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[email protected]

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About [email protected]

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  • Business Address
    PO Box 520501, Longwood, Florida, 32750
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
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    Shop Owner
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  1. Which vendors have you had luck with? Do they give better warranties? Better quality parts?
  2. There are days I want to set the place on fire (sometimes just customers cars) ok just kidding. I seem to be getting a streak of problematic parts lately. I am so tired of reps telling me about quality, oem specs, warranty blah blah. My main supplier is AAP. Here are some examples below. - 2000 wrangler needing rear axles due to bearing failure. Ordered Dorman axles and both had fitment issues where once installed the differential pin wouldn't fit in due to improper clearances on the axle. Ordered another brand online Yukon Axles. - 1995 Lexus SC300 (mint cond, low miles) Felpro valve cover gasket was manufactured too thick and didn't fit in the groove on the valve cover. Ordered from Lexus and fit fine. - Forgot the year (Chrysler van) water pump with a pulley that wobbled and even the online reviews had the same issue. - 1993 Wrangler water pump machined incorrectly where once bolted to the block, the ears of the pump where the ps pump bracket bolts to was not machined correctly and if you tried to bolt it on it would bend the water pump. Ordered AC Delco (i think) from Cold air distributors and worked fine. - 1999 Lexus ES300 front left brake hose manufactured incorrectly. Ordered another brand, probably Raybestos from Cold Air Distributors, and all is well. - 2003 Taurus 3.0 OHV timing cover from Dorman 635-117. Online reviews had some issues but the oem unit was expensive. I ordered 3 before I found one that was machined good enough then installed. Came back a while later leaking. I ordered a replacement under warranty and the quality control was horrible. Just ended up getting the ford one and looked and seemed to work great. Time will tell - 2005 Honda Element Monroe struts all the way around (these are the ones) in the front like the civics where the strut has the bracket where the tie rod bolts to. Left front was fine. Right front couldn't get aligned properly as the bracket for the tie rod was welded on at the wrong angle. Went through a couple from the local parts store then I think Monroe sent me a strut that was tested to be ok on their manufacturing/ quality control/ measurement jig and it still failed. They paid to have the old Honda part sent back for inspection. I think i ordered KYB for the front and all was well. I use the AAP Wearever Platinum which have been great brake pad material and braking, but lately they don't fit properly and I have taken video to show the reps and I believe when the backing plate is cut, there are imperfections where it wont fit into the caliper bracket without me grinding the backing plate on the edges. The actual manufacturing company for them sent a rep to a local AAP BBQ event and I talked to him and he is very aware and they supposedly changed the manufacturing process to address this issue but recently I did a brake job and had the same issue then installed Akebono and all was well. I am considering switching to the Wagner TQ which they stock as well. They give me an across the board pricing on the Platinum pads of $34.99 on most vehicles. Has anybody got a good pricing structure on the Wagners? AAP gives a 3 month parts and labor warranty on pretty much everything they sell. The labor is reimbursed on my parts account at 1/2 my shop labor rate times the book time. The problem is I still have to write up an invoice showing that I replaced the part and didn't charge the customer, and spend time calling their hotline and explain what happened, then fax or scan and email the original invoice, warranty invoice, original parts invoice with the claim numbers and I still have to call and check in to make sure the claims have been processed and paid out. This takes time and is not very encouraging. Otherwise the parts themselves have the standard warranties, 2 year, 3 year, lifetime, etc. though this still requires me to redo the repair that should have been successful the first time. I am the owner and mechanic and I waste so much time in the office dealing with parts, Calling manufacturers tech support lines, taking measurements, sending pictures of parts problems. Then if I cannot get it resolved having to research another part. The Dorman timing covers were terrible. the metal was porous and i sent them a screenshot of their website talking about "High quality plastic or metal construction resists warping, cracking and porousness". I am surprised that these companies don't look at the reviews of their own products and correct the issues. I do need another technician so I don't have to wear so many hats but in the meantime how do you folks deal with these types of issues. The other issue is because I am not a high volume purchaser, although it is getting better as I grow, I have to purchase the majority of my parts from AAP to keep myself on a reasonable tier level. If I spread my purchases around then I can fall off the tier level in a short time. I like AAP and they have a warehouse near me and have a vast inventory available locally as opposed to other suppliers. Most of the stuff I get is name brand stuff to avoid junk parts. I like Moog, National, Motorcraft, Delco, Etc so its not like I am trying to be cheap on everything, I just seem to get burned a lot. When the commercial reps come by, it is usually to check up on business and try to sell me something or a service or a package deal, however when I show them the issues I am having, they really don't or cannot do anything other than listen and tell me about their "quality parts". I ask for the numbers to the engineering departments to try and at least get some of these issues resolved and I cannot get through. How do ya'll deal with these situations?
  3. I am interested in the issue of where the best tires go. The front tires are the first to hit water puddles, dirt, loose gravel, etc. Tread is designed to cut through and displace water to prevent hydroplaning and to be able to stop the vehicle in wet conditions (which is often here in Florida) I notice on my personal car when the front tread gets low, the tires get understeer when in wet conditions. New tires up front and a world of difference. So recap... Front tires do 75% of the braking, cut through water first, and add to that the vehicle spends most of its time driving straight. Fwd cars seem to wear the fronts first. Other than an extreme emergency maneuver, what am I missing?
  4. I'm interested in the "cheese" job. Where can I apply?
  5. Was this on a ford truck?
  6. I have a simple slogan. "When your car won't go, call Joe!" One of my previous employers was part of those types of groups and many knew him for his slogan "When your car is dead, Call Fred!" Many people get a kick out of stuff like that. The slogan can lead them to ask questions.
  7. Another thing to consider is ATF. I have used Amilie and Wolf's Head brand universal synthetic ATF and the pricing at my local Cold Air Distributors is pretty good. Its about $46 for a case of 12qts and if you look at their website they are compatible with almost everything except CVT and even then I think they have a fluid for that. I have never had a problem with them whenther its a toyota, honda, chevy or whatever. They work in european transmissions as well. I will try to link the compatibility list. Call them up and ask for their local distributors list and try to get the best pricing. BTW I am not endorsing or selling these products, i am simply a one man operation who doesn't want to keep too many variations of fluids taking up space in my two bay facility as well as getting quality stuff for reasonable prices. http://www.amalie.com/Universal-Synthetic-Automatic-Transmission-Fluids/Universal-Synthetic-Automatic-Transmission-Fluid/products/files//6158B98821D3/AmalieUniSynATF_3.10.14.pdf
  8. I feel that I can contribute a little to this. I was also in search of bulk oil pricing and something with decent quality. There are two other vendors to consider: Mighty which can supply the 6 gallon boxes and I believe the cost boiled down to about $2 a quart and the benefit is a nice display rack and several flavors to satisfy most vehicles. I don"t remember the manufacturer they use but I think it was something decent. The second vendor (the one that I switched to) is Safety Kleen. I never realized they carried fluids because they are known for oil disposal and parts washer maintenance. One day out of the blue I received a call from a sales lady in Texas and they carry their own line of oil and they are certified and Dexos aproved, bla bla bla. They are ultra competitive and they sell either drums or 5 quart jugs or cases of quarts. She said they will beat my current vendor rates however their standard pricing was already low. I attached the email she sent me with the current pricing. I have been using this oil and has worked great so far. They don't seem to sell regular oil, but synthetic blend as their standard. I purchased multiple cases of 5W20, 5W30, and a couple 10w30 so satisfy most of the vehicle that I get. An example is that I buy the 5qt jugs of 5w20 and the cost is about $1.75 per qt. When I get my european cars like Benz, Porsche etc. my local Walmarts have the Mobil1 0w40 which is manufacturer approved for certain european vehicles and I pay normally $24ish for a 5qt jug. The attachment also has her number if you wish to contact her. I believe they have a guarantee/warranty on the oil as well. oil pricing.docx
  9. Give Lankar a test drive. They seemed to have a solid system but not sure about Mobile features. I remember I was very close to pulling the trigger but went with Mitchell for now.
  10. I gave up a lot of custom fabrication and performance related work. I tell people that i am about "production not fabrication". Another words why would i spend hours or days fabricating something when i could do a couple brake jobs and make the same ammount of money. I send that stuff somewhere else. There are shops that are set up to do that kind of work and be profitable but a general repair facility is typically not. Sometimes people take that kind of work in because they are slow and i suppose its ok to fill the time but at that point it would be better to spend the time marketing to your target audience to drum up better jobs.
  11. I remember a tech telling me a story about their uniform having a problem with a uniform shirt (ie: a button fell off or whatever). The procedure is to tie the shirt in a knot and that tells them to repair the shirt. He did that a couple of times and it still didn't get repaired. Finally he tore the shirt in half and sent it in. Haha.
  12. Yes. You definitely have to shop around. They used to pay, then it was free, then now they wanted to charge.
  13. OK. Not to start another parts markup thread but I would like to look at this from another angle. What percentages do you aim when marking up parts when you look at the part categories? Just an example below: Brakes 70% Struts 30% Shocks 50% Tires 15-30% Maintenance, etc ,etc The reason I ask is because even a standard parts pricing matrix can blow certain items out of reasonable sale price. I am aware that less expensive items can net larger profits, which also makes up for more expensive items but I am trying to see a base line of what parts markup looks like with these categories. Thanks
  14. There are some factors and truth here. I am a great tech but not the fastest. I admit I am OCD about my work. I am constantly torn between wearing multiple hats throughout the day and one of those is actually working on a car to finish work. Many times I address a car for what it came in for but find other issues that need to be addressed and the car takes a couple of days or more to complete and it causes many conflicts in my scheduling. Another factor is lack of motivation after I have been experiencing burnout. I have had three other guys work for me in the past but they never worked out in the long run and I am tired of come backs and babysitting to make sure stuff is done right. When they were working for me and I had big jobs come through, I did really well financially because I could focus on other things to make the business flow. I am setting my standards high and want to have a great technician. This leads to an original question. What does a high level tech expect to get paid from an independent shop? you can structure a pay plan all day long whether it is a flat rate, salary, bonuses, whatever but it won't take long before the tech looks at their paychecks and thinks to them self that they aren't making enough and start looking elsewhere. So what do they need to make to be happy? $500 per week? $800?$1000?1500? I am trying to budget this into a safety net. Also for those who made a killing being a one man army, whats the secret