Jump to content

There's a new wrench in Town


Recommended Posts

There's a new wrench in town


A Volkswagen Beetle was left in the parking lot one cold morning. It was one of my regular customers 01' Beetle. All I knew of the problem was that it wouldn't start.


"Let's check a few things first," I said. I pulled out one of the glow plugs to check it for wear and tear and if it was getting the necessary voltage to warm it up. All was well; in fact they looked fairly new. I had a meter handy so I checked to see if the resistance was correct…right on the money. I cracked open a fuel line to one of the injectors … no fuel…. No fuel??? Hey, wait a minute… isn't that kinda necessary?? The tank was full, but no fuel pressure at the lines. One of the things to worry about with a diesel is … air in the fuel lines…. Anytime these engines get any air in the fuel lines… oops… they will be hard to start or not start at all. Ask anyone with a diesel that has ran out of fuel…ask them how long it took to get it started again.


Well, before I start tearing into other possibilities, this would be a good time to shoot a little starting fluid down its throat and see if I can get a burp or two out of the little engine. I want to be sure there are no "mechanical" issues with the engine.


A couple of quick shots of ether and crank of the key…. Shazaam…!! Started right up…. Hold on hold on…. fuel is spurting everywhere.. Shut it off... Shut it OFF now!! Looking under the fuel distributor you could see that the fuel was actually coming out of the two halves of the distributor… apparently the gasket or housing to the distributor has developed a major leak. My guess would be probably from the cold. Air was getting into the fuel lines, but once the engine spun fast enough to overcome the air rushing in from the bad distributor it then was able to start.


I called the customer and gave him the bad news, the biggest problem was cost; a fuel distributor isn't a cheap part by any means. Luckily for the owner he was still covered under the factory 100k mile warranty, but barely. It was about 500 miles shy of going over the mileage. The obvious next step would be to have the car towed to the dealership. All the work could be completed under the warranty and save the customer from a huge repair bill. Nothing like a warranty when it actually pays off on an expensive part… I'm actually more relieved myself. It's not the easiest job by any means, oh I'll do it… but given a choice between changing a fuel distributor or taking a swift kick …. I'll take the swift kick.


At this point I'm through; I did my part, diagnosed the problem and sent it on to the proper repair facility to have it done. What more should I do? Then the phone rang, it's the owner of the car.


He was quite calm on the phone.. I couldn't believe what he was telling me.


In a very calm and collective voice the owner said, "The tech at the dealer says it needs new glow plugs, new glow plug relay, and a new glow plug harness."


Once the initial shock wore off, I began to laugh. "You're kidding me," I answered laughing the whole time.


"No, that's what the man said," he said, with a little smirk in his voice.


I think he knew, but didn't want to say anything to me about what he thought was going on… oh, I knew, I knew quite well what was going on.


He asked, "Do you want to call them?"


"No, let's see if they want to call me. I already know what's wrong with the car. Let's try this; ask them if they will guarantee the repair and make it right if that doesn't fix the problem," I told him.


"Ok," said my now laughing owner, "This ought to be a fun adventure. I'll play along with ya."


The phone rings again… it's the tech from the dealer. I felt like it was one of those old western movies. You know the ones, where the bad guy strolls into the bar and says to the other cowboy, "This here town ain't big enough for the both us." Oh yea, my young, wet behind the ears dealer tech had something to prove. You could tell he had been shining his wrenches for just an occasion to show up an independent shop. I could hear that "western" movie music in the background. I was waiting for the "call out" any minute now. It's the old "I'm the dealer tech and nobody knows more than me." You know, I'm getting older, I may not be as fast as I use to be… but it's still going to take more wrench than this spark plug has to get the best of this old gear head. Talk about a cocky, fresh out of diapers, full of himself dipstick. If this guy would just listen to what he was saying, he could have figured out who the real cracked engine blockhead was. I'll bet he goes to work; dons his dealership uniform and transforms himself into tat ta tat da…. SUPER MECHANIC!! Look in the shop, springing from tool box to tool box, no, could it be… why yes it's SUPER MECHANIC..! I'm honored to be in the presence of such a marvel of the auto world. Could I have finally met my match, am I to be put down at high noon like the Wild West gun slingers of old? Hold on there, partner, I still have my secret decoder ring and my x-ray glasses to ward off such attempts of super human abilities. I'll call you out… High Noon, wrenches ready… let's do this cowboy.


He proceeded to tell me that he had a code for an intermittent glow plug signal and that they had records showing that the glow plugs were changed at the dealership 2 years ago. Naturally, that was what was wrong with it. He didn't need another shop to tell him that, because he was perfectly capable of handling the repair and that the only reason he was making this call is because it was company policy to verify complaints if the customer didn't agree with their diagnosis. Holy Wrenches Hombres, at least we have that going for us…


You know, there are times I'd just like to give these snot nose, green horn, socket jockeys a quick thwack on the noggin. But, this kid was lucky, I wasn't in the mood to belch out my usual "you're too young kid, you're going to need a little more grease in the right places before ya go messin' with this old wrench" speech. Instead, I was going to give him another chance to rethink his diagnosis.


"How did you arrive at that conclusion," I asked.


"I had a code for it, and these cars have a history of problems with the glow plugs," he very proudly stated.


"Did you check the glow plug themselves?" I very calmly asked.


"Well, they were changed 2 years ago," he answered.


First mistake; more to follow.


"Let me get this straight, you found a code, you didn't check it, and now you want to change the part… is that it?" I said in a stern manner.


"I don't need to check it, I already know," he quickly bantered back.


"I hate tell you this, but that code is there because of me. I pulled the glow plug out and hand checked it. I even checked the resistance value on the glow plug and the incoming voltage. I didn't see a thing wrong with the glow plug circuit. Did you by chance notice the raw fuel under the fuel distributor?" I asked in a even more stern voice.


"Yea, I saw the fuel. I washed it off." he answered in a confident manner, "It started to stink up the shop and blow the fumes all over the shop. The car was directly under the shop heater and the other techs were complaining. Not like it had anything to do with the repair anyway. You guys' are just a little sloppy, you should clean up things better next time."


"That fuel you seen is from the fuel distributor housing," I told him.


"Oh, you know, all these customers are all alike; they're just trying to get stuff done for nothing while it's still under the warranty. So, it's no big deal," he answered.


Oh please, don't tell me this kid had the nerve to say that. It reminds me of all those comments that small children say to strangers in a crowded room. Usually out of context and never under the right circumstances and, most often, with their parents standing right there totally embarrassed by the whole thing.


Another mistake, keep going kid… it's just keeps getting better.


"I think you should put this car back outside and check it in the morning after it gets good and cold. It's going to leak again, that I'm sure of." I told the new wrench.


"I'm going to have to ask my service writer about that, because I'm very sure of the repair work that I have already diagnosed. So, like I said... This is just a courtesy call... not a call to tell me how to fix it." He said in a very demanding tone.


"Ok fella, have it your way. I'm just trying to help you out. I didn't spill a drop of fuel. That fuel you see came from the distributor not from anything else." I said, trying to get my point across.


"I understand, but you know, here at the dealership we have the most sophisticated equipment and can diagnose these problems better and quicker than you can." He answered.


The mistakes keep adding up. About now I'm shining my wrenches for a showdown… somebody is going to get it, and it ain't me.


I think if I were him, I would be concerned that the glow plugs that were installed 2 years ago have failed again, seems pretty odd to me that the glow plugs wore out that quickly. But this young wrench head is strictly going by the code and not diagnosing the problem.


I told him, "Wouldn't it be proper procedure to clear the code and then recheck. Chances are it was a false code do to the fact I had disconnected it earlier."


He didn't seem to be interested in my comments. As I expected, the dealership called the owner and told him that they were going to do "further" testing.


The next day the owner called me back again with even more astonishing news. "The dealer tech said that the raw fuel was from the glow plug that you took out," the owner said laughingly. I figured the tech was trying to cover his tracks.


A week later the little 01 Volkswagen had a new fuel distributor and a happy owner. All under warranty, and it didn't need those new glow plugs replaced… imagine that.


This tech at the dealership was just a young wrench with a chip on his shoulder. Trying to out wrench an old hand like myself was not a smart move. To top it off, the owner isn't dumb about the whole thing either. A few more years under this young techs' toolbox and he might just make it.


I guess you could say that there was a showdown at high noon. Holster those wrenches boy, you've got some more miles to put under the hood before you'll be ready for another showdown.


I think it was a good lesson for the young ratchet head. Just because you're dealing with an independent shop doesn't mean they don't know how to use those wrenches. So saddle up there youngster, I'm proud of ya, this was a good lesson for future endeavors. For me, the trigger finger is a little slower than it used to be… But I can still tell the stories… one wrench at a time.






Edited by Gonzo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      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.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
  • Similar Topics

    • By carmcapriotto
      At VISION 2024, Kim taught a class on customer loyalty. It was incredibly well received and we’ve decided to bring a conversation here in podcast form where she touches on a critical piece of business: creating loyal customers. Listen in for tips, strategies, and just real-talk!
      Thank you to our friends at RepairPal for providing you this episode. RepairPal will help you grow your auto business and you can learn more at RepairPal.com/shops.
      Show Notes with Timestamps
      Loyalty: strong feeling of support or allegiance What that means to me. Companies I am loyal to: Bear Mountain Bakery, Holtz Leather, The Basketry, Smallwoods Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk “Start with Why”: Your purpose, Your cause, Your beliefs We are lonelier & more apart than ever before Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Our Core Values We have an intense desire to feel a sense of belonging - even more with digital communication. Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara - Episode 89: https://autorepairmarketing.captivate.fm/episode/089 Create Loyalty by: Being thoughtful and intentional with all you do. Understanding the difference between service + hospitality. Service is black and white. Hospitality is full color. Having authentic connection: Southwest Airlines - the heart, Ciro - my Italian driver, 1st Phorm, Eleven Madison Park Restaurant’s hot dog story, Bear Mountain Bakery, The Basketry, Holtz Leather, Smallwoods. Knowing your clients, understanding them, being present, listening, and being considerate and generous (read the book: Gift*ology). Being a trusted resource. VISION’s speaker: Scott Stratten, said, “If you want to worry about the bottom line, you’ve got to focus on the front line.” (To obsess about how your customers feel, you must obsess about how your employees feel. Customer loyalty comes after employee loyalty How are you taking care of your team? Daily Stand-Up (gratitude and top priority) + a checkin/awareness for me.Team Outings. Letters/notes/recognitions. Mentoring. Schedule emails/slack messages/texts Too many companies leave the human behind. We live in a world where we have an opportunity - responsibility - to make magic in a world that is desperate for it. When you make magic you add to the layers of loyalty being created. Make this part of how you do business. A process. A time, place, a procedure/reminder.  
      How To Get In Touch
      Group - Auto Repair Marketing Mastermind
      Website - shopmarketingpros.com 
      Facebook - facebook.com/shopmarketingpros 
      Get the Book - shopmarketingpros.com/book
      Instagram - @shopmarketingpros 
      Questions/Ideas - [email protected]
      Lagniappe (Books, Links, Other Podcasts, etc)
      Canva - Mood Boards  
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Transmission Repair

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By Transmission Repair

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By carmcapriotto
      Recorded Live at the 2024 MACS (Mobile Air Climate Systems) Training Event & Trade Show, shop owner Bill Snow discusses marketing strategies, the use of social media platforms, and the importance of authenticity in video marketing. Bill shares insights on audience preferences for lighthearted content and emphasizes professionalism and the value of every customer interaction in reflecting the business's dedication to service.
      Digital Marketing Class (00:01:41) Bill Snow discusses the upcoming digital marketing class at MACS and his approach as a shop owner teaching digital marketing. Importance of Google Reviews (00:03:11) Bill Snow highlights the increasing importance of Google reviews and the impact on search results for potential customers. Asking for Reviews and Follow-Up (00:03:49) Bill Snow explains the process of asking for reviews and the importance of follow-up calls to clients. Deferred Work and Client Follow-Up (00:04:34) Bill Snow discusses the practice of following up on deferred work and its impact on client relationships and future appointments. CRM and Marketing Campaigns (00:06:21) Bill Snow explains the use of CRM for deferred work notifications and the implementation of marketing campaigns based on weather and other factors. Hands-Free Scheduling and QR Codes (00:07:47) Bill Snow discusses the use of QR codes for hands-free scheduling and the integration with the shop management system. Elevating Professionalism in the Industry (00:10:32) Carm Capriotto and Bill Snow discuss the importance of elevating the professionalism of the industry and the impact of job titles on attracting talent. Neighborhood-Based Social Media Marketing (00:12:47) Bill Snow describes the shift towards more fun and neighborhood-based social media marketing for Rad Air's ten stores. Celebrating People and Life on Social Media (00:14:19) Bill Snow emphasizes the importance of showcasing the people side of the business and celebrating employees and clients on social media. The Neighborhood Professional Service Center (00:17:34) Carm shares the concept of the "Neighborhood Professional Service Center" and its importance in the industry. Social Media Strategy (00:18:14) Bill Snow discusses the role of different social media platforms, including Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, in their marketing strategy. YouTube Content and Racing Team (00:18:32) Bill Snow explains their YouTube content strategy, including shorts and in-depth videos, and how they showcase their racing team. Video Marketing and Authenticity (00:19:52) The importance of genuine and unedited videos in building connections with customers and clients is discussed. Consumer, Customer, and Client (00:19:58) Bill Snow explains the distinctions between consumers, customers, and clients, and how they impact marketing and relationships. Creating Engaging Content (00:21:23) Bill Snow shares insights into the type of content that resonates with their audience and the importance of hiring someone with a different perspective. Point of View (POV) Videos (00:22:27) The rising trend of point of view (POV) videos, particularly in the context of technicians showcasing tasks like oil changes, is discussed. Enhancing Customer Experience (00:26:18) Bill Snow describes their approach to creating a positive experience for new clients, including personalized welcome bags and additional services. Client Experience Manager (00:27:11) The role of a client experience manager in ensuring quality control and enhancing the overall customer experience is explained. Professionalism and Image Building (00:30:24) The importance of professionalism and creating a positive image for auto repair shops, as well as the role of digital marketing in their 2024 strategy, is highlighted.
      Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX and NAPA TRACS Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2024. Mark your calendar now … November 5th-7th, 2024. AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at http://AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at http://napatracs.com/ Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Join Our Private Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734687266778976 -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -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
    • By carmcapriotto
      The Weekly Blitz is brought to you by our friends over at Shop Marketing Pros. If you want to take your shop to the next level, you need great marketing. Shop Marketing Pros does top-tier marketing for top-tier shops.
      Click here to learn more about Top Tier Marketing by Shop Marketing Pros and schedule a demo:https://shopmarketingpros.com/chris/
      Check out their podcast here: https://autorepairmarketing.captivate.fm/
      If you would like to join their private Facebook group go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/autorepairmarketingmastermind
      In this podcast episode, Coach Chris Cotton from Auto Fix Auto Shop Coaching highlights the significance of always saying yes to customers in the auto repair industry. He recounts two examples where service advisors faced challenges in agreeing to customer requests. Cotton stresses the importance of customer satisfaction and the delicate balance of agreeing to customer demands without making unrealistic promises.
      Saying Yes to Customers (00:02:36) Importance of prioritizing customer satisfaction and finding ways to say yes instead of no.
      Handling Customer Requests (00:03:45) Addressing an instance where a service advisor struggled to manage customer expectations and deliver on promises.
      Customer Service Skills (00:05:54) Emphasizing the need to take care of the customer, manage expectations, and avoid overpromising while saying yes.
      Saying Yes and Managing Expectations (00:10:11) Discussing the importance of saying yes to customers while managing expectations and not overpromising.
      1. Importance of not saying no to customers in the auto repair business
      2. Instances of a service advisor struggling to say yes to customers
      3. Emphasizing the need to prioritize customer satisfaction
      4.Managing expectations while saying yes to customers
      5.Not overpromising to customers
      Coach Chris Cotton', '00:06:54', "How would you like it if you were leaving town in 24 hours and somebody said, 'Oh, you can't take your car because we can't finish it up'? It's just not the right place to be in."
      'Coach Chris Cotton', '00:09:14', "The customer doesn't care about any of that; the customer just wants to know if you can help them or not."
      'Coach Chris Cotton', '00:12:16', "If they're in front of you unexpectedly, say yes, smile, and be like, 'Oh, I'm so glad, Mrs. Johnson, that you're here today. I haven't seen you in a while. Absolutely, we'll take care of your crisis for you.'"
      Connect with Chris:
      [email protected]
      Phone: 940.400.1008
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
      AutoFixAutoShopCoachingYoutube: https://bit.ly/3ClX0ae
      #autofixautoshopcoaching #autofixbeautofixing #autoshopprofits #autoshopprofit #autoshopprofitsfirst #autoshopleadership #autoshopmanagement #autorepairshopcoaching #autorepairshopconsulting #autorepairshoptraining #autorepairshop #autorepair #serviceadvisor #serviceadvisorefficiency #autorepairshopmarketing #theweeklyblitz #autofix #shopmarketingpros #autofixautoshopcoachingbook
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio

  • Our Sponsors

  • Create New...