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  1. 2 points
    For a service writer the question I always ask is" If I was writing a check to you for an amount that had to last you the rest of your life, how much would it be for." What you are looking for is a realistic number for their age. I base it on 60k a year and a life span of 80 years old. Too high of a number usually means they're not really thinking of the question or too low a number usually means they don't have a good idea of what things cost so will have a hard time trying to sell that large or high dollar ticket. For a tech my favorite question is "why do you do what you do." An answer of its what he/she knows and he needs to earn a living or anything along those lines usually means he/she won't be invested in your company and will only look for whats in it for him/her. An answer of getting self satisfaction at getting a vehicle running correctly or finding that noise etc..., that person is invested in his/her craft and is usually willing to go the extra mile for the customer, attend training,get certified.
  2. 2 points
    SCOTUS just ruled that online sellers have to charge sales tax to all online buyers. This is huge. So many times when matching Tire Rack the sales tax puts us at a disadvantage. No more. It's about time!
  3. 2 points
    SUPERSEX A little old lady who had lost her marbles was running up and down the halls in a nursing home. As she ran, she would flip up the hem of her nightgown and say "Supersex." She ran up to an elderly man in a wheelchair, flipping her gown at him, she said, "Supersex." He sat silently for a moment or two and finally answered, "I'll take the soup."
  4. 2 points
    Picture This ---- I learned a little something when I was teaching a little something Picture This (A lesson learned while teaching) Years ago my younger brother came to work for me. He didn't know a thing about cars, but was willing to learn all he could. Teaching new techs is an art that most shop owners have to learn to do, but teaching your little brother can be a chore and can test your patience. I muddled thru it all and taught him what I could. I was sure at some point in time the two of us would butt heads like brothers will do, and he would take his new found skills and move up in the rank and files of the automotive technical world, but in the meantime it was his turn to learn from his older brother. When he first started I would walk him thru each step of how to diagnose a certain system in a car. A lot of times he would have questions, and I'd do my best to answer them. He learned quickly and was really sharp at picking up some of those little details that are harder to teach, because you tend to forget to mention them while you're teaching. Mainly because you are trying to get to the solution as efficiently as possible, and you neglect to bring it up. Such as: "always test your test light connection before testing what you're testing, or don't forget to check for all your tools before you pull the car out of the shop…." Things like that. One day we had a truck come in with dual fuel tanks on it. The gas gauge wasn't working and needed some attention. This was a perfect opportunity for Junior to learn a few of my short cuts on these old models. It was an older Ford, in which the tank gauge ran thru the tank switchover button. It was rather easy to pull it out of the dash and connect to the gauge from the back of the switch. Luckily it was the typical problem I've seen a hundred times in the past. The switch connections would melt and the tank wouldn't switch from the front tank to the rear, and of course the gauge wouldn't move either. After locating the correct leads to the gauge and to the tanks I decided to show him how the gauge worked. I hooked up the one of the tanks to the crossover lead that would supply the signal from the tank to the gauge. "Ya see this, that's the lead to the fuel gauge in the dash, and this is one of the tank wires. I'll connect these together and we should get a reading on the dash," I told him. He was watching intently, taking in all the wiring diagram information, the location of the wires, and how I was bypassing the switch. He was fascinated with the flow of the current and the way the gauge would respond. I even went as far as moving the gauge from full to empty by opening and closing it to a ground signal. While I had his attention I filled him in on the two types of gauges that were used back then (bimetallic and magnetic) and how low resistance on a bimetal type gauge would read near a full tank, while a magnetic gauge would read close to empty. Change the resistance and the gauge would/should read accordingly. "So, if we put gas in the tank the gauge should move right? That way we could check the sending units in the tanks too," he asked me. "Great idea, grab a gas can and let's add a few gallons," I said, excited that he was so interested in the project. He grabbed a can of gas and poured a few gallons in the tank. I was watching the gas guage carefully, but there was no movement. I knew I was on the right wires, but nothing was happening. Now what? Are there more problems? "Crawl under there, and check to be sure the wire color is correct," I yelled from the cab to him. "Yep, it's the right wire on the tank." "Well, we might have to pull the tank; it's not changing the gauge readings up here." "Before we do that let's add some more gas, maybe we didn't add enough," Junior tells me. I thought I better go back and help hold the funnel, while he poured the gas in the tank. Unknowing to me, all this time my wife (who was the office manager) was listening in on the whole thing. She likes to keep tabs on me, and make sure I'm not going into one of my usual rants or having a fit because I had to explain something over and over again to little brother. This time she was standing at the corner of the shop just behind the truck with a camera. "CLICK", I heard the camera shutter go off and she was back there laughing like there was no tomorrow. "What's so funny?" I asked her. "You two idiots have been putting gas in the wrong tank. You're on the front tank, and you're putting gas in the rear tank," my wife answers, laughing hysterically. About then the camera "clicked" again… this time it was an action shot taken at precisely the exact moment when these two idiots had that dumb struck look on their faces and realized what they just did. The shot had both of us on our knees, one holding a funnel and the other with the half empty gas can, and both of us staring right into the camera lens. Couldn't have set it up any better if you tried. The picture clearly showed the side of the truck with both fuel tank doors visible and there was no doubt which tank we were putting in the extra gas. I guess it was one of those things I should have mentioned when we were checking the tank senders… make sure we are both on the same tank. For years that picture hung over her desk, and anytime I thought I was so smart she would point at the photo. Usually with that typical smirk, usually shaking her finger at me and of course the laugh… she had to laugh, but it wasn't all that funny until she had me laughing about it too. Ok, Ok, I'm not perfect... and now my little brother knows it too. These days he's a top notch tech at a dealership, and I have to call him on occasions for some help on how to solve things once in a while. Oh the photo… uhmmm… what photo?? Somehow it's missing… haven't seen the darn thing in years. But I guess I really don't need to see the photo … the wife has a pretty good memory... she reminds me just how smart I think I am every chance she gets. View full article
  5. 1 point
    3 GALLONS OF TROUBLE It was shortly after opening time when one of my long time regular customers brought their teenage son into the shop for a little discussion and repair time. The father and I go way back, and he knew I'm not one to take a lot of gruff, especially before coffee. He looked at his son and told him, “Gonzo, probably hasn’t had his coffee yet so go easy on the old guy,” he said with a quick little nod and wink in my direction. 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 some two years ago. It had to do with his gas mileage. Apparently, his incredibly detailed fuel charts that listed every fill up, time, date, and the exact mileage there was always a 3 gallon discrepancy. All traced back to the very day I put the fuel pump in over two years ago. He was concerned, no, let me rephrase that, he was extremely upset and insisted that I was the cause of all this, and obviously, I must have done something wrong. His insistence that I was to blame was backed up by his anal retentive log book of every liquid that every entered his trucks orifices. Everything was tracked by way of his trip odometer. Before the new fuel pump he would get close to 400 miles per tank. His accuracy was to be commended. Not a lot of people go to this amount of effort to calculate the different seasonal fuel changes and how it affects the overall mileage with a cross reference to the previous year and then highlight long trips in a different colored highlighter with notations about wind speed and weather conditions, or which direction he was traveling, With all this cross checking, geological mapping, GPS location, and weather pattern charts there still was this 3 gallon gap. Each fill up averaged right around 23 gallons from empty, and never a drop more than 23 gallons. But now, his fuel tank was holding 26 gallons. His question, “So, where is the other 3 gallons going?” I tried not laugh, I’ve changed a lot of fuel pumps but I never have had anyone come in and tell me that there fuel tank now holds more fuel than before. The dad smirk was getting wider and wider as the story and his teen aged son's lack of making me believe his story increased his volume and temper. The whole time, good ol' dad just sat there with that look on his face as if to silently tell me, "You're turn... I'll just watch." “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. Did you ever check your owners manual by chance? ” I told him, as I reached for my coffee. Nope, he wasn’t buying that. He knew how much his gas tank has 'always' held and he knew I was the cause of his lost mileage. The more I tried to explain, the more upset he was getting. He was quite sure (and demanding) that he was correct and that I wasn’t listening to what he was saying. By now he was quite loud and belligerent over the whole matter. Poor old dad, laid a hand on his son's shoulder, but the boy just shrugged it off and continued on his rampant dissertation of fuel mileage vs. fuel tank volume. At that point, 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…better start another pot.) 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 his way around under the hood. 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.” Now there's a new twist, oh wait I've got it now. As long as the fuel mileage was the only issue it's safe to say you would have kept driving around with this attitude that I must have screwed something up, but... as soon as the check engine light comes on and another scrappy teenager with a code reader tells you that it's caused by a gas cap you put it together... and what do you know... it's Gonzo's fault. I can see the whole scenario now, he was grasping at possible reasons why his gas mileage had dropped so much and now he's got some confirmation. What gets me is how something as important as the involvement of the service light wasn't brought up sooner into the conversation but what is important is to tell me how good a tech you are and that you have already made this seemingly incompetent decision that I was to blame. 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. Sure it can be done, but not cheaply, and it sure isn't going to change that 3 gallons of fuel in the tank. All this before my first cup of coffee? Finally, dad convinced the son to dropped the truck off. I went straight to the glove box and checked the owner’s manual for the fuel tank capacity. It had it in big bold letters… 26 gallon capacity… not 23 as he was so sure of. Just to be sure, 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 testing the circuit and the valve it turned out the valve was at fault. 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 but I gave him the benefit of doubt that he may have an intermittent ABS controller problem… however when I gave him the options of leaving it alone or changing it… he left it alone. After all the phone calls were made and dad and son arrived to pick up the truck there was never another 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 either. I guess when you’re wrong you don’t have to admit it, at least when you're a teenager, and dad is paying the bill. But, you can be darn sure, if the mechanic is wrong, it's time to scream in his face, accuse him of incompetence, and let everyone else know about it, and write some review about, and then ask for your money back. Welcome to the world of auto repair and some of the strangest customer reactions you'll ever run into. 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! !
  6. 1 point
    Shop production is a hot topic these days. High production results in higher sales and profits. But there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome to achieve high production levels. I was discussing production with a few shop owners, and one shop owner mentioned that he recently hired a shop foreman; an “A” tech in his early 50’s. The foreman uses his knowledge and skills to organize the work flow. For younger techs, it’s even more important that they know how to work and keep productive. What are your thoughts? Does anyone else have a foreman or similar position? And how does this role affect production?
  7. 1 point
    July 4th is this Wednesday. And as a shop owner, it means that sales may suffer. But, there is more to life than sales. Celebrate July 4th; commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence! Speak with your employees about their plans for the holiday. This will send a message that you care about them as people, and that it’s not always about business. With the right attitude, you will build morale and you will make up those sales. And let’s face it; we all need a little time off now and then.
  8. 1 point
    My shop is in a very rural area in South Carolina. We are mainly a new tire dealer and we have been here for over 40 years. We repair and replace everything from hand truck tires all the way up to large radial rear tractor tires. We do alignments, brakes, front end suspension work, batteries, and oil changes. We have been successful at what we do, but I see the effects of the internet and additional competition from car dealers, big box, etc. on tires and rims. I took over from my dad about 3 years ago and I added oil changes and focused more on the alignment and front end suspension work, which has been great. I have a great alignment and suspension guy. My background is more finance and the business side of things as opposed to the mechanical side of things. I would like to get into doing more for our customers. I want to get some opinions on what types of services we should offer, and how I can find a decent general maintenance tech. I don't think that we should jump full on into engine and transmission work, but I could see doing things like master cylinders, ac work, fuel filters, general maintenance, etc. I am going to have a pretty steep learning curve on this, so any pointers you guys could provide will be appreciated.
  9. 1 point
    I wanted to ask a question that no one can give me straight answer on. I know in the past on any normal vehicle when you rotated the tires you wanted the best tires in the front (I'm talking about lets say a Ford Taurus). Several years ago I see the Michelin video where they put two Ford Taurus's side by side with one vehicle having the new tires in the front and the other vehicle having the new tires installed on the rear. Per the NHTSA they state accidents occur or loss of control mainly begins with the rear end losing control therefore you want to have your best tires on the rear? So with all the experts out there and I've also asked many other owners what they think but mainly I'm still seeing "best tires in the front". What are your thoughts? Thanks guys. I'm excited that I found this site!
  10. 1 point
    On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event. Let's all celebrate this day and remeber that we live in the great nation on the planet!
  11. 1 point
    This will help our local tire sales because on places like Tire Easy there was no sales tax. Fortunately, Tire Rack is in Indiana so sales taxes weren’t an issue except with border state purchases of KY and IL. They could have tires shipped to the house and bring to us for install.
  12. 1 point
    Hey All, My name is Karla, I had previously owned a 3-bay mechanical repair shop in Burlington, VT for 6 years and built it to maintain an outstanding reputation and provide a comfortable income. I had the opportunity to sell my half of the business and finalized that deal this past fall. I have worked in all areas of the auto repair industry over the past 15 years, graduated from a two-year ASE certified auto tech program and went on to earn my Bachelor’s in business and a masters degree in executive leadership. I have some capital I will be contributing to the planning and opening of a new shop and am very open to meeting potential partners/investors in all areas of the country. I greatly look forward to building something new in a location new to me. Anyway, I’d like to welcome all /any interest and to answer any questions about joining forces in shop planning and management. Please do not hesitate to contact me, thanks for considering! —Karla
  13. 1 point
    They will have to start charging tax for any state that charges sales tax. Some states do not charge a sales tax.
  14. 1 point
    sometimes you so caught up in teaching you forget to make sure your doing everything right! Probably one of those instances!
  15. 1 point
    Picture This Years ago my younger brother came to work for me. He didn’t know a thing about cars, but was willing to learn all he could. Teaching new techs is an art that most shop owners have to learn to do, but teaching your little brother can be a chore and can test your patience. I muddled thru it all and taught him what I could. I was sure at some point in time the two of us would butt heads like brothers will do, and he would take his new found skills and move up in the rank and files of the automotive technical world, but in the meantime it was his turn to learn from his older brother. When he first started I would walk him through each step of how to diagnose a certain system in a car. A lot of times he would have questions, and I’d do my best to answer them. He learned quickly and was really sharp at picking up some of those little details that are harder to teach. You know things like how you held a certain wrench or used a certain tool, to you and me it’s no big deal. But to a novice, it’s a revelation, then you (I) tend to forget to mention those certain traits while you’re teaching. Mainly because you are trying to get to the solution as efficiently as possible, and you neglect to bring it up. Such as: “always test your test light connection before testing what you’re testing, or don’t forget to check for all your tools before you pull the car out of the shop….” Things like that. One day we had a truck come in with dual fuel tanks on it. The gas gauge wasn’t working and needed some attention. This was a perfect opportunity for Junior to learn a few of my short cuts on these old models. It was an older Ford, in which the tank gauge ran thru the tank switchover button. It was rather easy to pull it out of the dash and connect to the gauge from the back of the switch. Luckily it was the typical problem I’ve seen a hundred times in the past. The switch connections would melt and the tank wouldn’t switch from the front tank to the rear, and of course the gauge wouldn’t move either. After locating the correct leads to the gauge and to the tanks I decided to show him how the gauge worked. I hooked up the one of the tanks to the crossover lead that would supply the signal from the tank to the gauge. “Ya see this, that’s the lead to the fuel gauge in the dash, and this is one of the tank wires. I’ll connect these together and we should get a reading on the dash,” I told him. He was watching intently, taking in all the wiring diagram information, the location of the wires, and how I was bypassing the switch. He was fascinated with the flow of the current and the way the gauge would respond. I even went as far as moving the gauge from full to empty by opening and closing it to a ground signal. While I had his attention I filled him in on the two types of gauges that were used back then (bimetallic and magnetic) and how low resistance on a bimetal type gauge would read near a full tank, while a magnetic gauge would read close to empty. Change the resistance and the gauge would/should read accordingly. “So, if we put gas in the tank the gauge should move right? That way we could check the sending units in the tanks too,” he asked me. “Great idea, grab a gas can and let’s add a few gallons,” I said, excited that he was so interested in the project. He grabbed a can of gas and poured a few gallons in the tank. I was watching the gas guage carefully, but there was no movement. I knew I was on the right wires, but nothing was happening. Now what? Are there more problems? “Crawl under there, and check to be sure the wire color is correct,” I yelled from the cab to him. “Yep, it’s the right wire on the tank.” “Well, we might have to pull the tank; it’s not changing the gauge readings up here.” “Before we do that let’s add some more gas, maybe we didn’t add enough,” Junior tells me. I thought I better go back and help hold the funnel, while he poured the gas in the tank. Unknowing to me, all this time my wife (who was the office manager) was listening in on the whole thing. She likes to keep tabs on me, and make sure I’m not going into one of my usual rants or having a fit because I had to explain something over and over again to little brother. This time she was standing at the corner of the shop just behind the truck with a camera. “CLICK”, I heard the camera shutter go off and she was back there laughing like there was no tomorrow. “What’s so funny?” I asked her. “You two idiots have been putting gas in the wrong tank. You’re on the front tank, and you’re putting gas in the rear tank,” my wife answers, laughing hysterically. About then the camera “clicked” again… this time it was an action shot taken at precisely the exact moment when these two idiots had that dumb struck look on their faces and realized what they just did. The shot had both of us on our knees, one holding a funnel and the other with the half empty gas can, and both of us staring right into the camera lens. Couldn’t have set it up any better if you tried. The picture clearly showed the side of the truck with both fuel tank doors visible and there was no doubt which tank we were putting in the extra gas. I guess it was one of those things I should have mentioned when we were checking the tank senders… make sure we are both on the same tank. For years that picture hung over her desk, and anytime I thought I was so smart she would point at the photo. Usually with that typical smirk, usually shaking her finger at me and of course the laugh… she had to laugh, but it wasn’t all that funny until she had me laughing about it too. Ok, Ok, I’m not perfect... and now my little brother knows it too. These days he’s a top notch tech at a dealership, and I have to call him on occasions for some help on how to solve things once in a while. Oh the photo… uhmmm… what photo?? Somehow it’s missing… haven’t seen the darn thing in years. But I guess I really don’t need to see the photo … the wife has a pretty good memory... she reminds me just how smart I think I am every chance she gets. Click here to view the article
  16. 1 point
    I am writing this on my last day of vacation in California, spending time with family. It took me a few days to totally relax, but made it a point to not look at emails or call the office. We all need downtime. I know there will be a ton of work to be done when I return, but I also know that the time away has recharged my batteries and I will be more productive. Being away from business and spending time with family puts things into proper perspective. You realize that a lot of the things you stress over, are really not as important as you think. Take time to enjoy life. We all know how quickly time passes us by. And remember, no one on their death bed ever said they wished they spent more time at work.
  17. 1 point
    This has been covered in other threads before but here goes again. In wet conditions, good tires on the back will induce understeer, good tires on the front will induce oversteer. So here is what will happen: You're going down an exit ramp with your good tires on the front and go thru some water. The car will start to oversteer and you'll get off the gas. When you do that, you transfer weight to the front and make the oversteer worse and before you know it you're into the guardrail with the back of the car. Conversely, with the good tires on the back when you hit the water, the car will start to understeer, you get off the gas thus transferring weight to the front which helps to regain front traction and you continue on your merry way. In racing, understeer is a stable condition while oversteer is an unstable condition. I went to a Continental test track in Texas where they had a circle track set up with one section watered down. We were told to maintain a steady speed at 40 mph around the track. When we came to the wet area with the best tires on the back, the car started to understeer we got off the throttle and regained control without a problem. When the best tire were on the front, EVERYONE lost control and spun even myself, with 40 years of both oval and road racing experience. That's why for the last 25 years or so ALL tire manufacturers have recommended if only replacing 2 tires, they go on the back. I keep a copy of several car magazine test about this under the counter to show customers that question the practice.
  18. 1 point
    You can market to attract those brands, but I'd work on everything. I also found out from experience starting a new shop that when you position yourself as a specialty that becomes your image in more minds than you would ever think, and ends up limiting you later when you really do want to work on everything. Build with as much capacity as you can, you'll want to have it later. I would hope that longer term you don't want to be the main guy, and that means you will need more capacity. Your own business should be more than just a glorified job, at least you should be working for it to be more of a business than a job long term.
  19. 1 point
    Life is short. I take long vacations and expect my employees to also take time off. When questioned years ago by an old timer why I was open on Saturdays I replied that I didn't want to lose the business. His answer was " how can you lose something you didn't have in the first place"? He also said if I can't make it on 5 days then I was doing something wrong. That was 15 years ago and I have not been open on Saturdays since then. As a very specialized shop I can get away with this easier than most shops. We also take advantage of 3-4 day weekends during any holidays and pay all the employees their full pay. They also get 3 weeks paid vacation time per year although only 1 week at a time can be taken during a 30 day period. I let them use my condo on Lake Michigan free of charge whenever they want. I do not pay sick days and expect them to stay late if needed which only happens 3-5 times per year. Needless to say, most of my employees have been with me 10 years and 2 of them over 20 years. I had always said to myself that if I ever had a shop of my own that I would treat my employees the way I wanted to be treated.
  20. 1 point
    From a safety standpoint industry consensus is best tires in the rear. You cannot get Walmart, Discount Tire, or any of the big boys to do otherwise.
  21. 1 point
    Being able to vacation is a learned skill. Some folks are naturally better at disconnecting then others, but I agree it's important to be able to let your mind rest. I would imagine that there are quite a few shop owners rolling their eyes at the prospect of taking weeks away from their shop. To them I would suggest starting small: take a long weekend off, then work up to a few days during the week, then a week "staycation", then a week away. Pretty quickly you'll learn that your staff will fill in most of the gaps and put out those little fires themselves. That will give you confidence to take longer vacations and disconnect more. The irony is that this will likely help you be more successful as when you come back you'll be more comfortable leaving more day-to-day tasks with staff and be able to focus on more big picture initiatives. So learn to vacation; your family and your accountant will thank you!
  22. 1 point
    Joe Friday Diagnostics "How would Sgt. Friday explain auto repair and diagnostics… que the music: " The story you’re about to read is true; the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Monday morning, it was cold that day. I was working day shift out of the repair division. There’s a suspicious vehicle at the front of the shop. A customer walks in the door. I’ll take it from here. I’m a mechanic, the name’s Friday. It was a 2003 Ford, 5.4 liter, fully loaded and sounded like it was running rough. The lady came to the counter. “Good Morning ma’am, what can I do for you,” I said to the complaintant. “Yes, I’m here about my car,” she answered. “There’s a problem with the car, I see. What can you tell me about it?” I asked, in my usual non-threatening, but confident monotone voice. “I was on my way to deliver my recyclables to the east side collection area, because I’m a concerned citizen you know, when my car started to make a coughing and clattering sound. I thought I would bring it in to have it checked out,” the owner answered. “Coughing and clattering, hmm, not a problem. I’ll get it investigated, I can interrogate the pursuant this morning, especially for a concerned citizen such as yourself,” I answered while maintaining my professionalism. “Well, do you need any other information from me?” she asked. “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts,” I said. “The check engine light came on,” she reported. “This could be of some help. Sounds like a possible 0300 (engine misfire). But I’ll check it out first, I’ll need to finish my investigation in order to give you any proper results,” I said to her, while my pen was busy jotting down the facts onto the always present handy notepad. She left the car with me for further interrogations. Using the scanner made the results easy to locate. It wasn’t long before I got an answer. It was a P0302 in progress… misfire on no#2 cylinder… normally an open and shut case. 09:30 Am, working on the assumption that the perpetrator was somewhere near the 2nd cylinder; I went in for further investigations. I checked the usual suspects. Pulling the plug didn’t yield any new clues. The plug was good and answered all the standard questions. The coil was a more likely suspect; a simple test could answer the problem. I’ll set up a little sting operation by using a decoy. Taking the nearest coil and replacing it with the suspected faulty coil, and put the known good coil on the other plug. I was hoping to see the miss move to the other cylinder. It didn’t. In fact it was gone. 10:05 Am, Now the challenge was on. I’ll have to go back over my facts and check the crime scene again. There’s something I must have overlooked that might be the key to this investigation. Two things come up as good possibles; the connection or terminals at the coil, or the spark plug boot attached to the coil. The plug boot had a good alibi… it had just been changed, in fact so was the spark plug. That left the coil connection. A more in-depth interrogation of the connector is needed. My years of technical diagnostics work told me to look closer at the wire and the connector. The guilty party in this case appears to be one of the wires at the connector. It was barely hanging onto the housing. Only the plastic sheath was still connected, and the wire itself was not answering to any of the standard questioning or interrogative tactics. Under the intense glow of the high powered shop light the investigation continued. Resorting to some strong arm tactics I pulled on the wire while using a few choice investigative words, the plastic sheathing kept getting longer and longer. Soon, it snapped under the pressure to expose the desperado for the perpetrator it really was. 11:45 Am, The repair was completed, and tested to verify the repairs were effective. The car in question was back with its rightful owner by the end of the day. I now can close the file on this one, another job well done. In conclusion: With the P0302 in question deleted from the computer history, the coil connector was then convicted of failure to cooperate. With her car back on the road she could once again be a productive concerned citizen of this great metropolis. Case closed and now, back to the front desk waiting for that next problem to come through the door. This city is full of broken, non-maintained, and poorly running cars. As a concerned citizen I’ll be on the lookout for these suspicious misfires and other infractions of the auto world. There are thousands of men and women in this city, who know that being an auto tech is an thankless, grease covered job that's done everyday without any fan fare. Then again, I'm part of that glamourless, grease covered world... my names Friday, I'm a mechanic.
  23. 1 point
    Not sure what you're already doing, but the basics are a good inspection on every car or truck and consistently looking up the factory maintenance schedules every time...then do the work that you find. We have signs around the customer area all about the benefits and savings of proper maintenance, so we stress maintenance over repair. Then we present that we inspect the car every time so they are safe and the car is reliable. We'd rather find a problem while they're car is in the shop then them finding it out on the road. I have signs with sayings like these so customers read them and the advisers have consistent word tracts. You could look up a variety of factory maintenance schedules to get ideas of services you would need at add.
  24. 1 point
    Hi Andre, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I apologize for any inconvenience you’ve experienced with us. This is something we take very seriously, and will do everything in our power to make right. As for the integration with R.O. Writer, will certainly do support it; both versions 1 and 2. We have hundreds of shops using BOLT ON with R.O. Writer with no problems whatsoever. I see that your issue was back in 2015. Since then we’ve made great strides in the advancements we offer shops, and I feel it may be worth your time to see what we can do for you nowadays. If not, I totally understand, and sincerely appreciate you having considered us. Either way, I wish you all the best.
  25. 1 point
    What's really funny is that I wrote this story so long ago and back then a lot of people didn't understand how the basic fuel gauge worked, so they kept me busy fixing these things. Even though a lot of them would go to the junk yard and start swapping parts trying to fix it. Sometimes that worked, sometimes a simple melted connector was beyond their comprehension. Fast forward to today. People still don't understand basic systems (even though they aren't anywhere near as basic as it was 20 years ago) but... there still trying to swap parts from the junk yard. Now I'm kept busy sorting out flash and theft issues after they've swapped a few components. Ah, how times have changed...and now... ya can't put gas in the wrong tank, because the two tanks are setup to be equalized. go figure.... what a world we live in.


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