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Everything posted by DewayneP

  1. Is anyone else having to pay for used oil recycling? The local company that picks up oil for recycling has decided that it needs to charge for a service that used to be free. They now want $.32/quart for waste oil pickup. That is over $70 for 55 gallons. They take this oil and sell it to re-refiners but they said that no-one is buying anymore and they are having to store it in rail cars. According to state law I am not allowed to charge my customers for oil recycling (I'd have to hide the cost in the price of new oil). I'm thinking I will have to get an oil burner so I can dispose of my own used oil. Anyone in other parts of the country having this problem?
  2. DewayneP

    Chosing a Smart Phone

    I have a Droid X from Verizon too. I love it. It does everything I need, plus it's a great phone (great call quality).
  3. DewayneP

    Do You Call Around for Prices?

    I'm only a one-man, very small shop so I comparison shop online. I still buy the vast majority of my parts from one supplier but if there is a large price (or quality) difference I will buy elsewhere. Doing it online saves a lot of time and headache. Considering that inventories are updated in real-time, I also know who has the part in stock. There is one local vendor that isn't online so I don't buy very much from them at all.
  4. I think a lot of people equate "honesty" with price. In other words, they're "honest" so I know I won't get "ripped off". Of course, "ripped off" means pay too much.
  5. True Joe, a "good deal" looker isn't a loyal customer at all. They can be turned into a loyal customer, but don't start out that way. Not only that, but you end up with less than 1/4 the actual cost of the service. The deal has to be for at least half-off and Groupon takes half of the sales price; $29.95 oil change costs the Groupon customer $14.90 or less, you get $7.45 or less. Definitely a loss leader, but as it says "no upfront costs". The costs are all on the back-end.
  6. DewayneP

    Air Bag Light in Disguise

    I don't know for sure, but I thought tampering with an airbag system and not letting the purchaser know IS illegal? That used car dealer set themselves up for a lawsuit if their customer was ever in an accident and the airbags didn't work.
  7. DewayneP

    Nitrogen in tires

    Here's something to chew on: Per Consumer Reports: Consumer Reports wanted to find out if nitrogen is worth the price, so we purchased a Nitrogen Inflation System and checked out how well the inflation held up over a one year period. We evaluated pairs of 31 tire models of H- and V-speed rated, all-season tires used in our tread wear test from 2006. We filled one tire per model with air and the other with nitrogen. The test was quite simple: fill and set the inflation pressure at room temperature to 30 psi (pounds per square inch); set the tire outdoors for one year; and then recheck the inflation pressure at room temperature after a one year period. The tires were filled and deflated three times with nitrogen to purge the air out of the tire cavity. We also used an oxygen analyzer to be sure we had 95-percent nitrogen purity in the tire--the claimed purity limit of our nitrogen system, which generates nitrogen gas from ambient air. The test started on September 20, 2006 and the final measurements were taken on September 20, 2007. The results show nitrogen does reduce pressure loss over time, but the reduction is only a 1.3 psi difference from air-filled tires. The average loss of air-filled tires was just 3.5 psi from the initial 30 pressure setting. Nitrogen-filled tires lost an average of 2.2 psi from the initial 30 psi setting. More important, all tires lost air pressure regardless of the inflation medium, so consumers should check their tires' air pressure routinely. No evaluation was done to assess the aging claim. In other words, check your tire pressure! Don't fall back on a false sense of security because you had your tires filled with nitrogen. I see lawsuites in the near future claiming that the driver didn't feel as though he had to check his tire pressure because nitrogen doesn't leak out from the tire.
  8. DewayneP

    Any JETS Fans Out There?

    Until the Jets figure out that they need a decent QB they won't get any further than they have. Of course, I say this AFTER watching them lose to the Steelers. I am a great Monday morning QB.
  9. DewayneP

    New TPMS Solution

    It looks promising, but the website is horrible. There is also the Redi-Sensor by VDO or the universal one by Schrader. The VDO sensor, from what I've seen doesn't need ANY specific hardware. All you do is install the sensor and use your standard TPMS tool to set it for the vehicle. To be honest, they all look promising. I have yet to be able to find out where to purchase them.
  10. DewayneP

    What do you think? Need advice from Guru's

    Hmm, yeah the SBA isn't great, but my experience with SCORE wasn't much better. They did look at my business plan and made some comments about it but basically told me good luck. Not in a bad way, just good luck. They did give me 2 bits of good advise: Never give away your services, barter is OK but don't do anything for free!!! (diagnostics comes to mind). Also, be sure to pay yourself first. Never buy something for the business without taking your pay out first. You can't survive if you don't get paid.
  11. DewayneP

    Barcode Scanners

    I've never used either of those, but bluetooth isn't very far reaching. It's only good for about 10 feet. You may get further away and still have a connection but 10 feet is about it for a dependable, accurate connection. I would look into a WIFI scanner. Also, make sure you get one that can at least scan the 2D barcodes found on many vehicle registrations (3D would set you up for the future). I know, here in NY, our window registration stickers have both a regular barcode and a 2D barcode. The regular barcode gives you a bunch of useless info along with the License plate number while the 2D barcode will actually give you the VIN. I use a standard barcode scanner to scan the regular barcode on the doorpost but you wouldn't believe the number of vehicles I get in that don't have a barcode there. If I had a 2D scanner I could easily scan the registration. I have also found that it is difficult to scan the barcode vintag on the dashboard. The windshield seems to distort it so it won't scan. I hope I didn't take you off on a tangent...
  12. DewayneP

    What do you think? Need advice from Guru's

    I can't help you too much but I'll try. I would think you would want to start out small first, build clientel and then go big. Since you are starting a business where this is none you may find out why there's no competition, because no-one needs or wants those services. I think you should try to find a place you can lease on a temporary basis, buils up some repair/maintenance clientel. Those clientel will be the ones that will get you through the tough times. You also say you are totally new to this, never been in the "business" before. You need to find a "partner" (but he/she doesn't have to truly be a partner in the business) that can help you with the mundane tasks at hand like what equipment to purchase, how to set up the bays, what inventory to stock and what to purchase as needed. You may want to talk to a local parts store or parts wharehouse rep and see what they have to offer as far as what inventory moves in your area and what doesn't. I'm thinking a rep from Mighty, NAPA, CarQuest, ServiceChamp, etc... You can talk with them without comitting to purchase anything. They can get you going on the repair side of things. As far as equipment goes: A good Rim Clamp tire machine is a must these days as well as a spin balancer that will handle the same size tires/rims that the tire machine will handle. No sense buying a tire machine that'll do 48" tall tires and a spin balancer that won't balance them. I'm not saying go out and buy the biggest and best, buy smart. Think of who your clientel will be and go from there. A workbench and great vise (notice I didn't say good vise, mechanics are hard on vises) is a necessity. A shop press: H frame 20 tons at least. A strut spring compressor (like a brannick or similar, OTC makes a good one). One other piece of equipment you might not think about is a good computer infrastructure. Make sure if you are building that you have cat 5e cable run everywhere, even out in the bays. Also a good wireless network is a good idea. A lot of the newest scan tools offer a technician repair database that is accessed via the internet via a WIFI connection. No wifi, no fast fixes, longer repair times. A good PC that has no moving parts would be ideal for a POS computer. No moving parts means no hard drive to fail. The biggest thing I can think of is this: You don't have to buy the biggest and best of anything. Spend your money wisely. There are $15,000 tire machines that can mount a tire without anyone touching anything and there are $4000 tire machines that will do almost the same job but they are manual. I have been at this only 3 years myself. I wouldn't change much if I had to do it over again. I'm not big, just a one man shop, but I've learned the hard way to not stock too many parts and not to buy equipment at an auction without trying it out first no matter how good of a buy you think it is.
  13. Here's the link to the Texas lawsuit article: Tire lawsuit And here's the article supporting installing new tires on the rear: Always install 2 new tires on rear axle
  14. I read that article too, and several others. They all said to put the tires with the most tread on the rear. The article I read even referenced a lawsuit from a woman's family in Texas that is suing because thew tire place should have known to put the new tires on the rear.
  15. That's a good point. Different areas of the country will have different reasons for junking a vehicle or buying another one. Up here in the rust belt, it's usually rust that kills them. Down in the deep south the rubber components and interiors tend to go first, while out on the west cost you fight with the interiors and paint. Whenever I go down to Florida I notice that people tend to hold on to their vehicles more than they do up here. Ours rot out around 200,000 miles or 10-15 years whereas a southern vehicle you keep until you simple grow tired of it. This is why broad Federal regulations may have some unintended consequences when enforced from region to region.
  16. DewayneP

    Late Night Shift?

    Me Too. I'm a one man show show I do whatever I can to keep the cars coming in. I am actually ONLY open after 5:00pm. Some people say it is convenient, some not so much.
  17. The big thing I hear is "the dealer said the warranty would still be in effect if I follow the monitor". How much of a fight will there be with the dealer when the engine is shot at 50,000 miles because they were doing oil changes every 12,000 miles? There is no way to tell what the monitor was at when the oil was changed, is there? I can see manufacturers using this to deny powertrain warranty claims.
  18. I have to admit, I fell into the Free diagnostics pit last week. I had a new customer stop by (by referal, I don't advertise at all). Customer shows up with a vehicle that passed the safety portion of the inspection but failed the emissions portion. For those of you outside NY, the emissions inspection is just a visual check for tampering of emissions components and a simple check of the onboard monitors. If more than 2 monitors (on newer vehicles it's only one) are not completed the emissions test fails (this is done through a NYS computer system, so it can't be fudged). He stops at the shop and tells me about a month ago he had the ses light on, took it to Autozone and they said the oxygen sensor on Bank 1 Sensor 2 was bad. He replaced the oxygen sensor but doesn't drive the truck much so the monitors didn't have a chance to run (O2 heater circuit). He does my patented loop around the block that I have used several times as a drive cycle to get the monitors to set so I can do the inspection. He comes back and I hook up my scanner to see if the monitors have been set. Nope. I tell him, drive it around the next day and bring it back and we'll get it inspected. He comes by the next night and the ses light is on. Tells me it went on when he pulled in his driveway last night. I check the codes: O2 heater circuit bank 1 sensor 2. I say "are you sure you changed the right sensor". "Yep, I changed the one Autozone told me to". OK, slide under the truck, follow the exhaust back from bank 1 (this truck has 2 cats right next to each other). I see the new sensor..... It's not bank 1 it's bank 2!! He says "I'll just put the old sensor from bank 2 in bank 1". Comes back the next day. Couldn't swap the sensors, different connectors. Bought ANOTHER new o2 sensor. "Can you check it now?". I plug in my scanner and low and behold..... Pending code for o2 heater circuit bank1 s2, monitors still not set. I tell him he's got a wiring problem and he needs to do some research online (actually told him to buy a 1 year subscription to Alldata) to see what wires control the heater circuit on that sensor. By this time I'm realizing what an idiot I am for offering to check it before putting it on the NYS computer. At least if I put it on the NYS computer I can charge $11. He goes home, comes back the next day. I ask "did you 'shoot the wires and find the problem?". "Nope, took the new o2 sensor out and took it back to Autozone and got another new one". Great, I know it's not going to pass and now I'm a little ticked off that he didn't listen to me. He says "my buddies at work didn't have a clue. They know it's not the wiring." I send him on his way again, and tell him he needs to 'shoot the wires to make sure the heater is getting voltage. He hasn't returned yet, it's been 2 days. I'm guessing he's 'shooting the wires or is having someone else do it. I would bet, if he had asked me to diagnose the ses light in the first place he would have paid maybe $100 and been done in a day. He's now going on over a month because he doesn't see the value in paying someone to diagnose the problem instead of selling parts. I guess the real winner in this story is Autozone. They sold 2 oxygen sensors that were unnecessary. I think I'm the big loser in this, but it has taught me a valuable lesson: You must (I must), as a shop owner, understand that a diagnostic fee is necessary and can actually save a customer time and money in the long run.
  19. DewayneP

    Alternative to Lead Wheel Weights?

    I agree, the 3M is expensive per ounce, but then it is only 2 part numbers to stock. I don't sell a large quantity of tires or balancing. Heck, you might even ask me why I do it. I am considering the 3M system (or Bada, they have a similar roll weight system) simply because I won't have hundreds of dollars tied up in clip-on weights I won't use. Also, in a small shop the space is at a premium. Anyone have any further insight? Anyone using steel or zinc weights yet?
  20. DewayneP

    Alternative to Lead Wheel Weights?

    Here's the NY law: Section 1. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a 2 new section 37-0113 to read as follows: 3 S 37-0113. LEAD WHEEL WEIGHT; PROHIBITED. 4 1. ON AND AFTER APRIL FIRST, TWO THOUSAND ELEVEN ANY PERSON REPLACING 5 OR BALANCING A TIRE ON A MOTOR VEHICLE REQUIRED TO BE REGISTERED UNDER 6 ARTICLE FOURTEEN OF TITLE FOUR OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW, SHALL NOT 7 USE A WHEEL WEIGHT OR OTHER PRODUCT FOR BALANCING MOTOR VEHICLE WHEELS 8 IF THE WEIGHT OR OTHER BALANCING PRODUCT CONTAINS MORE THAN 0.1 PERCENT 9 LEAD BY WEIGHT. 10 2. ON AND AFTER APRIL FIRST, TWO THOUSAND ELEVEN, A PERSON SHALL NOT 11 SELL OR OFFER TO SELL OR DISTRIBUTE WEIGHTS OR OTHER PRODUCTS FOR 12 BALANCING MOTOR VEHICLE WHEELS IF THE WEIGHT OR OTHER BALANCING PRODUCT 13 CONTAINS MORE THAN 0.1 PERCENT LEAD BY WEIGHT. 14 3. ON AND AFTER APRIL FIRST, TWO THOUSAND TWELVE, A PERSON MAY NOT 15 SELL A NEW MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS EQUIPPED WITH A WEIGHT OR OTHER PRODUCT 16 FOR BALANCING MOTOR VEHICLE WHEELS IF THE WEIGHT OR OTHER BALANCING 17 PRODUCT CONTAINS MORE THAN 0.1 PERCENT LEAD BY WEIGHT. EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14006-04-0 A. 8687--B 2 1 4. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE 2 FOLLOWING MEANINGS: 3 A. "NEW MOTOR VEHICLE" MEANS A MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS REQUIRED TO BE 4 REGISTERED UNDER ARTICLE FOURTEEN OF TITLE FOUR OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAF- 5 FIC LAW THAT HAS NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY SOLD TO ANY PERSON EXCEPT A 6 DISTRIBUTOR, WHOLESALER OR MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER FOR RESALE. 7 B. "PERSON" MEANS ANY INDIVIDUAL, FIRM, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, 8 CORPORATION, ORGANIZATION, OR JOINT VENTURE. 9 S 2. This act shall take effect immediately. I don't have a problem usin steel weights, or whatever they want. It's just a pain to switch. Bada has a full ine of clip-on weights as well as stick on. I have a problem with the statistics they are using. I, personally have never lost a wheel weight on any of my vehicles. I put over 40,000 miles a year on my 2 vehicles as well as friends and family and customers. We have all never lost a wheel weight. I'm not sure why they think we lose millions of pounds of weights every year and automatically that equates to millions of pounds of lead in our ecosystem. As far as I know, lead doesn't melt in rainwater. Like I said, I will use steel, no problem, as long as I can balance the wheel.
  21. DewayneP

    Alternative to Lead Wheel Weights?

    Our state, NY, isn't considering the ban, it has enacted the ban. We will be unable to sell or install lead wheel weights as of April 1,2011. I am seriously looking at the 3M stick on roll wheel weights. That way I only have 2 numbers to stock and I have any weight I need at my fingertips. I'm curious to know if anyone else is using the 3M system. It is expensive from the start, but I think it would be cheeper than stocking all of the weights in different clips.
  22. HMMM, so TTM what you are saying is Bush was a failure for doing the same things as Obama but Obama is a saint? I don't get it. If Bush was so terrible there should be the same, or more, hatred for Obama's policys. Bush was one of the most liberal conservatives there ever was. There were only a few things he was conservative about: Abortion, Guns and the Military. With Obama we don't even have that.
  23. DewayneP

    matrix help

    I can't offer help on the matrix, but I can offer some advise. Find your local lubricant dealer and buy in bulk. When I say bulk I don't mean 500 gallons at a time. I'm working with a local dealer that has lubricants (oil, ATF, Antifreeze, grease, gear oil, etc...) available in Quarts, gallons, 5 gallon buckets, 16 gallon drums, 30 gallon drums, 55 gallon drums and bulk (they fill your tank). I have found them to be the best way to get a fair price on items like oil, ATF, etc... I, like you, was purchasing oils from NAPA but they don't give any discount on that stuff. I paid $6.79/quart for Dexron VI and couldn't bring myself to charge the customer more than $7.25/quart. I thought that was enough to pay. Anyway, for the oils and lubricants buy in bulk and you will be able to use your matrix and be competitive without having to manually adjust prices. For example, I pay under $4 a quart for Dexron VI in quart bottles by purchasing from the lubricants dealer. If I bought it in a 5 gallon bucket the price would drop and so on. Good luck.
  24. DewayneP

    00 silverado 4x4 p/s issue

    Wow, I guess you could say that's a new one for all of us...