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What to do when you can't fix a vehicle


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I took in a 2000 Ford E-250 that had been to 2 other shops before me. I then called in an auto electrician specialist to tell me what was wrong with it. He said it needs a new engine so I put a crate motor in it. Although it now has power it still has a miss that no one can find. The specialist says there is nothing else that he can test it for or any one else. His advice is to drive it and see if the motor is tight and things will improve with time and if not, all that can be done is to start throwing parts at it.

 

If I were to take it to the dealer how should I go about this? Take it in as a shop or just an individual? Is there a chance they would give me a max that it would cost me or do they just want a blank check?

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What testing was completed?

What was initial compression and compression now?

Which cylinder is misfiring?

Fuel pressure, injector balance test, injector wiring verification?

Ignition coil resistance, spark quality, ignition waveform?

Wiring wiggle/dowel test?

Cars do not misfire for no reason, there's data missing from the equation. I'm sure everyone here will be more than happy to assist with diagnosis and I'll be more than happy to offer phone consultation if it comes to that.

 

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Sounds like the "specialist" might not be as special as he thinks he is but then again we have all mis-diagnosed a car or two if we are being honest with ourselves. Doesn't the specialist guarantee his findings and work? I would question the specialist skills especially if they told me to "throw parts at it".

I would agree with ncautoshop in that there is to much information missing to make an accurate assessment. I think you have to go back to some of the basics and start documenting the findings. When someone tells me it's been to 2 other shops or even one, I tell them to take it back because the shop is every bit as frustrated as the vehicle owner and the techs want to fix the vehicle (at least if they are any good). We steer clear of those types of jobs because the vehicle owner already feels they have spent to much and want us to feel sorry for them and give them a break. I have also found that it usually costs us to much to be a hero.

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Let me tell you now that I am an owner, not a mechanic so my knowledge is limited. I do know my way around the basic stuff. There is no question about the guys skills. He is very well know around my area. Many of the larger shops use him in GA, AL and SC. I have been using him for several years and he has always impressed me.

I will order a PCM. There has been some concerns about that. I know I have not given a lot of details on the problem because I wasn't really wanting more information on what to try. I had given up and was ready to pay the penalty to have the dealer take a shot at it. I just wanted advice on how to go about that.

 

Since I will have to wait for the PCM to get here it would be foolish of me to turn down some help. I will get a list of what has been done that I know of.

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A good "electric tech" should know how to use a scope to see the miss. If nothing else look for the misfire counts on the scanner. Typically, yes.. it could be the PCM, however.... a new motor doesn't always mean a "GOOD" motor. That's where a scope could help out to see the exact problem in the engine...or electrical side of things.

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I would still like someone to answer my original question about tanking it to the dealer or what to do if you can't fix it.

 

This may not be the right spot for this but I just called and got a list of what to tell you guys. First on the specialist, he is called in by many of the dealerships when they have electoral issues that they can't fix or don't want to. He doesn't have much confidence in them fixing it.

 

The van had no power when we got it. It HAS power now and I am told this is a different problem. Was told problem was with cam in old engine.

 

Spark intensity test on secondary ignition with no break up.

Primary ignition - no break up

Random cylinder misfire occasionally, 80% of the time on #4 vs. other cylinders. This happens at idle.

Cylinder compression on new and old engine 160 to 170.

Valve cover removed, Rocker arms appear to be traveling correctly.

Fuel pressure consistent @ 45

O2 sensor cross count operating correctly during engine miss.

Very intermittent cam shaft position sensor code PO340. Some days we don't get it at all.

Can run 3 KOER test with no codes

When #4 is missing #4 and 5 can be disconnected and #4 put on #5 with no miss.

#4 has new injector

New Coil

#4 secondary ignition cable tested for leakage from boot to other end.

Many plugs tried

Oscilloscope amplitude, frequency range perfect and wave pattern perfect with remaining injectors.

12 ohms resistance on injector

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I would still like someone to answer my original question about tanking it to the dealer or what to do if you can't fix it.

 

This may not be the right spot for this but I just called and got a list of what to tell you guys. First on the specialist, he is called in by many of the dealerships when they have electoral issues that they can't fix or don't want to. He doesn't have much confidence in them fixing it.

 

The van had no power when we got it. It HAS power now and I am told this is a different problem. Was told problem was with cam in old engine.

 

Spark intensity test on secondary ignition with no break up.

Primary ignition - no break up

Random cylinder misfire occasionally, 80% of the time on #4 vs. other cylinders. This happens at idle.

Cylinder compression on new and old engine 160 to 170.

Valve cover removed, Rocker arms appear to be traveling correctly.

Fuel pressure consistent @ 45

O2 sensor cross count operating correctly during engine miss.

Very intermittent cam shaft position sensor code PO340. Some days we don't get it at all.

Can run 3 KOER test with no codes

When #4 is missing #4 and 5 can be disconnected and #4 put on #5 with no miss.

#4 has new injector

New Coil

#4 secondary ignition cable tested for leakage from boot to other end.

Many plugs tried

Oscilloscope amplitude, frequency range perfect and wave pattern perfect with remaining injectors.

12 ohms resistance on injector

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I would still like someone to answer my original question about tanking it to the dealer or what to do if you can't fix it.

 

This may not be the right spot for this but I just called and got a list of what to tell you guys. First on the specialist, he is called in by many of the dealerships when they have electoral issues that they can't fix or don't want to. He doesn't have much confidence in them fixing it.

 

The van had no power when we got it. It HAS power now and I am told this is a different problem. Was told problem was with cam in old engine.

 

Spark intensity test on secondary ignition with no break up.

Primary ignition - no break up

Random cylinder misfire occasionally, 80% of the time on #4 vs. other cylinders. This happens at idle.

Cylinder compression on new and old engine 160 to 170.

Valve cover removed, Rocker arms appear to be traveling correctly.

Fuel pressure consistent @ 45

O2 sensor cross count operating correctly during engine miss.

Very intermittent cam shaft position sensor code PO340. Some days we don't get it at all.

Can run 3 KOER test with no codes

When #4 is missing #4 and 5 can be disconnected and #4 put on #5 with no miss.

#4 has new injector

New Coil

#4 secondary ignition cable tested for leakage from boot to other end.

Many plugs tried

Oscilloscope amplitude, frequency range perfect and wave pattern perfect with remaining injectors.

12 ohms resistance on injector

Would it be possible to get a image of his cam and crank waveform? Crosscounts are all well and good, but what's the voltage at during misfire? If compression was good on old engine - that leaves me wondering if there's something else missing.

Heck if you not interested send it my way! I'll fix it lol

 

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NCAutoshop, Just asked him and he says his scope will not do 2 channels at once. He has high expectations that replacing the PCM will fix it. There may be something else that everyone is missing but it sure runs better with the new engine than it did before. (According to the mechanics)

 

ALTauto thank you for your info. I may be able to use identifix now that I know about them but I don't have what I need at my shop to do this kind of electrical work. That's why I called a specialist. I think the specialist is coming by tomorrow for another car that just came in and then has some out of town jobs to get to. I should have the PCM in a few days.

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Woah right there...a one channel scope is not going to do the trick for most automotive work. Guess it's better than nothing. I would consider a training program for your technicians - maybe have your lead tech spend some time reviewing some of Paul danners material or some time in training classes?

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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NCAutoshop, Just asked him and he says his scope will not do 2 channels at once. He has high expectations that replacing the PCM will fix it. There may be something else that everyone is missing but it sure runs better with the new engine than it did before. (According to the mechanics)

 

ALTauto thank you for your info. I may be able to use identifix now that I know about them but I don't have what I need at my shop to do this kind of electrical work. That's why I called a specialist. I think the specialist is coming by tomorrow for another car that just came in and then has some out of town jobs to get to. I should have the PCM in a few days.

 

1: I find it so hard to understand how he is an electrical/diagnostic specialist with a single channel scope! You need ATLEAST a two channel scope if not a four channel.

 

2. I think you may have found a lack of strength in your area. I would recommend researching in to advanced training for your technicians as well as the tooling needed to tackle jobs like these if you plan to continue doing them.

 

To answer your question, I am relentless. I have not given up on a difficult job and use it as a learning experience when it gets to that point where you are just banging your head against a wall. I talk with the customer and just say "hey, this is an extremely complex and difficult issue. If you will leave the vehicle with me, I will not charge diag time from this point forward." Stay in constant communication with them and when you do find the problem. Give them a estimate to repair. There is a point where a customer can't justify spending an unknown amount of diag time. Find a cap, somewhere between 4-6 hours is where I have typically fallen for the MOST difficult jobs I have done.

 

I am certainly not saying, don't charge for your diagnostics. PLEASE DO! I am saying when you get a job that is SO difficult it takes this amount of time. This has become a learning experience to improve your skills and keep knowledge in your shop.

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1: I find it so hard to understand how he is an electrical/diagnostic specialist with a single channel scope! You need ATLEAST a two channel scope if not a four channel.

 

Yeah, that's about the biggest red flag you could possibly find right there.

 

Both of our master techs have multi-channel scopes on their scanners. Matter of fact, one of them just turned in his brand new Snap-On for the older model, since the new model only supports 2-channels, and he wanted the old model that has 4-channels.

 

That said ... an "electrical specialist" without a multi-channel scope is like saying you're a mechanic without a set of wrenches. It's that basic of a tool.

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ALTauto thank you for your info. I may be able to use identifix now ...

I would highly, highly recommend getting Identifix, regardless of their hotline. Along with a subscription to iatn forums.

 

AllData and/or Mitchell are great programs. However, Identifix is a game changer.

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Theanswer to your original question is that it willall depends on if you already have a preexisting relationship with the dealership Ifyou don't it won't matter if you're a customer or mechanic. At the end of the day theyare in the business to make money. If thetech who gets your car is greedy n wants to stretch the ticket out....he will. If thetech isn't knowledgeable, thenhe'll cost youmoney just like you're costing the customermoney on an engine that didn'tsolve the problem. So justgo with the truth Because lying won't save you in this case. . , .

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Agree with Identifix. I've been open for 2 years know and I finally had to use them for the first time this month, and man did it help. I had a car that was kicking my a$$, I called the hotline, and we got it sorted out.

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Update, the PCM did not fix the problem. The specialist has committed to getting the scope and but that will not happen right now. Says he is getting a Pico and can't get that off the truck- will have to pay cash for it. Anyone know if that is correct?

The newest info is the Harmonic balancer. I don't know if it was Identifix or a contact at the dealer ship but it looks like some of the rubber is bulging out so I am going to replace that.

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Typically I would set all other notes aside and start over from square one. Something is being overlooked. Never assume new parts are good parts. Clear your codes, go for a drive with the new motor and PCM. . Then come back with your codes so we can help you.

 

Also what size motor? New short or long block? Are you running the correct oil for the variable valve timing? Look at your vacuum. Strong and steady, or bouncing needle?

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I agree with cdhowell. Get us some data to work with!

Don't buy any additional parts, and send your "specialist" packing. I think I would be very cautious taking on jobs that require powertrain diagnosis from here out!

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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The van is fixed! The mechanic that put the engine in swore that he had put new plugs in it, which he did, and that he had swapped out the #4 plug with no change. I question the truth in this. The specialist (Darrell) and myself both questioned him on that and the timing marks. We didn't want to keep going over each others work. Darrell put in around 20 hours on this and finally decided to start checking what others had assured him was good. The plug was pulled and moved to # 6 and the problem followed. After close inspection the insulator is lose on the plug. I don't know if I told you guys but I had paid another shop to put the engine in for me. I split the profit on the ticket and the customer agreed to pay an extra $200 if we could get it done in 1 week. I actually had an ownership in this shop so we help each other out when we can. They don't know that it is fixed and I have been considering how to deal with this. There might be a lot of finger pointing.

I know this is not the best way to do things but this is the first time I have had a problem.

I want to thank everyone for their help and comments are still welcome.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We had a similar problem the other day on a f250. The injector ground wire was intermittently rubbing against another ground which caused the injector to fire randomly. So if you have a cyl 4 misfire cut the injector ground wire at the injector and at the PCM and run a new wire. This is a free fix for you to try, it costs you a piece of wire and half an hour. The PCM on the one we did was under the battery on the passenger side in the firewall, no need to remove it just the connector.

 

Glad to see you got it fixed. Sometimes starting back at square 1 is the only way.

Edited by alfredauto
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It's back! I called the customer 2 days after he picked it up to check on everything and he said it was running smooth and everything was great. The day after that he called me and told me the check engine light came on and it felt a little low on power. I told him to bring it back in. The next call I got was that it would have to be towed it had no power and the engine was making a loud noise. I sent someone out there and found out one of the cats had come apart and was blocking the exhaust. That was the noise he was hearing. I had it towed to an exhaust shop and fixed that at my expense. Then it had a random miss fire so I had to have it towed to my shop. The injectors have gunk in them so I am going to replace them and drop the tank to clean it along with the filter. If this fixes everything he will have to pay for the injectors.

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Man, this just keeps getting better. No disrespect, but you need to stop working on this truck and take it to a shop that is computant in auto repair. What parts are you going to throw at it next, maybe a wiring harness?

 

I'm in no way trying to disrespect you but I've been following this thread and you should have never touched this truck, even with your so called expert. 20 hours to find a bad plug and you threw an ECM at it?

 

This is one of the reasons that our industry has an imagine problem. There is nothing wrong with not being able to do all repairs. There are shops in my area that ONLY DO brakes and alignment. Brakes making noise or steering pull, they are the guys. Check engine light on or car isn't starting not their bag. The days of being a general repair shop are GONE.

 

It's bad for the customer financially and your doing them a disservice. You really should reevaluate your business modle. Stick to what you know and do it well. Look at how much this job has cost you in terms of money, time, and credibility. These are all things that once gone, you can't get back.

 

Why are you paying for the cats? The car had came I with a misfire and the truck had been driven for a long time with one. If you knew about Fords, you would know that they take forever to code for misfires and thus if are driven, they will cause cat damage. Now the flip side to this is, if you were tooled up for ford, you would have been able to run a balance test on IDS and pinpoint the misfiring cyld in about 2 minutes. Hell, you could have even looked at mode 6 pid 53 with a code reader to see what was misfiring.

 

This comes to my point of your expert. If he couldn't figure out what cyld was misfiring, and it took 20 hours to find a bad plug, he isn't an expert. I sure hope you didn't pay him 20 hours. Your tech that said he changed the plug wouldn't be doing anymore diag or repairs if he worked for me.

 

Again, I'm not trying to bash you, I just don't like seeing people take on more than they are capable of. It hurts our whole industry. Next shop that gets this customer, customers is going to be on gaurd and not want to pay for testing, because he already had and has spent $xxxx and the problem is still there.

 

I would encourage you to get your guys into training. It's fine if you want to start doing diag, but you have to have a capable tech and proper tooling.

 

 

I don't work on all car lines. I only work on what I'm tooled for and know how to fix efficiently. I'm in this business to make money, not be a superhero who can fix anything. I don't do motors, I don't rebuild transmission, and I do maybe 5-6 clutches a year and I charge very well for them.

 

Now imagine if you stick to doing brakes, Maintience, and simple services. Think of all the hours you lost with this darn truck. I'll take gravy work all day. We've all had our rear ends handed to us, I just know now when to say NO sooner.

 

There is nothing wrong with sticking with what your good at.

 

Again, please don't take any offence to what I'm saying. I'm not judging you or your shop, I just would suggest you rethink your business model. We are all here to make money, not lose it.

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SMMototors, I know this all sounds horrible and I would not go to my shop after hearing all of this. Your points are well made and I will have to figure out how to avoid this in the future. Please keep in mind that you are only hearing one side of the story but it is still bad. I am currently dealing with all the finger pointing from the shop that put the engine in and the specialist and my mechanic. I certainly don't want to be in this situation again. The cats were cut off and it only cost me 150 including the tow fee. The mechanic that said he had checked the plugs was not my mechanic. He was at the shop that I paid to put the engine in. I will not do that again. The customer is actually happy with me because I have not dumped him like the other shops did and he is still bringing me other vehicles to work on. The specialist has not charged me anything other than his first fee and has stuck with me on this. I know many of you think I should dump him but I have used him for many years on problems that my mechanic didn't feel qualified to deal with and this is the first problem I have had. He has a good attitude and is honest which goes a long way with me. However, I am considering just sending all these issues to a shop better able to deal with them.

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Man, this just keeps getting better. No disrespect, but you need to stop working on this truck and take it to a shop that is computant in auto repair. What parts are you going to throw at it next, maybe a wiring harness?

 

I'm in no way trying to disrespect you but I've been following this thread and you should have never touched this truck, even with your so called expert. 20 hours to find a bad plug and you threw an ECM at it?

 

This is one of the reasons that our industry has an imagine problem. There is nothing wrong with not being able to do all repairs. There are shops in my area that ONLY DO brakes and alignment. Brakes making noise or steering pull, they are the guys. Check engine light on or car isn't starting not their bag. The days of being a general repair shop are GONE.

 

It's bad for the customer financially and your doing them a disservice. You really should reevaluate your business modle. Stick to what you know and do it well. Look at how much this job has cost you in terms of money, time, and credibility. These are all things that once gone, you can't get back.

 

Why are you paying for the cats? The car had came I with a misfire and the truck had been driven for a long time with one. If you knew about Fords, you would know that they take forever to code for misfires and thus if are driven, they will cause cat damage. Now the flip side to this is, if you were tooled up for ford, you would have been able to run a balance test on IDS and pinpoint the misfiring cyld in about 2 minutes. Hell, you could have even looked at mode 6 pid 53 with a code reader to see what was misfiring.

 

This comes to my point of your expert. If he couldn't figure out what cyld was misfiring, and it took 20 hours to find a bad plug, he isn't an expert. I sure hope you didn't pay him 20 hours. Your tech that said he changed the plug wouldn't be doing anymore diag or repairs if he worked for me.

 

Again, I'm not trying to bash you, I just don't like seeing people take on more than they are capable of. It hurts our whole industry. Next shop that gets this customer, customers is going to be on gaurd and not want to pay for testing, because he already had and has spent $xxxx and the problem is still there.

 

I would encourage you to get your guys into training. It's fine if you want to start doing diag, but you have to have a capable tech and proper tooling.

 

 

I don't work on all car lines. I only work on what I'm tooled for and know how to fix efficiently. I'm in this business to make money, not be a superhero who can fix anything. I don't do motors, I don't rebuild transmission, and I do maybe 5-6 clutches a year and I charge very well for them.

 

Now imagine if you stick to doing brakes, Maintience, and simple services. Think of all the hours you lost with this darn truck. I'll take gravy work all day. We've all had our rear ends handed to us, I just know now when to say NO sooner.

 

There is nothing wrong with sticking with what your good at.

 

Again, please don't take any offence to what I'm saying. I'm not judging you or your shop, I just would suggest you rethink your business model. We are all here to make money, not lose it.

 

Like you are a computant speller :P, just having some fun.

 

On a serious note, you had another shop put the engine in??? I can promise that it's not worth being involved in a transaction that you are not in control of, just take this as a lesson learned and move on.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
      As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
      But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
      Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
      Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
      Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
      The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
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      Questions/Ideas - [email protected] & [email protected]
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • Incfile.com
    • By carmcapriotto
      "AutoTechIQ helps car and truck owners identify problems their vehicles are having. We provide proven auto repair work that has solved similar issues thousands of vehicle owners have faced. We also recommend auto repair shops in your area based on trust, customer education, and quality of work. These shops inspect your car using a courtesy Digital Vehicle Health Inspection and create a state of health report with symptom information and necessary fixes." Frank Scandura and Krista Erickson discuss how AutoTechIQ aims to bridge the gap between shops and customers by creating better relationships through technology and transparency. The goal is to empower customers with knowledge and build trust. Frank Scandura, Frank’s European Service, Las Vegas, NV. VP of Certified Shop Relations and Member of the Board of Directors, AutoTechIQ. Frank’s previous episodes HERE. Kirsta Erickson, VP of Client Services and Marketing, AutoTechIQ Show Notes
      AutoTechIQ: https://www.autotechiq.com/ Transparency is the New Trust (00:01:02) Discussion on the importance of transparency in building trust with customers and how it relates to online reviews and consumer behavior. Using Data to Inform Customers (00:03:52) Explanation of how AutoTechIQ utilizes data from repair shops to provide customers with relevant information and help them make informed decisions about their automotive repairs. The Power and Carefulness of AI (00:08:55) Exploration of AI as a smart algorithm and a powerful search engine that requires careful questioning to avoid getting incorrect answers. Transparency and Expertise in Automotive Services (00:10:33) Explanation of how AutoTechIQ aims to connect customers with expert shops that provide transparency, digital inspections, and communicate in a language that customers understand. The disruptors (00:15:16) Discussion on the impact of disruptors in various industries and the need for new solutions. Vetting process for certified shops (00:16:30) Explaining the requirements and process for certifying shops, including reputation, online reviews, and digital inspections. Driving consumers to shops (00:17:54) The importance of bringing consumers to shops through technology and creating a bridge between customers and shops. The digital vehicle inspection revolution (00:23:06) Discussion on the importance of digital vehicle inspections and the need to educate shops and customers about its benefits. The percentage of shops doing digital vehicle inspections (00:23:33) Exploration of the industry-wide adoption of digital vehicle inspections and the varying definitions of what constitutes a digital inspection. Disrupting business directories with transparency (00:25:22) The potential impact of AutoTechIQ on business directories, focusing on transparency and high-quality service. Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Learn more about NAPA Auto Care and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting https://www.napaonline.com/en/auto-care Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections
         
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


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