder, it’s worth a try 😁 


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