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For all of the shops that do NOT specialize in one make of vehicle, what types of coolant do you carry? There seems to be an over abundance of different types of coolant on the market and it seems kinda crazy to carry all 15 of the different types. Just trying to get an idea of what other shops keep in their inventory......

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I keep a couple cases of dex-cool, a couple cases of standard green, and a case of the universal all makes and models stuff. Very seldom uses the universal stuff mostly cause its color is different and I worry it could confuse customers. The stuff I got undiluted looks like yellow Gatorade.

 

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Since we are a German Car Only shop it peeves the crap out of me to see anything other than make specific coolant. Actually this is the only time I point it out to my clients that whoever was servicing their vehicle was completely incompetent and did not know how to service their vehicle properly. I don't throw other shops under the bus but this is one of my only exceptions. I have replaced several head gaskets over the years and cracked open several more engines and have seen the damage it causes (rust, metal eaten away from corrosion, etc). I really hope my ASO brothers out there use the proper coolant!

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Since we are a German Car Only shop it peeves the crap out of me to see anything other than make specific coolant. Actually this is the only time I point it out to my clients that whoever was servicing their vehicle was completely incompetent and did not know how to service their vehicle properly. I don't throw other shops under the bus but this is one of my only exceptions. I have replaced several head gaskets over the years and cracked open several more engines and have seen the damage it causes (rust, metal eaten away from corrosion, etc). I really hope my ASO brothers out there use the proper coolant!

 

It's amazing in this day and age with so many hack shops out there that anyone on ASO would use non oem fluid.

 

What's next? Let's use non dexos oil in the cars cause all oil is the same? It's just coolant, those engineers didn't really think it matter so the universal coolant should be fine.

 

Yep there sure is a lot of different coolant out there. So what? Charge the customer and install the tight stuff.

 

I stock about 7 different coolants. Heck, Chrysler has 2 different types just based off the model year and it looks the same.

 

Do your customers a favor and set your shop apart and use the correct fluid. It didn't cost you anything to stock or use the right fluid.

 

I've done a ton of Toyota and Chrysler water pumps because someone put in the universal or worse green coolant "because it's all just the same" makes me lots of money!

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I know a shop across town from me that puts up great sales numbers. I also know that they use subpar fluids, synthetic blend oil in cars calling for specific synthetic oil, and wrong coolant. They also scam their customers by charging their customers for fluid flushes and do the old suck a little out and top off method. Sucks for the industry, I don't know how these people sleep at night.

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We have used the universal coolant for a number of years with absolutely NO PROBLEMS. I personally will not put DEXCOL back into any vehicle unless an owner insisted. I have removed it from any vehicle I have owned. As far as oils go we stock full synthetics in just about every weight except 10W30 and 10W40. If a vehicle calls for full synthetic that is all we will use unless we have the owner instruct us otherwise and then we put a disclaimer on the ticket.

 

 

Most German vehicle have a specific requirement which can be found in most information sources such as All Data and Mitchell. Many off the shelf oil brands do not have the required certification from the manufacturer. Does it really make a difference? That is debatable. Is the correct method set by the manufacturer in performing an oil service on a German vehicle? Yes.

 

As for the coolant, I would have to strongly disagree. Incorrect coolant is a consistent red flag for a previous service shop not knowing what they are doing. It is a personal peeve of mine since before I was a shop owner and just a BMW owner I would hate to have a shop poor green dex death into my cooling system.

 

The two fluid examples are easy sells when we meet a first time client. When they don't know the oil that is going into their car or if we pop open the cap and see green coolant its a wrap.

 

I am pretty sure Asian Imports have stringent specifications especially with the new vehicles.

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Most the cars I service are old enough to get the universal or Dexcool. I don't like mixing colors so I will order a special type/OEM coolant if the car requires it. Do I think it matters? Probably not, I just do it so the customers has the same color fluid as the factory put in it, whether it be a Toyota Red, Blue, Green, Yellow etc...

 

SMM, not that I am advocate of using universal fluid in everything (as I stated above), but those water pumps were probably going to fail regardless of what fluid is in them. Engine driven water pumps are a sealed bearing with an impeller and water passages. The pump itself could careless what fluid it is moving, whether its blue, green, extended life, or straight H20. The only harm I could see being caused to a pump is if the Coolant waxed up due to types that aren't compatible. And at that point it would be needing a pump, radiator, etc... Today's universal blends are not going to wax up like the stuff did 20 years ago when people were mixing conventional with dexcool etc... Most of the different fluids are different so the manufacture can profit on a product upsell at service interval for a propietary fluid.

 

Heck I've called the Dealer's before for special Anti-freeze, power steering fluid etc... and its not even in stock and will never be in stock at that location. I remember trying to find PS Fluid for a Cadillac CTS and the GM dealer told me GM has so many PS Fluids anymore they just stock a universal and use it in all the systems.

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Zerex Original, Zerex Dexcool, Zerex G05, Zerex Asian, VW/Audi G12+, BMW "blue" Pentosin NF (for the rare MINI) think I even have some Honda "blue" and a diesel coolant from Zerex (can't think of the name off the top of my head) That should be about all of them.

 

Pretty much the same for ATF, P/S fluid, Oil. Stock just about everything I need. All vehicles get the correct fluid type; oil, ATF, Coolant, Brake Fluid, P/S fluid, etc.

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FYI for Xrac, one of the industry mags, Ratchet Wrench, etc. (I can't think of which one but I will try to find the specific magazine tomorrow.) Had an issue about the different types of coolants out there. One specific section was on Dexcool and the famous "brown sludge" They explained why the sludge forms and also why you should continue to use Dexcool especially on 3.1/3.4/3.8 engines where you replace the intake manifold gaskets (We all know most of us use Fel-Pro kits) These new gaskets are SPECIFICALLY designed to be used with Dexcool. Putting Original in will actually cause the coolant to deteriorate the new gaskets faster since they were not designed for the different additives and ingredients. I'll try and find the magazine and see if I can't find a digital format for you.

 

I realize you may not have had any issues with the universal over the years but that doesn't mean its correct. Also doesn't mean you haven't had failures and either didn't attribute the failure to your use of universal or simply the customer may not have returned to you or broke down away from home. Food for thought.

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This is a BIG one to me because we go through 100'S of gallons a year with winterization season and changing all of the ratings to -60. JUST MATCH THE FRIGGEN COLOR, IF YOU CANT ADD MORE FOOD COLORING JEEZE PEOPLE!!!!!

 

No really, we do try to use all of the proper coolants and damn are there a lot of them.

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Universal phosphate/silicate free coolant will not damage anything. Premixed 50/50. Peak makes it and its cheap enough. It won't change the color either when topping off. If it doesn't say phosphate/silicate free don't use it. I carry g12 for the vw forum experts, they like paying $32 a liter. Now, if I'm doing a service on a newer high end import I use the factory antifreeze with distilled water. I believe its a waste of money but I can't afford to be wrong.

 

The water you mix in makes the biggest difference if you ask me, filling your car with tap water is probably a very bad idea.

 

The horror stories come from shops that incorrectly use an antifreeze recycling machine. Who knows what's in that melting pot.

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We keep universal for the lower class cars and use ONLY OEM for premium cars. We keep BMW, Jag, Benz, VW, Toyota & Honda on the shelf.

Why would a shop put the cheap stuff in everything when you can charge a premium for the OEM fluid? It makes no cents $$$

Dave

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My fluid collection is one of the things I am most proud of. I often walk a new customer though my storage room so they can see all of the dealer fluids I stock. I do keep a drum of universal for the cars that lost oem coolant years ago. Electrolysis and ph levels are my biggest concern with using non oem coolant.

 

I once had a jeep in. Customer had the tires rotated and had a noise up front. After driving it I asked when she serviced the front differential. Same time the tires were rotated. We drained the fluid added Mopar gear oil and all was better.

 

If the type of fluid does not matter why would manufacturers spend hundreds of thousands paying chemical emgineers.

 

I hear some folks pick on shade tree mechanics only to turn around and become shade tree engineers.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
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