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#9 of 576 is there really
Feb 06, 2007 (11:27 pm)
anything else that the backyard mechanic can do, apart from changing the fluids and brake pads? Shade tree mechanics are rapidly becoming a thing of the past with the tech that is increasingly commonplace in today's cars.
I think at the very least anything that relates to a state standard (thinking of smog checks here) should be available to indies right from the get-go. What if, as someone else said, you live 100 miles or more from a dealer and there is a problem in the emissions system?
I mean, these automakers are not selling products in a vacuum, they are closely regulated and required to pass inspections in most states every couple of years.
#10 of 576 Re: is there really [nippononly]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Feb 07, 2007 (9:35 am)
I would like to see some way to present error codes to owners in easily readable form (through the NAV screen or dashboard?) and a way for owners to run at least diagnostic software so that they know what the engine light is really telling them (stop now or wait or blow it off or ???). Also, just like Microsoft sends you patches, maybe some day you will be able to correct certain driveability faults in the same manner with your car.
As for independent shops---I think IF the tools required to fix the car become punishingly expensive, there might be cause for legal action or a regulatory process, e.g., if Dell Computers forced all independent repair shops to buy a $100,000 diagnostic tool, that would just about force all Dell owners to buy new computers rather than fix their old ones....
Uh-oh, have I just unlocked a new conspiracy?
#11 of 576 It just seems
Feb 07, 2007 (12:03 pm)
That once the manufacturer has sold the product we should not be "forced" to use the dealer mechanics over and independent mechanic. I know that from a personal perspective living in a small community it is much easier to develop a trusting relationship with a neighborhood mechanic than it is with an impersonal dealer mechanic where you do not know from one week to the next who might be working on your car.
There also seems to be a cost difference to the consumer. The dealer mechanics did not invest in the R and D so why should they reap the rewards the manufacture may be entitled to rather than the independent mechanic. Like I mentioned earlier in our state you can not be forced to have scheduled services done at the dealer. You only need a proof that the service was performed at the proper times. There was a time when we had to go to state certified smog control stations and that proved to be a pain in the back. At least today independent mechanics can be certified to smog our cars for us.
#12 of 576 Dealer Service
Feb 07, 2007 (2:18 pm)
My last car was an Audi with "free" maintenance (aka I paid for it in advance) so I used the dealer for oil changes etc. My new car is a VW. I will go there for warranty work, but otherwise I will use my own mechanic. If the time comes that auto dealers have a monopoly on repair work, I think I will take the bus.
#13 of 576 Re: is there really [Mr_Shiftright]
Feb 07, 2007 (3:42 pm)
Our newest rovers do have a three level check engine light.
Amber means minor fault keep driving. The computer might make the necessary adjustments and fix the fault on its own.
Amber Blinking means moderate fault: Call the dealer and set up appointment.
RED Means severe fault: Stop driving right away call road side assistance.
I would like it if you could get a more complete listing of the faults on the NAV screen. There is a diagnostic mode that can be accessed on the NAV screen by pressing invisible buttons on certain menu pages. The techs use it and anyone else could too but most people don't know it is there.
#14 of 576 Re: is there really [Mr_Shiftright]
Feb 07, 2007 (10:09 pm)
"I would like to see some way to present error codes to owners in easily readable form (through the NAV screen or dashboard?) and a way for owners to run at least diagnostic software so that they know what the engine light is really telling them (stop now or wait or blow it off or ???)."
Oh absolutely, they should have had something like this for a long time now, AT LEAST since the advent of OBDII in '96. I have always suspected that the reason they don't is (a) to make dealerships more money in their service bays, and (b) because they (the EPA etc) are afraid that if we drivers actually know what the fault is, we will ignore it in most instances (because with that knowledge we will worry about it less) which might lead to more cars being out of smog compliance.
Giving the consumer more information is a BAD thing!
I don't see a problem with automakers being forced to reveal technical information on their vehicles as long as indies have to pay licensing fees to get it. The problem here of course is similar to the old Napster - once the info is out, it will start being spread around and the licensing fees will stop coming in.
#15 of 576 Re: is there really [nippononly]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Feb 08, 2007 (9:24 am)
Of course consumers have to know what to DO with this information. These days, even some "mechanics" don't know what to do with it. Codes are often mis-interpreted, and in fact most diagnostic codes don't really identify the faulty component, only the system/circuit that is affected.
I think we are still a ways off with diagnostic tools that pinpoint the exact component failure.
So, telling the driver that his 0s sensor is unhappy doesn't really tell him a whole lot. He could replace the 02 sensor and solve nothing.
Still, anything is better than a single stupid "check engine" light. It's especially infuriating on cars that require a re-set from the dealer or mechanic even for MINOR faults, like loose gas caps.
#16 of 576 Re: is there really [Mr_Shiftright]
Feb 09, 2007 (12:43 pm)
Here the code readers are available to parts stores as well as independents. Getting to know your Autozone tech can save you 50 bucks the dealer charges to reset the loose gas cap code. At least I got that help when I forgot to plug in a sensor while changing plugs on my PT in Texas. The local Autozone guy had sold me the plugs and wires and laughed when i told him what had happened. He asked me go back into the store for some free coffee and when I came back, the code was gone. Cost to fix, a cup of coffee.
#17 of 576 Re: is there really [boaz47]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Feb 09, 2007 (1:31 pm)
Yep those code readers are okay but they don't pick up all the codes. But some of them are good for shutting off the light.
I'd like to see a Voice Command for new cars: "Engine light OFF!"
#18 of 576 Open Architecture should be a consumer right!
Mar 05, 2007 (4:10 pm)
Closed architecture leads to loss of market share, as has been proved over and over in the computer world. In the case of motor vehicles, could I dare say we have a "right" to information that will make it possible for the consumer (or the mechanic he/she might contract) to repair them. Surely consumer protection should extend this far: