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JimO

Free Member
  • Content Count

    101
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JimO last won the day on March 23

JimO had the most liked content!

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42 Excellent

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About JimO

  • Rank
    Experienced Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    D&J Valero
  • Business Address
    375 Chestnut Ridge Road, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 07677
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
    Other
  • Banner Program
    Tech-Net
  • Participate in Training
    Yes

Recent Profile Visitors

3,607 profile views
  1. Road traffic is at an all time low as well as our gas volume. Two of my key full time gas attendants and one part time attendant told me today that they are unable to continue working because of health concerns. Totally understandable but my island staff has now been reduced from 10 employees last week to one full time and two part time employees as of today. Impossible to cover our normal gas island business hours from 6am-10pm so I needed to substantially reduce hours Monday thru Saturday and close completely on Sunday. Not my desire but I have no choice. Bays are very busy which is a bit strange considering what is going on around us.
  2. My location is in Bergen County NJ about 25 minutes outside of NYC. Statistical reports released today show that NYC has the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the USA. Our county has the highest number of confirmed cases in NJ. The severity of the situation in our area has prompted authorities to invoke travel curfews and close all non-essential businesses. Gas stations and vehicle repair are both considered essential services. Examples of non-essential services which are now closed are: malls, gyms, bars, barber shops, nail salons, clothing stores, movie theaters, wedding venues, department stores, gift stores, card stores, toy stores, furniture stores, shoe stores & most corporate offices. Pre-schools, public & private schools, colleges, churches, mosques, synagogues and public playgrounds are all closed. Eating in restaurants is not allowed but take out, curbside pick-up or delivery is allowed. The entire state and neighboring states are on a tight lockdown leaving most streets and highways quiet with little or no traffic. One of my techs is 67 and my brother/partner is 70. We decided it was best if they both stayed home because their age predisposes them to a possible worse outcome should they contract the virus. Both of these key people decided to stay home as bay work slowed down which worked out well. We have gas and repairs and our gas volume has dropped about 75%. I have several attendants that requested a leave of absence due to age, pre-existing medical conditions and also family pressure/fear. The loss of gas attendants came as gas volume eroded so that presented no problem. The closing of all non-essential businesses caused a self regulating slow down of both available business and available staff in a very timely manner. The authorities in our area are predicting that things will continue to get worse in the weeks ahead so I certainly could see the need to reduce hours or possibly close as less and less people venture outside their homes. I am having a meeting with my staff tomorrow and I will give them the opportunity to weigh in on matter. If my remaining staff members are willing to continue working and our customers continue to need us I plan to remain open.
  3. The BEST thoughts on this subject to date. My sincere compliment for a well written, heart felt message that both touched and inspired me. Thank you.
  4. I am not insinuating that the dealer is stealing my customer by responding to a request for help (for a fee) from me and working on that vehicle and acquiring contact information. What I am saying is that the dealer is no longer content with the vehicles that customers drive to them for repairs. They realize that offering waiting areas with tiled floors, chandeliers, coffee machines and pastries is nice but quite a few prospective customers want more, they want convenience. Unlike years ago today’s dealers are now mostly located on the highway which in most cases is inconvenient. We, the independent local repair shop fulfill the customers needs when it comes to convenience... until now. I think that the dealer is after that segment, that piece of the pie, that potential customer that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about tiled floors or pastries and just wants convenience. Is the dealer offering assistance to me, at my location (for a fee) if requested? Yes, but is that the main reason that they equipped two vehicles with diagnostic equipment, information links, tire machine, balancer, compressor and staff both vehicles with two mobile techs? Either they took nice pills and feel sorry for me and want to help me -or- they are going after an untapped customer base which just so happens to be a good portion of MY customer base. It is for that reason that I think they are after my customers.
  5. After a road testing for a customer's complaint of "Intermittent odd feeling when braking" we identified it as an intermittent false ABS stop. Not unusual for a late model GM truck. We identified the L/F wheel speed sensor dropping out at lower speeds and ordered a wheel speed sensor. I remembered that we had replaced the L/F hub/bearing about two years ago with a Moog hub/bearing assembly which concerned me. The new wheel speed sensor arrived in a tattered, taped up box and would not fit, the sensor tip was contacting the tone ring. The part was re-ordered in a different brand (OEM this round) and we were disappointed again, still improper fit. I then called Moog Tech Support and found out that if an ABS WSS fails on a Moog hub/bearing it can't be replaced. Moog uses a proprietary WSS and is unable to be sourced separate from the hub/bearing. I confirmed with tech support that this is the case for all Moog hub/bearings that include a WSS and NOT isolated to the vehicle that we were working on. To add to this issue I also found out that ALL Moog hub/bearings have proprietary wheel studs so if a stud strips or is damaged on a replacement Moog hub/bearing you have a major problem because the hub/bearing will need to be replaced, studs alone are NOT available. I tried to contact Timken and BCA to see if their hub/bearings are the same as Moog in regard to proprietary WSS's and wheel studs but neither answered my email request for assistance. All of this is news to me, maybe because we use quite a bit of OEM parts but I thought I should pass it on since it will make me think twice before ordering a Moog hub/bearing.
  6. Last week a sales rep from a local Mercedes parts department stopped in to see me. He has been to my location several times in the past, always polite and professional. He handed me a paper with several topics highlighted such as extended parts dept. business hours during the week, Saturday hours, on-line ordering and mobile diagnostics. He provided additional information about each topic but the item that concerned me was mobile diagnostics. He explained that today’s vehicles are so complex that in many cases they require proprietary OEM equipment, information and training to efficiently repair them which they can provide, for a fee, at my location. He went on to tell me that they are equipping two vehicles, one vehicle for diagnostics and the other vehicle equipped with a compressor, tire machine and balancer. Whoa.... now he lost me, we need assistance replacing tires? Seems to me this mobile task force is NOT our friend but instead our foe, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are gearing up to provide mobile repairs in my area at my customers homes and work places, not good. I expressed my concern and he quickly informed me that everyone else that he had presented this concept to were very pleased to be able to receive assistance (for a fee) when needed and did not look at this as competition. This dealership is owned by Lithia, one of the top ten largest dealers in America. I doubt if we, the local independent repair community, could keep two mobile repair vehicles busy enough to warrant their existence. Fine, they are willing to “help” me (for a fee) with problem jobs at my location but I feel they are clearly after my customers. What are your thoughts? Are there any dealers in your area also offering this same service?
  7. I currently have a Hunter and need to replace it however ADAS has kept me from moving forward. I have read several posts from this site and other sites/publications concerning ADAS and the requirement to perform required calibrations after routine tasks such as alignments. To this point I have not been able to confirm that any manufacturer is offering equipment that is capable of performing all resets/calibrations needed for ADAS equipped vehicles after the completion of an alignment. The last thing I want to do is purchase a new piece of equipment, receive a phone call from a customer inquiring if we can perform an alignment and not be able to confidently answer “Yes, we can take care of that”.
  8. We have had maybe four or five opportunities to use one but of those four or five they all went back to the dealer under warranty so we have held off purchasing a machine. Still waiting, just don’t want to wait too long.
  9. We have always offered rides and it has worked out very well. A major segment of our customer base comes from corporate offices that surround our location with the remaining smaller segment sourced from local residents. Providing rides minimizes anyone waiting for their vehicle which I prefer. I have nothing against customers waiting but we lack the space for an isolated waiting area so rides just works out better for everyone. We text every customer when their vehicle is completed and invariably they get a ride from a co-worker or family member to pick up their vehicle. When required we will also pick them up but it seems that if we keep them informed of completion in a timely manner they have adequate time to arrange their own transport back. We have some customers who require additional assistance which when needed we will pick-up the vehicle and delivery it on completion. Whether we are providing a ride to work, to home or complete pick up and delivery we limit our range to our local area and it has always been respected and appreciated by our customers.
  10. I currently have an Interstate ED-18 tester and Interstate recently released their “latest and greatest” IB Pulse tester. Very little independent information available concerning reviews of this new IB Pulse tester or comparisons to its predecessor, the ED-18. Does anyone have this new IB Pulse and how do you like it? Is it as good or better than the ED-18? After a VIN scan does the new IB Pulse tester preconfigure and load the testing specs like the old ED-18? Are starter draw and charging system tests adequate? Any information or comparisons would be appreciated.
  11. We have a multi line phone system with extensions in the shop that also has an intercom feature. Using the intercom is quick and easy. All phones also have a PA feature by tapping the PA button you send your amplified voice to 3 bull horns located in the shop and two locations outside, everybody can here the message and respond as needed. This has worked great for us.
  12. We were primarily using a Smart Sensor Pro tool by 31 Inc along with their Smart Sensor One multi frequency sensors which was working out well. They have an excellent support team but the tools screen is small and I had some Sensor issues with RAV4’s and some other Toyota vehicles. The tool and individual sensors are available on Amazon for under my cost so that did it for me, it is no longer my primary. They recently released an updated tool with a larger screen that looks like an Ateq tool but I am unable to confirm, either way it arrived too late for me. I already had an Autel MaxiTPMS TS508 and their MX multi frequency sensors as my secondary. It seems like you need more than one tool today in order to have complete coverage. Autel’s support surprised me, very attentive, they follow up to questions quickly and the on-line updating is very easy. The coverage is very good and so far I have not had any issues with Toyota vehicles like I had with the Smart Sensors. So this became my primary until I noticed that the tool and individual sensors were being sold on Amazon for under my cost. I have been using Tech Tire for years and my rep offered a great promo for a new tool they recently released - buy a dozen sensors and get the tool for free so I added that to our ever growing arsenal. I believe the tool is made by Ateq and works well but you need to re-identify the vehicle when navigating to other functions for the same vehicle which is annoying. They also have a large gap in coverage for Honda/Acura so we have been using both the Autel and the Tech Tire equally. The sensors are only available from a Tech Tire distributor which protects us from customers checking Amazon pricing. My Tech Tire rep is very good, always available, always willing to come over with supplies on a moments notice so I also like to give him business when possible.
  13. At the conclusion of a recent fire inspection I was written up for having a folding chair stored in front of my main electric service panel. This is a safety infraction because the chair could prevent quick access to the panel if needed during an emergency. Do mobile techs know where the service panel is? Am I mad that I was written up for the folding chair? Not happy but not mad, I was wrong, I unknowingly caused a possible safety issue and it is now corrected. Am I mad that there is a mobile repair tech performing auto repairs at a residential home garage with no access to the service panel which is locked in the basement? Yes, that annoys me because the mobile tech will never have to deal with a fire inspector. That safety hazard goes undetected. We no longer have an even playing field. Concerning your comparison of this not being too different than working on an airplane on a ramp. Although I have never worked on airplanes I would imagine that even on the ramp you would have airport safety specialists, possibly OSHA and an airport fire department at you disposal in a moments notice. You working on the ramp instead of the hangar is more comparable to me working on a vehicle in my parking lot as opposed to inside one of my bays. We would both be performing repair work on our property just not in our building. Transport that same plane to a residential driveway in a remote neighborhood with no supervision, no OSHA, no in-house fire department and then you have a better comparison. Is the mobile tech familiar with the topography in the event of a spill? Does he know where storm drains are? Is he prepared with an adequate spill kit? Does he have the phone numbers to alert local, county and state officials in the event of a spill? Or is he a ghost that flits in and out of neighborhoods, homes and office buildings making repairs and leaving no way to trace any of his actions or mistakes? If I cause a spill I own it and the authorities will look no further than my front door. If the mobile tech causes a spill he is gone like a fart in a wind storm. If I have a commercial office building that is zoned for office research and I rent out the office space to appropriate tenants I would be within my rights. If I allowed a chef to set-up gas grilles and sell hot dogs and hamburgers in a tent in the backyard it would be a zoning violation. If I allowed a “mobile tech” to operate an auto repair business in the garage of my building it is also a zoning violation. If a tech responds to a road call for a dead battery it would be normal to jump the car, bring it back to the shop and replace the battery. If on the other hand he brings a new battery to the vehicle and installs it on site I have to question his efficiency but I am ok with it. When he proceeds to complete an oil change, air filter, cabin filter and wiper blades then I get upset. He is now no longer performing unexpected road service to get the vehicle mobile but instead he is completing routine maintenance.
  14. I put in an oversized central A/C unit about 15 to 20 years ago and it was one of the best improvements to date. Our entire shop, office and bathrooms are taken care of. The thermostat is set to 68F day and night during the week and then raised to 72 for weekends when the shop is closed (but I am there doing paperwork and maintenance inside the building). I find that if I get the temp down as low as possible at night the floors and masonry walls get a chance to also cool down which helps maintain cooler temps as the day progresses with bay doors opening/closing and hot vehicles being pulled in and out. This past week the outdoor temps here in North East Jersey peaked at 95-100F with high humidity. Opening at 6am the shop was usually 68F and slowly climbed to upper 70’s by 1 or 2pm then gradually fell back down to 68F by early evening. My employees all appreciate and respect the A/C and try to economize by performing small, quick tasks outside so as to not open and close huge overhead doors. When needed the techs assists each other by raising and lowering overhead doors while another tech quickly pulls in or out of the shop. This is obviously costly but summer was bad enough when I was younger, the A/C now allows me to walk out to my truck at the end of the day instead of crawling out to my truck. My techs are more comfortable so in turn they are more productive.


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