Quantcast
Jump to content









3 Gallons of Trouble


Recommended Posts

 

3 GALLONS OF TROUBLE

 

One of my regular customers brought his son into the shop the other day. It was right at opening time and good old dad made it a point to tell his son, "Gonzo, probably hasn't had his coffee yet so go easy on the old guy."

 

He was right about the coffee, but that still didn't prepare me for the story I was about to hear.

 

The story started sometime earlier … apparently after I changed the fuel pump two years ago; his gas mileage had dropped considerably. To the point that he was concerned and very upset that there was obviously something that I had done wrong to cause it.

 

He insisted that I was to blame because he always tracked his mileage by way of his trip odometer. Before the new fuel pump he would get close to 400 miles per tank. His accuracy was noted on his little log book and showed how much gas he would refill his tank with. It was always around 23 gallons and never a drop more than 23 gallons. But now his tank was holding 26 gallons. His question, "So, where is the other 3 gallons going?" I had to laugh, I've changed a lot of fuel pumps but I never have had anyone come in and tell me that it holds more fuel than before.

My guess was that his original gas tank sending unit was probably inaccurate and that was where his discrepancy was at.

 

"I'm pretty sure your gas tank hasn't increased in volume since a fuel pump has been changed. I would imagine you're probably mistaken as to how much your tank actually holds," I told him as I reached for my coffee.

 

Nope, he wasn't buying that answer. He knew how much his gas tank has always held and he knew I was the cause of his 3 missing gallons… what he wanted was for me to find out why his gas mileage has decreased so much.

 

I tried to explain it to him, but he was very… very sure he was correct and I wasn't listening to what he was saying and he was getting quite loud and belligerent over the whole matter. Poor old dad just sat there with a smirk on his face. I kinda figured dad had already had enough of his boy's attitude and figured old Gonzo was going to straighten him out. (This is going to take a lot more coffee…)

 

The aggravated son then began to tell me how good a mechanic he was, because he had rebuilt a few motors in the past so… he knew what he was doing under a hood. (Note: putting parts together is not a mechanic… that's solving puzzles… not a mechanic.)

 

Then he added to his story with the usual… "I went to one of those parts stores that will read codes for you… they said the reason for the check engine light was because of a bad gas cap."

 

He was grasping at possible reasons why his gas mileage had dropped so much. What gets me is how something as important as the involvement of the service light isn't brought up into the conversation until after you have told me how good a tech you are and that you have already made the incompetent decision that I was to blame. (I'm going to need more coffee.)

 

So at this point, we have a service light on, we have a supposed loss of fuel economy (sort of), and I'm sure there is more… there is always more… I had to ask, "Anything else?"

 

On occasions the ABS light comes on… he had that checked too. This time he consulted the ever faithful internet. He tells me in a loud forceful voice… as if I couldn't hear anything he was saying, "That always means it's time to rebuild the ABS controller."

 

Oh yea, I do that every day… I take the controllers apart and remove the epoxy sealer over the circuit boards and remove the effected components on the board and then reseal the whole thing back together. All this before a full cup of coffee??? It's really too early for this kind of technical information….

 

After dad and son dropped the truck off, I went straight to the glove box. I checked the owner's manual as to how much capacity the fuel tank held. It had it in big bold letters… 26 gallon capacity… not 23 as he was so sure of.

 

While I had it in the shop I checked the tune up parts and the filters… all looked great. The next thing was to tackle the check engine light. Yes there was a code, well a code that might lower gas mileage… sort of… but not by 3 gallons. It was the evap solenoid valve code… p0449… after doing the test on the valve it turned out the valve wasn't responding to the PCM commands. A new evap solenoid valve solved the problem. As far as the ABS… nothing, not a thing, no codes, no history codes, and the system was working normally. A drive test showed no problems and I gave him the benefit of doubt that he may have an intermittent ABS controller problem… however when I gave him the option of leaving it alone or changing it… he left it alone.

 

After all the phone calls were made and arrived to pick up his truck there was never any mention of the so called missing 3 gallons or the fact that it was merely the original fuel sender that was reading improperly all this time. Or the fact that the loose gas cap had nothing to do with the service light this time around.

 

I guess when you're wrong you don't have to admit it…that is when you're the customer… but you can be darn sure if the mechanic is wrong… everyone will know about it, and somebody is going to have to apologies.

 

Oh, and I apologies for being the mechanic in this story, and I guess I should apologies for one more thing….. Writing in BIG letters on his invoice… YOUR TANK HOLDS 26 GALLONS! !

Edited by Gonzo
Link to comment
Share on other sites



I'm going to need 3 gallons of coffee after this one....

Thanx for the comments guys.... love to hear from each and everyone of ya...

 

It's one thing to write these stories... it's another to keep my sanity while experiencing them.... Gonzo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi

      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 Changing The Industry
      The Basics of Owning An Auto Repair Shop - Part 3
    • By Changing The Industry
      Episode 151 - A Shop Owner's Guide to Consolidation and Exit Strategies
    • 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 addresses the critical issue of technician shortages in the auto repair industry. He discusses how this shortage affects shop productivity and revenue, with shops struggling to keep up with the demand due to a lack of skilled technicians. Cotton cites a Tech Force Foundation report predicting a significant need for technicians by 2024. He explores reasons behind the shortage, such as retirements, low female representation, high turnover among young workers, and fewer automotive program graduates. Cotton concludes with strategies for attracting and retaining talent, including better work schedules, compensation, career development, and educaTechnician Productivity (00:01:11) Discussion on the impact of technician shortage on shop productivity and revenue.
       
      Vehicles per Bay (00:02:33) Explanation of the increase in vehicles per bay and its impact on repair orders. Attracting Technicians (00:03:52) Importance of attracting and retaining technicians to maximize shop capacity and revenue. Technician Supply and Demand (00:05:52) Insights from the 2022 Tech Force Foundation report on the shortage of technicians and its impact on the industry. Impact of Technician Shortage (00:08:15) Calculation of revenue loss due to technician shortage and its impact on service capacity. Challenges in Attracting Technicians (00:11:43) Discussion on the reasons for the shortage of technicians and the challenges in attracting new talent to the industry. Remedies for Technician Shortage (00:16:34) Suggestions for addressing the barriers in attracting and retaining technicians, including training and career development. Technicians' Work Schedule (00:20:59) Discussion about adjusting technicians' work schedules to attract and retain them. Outdated Mindset (00:21:30) Encouragement to adapt to the changing times and make necessary adjustments in the auto repair industry. Acknowledgment of Listeners and Sponsor (00:22:20) Expressing gratitude to the listeners and acknowledging the sponsor, Shop Marketing Pros, for their support.  
       
       
      Connect with Chris:
      [email protected]
      Phone: 940.400.1008
      www.autoshopcoaching.com
      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
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Changing The Industry
      The Basics of Owning An Auto Repair Shop - Part 2


  • Our Sponsors










×
×
  • Create New...