By Joe Marconi
Shop owners, you have a little less than two months before the end of the year. And that means it's time to start thinkning about your Tax Planning for 2019. Don't procrastinate on this. Meet with accountant. Review the year, review profit. Consider things such as major equipmenet purchases and other major investments you made in 2019. Look at bottom line profit and determine if you set aside enough cash to pay your taxes come April 15, 2020.
One thing, Cash is King, So, before you purhase any major equipment before the end of the year, listen to your accoutant, not the Tool Sales-person. In many cases, it's better to pay some tax and hold on to cash for a rainy day.
A little planning now will save you big time in 2020, and also help you sleep better!
USA Today article (Friday September 27, 2019 by Nathan Borney - USA Today) shows that “the average age of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads reached an all time high of 11.8 years in 2018.”
The article goes on to claim... “By 2023, there will be about 84 million vehicles on the road that are at least 16 years old, reflecting a 240% increase from 35 million in 2002, according to IHS.”
Are you getting your share?
There’s only 90 days left in 2019 and the market is changing. Sorry, it HAS changed. Are you ready? Do you have your plans laid out for marketing your shop in 2020?
Auto Service Marketing - Fix Your Car Count FAST!
Hope this helps!
"The Car Count FIxer"
P.S.: Join me on YouTube at Car Count Hackers! FREE Help to grow your Car Count, Income and Profit!
P.P.S.: Like and Follow Car Count Hackers on Facebook
P.P.P.S.: Have you registered in my FREE Training? "How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days"
Zombie Cars “Brains, Brains, we need Brains!” Zombie cars? What’s a zombie car? Way back, when we used points and condensers and later the basic electronic ignition systems, cars didn’t need brains (ECM – Electronic Control Module), but that all changed in the mid 70’s on some imports and pretty much on everything else by the time the 80’s came around. Some of these brains were only cursory, and didn’t actually control the car, but merely watched for emission issues, while others played a major role in the actual ignition spark or fuel delivery systems. Most of the engines in those early years, still used the same basic type of distributor setups (with a few exceptions) as their earlier counterparts that used the old tried and true points and condenser type of ignition systems. During those cross-over years it was rather easy to slap a different distributor in it, or change the existing points distributor over to electronic ignition (which worked quite well by the way). These days...it’s not that easy. These computer systems have become so entangled into the engine functions and nearly every other system that it’s impossible to bypass the fuel or ignition systems as we did years ago. However, there are still a lot of people out there that have hung onto some of the cars from that era. Most likely they've been kept parked alongside the garage as a future project or hung onto for some sentimental reason. Some (very few) are in great shape, others… well, they look like zombies already. What makes them zombies? The brain… the brain… they need brains! Just this past week I had several of these faded paint monstrosities lined up in the parking lot. (They never come alone… always in a pack.) For starters an old dilapidated 1986 Dodge pickup with a slant six. This old rusted, tilting to one side relic had been at another shop for a tune-up, but as the story was told to me by the owner, the other shop tried to start it when a fuel line ruptured and caught the old truck on fire. Luckily, they managed to get it out, but the damage was already done. The main harness from the firewall to the distributor, coil, charging system, blower motor, oil sending unit, temp. sender, and the starter wiring were completely melted into an unrecognizable mass of plastic and copper. It was my job to bring this dilapidated hulk back to life. However, the original spark control computer had melted as well, and was unusable. Worse yet, the brain was discontinued eons ago with no replacement parts anywhere to be found. This zombie needs a brain, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get one. At this point the only solution was to do away with the electronic brain and try to refit the old slant six with a much simpler ignition system from a decade earlier if at all possible. A lobotomy if you will. (Dr. Frankenstein would be envious.) Then there was this 2002 Mustang that moaned and groaned while dragging one foot into the shop. It needed a new BCM (Body Control Module). Call the dealer, call the parts warehouse, call everybody! Anybody! Is there a brain for this car? Nope, discontinued. Seems this particular BCM was a rather rare brain out there in zombie land, and at the time, nobody was setup to rebuild them. It seemed this car was destined to wander the city streets with the rest of the zombie mobiles. At the same time this was going on, in comes a 1982 Ford Bronco with the original Variable Venture carburetor still on it. Ok, not a brain, but just as bad. It qualifies as a zombie for sure. Trying to find a suitable replacement these days is a challenge. Ten or twenty years ago this would have been no problem to find a carb. kit (if you dared) or the Holley conversion kit for it, but not today. This trend of bringing back the dead looks like it’s only going to turn into the next zombie apocalypses. As these electronic systems get more and more complex the likely hood of your family truckster turning into a zombie is just a matter of time as each new model comes out. In some ways, I believe the manufacturers have thought this out long before there was a potential of these cars becoming zombies. In my youth it was nothing for me and a few friends to grab an old car out of a junk yard and raise it from the dead. Ya just had to throw a few shots of gas down the carburetor, add a few wires and a fresh battery and fire it up. The rust would fly, the engine would clatter, the smoke would billow out from under the hood, as the exhaust roared out of every crack in the manifold. Those days are long gone now. They may have engineered a longer lasting engine, better paint, and for the part, the interior can hold up to the ravages of time, however, the electronics, are their weakness. Although, these zombie mobiles seem to be coming out of hiding more often than ever before. Reviving some of these early electronic zombies may happen, but on the other hand, it may be a futile effort. The truth of the matter is… these resurrections are not as easy to do as it was so many years ago. There are countless problems that have to be overcome to bring some of these rusted heaps back among the living, especially if you’re in an area that requires emission testing. Just trying to bypass some of those early electronic brains when a replacement part can’t be found can be a real challenge. The good news is that there are a lot of guys out there tearing these brains apart and rebuilding them. But even then, there are some zombie cars that will never make it and eventually die from the lack of a brain, while others wander aimlessly from shop to shop still searching for their elusive electronic gray matter. Even after you manage to find a brain for these living dead vehicles it’s likely something else is going to go wrong. After all, being cast aside for so long, all the hoses, belts, and gaskets have dried up. Something will more likely fall off just like you would expect from any other zombie wandering around. And, you know, just as soon as the latest zombie joins the living something will undoubtedly come tumbling to the shop floor. Whether it’s coolant, oil, a belt, or perhaps no#2 connecting rod, something is not going to stay in place. Just like in every zombie movie I’ve ever watched,.one of them will always have an arm or leg falling off. It sure seems that these zombie cars follow right along with that same affliction. It’s safe to say, these relics of the early electronic era of the automotive world are in some respects the car equivalent of a zombie: half dead, half alive…and in search of a brain they may never find. So don’t be surprised if you’re at the next traffic light when an old faded-rusty-dented car with a shattered windshield, screeching brakes, with plumes of dense low hanging smoke creeping along with it, don't be alarmed, it’s just another car beginning its transformation into a "ZOMBIE CAR".
View full article
Down the Hatch
The crazy stuff I’ve found in a gas tank.
Never fails, boyfriend dumps girlfriend, girlfriend pours sugar in boyfriend’s gas tank. Girlfriend dumps boyfriend, time for more sugar in the boyfriend’s fuel tank. The actual “who” that does the pouring is up for grabs. Sometimes it’s the boyfriend, sometimes it’s the girlfriend, sometimes it’s that crazy co-worker you worked with, or some wacky protester who just hates gasoline for some reason. Ya just never know, but you can be sure of one thing, somebody, somewhere, is going to pour something into somebody’s fuel tank.
Sugar is the ‘go to’ item in most cases. Can’t find the sugar, then find a good substitute. You’re not much on improvising while you’re stressed out about the latest fling who let you down? Not to worry, as long as it’s something that will fit down the filler neck … it’s fair game. Honestly, after all the crazy stuff I’ve found stuffed down the old petrol pipe, I feel like I’m a regular expert on the subject.
On occasion, it’s plain dirt that finds its way to the bottom of the fuel tank, but chocolate bars, rice, and flour are all common substitutes when the sugar is running low in the cupboard. The last chocolate bar incident was rather unusual, though. They didn’t bother to take the wrappers off the bars. Nice try. Effective yes, and it did get the car sent to the repair shop, but the repair was minor compared to the sticky mess that it could have been. Maybe next time go for the small bars you get around Halloween, they’ll fit down the filler neck a bit better. Chocolate is always a favorite, especially after Valentine’s Day. You get all those bite size pieces with their gooey centers slowly oozing their way into the fuel tank. Those cherry centers ones, eww… they’re extra messy.
Rice on the other hand, well that’s a bit more devious than the traditional sugar stuff-o-matic method. The rice doesn’t really swell in gasoline, it tends to harden like little concrete torpedoes. Flour tends to float, clumps up like badly shaped dough balls, and makes an even bigger mess if it gets into the fuel pump. But, let’s not dwell on just kitchen condiments and baking supplies as the only source for self-satisfaction after a bad relationship or a bit of self-retribution and redemption. Shampoo, liquid soap, shaving cream, and other hygiene products from the bano have made their way to the fuel tank on a few occasions, too.
Now, there was this one diesel truck I’d like to mention with a rather gravely problem. It still ran and drove into the shop, but the fuel gauge wasn’t working. However, when the tank wouldn’t hold as much as it used to the owner began to wonder if something was a bit more seriously wrong. There was something wrong all right, the tank was about half full of gravel! It weighed a ton! Dropping the tank was a lesson in dealing with a ‘live’ load and how to balance a fuel tank that couldn’t be completely drained on a precarious tranny jack. Imagine my surprise when I finally got a chance to look inside the tank and saw this guy’s driveway soaking in diesel fuel. The owner thinks it was his grandkids helping him out. Nice try kids. Any other truck would have had a screen in the filler neck or some sort of check ball, but not this one.
Now with these DEF systems there’s a whole new problem to deal with. Put the wrong fluid down the wrong filler neck and you could be in for a huge repair bill. Generally these types of problems aren’t from your old girlfriend or boyfriend, but they could be. Maybe, they’re just trying to be helpful. Then, you find out they’re color blind, and they can’t tell the difference between the green and blue labels. Uhm, my bad. (Yea, likely story) Now, if it’s on one of those newer Dodge trucks… there’s no colored coded fuel cap anyway. To make matters worse, the urea mix is acidic and isn’t all that friendly to the paint. How wonderful is that!?
Sticks, plastic straws, wire, and the occasional siphon hose have all been a source of amusement at the repair shop when it comes to what you can find at the bottom of a fuel tank. You’d think that little baffle and the check ball would stop most of these intrusions. Actually, I think they just create a new spot for things to get stuck and plug up the entire works. Occasionally these types of fuel tanks end up at the shop anyway, regardless of some foreign object being inserted in the filler neck, or not. They have a tendency of leaving their owners standing at the pump holding the fuel nozzle on the first click, because if they tried any faster the pump would just shut off.
You’d think in this advanced electronic age, somebody would invent an anti-ex-boyfriend/girlfriend fuel tank early warning system because the locked gas cap just ain’t doing the trick. Oh it will stop a few, but the true sabotage master will find a way to pry that door open or rip it off the hinges. Locking gas caps are only there to urge on the saboteur. Nothing will stop them when revenge is at the helm; they’ll do whatever it takes to get the dastardly dead done.
If nothing else, how about a sugar detector checker. Something that would verify the quality of the fuel before you take off for work in the morning. Or how about some sort of electronic system that would sense any foreign material slipped into the fuel tank, and send whatever it is into a separate holding tank. Then when you get home you could unload the unwanted intruder, identify it, maybe even determine who the culprit is, and take care of business without a trip to the repair shop. Wishful thinking I’m sure.
Well, there is one alternative to all of this. If you’re in a relationship with a seemingly psychotic person, you have a grumpy neighbor who’s been eyeballing the fuel door on your car, or you’re the type of person who generally pisses people off for no apparent reason and you live extremely close to a sugar factory … well then…by all means… do yourself a favor… buy an electric car instead.
View full article
By Chuy Reyna
Like it isn't hard enough to be a shop owner! A start up company "Otobots" has allocated funds to start "yourmechanic.com."
As a shop owner I disapprove of a company like this, we run honest businesses, and this company is trying to cut our throats! How can we unite and take a stand??
The link to the artical I came across. http://www.dailydot.com/technology/otobots-uber-car-repair-on-demand/
Here is a link to the site https://www.yourmechanic.com