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    • By HarrytheCarGeek
      My son sent this link to me, he explained that the creator of this application show mathematically why those of us that care for our customers win, and also why some cheats prosper so much. Great application, worth your time if you want to understand why developing trust and excellent communication with your customers is critical.
      http://ncase.me/trust/
    • By Gonzo
      Lost and Found

      How many times have you finished a job, watched the car drive off, and then started cleaning up your tools only to realize you’ve misplaced something? You’re pretty sure, but not completely sure the missing tool is under the hood or in the interior of the car that just drove off. If you’re lucky, you can call the customer and ask if they’ve found your missing tool. But, there are those occasions when a phone call or a complete search of the shop doesn’t yield any sign of the wandering tool. For the most part you can put that tool down as gone for good, lost to that place where wayward nuts, bolts, tools, and my arrant golf ball shots always end up. Yea, we all know that place, the “Lost and never to be found again!” place.

      It’s not the only way I’ve lost tools in cars. There’s been many times some tool has gotten lodged in a hopeless retrieval area of the car. Like down between the fender and body line, or in some obscure area that would take hours just to get close enough to even see it again, let alone get it back. Once, while I was working under an old car the socket I was using popped off of the extension, and I watched it rattle around while banging off of one thing after another. It was spinning like a top by the time it made it to the flat surface of the center cross member where it then stood straight up, spun some more, and then like some cartoon character it vanished into a hole. The hole was not more than a thousandth of an inch bigger than the socket, but somehow it managed to fall so perfectly that it dropped straight in. And, of course, there was absolutely no way to get a magnet back down the hole because the oil pan was in the way, and no way to use an air nozzle to blow it to either end of the cross member, because both ends were welded shut. I never did get that socket back. So much for using a good socket on a cheap extension.

      I’ve lost track of how much time I’ve wasted chasing down these elusive tools that like to play hide and seek. Not to mention the spattering of profanity that I’m sure to mutter while I’m trying to get an eyeball on some of these tools I’ve dropped down into unknown cavities of irretrievability. But, if you do get a glimpse of the stupid little gadget you dropped then it’s like playing the old “Operation” game to get the thing back out. I’ll use just about anything, including the extendable magnet wand or my long mechanic’s finger tool to slowly draw that &*$!* runaway tool back through the maze of hoses, wires, and other assorted engine parts.

      Sometimes, it’s just the sound the nut, bolt, or tool makes while it’s playing pinball as it falls through the engine bay or behind the dash that gets you rolling your eyeballs in dismay. Now, everything else about the job has to come to a complete halt, while you go on the old tool safari to find it. Tools are too expensive to leave them to fend for themselves behind the dash or tucked in a corner of the engine bay. At the end of the day, they need to be with their other brothers and sisters in the tool box. Besides, the tool truck won’t be back until next week and that particular socket might have been the only one that would fit into the area of the car you were working on.

      On the other hand, how many times have you found a tool that some other poor soul couldn’t find after dropping it down in the engine? I’ve found wrenches stuck between the exhaust manifold and the engine block and assorted sockets laying in the intake valley. Sometimes I wonder how some of these misplaced tools end up in such bizarre places. I mean seriously, what did ya need with a 4 foot pry bar behind the dash? And, how did you get it in there? I’ve found everything from cheap sockets to expensive micrometers buried in the depths of a car before. The thing is, if it wasn’t for doing some service work in that area of the car you’d probably never have known there was a brand new socket hiding.

      Flashlights are a commonly misplaced tool. Many years ago, when my dad helped out at the shop, he would use a flashlight for practically everything. This particular afternoon he was installing a new window motor. Being Dad, he was very meticulous as always. Every snap, clip, and screw had to be put back in its exact spot. Every tool was carefully laid out on a towel on his work table and accounted for after the job was done. He was also one who took great pride in keeping track of every tool; he never lost a tool. Well, at least that’s what he used to tell me. But, that day the one thing he forgot to account for was his flashlight. The car was long gone and all his hand tools were back in place in his tool box before he realized he couldn’t find his flashlight. Since he had this reputation for surviving the loss of any type of tool, he wasn’t about to mention a thing to me about it.

      A year later the same customer came back for some other repair work, and while he was there he asked my dad, “Oh, and if ya got a minute could ya look at that driver’s door for me? Every now and then I hear a rattle in there.” Of course, good old Dad was more than happy to oblige his friend and customer. And, of course, after all this time he had totally forgotten about his missing flashlight... which he still hadn’t mentioned to me. After removing the door panel, he found the rattle alright. It was his flashlight with the switch still on. Needless to say, his reputation for not losing a tool was still intact. Lucky guy.

      I seldom get that lucky; usually when I lose a tool it’s gone for good. I do kind of feel lucky if I find a tool. It kinda-sorta evens things out a bit. Ya never know where a lost tool will show up. For instance, every once in a while I’ll be on a road call to rescue a stranded customer, and as I walk up to their car I’ll keep my eye out on the side of the road for anything shiny, such as a wrench or screwdriver. Occasionally I’ll find one. Hey, I know how they got there. It didn’t fall off of a tool truck, nope... it’s another lost tool from someone else’s repair. I’ll accept that in exchange for the last tool that I lost. Maybe one of these days I’ll get ahead of the curve and collect more than I lose. Just wish more people would lose the good stuff rather than those cheap overseas tools I seem to find most often.


      Lose one-find one, it happens.

      Click here to view the article
    • By Elon Block
      New announcement from Michelin. Looks like they're getting into the online game with a new and
      different approach to making it easy for the customer to do business with them. There are a number
      of interesting things in the website's FAQ's that caught my eye.
      http://www.moderntiredealer.com/news/story/2015/08/michelin-pilot-program-sells-tires-online-and-offers-concierge-service.aspx

      Even if you're not a tire dealer, this move is a game-changer, What are your thoughts on this?
    • By Joe Marconi
      As I write this post, Derek Jeter just hit a double and drove in Brett Gardner to score. It's the end of an era. Derek Jeter is one of the Yankee's all time greats.
       
      As someone who grew up in the Bronx, not far from Yankee Stadium, it's a special night.
    • By Gonzo
      Mechanic one – Car zero
       
      There’s a game played nearly every day that doesn’t have a lot of fans filling the stadiums or bleachers. It’s a battle between the machines and the humans. The combatants are a car, any car, and a mechanic, any mechanic. The playing field can be any place from a far off farm field to a one stall garage at the edge of town. The goal is to diagnose and repair said car, while keeping your wits, sanity and all your appendages intact. Each game has some time limits already established by a ruling guide for labor hours, but this is only a guide, and not the actual time. Additional time maybe added if it is deemed necessary for extended play.
       
      Scraped knuckles and other small injuries are considered a normal occurrence. No time outs are allowed, unless said injuries requires medical attention. In the event of a medical emergency, an alternate mechanic can step in and continue play, if the original mechanic has to forfeit his/her position. Otherwise, they just suck it up and move on. Delay of game can come from all sorts of directions. Parts may need special ordered, a bolt might be frozen in place, or the customer has to think about the whole repair before the game commences. Who’s going to win, the car or the mechanic? It’s a daily battle of wits, determination, and perseverance at the repair shop.

      The rules of this game change with every new model introduced. Newer and more sophisticated systems that are developed change the play book all the time. Each of these new systems is another challenge for the technician to learn the new play, understand it, and make the repairs. The game doesn’t get any easier the longer you play. What was a good offensive call last time may end up in lost yardage this time around. Computer systems change, procedures change, and the car changes, but that game goes on. The car, the customer, the parts, and the shop, all play a part in making this game either easier or tougher than it was before.

      It all starts with a good defense. Researching the information about the new plays and procedures is the first line of defense. Good, solid information about your opponent (the car) is the foundation for any successful game. There’s always some interception thrown or returned kick that makes it tougher to play the game. One tid-bit of information that is omitted in transcribing the information from the manufacturer’s pages, or poor descriptions and procedures given to the second string information outfits is just one more chance for the mechanic to fumble. They don’t want to punt it, they don’t want to lose yardage, it’s all about a win or nothing else.

      Offensively, the customer has the edge. They bring the problem to the mechanic and start the play. Most of the time the customer starts their first play with an audible call that is usually scrambled up with a few facts and a whole lot of garbled unintelligible information. They will begin their play by explaining what’s wrong with the car. Sometimes the banter begins with, “I want my brake fluid changed, and I want the brake pads looked at because the pedal feels spongy.” Typically, self-diagnostics leads to broken plays or far worse… a full on blitz. It’s now second and long, and the mechanic has the ball. The mechanic asks, “Is the fluid black, or contaminated in some way that you know of?” Oh, oh, no yardage gained here; the customer was sneaking in an illegal play. It’s the old “Bad information from the internet” play. That’ll be a 15 yard penalty, loss of downs, and a full diagnostics charge now.

      The mechanic goes on the offensive and diagnosis the problem. It’s just worn pads and soft front brake line hoses. Now all that’s left is to run the play past the customer and let them make the call.

      The call is made, there’s a slight hesitation, but… we have a first down! The job is sold. Now to do the actual work.

      All the preliminary tests are completed, the parts have been ordered, and the half time show is underway. The third quarter starts with the mechanic waiting for the parts. While they are being delivered the tear down can commence. As the players on the field scramble for positon, pulling the parts from the shelves, and making the delivery, several yards are gained and end zone is in sight.

      We’re down to the last quarter of this game. Can the mechanic pull this one off? Will the delivered pads be the correct ones, will the lines fit correctly, and did he make the right call? The play is made, the components have been installed. All the procedures have been checked and rechecked again. It’s all up to this next play… the drive test.
       
      The test drive was a success. Move the chains! It’s 1st and goal. The mechanic proceeds to the service desk with the completed paper work. The service writer checks the signs, gives a nod to the tech, makes a motion for the customer from the side lines, and the final play of the game is at hand. The transaction has been made, the customer is happy with the results, the service writer is smiling, and the mechanic makes the run for the end zone. SCORE! It’s mechanic one, car zero. The winner and still champion, the mechanic.
       
      The customer shakes hands at the end of the game with the mechanic and service writer. It was a great game, well done everyone. No time to waste. All the players have to get ready for the next game. It will be another battle, and another challenge to take on.
      In the game of auto mechanics the challenge and changes are all part of the game we play. Nobody knows all the plays. It’s something you have to go back to the locker room and study time and time again. But with the proper calls, good plays, and a whole lot of effort, mechanics across the country can tackle it.

      If the game didn’t have so many option plays with all the various changes in today’s cars, the game would be a lot easier for both the defense and the offensive sides. But we all know that the changes are part of the game and will always be. It’s a lot tougher game to play at home these days. I’m still surprised how many arm chair quarterbacks are out there still trying to play the game in their home garage. Playing the game is one thing, but knowing how to play the game correctly is what every mechanic does when they step up to the scrimmage line. Mechanics play to win and yes, we do keep score.
       
       
      thanks for reading - hope you enjoyed it.
       
       
      Click here to view the article
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