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  • General Discussion

    • Article: Restoration for the Mechanic - modern rep…
      Restoration for the Mechanic Electrical issues on today’s cars have certainly taken  center stage.  Mechanical issues are still there too, but  it’s not uncommon to have a mechanical problem be  diagnosed, monitored, or calibrated by some electronic  means.  You just can’t get away from the electrical  if you’re in the automotive repair business these days.   It’s taken over just about every facet of the automobile.         Today’s mechanics have become something entirely  different from the stereotypical mechanic from just a  few decades ago.  It’s not that long ago when the  electrical section of the repair manuals were just a  chapter or two, today… its volumes and volumes of  schematics and diagnostic procedures.  I’m old enough  to remember when points and condensers were still  the norm, and I’ve watched the industry go from  electronic ignition to today’s electronic jungle of wires  and processors. We’ve definitely come a long way with  the technology.   Even though I work on all these newfangled electrical wizardry systems on the modern car, deep down I’m still the kid who got a kick out of tearing down an old junker and putting it back together.  Now, I’m surrounded by modules, proximity keys, and sensors.  Occasionally it’s kind of nice just to step away from the computer and just turn a wrench or two. I look forward to those simpler kinds of jobs, the ones that need a craftsman’s touch and not a box of transistors and capacitors to figure out what to do.  Back to a time when a driver was more mechanical involved in the process of operating the vehicle.   Heating vents with levers and cables, or a hand choke that needed just the right touch to get it started.  No electronics, no service light, just the essentials.  (For you younger techs, I’m referring to the days when you actually had to unlock a door with a key.)     I still marvel at the ingenuity and engineering of those times. I guess it’s one of the reasons why I like going to old car and steam engine shows so much.  It’s all about the mechanics for me.  Electronics are great, but to see the early mechanical devices that were commonplace a century ago still amazes me.  How they figured it out, and how they made it work is shear brilliance.  (If you ever get a chance to study some of those early mechanical systems, you might be surprised how things were accomplished prior to the computer age. It’s quite fascinating… well at least to me it is.)      It’s great to be able to step back once in a while and just be a mechanic.  Back when things were rebuilt and not just replaced with new. There’s a certain satisfaction in taking a broken mechanical device and making it functional again.  It’s those jobs that after you’ve wrestled the components into place, and everything is finished you realize that you’re covered in grease, but for some reason you’ve got this big smile on your face. It’s the look of accomplishment, a smile of pride in a job well done.  And while you’re cleaning up the tools, you look over at the finished project still smiling, knowing you’re done and can move onto the next project.  It just doesn’t compare to finishing up on a modern car when the last thing to do is watch that blue line steadily move across the computer screen, waiting for it to say “Task completed”.   Not that I’m putting down the modern car, no far from it.  It’s just nice to take a break once in a while from the technical mumbo-jumbo and just be a mechanic for a change.  Even though it’s pretty awesome to solve a difficult electrical issue, it’s hard to beat a good old fashion mechanical repair.  For me, when a restoration project shows up at the shop I get a chance to turn off the laptop and open the toolbox.   These restoration jobs are just as much for the customer as they are for me.  It’s a restoration of some of my old almost forgotten mechanical abilities. (Yea, I still got it…)     We put a lot of trust in the modern electronics, something the engineers and designers of those automobiles from a few decades ago never even though of.  Their own ingenuity and craftsmanship kept them going.  Components were built to be repaired not replaced.  I think it’s safe to say that a car from 50 years ago is more likely to start and run in another 50 years but I seriously doubt a car from today would have the same luck. There again, it might be something a technician/mechanic of that era might figure out how to do by then.  Me I’ll still stick with being a mechanic/technician … I still like the physical repair aspect of the job.     The future of electronics in today’s cars is constantly changing; sometimes we notice the changes while other times you can’t physically see them.  Sometimes all it takes is a little R&R on an old jalopy just to make me remember how far we’ve come.  In the meantime, the latest restoration job is done so it’s time to go for a test drive.    I’ll get back to the laptop and the modern car world just as soon as I get all the tools cleaned up… it might take a bit though … I’m still admiring the restoration job and I’ve got some more smilin’ to do.  
      View full article
    • Recording requirements & special fees in your stat…
      I'm just about to settle on a software package to run my shop. I've found looking at a number of them that there are a few that don't seem to tick the basic boxes in information gathering that we as registered repair shops are required by law to do. I'm wondering if this is a New York specific issue or if this issue happens everywhere. Would you guys comment on your state requirements.  I'd like to pass some more information to the software company I'm working with in hopes that they motivate to make some improvements to satisfy these requirements. Example, in NYS we are required to capture a signature or document approval with the customer complaint to begin work on the vehicle before we touch it. We must record mileage when the vehicle enters the shop and when it is finished. We must state the warranty for each item and the terms and time limit for any guarantee on repair work. We have to collect a non taxable $2.50 waste tire management fee for every new tire sold. We have a state safety and emissions inspection that is varies in fee and is non taxable.
    • Article: Geek With Attitude - OK... drop the atti…
      Geek With Attitude   Now I realize I'm only a mechanic, and not an  Ivy League scholar, and I may not qualify as the  next inductee into MENSA, but I’m still a pretty  smart guy.  Oh, I may not know all there is to know  about every single make and model out there, but  I have enough background and technical ability to  solve just about anything that goes wrong with the  modern car.  But, for some people the mere  thought that a mechanic might actually have a  few brain cells just baffles them to no end.     A few weeks ago I got a call from a guy, who  (to the best of my dim witted abilities could tell),  was having a problem with his truck.  He told me  that he pulled all the fuses, and was still having a  battery drain issue he couldn't find.  He even took  it to another shop and wasn't happy with their  results, so he was going to give me a chance at it based on a friend’s recommendation.   “Bring it in tomorrow, and I'll get it checked out for you,” I told him.   The next day a 98 Nissan pickup with 150,000 miles on the odometer was waiting for me.  After getting the owner’s information, I went over what he wanted me to do.  Little did I know this guy had all the answers already.  Not only the answers, but several ideas as to what was causing his problem.  This particular guy was a full-fledged computer geek with more than a little attitude to go along with it. Not only did he think he was dead right about everything, but that every mechanic out there was nothing more than a knuckle dragging grease monkey with the IQ of a walnut.  The more he told me about the problem the more I knew I was in for a long afternoon.  Seems everything that was ever wrong with the car from the day he bought it was leading up to the moment the battery went dead.  But, of course, it's not dead now... that takes a month before it would happen. “A month?” I asked. Oh, he had an answer for that too.  It all started with the front crankshaft seal. The seal was leaking, and it leaked all over the alternator, so he had the seal changed along with a new alternator and battery.  (Both the alternator and the battery came from one of those cheapo depot places; imagine where the seal came from.)  A month went by before the car wouldn't start again.  The seal was leaking too, but not nearly as bad. “Hmm,” I said, sitting at the service counter thinking this whole thing through, “You say it takes a month before it won't start?  Are you driving it much?” “Yes,” he said, “Every day.” This didn't add up, something else is wrong with the car.  As I tried to explain to him that if a car is driven every day, and starts perfectly fine, but then all of a sudden it goes “click-click” it tells me there is something else wrong, and it's probably not a battery drain issue. “Leave it with me, and I'll check it out,” I told him, Apparently, Mr. Geekdumb doesn't have a clue how a car works, other than where to put the gas and which way the key turns.  Not that I’d hold that against him, a lot of people don't know a thing about their transportation.  It's just that most people don't try to sound like they do, especially while standing in front of somebody that just might.    Once I had the truck in the shop it turned out to be a classic problem; the battery bolts were tightened down as far as they could go, but I could easily pull the cables off the battery without any effort at all.  The charge output and parasitic draw tests showed no signs of any problems. As for the seal leak. Well, if you've been around cars with high miles and poor maintenance you've probably seen this before.  The PCV valve was clogged.  Without that, no ventilation for the lower end, and of course, a back pressure builds up and that pressure has to go somewhere... usually out a seal, and the front seal is one of the usual places for it to go. Explaining all this to the computer nerd turned out to be a whole lot tougher than I thought possible.  How one person can act and think that they are so smart, but can't see the logic behind the explanation is beyond me.   The more I tried to explain, the more this guy asked even more bizarre questions. I gave him the run down on the battery clamp issues, “Yes, a loose battery clamp can make the car not start.  Sometimes you'll get one quick turn of the starter then nothing, not even a dome light. Other times you'll get a “click” which is what your car sounds like.  This can also stop or restrict the alternator charge output from entering the battery.”  “So, that’s why my dash lights don’t work?” he asked. “There's no relationship between the charge output and the dash lights.  That's a separate problem. Most likely the rheostat,” I said. “Well, what about the switch on my dome light, it doesn't work. I’m positive that is due to the front seal and the PVC you mentioned.” “Sir, it's a PCV not PVC, “Positive Crankcase Ventilation” is what it stands for, and no, it has nothing to do with your dome light.” “So I have two PCV’s in the car?” “No, just one.” “So where's the PVC?” “That would be in your house most likely. Most homes have PVC plastic piping.” “So, now you're telling me I don't have two PCV’s?” “I never said you had two.”  This went on, and on.  My frustration level was getting to my MAX level, and I'm about to tell this guy just where he can put his PCV and his PVC.  But, after lengthy deliberations he eventually decided to have me at least fix something...one thing…change the battery clamps.  He had the solution for the dash lights, dome light, PCV, and the front seal. I apparently don't understand, or fail to comprehend how all his other problems are related to the dead battery. He showed up later that day to pay for the clamp replacement, and it wasn't hard to tell this guy had an ego driven “micro” chip on his shoulder. He wasn't about to have some lowlife mechanic explain the physics of the internal combustion engine to such an astute individual as himself.           His parting comments as he walked out the door said it all. “I work on highly technical and advanced systems on home and business computers that are far above the complexities of anything you’ll ever see.  I'm better off fixing my own car, because I have a degree, and my intelligence level is far superior than any mechanic.” Really? That's the best you got?  Better luck insulting me next time, fella…leaving is probably the smartest thing you’ve done so far… don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.     
      View full article
  • Regional Automotive Shop Management Discussions

    • New Jersey Governor Signs Unsafe Used Tire Law
      http://www.moderntiredealer.com/news/724720/new-jersey-governor-signs-unsafe-used-tire-law A new law in New Jersey forbids the sale of unsafe used tires. The legislation, signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Aug. 7, 2017, was supported by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), Tire Industry Association and the New Jersey Gas Station-C-Store Automotive Association. The law fines businesses that sell tires that exhibit any of these unsafe conditions: — tread depth of less than 1/16 inch measurable in any groove;
      — damage exposing the reinforcing plies of the tire, including any cuts, cracks, bulges, punctures, scrapes or wear;
      — improper repairs, including, but not limited to: any repair to the sidewall or bead area of the tire; any repair made in the tread shoulder or belt edge area of the tire; any puncture that has not been sealed or patched on the inside and repaired with a cured rubber stem through the outside of the tire; any puncture repair of damage larger than 1/4 inch; — evidence of prior use of a temporary tire sealant without evidence of a subsequent proper repair;
      defaced or missing tire identification number;
      — inner liner or bead damage; or
      — signs of internal separation, such as bulges or local areas of irregular tread wear. Violators will be subject to a fine up to $500 for a first offense. A second offense will be considered a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and subject to a penalty up to $10,000. Additional violations will be subject to a penalty of up to $20,000. Anne Forristall Luke, CEO and president of the USTMA, said, “New Jersey has taken a bold step to protect motorists from high-risk used tires that have no business being put back into service on New Jersey roads." The USTMA says its research shows more than 30 million used tires are available for sale nationally. The legislation does not ban all used tire sales. It targets used tires that have specific, well-established, unsafe conditions The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says worn-out tires are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than tires with sufficient tread depth. NHTSA crash statistics indicate about 200 fatalities and 6,000 injuries are attributed to tire-related causes annually. The law was sponsored by Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Raj Mukherji. Sumter said, "What initially seems like a good deal ultimately can be deadly in the market for tires. Retailers who sell damaged tires to consumers endanger not only their customers but also everyone else on the road. Banning the sale of damaged tires simply is a common-sense matter of public safety." Mukherji said, "Drivers in New Jersey should be able to buy tires and rest assured that the items they've purchased are safe. The lower cost of used tires does not warrant putting lives across the state at risk. Damaged goods that put consumers in danger simply should not be on the market, especially when it comes to tires."
    • ASTE
      As new members of IGONC (independent garage owners association of NC) we have found so many useful benefits and positives of being involved with such a great organizations. One of them being the ASTE event in Cary,NC! The training and expo has been a great resource for us. We learned so much last year, it has literally transformed our business. I just wanted to make sure the members here knew about the event and had the opportunity to research/plan to attend the event!   http://asteshow.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ASTENC/   Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk    
    • Vision KC
      Anyone going to vision KC?   Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk    
  • Automotive Repair Shop Management

    • [Brand Choice] Automotive Batteries
      Automotive Batteries What is your preferred brand of automotive batteries and why? Who is the supplier of that brand to you? What are the battery series that are available in that brand, and what are the warranties? Who manufactures your choice of battery?
    • Opinions on my work hours
      Hi, everyone   I just opened an auto repair shop about 4 months ago, but I'm still working my full time job as a tech therefore I open the shop from 4 pm until 9pm M-F and 8-5 on Saturday. I'm starting to build customers but most are from referrals and neighbors I don't get much traffic cars. I'm starting to think that the hours I'm open don't really work for the auto repair business seems like after 6 everything dies. Has anyone worked this kind of hours or what do you guys think about this odd hours.
    • Business management training
      Have any of you attended classes or seminars put on by a company called ATI automotive training institute ? Was considering signing up for a 1 day class.
  • Automotive Repair & Technical Discussions

    • What tools have made a positive impact in your sho…
      Hi there!

      My name is Kiley and I write for "The Return" in Ratchet+Wrench magazine. (For those unfamiliar, 'The Return' is more of a personalized review that gives readers the chance to learn about how a product works inside a shop that uses it as well as the shop's review of the product.) 

      My question to you all today is this: what tool has made an impact in your shop? If someone was looking for a product to add to their shop, what would you recommend?  (This can range from shop floor tools, security systems, management systems, payroll, etc.)  Thank you so much and have a great day! 
    • DREW TECH RAP
      How many of you flash computers?  We do and it has been a headache sometimes.  There is a new program, or at least I just heard of it, Drew Technologies RAP.  It is a kit that you pay a monthly fee.  It has everything you need, including the battery tender.  Then you pay $125.00 per flash.  If there is a problem, they take care of it.  My question is, If you have this equipment, how do you like it. and what do you charge the customer.  Of course, it will now be in house.  We have always charged like a fee for the flash and a hour of labor.  Thank you for your information.
    • Bead blaster
      Looking for a bead blaster for problem tires, eBay as cheap as $50 up to $500 or more. Don't want to buy one and then not be able to seat the tire when needed. Are the $500 ones  that much better?  How about a bead bazooka? 
  • Blogs With Recent Activity

    1. Google has been rolling out Mobile-first indexing and many webmasters received an email similar to the one further down informing them that this anticipated change is now here. But what does "Mobile-first indexing enabled" actually mean and what impact can it have on your website? 

      First off, lets start with saying that nowadays, if your website does not render well on a mobile screen, it's time to update. It used to be OK to just design a website that looked great on desktop sized screens. Then, as time moved on with mobile phones gaining traction, there was a race to develop a "mobile-friendly" theme as an addition to a website, where a visitor who was browsing from a mobile device was redirected to a different and condensed version suitable for smaller phone screens. Today, it really is no longer optimal to have a different version for mobile screens and websites need to be fully responsive and adjust accordingly to the screen size they are being viewed on. Screen sizes are now categorized into mainly desktop, tablet, and phone, with variations of minimum and maximum screen sizes where your web designer can adjust elements to show and not show, depending on what type of device is being used to view your website. If you have analytics installed on your website, you have probably noticed a trend over the past few years where mobile screen sizes are picking up traction. In some cases we see it as a 50/50 split between desktop and mobile, some sites are even higher on mobile. So to not design a website with this in mind, is a mistake.

      Google is now indexing and displaying search results differently, depending on how well your site is built for mobile screens. What they are essentially saying is that you may get different results when searching on Google from a smart phone then from a desktop and Google is going to rank websites that render well on smart phone screen sizes higher than those that don't. This is where all those outdated websites will start to lose organic traffic.

      Here's Google's official statement from their email to some website owners and webmasters affected: 

      Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they're looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site's content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version. 

      Here's the actual copy of the email that we received for our website:

      Google Mobile-first indexing

      Google is now going to use your mobile site for ranking purposes and time is running out if your website does not have a good mobile version available. Fortunately for us, we are prepared and so is AutoShopOwner because we use responsive technology and coding that adjusts to screen sizes accordingly.

      You can test out your website here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

      If your website isn't mobile ready, contact your webmaster and get it updated ASAP. If you need website services, you can reach out to us for a cost effective solution 🙂

       

      Automotive Webmaster

    2. Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

      I hope your 2018 will be a great one. I have a very special offer for all ASO members that want to get there business profitable in the upcoming year. 

      If interested let me know and I hope you and yours have a great holiday season.

      Dan Stevens 

       

    3. As a member of AutoShopOwner, you can manage the types of notifications that we provide you for when things happen here, either via email or when you login and view your notifications list (the bell icon). For instance, when you start a new topic in a forum or reply to an existing topic, you are automatically subscribed to receive a notification when new content is posted. That can happen by email or not, depends on how you want to receive it. 

      To get to your notifications management section, first go to Account Settings

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      Then go to Notification Settings

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      There you will see some your current preference settings for overall delivery method, follow preference, browser notifications, etc.

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      Scroll down and you'll see individual notification settings where you can pick and choose how you are notified. For email, an email is sent every time that action takes place based on your delivery method above. For Notification List, every time an action takes place, it will be listed in your notifications panel under the little bell icon.

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      One more setting we have is for our weekly newsletter, which includes a list of topics and activity from the week. You can opt in and out from your account settings as well.

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      If you haven't taken a look at your settings yet, we encourage you to check it out. 😃

    4. Car Count Daily | Episode 14

      Click Here To Subscribe For DAILY Car Count Daily Tips Straight To Your Inbox

       

      Car Count Daily | Episode 14

      Click Here To Subscribe For DAILY Car Count Daily Tips Straight To Your Inbox

      TRANSCRIPTION:

      Hey Shop Owners. Captain Car Count here, sometimes known as Ron Ipach. Welcome to yet another edition of Car Count Daily. Now, on a previous episode, I talked about the number one group of people that you should be marketing to. Now this is the low hanging fruit. The people that know, love and trust you, and people that are willing to give you more money, more often. As you might have guessed, it's your current clients. These are the people you should be spending your money, time and effort to get back to your shop, so they come in more often. But as I suspected, I knew I was going to get a lot of push back because I typically do from shop owners. Because, look, you do a great job for your customers, you do exactly what they want you to do, and provide a phenomenal repair and you maintain their car, so, of course they're going to come back to you, right? That's the argument I get all the time, and I'm here to tell you, no, that's not enough. Okay?

      I'm going to take the viewpoint of a customer here. Now I get your business, okay, I know all you do to do a great job and maintain the vehicles and fix the cars, and all the busted knuckles and the bloodied hands and all the stuff you go through to do a great job for your customers. But the customers don't see that, you see that. If I'm Joe Customer here, and I'm bringing my car to your shop and it's broken, I am paying you to fix it. So, when you bring it back to me fixed, you've done the job I'm paying you for. Okay? I paid you to do that job. I don't know how difficult it was. I don't know how awesome you were at doing it. I paid you for a service and I got the service.

      So, that's what Joe Customer thinks, or Jane Customer, is it's ... You're doing what I paid you to do. So, of course, you should do it right. Of course, it should be fixed. Of course, it should be maintained 'cause that's what we're exchanging the dollars for. I'm giving you money, you just give me what I asked for. So, the fact that you did a great job means absolutely nothing to me because I don't know about the bloodied knuckles and how difficult it was to do that repair, or how well trained you needed to be to do that repair because I paid you for that.

      Okay, now don't get mad at me. I'm just taking the viewpoint of your customers. So, doing a great job, and simply just saying you did a great job is enough to bring them back, I'm going to argue with you all day long because if they're just paying you for that, you're providing a service and that's it.

      Write this down, and you might want to remember this at all times, it's not what you do, when it comes to repairing the cars, it's what else you do when it comes to repairing the cars. Okay? I'm paying you to fix my car. What else are you doing to develop a relationship with me? What else are you doing to ensure that I'm going to come back to you versus going to the next shop down the street. Because, again, Joe Customer here, all I want is my car fixed and maintained. I'm paying for that service. So, no matter how difficult it is, I'm going to assume if it was real tough, it's going to cost me more money. Okay?

      It's what else are you doing. What else ... Why are you inviting me back to your shop? Why do you want me to come back to your shop? What offers are you going to give me? What incentives? Why should I come back to you versus going anywhere else? Now, keep that in mind when it comes to your marketing.

      Understand the most important person you can have in your shop, as a customer, is one that's already been. It's that repeat business that will build your business. Simply doing a good job isn't good enough anymore. It's a matter of what else you're doing. Impress me, give me outstanding customer service. Market to me, let me know that you care to have me back in your shop, and I will come back to you. That's why it's the most important group of people that you want to market to.

      Keep that in mind and you will blow your car counts through the roof. I guarantee it.

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