Quantcast
Jump to content


What's worse than AutoZone Doing Free Check Engine light scans?


Recommended Posts

So, what's worse than AutoZone and Advance doing free check engine light scans? You know the answer, installing the part that was sold by these part stores without performing your own diagnostic tests first.

 

I was at an affair the other day sitting at a table with a few people I did not know. And then the question I never want to answer comes up, "So Joe, what do you do for a living?"

 

This person told me a 15 minute story about going to AutoZone to have a check engine light scanned, then buying an O2 sensor, bringing it to the repair shop that was recommended by the AutoZone, only to have the check engine light come on the next day. I am sitting at the table attempting to eat a really bad steak, and now I have to save the world.

 

The more I tried to explain the more distant this guy became. So, I gave up and suggested he go back to the shop and pay to have the problem tested and diagnosed. His eyes lit up, "Pay for something they do FREE at AutoZone?"

 

We are evolving into an industry where standards are being re written. And, it's not good. This guy went to AutoZone because of all the ads he hears on the Radio, and also speaking to a few of his coworkers at the office.

 

Is it me or is there a real problem brewing here? Bigger than we have imagined before?

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I usually handle it like this: "oh ok so just tell me which parts you want me to replace and ill give you a price. If you want me to replace everything in that system then lets start with $1000 tab and go from there. Or pay me $85/hour to narrow your list down from 100 parts to maybe only 3 or less. Im game either way :-)" ive been pretty successful with convincing customers to pay me to diagnose because many mechanics in my area just throw parts and success rate isnt that great..so when customer gets tired of throwing money out the window they give in and are usually happy they did...especially when AUTO ZONE told them they needed a fuel pump because their car wouldn't start and i found a bad fuse from where they straight wired their fan and caused fuses to blow not allowing power to fuel pump. So $450 fuel pump job not needed...$85 diagnosis and $35 electrical repair (my time isnt free) and they are back riding. I love it! Ill make a believer out of them...bring that lil printout to me all day long...I'm easy to get a long with ;-)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my area Advance was running radio adds touting free battery testing and free Remove/Replace labor for battery purchases. When Advance acquired Car Quest we were told it was done because Advance needed to increase their trade with professionals since their DIY trade had been faltering. Understandably today's complex vehicles has caused that reduction. When I heard the free battery testing and replacement radio advertisements I quickly informed my Advance salesman that they lost me as a customer. We need unity and the ability to have large corporations realize that when they want our business they need to respect us and not be greedy. They need to decide who they want to attract as a customer and the methods they use to accomplish their goal. When the methods remove money from our pocket or cheapen the value of our labor then we need to remove the money flow to their pockets.

 

Concerning our lack of recognition as professionals that Jeff wrote about - I agree. Years ago we were told that certification would be required and that it would

professionalize the trade. ASA has the framework in place but the required licensing or certification has never happened except for our states emission repair program.

 

While on the subject of respect - how about the recent full page Auto Zone advertisements in some of our trade magazines showing a very dirty/greasy tech with filthy hands named Mohamed and a statement about "rusted nuts". The dirty, grease monkey image with slightly questionable dialog about " when your nut's are rusted" has to go, What was Auto Zone thinking when they came up with that advertisement?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my area Advance was running radio adds touting free battery testing and free Remove/Replace labor for battery purchases. When Advance acquired Car Quest we were told it was done because Advance needed to increase their trade with professionals since their DIY trade had been faltering. Understandably today's complex vehicles has caused that reduction. When I heard the free battery testing and replacement radio advertisements I quickly informed my Advance salesman that they lost me as a customer. We need unity and the ability to have large corporations realize that when they want our business they need to respect us and not be greedy. They need to decide who they want to attract as a customer and the methods they use to accomplish their goal. When the methods remove money from our pocket or cheapen the value of our labor then we need to remove the money flow to their pockets.

 

Concerning our lack of recognition as professionals that Jeff wrote about - I agree. Years ago we were told that certification would be required and that it would

professionalize the trade. ASA has the framework in place but the required licensing or certification has never happened except for our states emission repair program.

 

While on the subject of respect - how about the recent full page Auto Zone advertisements in some of our trade magazines showing a very dirty/greasy tech with filthy hands named Mohamed and a statement about "rusted nuts". The dirty, grease monkey image with slightly questionable dialog about " when your nut's are rusted" has to go, What was Auto Zone thinking when they came up with that advertisement?

 

I think you and Jeff hit the nail on the head. I think everyone should read your last paragraph too. I hate that ad too, but I thought I was being too sensitive. I don't know what it will take to improve our image, but what I do know is that it will take more money to be in business in the coming years. And as I see it, AutoZone and Advance need to work with us on this, not against us, or play both sides.

 

We understand business is business, and we understand the concept of competition. But, we also understand truth in advertising and integrity.

 

Hey AutoZone and Advance, consider this, What if repair shops started an advertising campaign on the radio or TV that goes like this:

 

Hey, is your check engine light ? Why waste your time and money getting that so-called free diagnose and then buying the wrong part at the parts store, when you could have your check engine light tested once, the right way and the right part installed at your local professional repair shop, saving you time, money and aggravation.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's face it - the guy who goes to the corner auto parts store for a free "diagnosis" is never going to be a good quality customer for your good quality shop. Let them struggle with the misdiagnosed problems and you continue to provide great service to your customers who are interested in professional service for their cars. How many counter guys at Advance are aware that the PCM now controls battery charging on modern cars? They just want to sell a battery or alternator rather than establishing a relationship with their customer.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's face it - the guy who goes to the corner auto parts store for a free "diagnosis" is never going to be a good quality customer for your good quality shop. Let them struggle with the misdiagnosed problems and you continue to provide great service to your customers who are interested in professional service for their cars. How many counter guys at Advance are aware that the PCM now controls battery charging on modern cars? They just want to sell a battery or alternator rather than establishing a relationship with their customer.

^^^^This^^^^^

 

Why worry or waste your time over these people

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read everyones comments and I would agree its a problem, a problem that has only gotten worse with the electronic age. I really think the problem starts when a person buys a car. Most people buy a car with the thought of how much it costs per month and what the insurance will run, and never give a thought to maintenance or repairs. When something does need serviced they first look at their personal finances and then go to the cheapest source first. Namely... Auto Zone.

 

Like Joe said about answering the question, "So, what do you do for a living?" For me, I usually get one of those frowns and I start to grumble, because you know.... no matter how good of a tech you are the person who asked the question usually thinks your name is Mohammed and ya keep a can of grease around to rub my hands in.

 

Hard to change peoples perception if they can't see the need in quality service.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Hey, is your check engine light ? Why waste your time and money getting that so-called free diagnose and then buying the wrong part at the parts store, when you could have your check engine light tested once, the right way and the right part installed at your local professional repair shop, saving you time, money and aggravation

 

Excellent advertising statement mind if we use it

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, is your check engine light ? Why waste your time and money getting that so-called free diagnose and then buying the wrong part at the parts store, when you could have your check engine light tested once, the right way and the right part installed at your local professional repair shop, saving you time, money and aggravation

 

Excellent advertising statement mind if we use it

Nice proactive approach. Thanks for the post on such an important topic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Advance, Autozone, NAPA, and O'Reilly's are within 1/2 mile of my shop, and I get a good many folks that have been referred. Some have had scans, some have just been talked with, but quite often I get some good business (AKA money) this way. Many times I will just be upfront and ask them if they are prepared to invest several hundred dollars on their vehicle. Many say yes.

 

Last week I did a $1972.00 job on a referral from O'Reilly's. It's all in how it's handled and whether they have access to the funds and/or financing.

 

Hi-Gear

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really think it's in how you present it to the customer. Take for example an oxygen sensor heater circuit code. If I had a customer walk in that had just left auto zone and said their car had that code, I'd start asking questions like "did they tell you if it was the actual sensor itself, or JUST the circuit or wiring to the sensor? Did they make sure the computer wasn't misinterpreting the data? Did they check for rat damage?" Usually questions like these help the customer understand the value in diagnosing the car. If they persist, you can always put the code into all data, Mitchell, or whatever you use and explain to the customer that codes really only tell you what tests need to be performed. Scroll through and show them how it could be the circuit, fuse, module, or component. Tell them you'd be more than happy to let them guess and spend money with you, but you'd rather see a happy customer leave you're shop and refer friends and family. Not everyone can be convinced though. Those are better left to their buddy who just bought a tool set and $50 harbor freight scanner and wasting 3 hours in their driveway making a mess.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny story. We had an elderly lady come in on a hook a few weeks ago. 1999 cavalier. Quick evaluation revealed a locked up engine. After explaining to her that the cost of a replacement engine would far outweigh the cost of the vehicle. Especially when you consider the rest of the car was roached out and full of issues. So we advise her to have it towed to the boneyard in the sky. Still she insist that the engine could be somehow cheaply fixed. Long story short we didn't charge her a dime. Mainly because it was a super quick diag for me and also I'm a softy for old folks. So the tow guy gets to the shop to pick it up and she tries to get the driver to haul it to autozone so they can do there free diagnostics. Obviously he refused and also tried to explain to the lady that this is not how any of this works.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Wow I've never had someone ask the tow driver for a tow to autozone that's a first, guess it takes all kinds. Agreed on a no charge same here on the elderly big softy.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They have been doing it for years. Although i dont agree with it for obvious reasons, its not a problem for us. We get 1 to 2 a week and once we explain it properly and politely we usually are diagnosing the problem.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My post today strays a bit from the Auto Zone code testing topic but instead addresses some comments made within this thread concerning our image and how it is portrayed to the public. Lately Ford has been running advertisements in our trade publications and on the web for FordParts.com. Ford is clearly depicting us all as a group of workers with dirty, greasy, oil soaked hands. That image is an insult to me and it should be an insult to all of us in the trade. I personally will never use FordParts.com because of this blatant disrespect from a company that should know better. I have emailed my feelings to FordParts.com and I urge everyone else to do the same.

 

post-1418-0-78954400-1462733076_thumb.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our commercial rep for Advance told us our local stores have stopped doing CEL diagnostics. They will not pull codes, but will refer the customer to a local shop. This is apparently a test by Advance. He is hopeful it will catch on and become company policy. I say about time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, such venom against the code readers. I LOVE it when people call up and tell me they had it diagnosticated at the Vato Zone. I am glad to perfom your parts swap for this price. If you want us to be sure that we are repairing your vehicle, we will need to properly diagnose WHY the part went bad. Your parts store will gladly SELL YOU PARTS, I am here to fix the problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use these free diagnostics to my advantage. When a potential customer wants a free diagnosis, I tell them to go to AutoZone, get the diagnostics report and bring it to me for analysis.

 

I will tell them that for $15.00 I will do a reset, re-scan and explain the codes I get.

 

After showing them how many unnecessary parts were listed on the AutoZone list, 90% of them will become loyal customers which of course increases my customer base.

 

I have a Commercial account with AutoZone, the only benefit being not paying Sales Tax and free and prompt delivery. Having a good relationship with this department has resulted in getting an average of 2-3 weekly referrals.

 

Here in Idaho it's still the old West.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have been doing free code readings since we have opened. We then charge for diagnosis. I figure why charge for read a code if others are going to do it for free. It is also a way to meet and greet the customer. 80% of them let us do the diagnostic and repair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do the same thing. Free code read, diag costs money. It's not my first choice but sending people away unhappy is not an option.

 

The fact of the matter for some low income people is if the light is on for an evap code they might let it go until inspection. Cigarettes & scratch tickets or a purge valve? No cash for both. Tough times.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
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

Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof

×
×
  • Create New...