Last post on Dec 02, 2013 at 3:15 PM
You are in the Maintenance & Repair
What is this discussion about?
Auto Repair, Hatchback, Truck, Sedan
This topic is primarily for professional mechanics, current or retired, or ardent amateurs who would like to share the suprises, victories, tricks and challenges of working on the modern automobile. All Forums members are invited, of course, to ask technicians about their work, or comment on your own experiences dealing with mechanics.
If you have a maintenance or repair question about your vehicle, please use search to find one of our Maintenance and Repair discussions, or ask a question in Edmunds Answers.
#2437 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [Mr_Shiftright]
Apr 25, 2013 (9:35 am)
t depends on where you live whether it makes sense or not. If, in an extreme case, you lived in Los Angeles, and voted against smog tests, you'd be voting against your own best interests.
I agree completely. Places like Los Angeles are naturally "dirty" simply because of the topography and confluence of air and ocean currents. You could wipe out humanity completely, and the air quality would still be bad there just from nature's build-ups. So, in a case like LA, it makes sense to do as much as you can to prevent adding more pollution.
I don't think it was horses or zebras. I think it was heifers!
#2438 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [Mr_Shiftright]
Apr 25, 2013 (1:07 pm)
" WHAT DID YOU DO TO IT?"
The thing we heard most often was..." It never did that before you guys worked on it"
#2439 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [isellhondas]
Apr 26, 2013 (4:50 am)
The line techs hear the most often is " I never noticed it before...blah...blah...blah" That can be a very accurate statement, simply because it doesn't say that the problem was or wasn't there, it means the owner/driver never paid any attention to the car before something got their attention and had to be repaired. Now they are on the lookout for troubles and of course notice something.
As far as the accusation of "What did you do to it" that's one of the worst things that can happen and its based on flawed stereotypes, or simple ignorance of cars. Either way, the first goal is to take care of the customers concern and attempt to get them to understand exactly what the problem is and if or how it could or could not be related to whatever was done previously.
If it was related to what we did, apologies are required and the issue is handled at no cost to the customer. If it had nothing to do with anything we would be responsible for its now on the customer to learn about the situation and help us deal with it for them, or take the car elsewhere and have the problem solved.
If they go to the point where they accuse us of having done it deliberately "to try and make more money" then many times we fix the issue no-charge just to try and make them happy. But its a one way street. Anyone can do that and rip us off at any time and that's unfortunately part of the risk that we have to bare. But they never get a second chance to do that because if they don't trust us, we cannot trust them. As I tech I can't work to the standards that I strive to while I'm looking over my shoulder wondering what some victim is going to accuse us of, I need to be concentrating on the car that is in front of me.
Common sense would have people realize we don't go around breaking things to make more money. All to often when a car leaves and it isn't perfect, the shop ends up fixing the stuff for free when the car comes back. Shops don't make money when something comes back, they lose money. Why would anyone break something, to get to turn around and pay to fix it?
I had a girl call the shop a couple of months ago. She claimed there was damage to the front bumper on her car and that I had done it. In the middle of the call her husband walked in and overheard her stressing about her car. Meanwhile I was already giving her contacts to have the car looked at. We don't have a parking lot so everything sits on the street. At that time, it appeared that the most likely cause was someone had hit it. (It had sat out there for three days after it was repaired and they picked it up after hours) Once he figured out what she was talking about he stopped her and told her that damage had been there for months and it happened at the mall.
All I heard was a click when she hung up. No apology for being accused falsely, and if the husband had not of intervened, I would have been paying to fix a bumper that we didn't damage.
#2440 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [thecardoc3]
Apr 26, 2013 (6:20 am)
On the other hand,
I had my leSabre repaired at a local shop where I really liked the way the main mechanic works. I found the door had been scratched with 2-3 1-inch scratches like someone opened a door against it and the door moved at they got into or out of their car, leaving scratches on the crimson pearl metallic paint.
I never said a word to the mechanic about it. I just assumed it happened with a customer in the parking lot because the spaces are too narrow. However, I do know it happened while the car was in their custody for 2 days.
So not all customers are trying to get an innocent repair location to pay for other damage to their cars.
#2441 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [thecardoc3]
Apr 26, 2013 (6:39 am)
"Common sense would have people realize we don't go around breaking things to make more money"
I think the stereotype is that you say things need to be repaired that don't, or that repairs are said to have been made that aren't. I've never heard of a shop intentionally "breaking things to make more money."
"I would have been paying to fix a bumper that we didn't damage"
You are definitely the rare exception on that one. Not a good business decision IMO. Just a small 3 inch wide crease (no deeper than the period at the end of this sentence) was $599 to repair on my Hona Civic. If you are in the right, stick to your guns.
Most boneheaded thing a tech ever did to one of my cars: Put in an air filter that was actually 1/3 too small for the housing. I couldn't believe it. I heard the filter bouncing around while I was driving. Possible explainations... laziness or incompetence.
#2442 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [jipster]
Apr 26, 2013 (7:18 am)
You are definitely the rare exception on that one. Not a good business decision IMO. Just a small 3 inch wide crease (no deeper than the period at the end of this sentence) was $599 to repair on my Hona Civic. If you are in the right, stick to your guns
No, we are quite average in that regard and there are some who go way beyond what we could ever afford to do. I'll go back to RBs comments. He didn't like me taking the position that I wouldn't just take him on his word and he got a lot of support and everyone wanted to question me over it. While that's just a small sidebar to the issue, shops routinely eat all kinds of stuff to try and keep the customers happy. Techs call it the
1-800-givemesomethingforfree number. Many consumers take advantage of those numbers for all kinds of stuff and the techs are routinely blamed.
As far as fighting it, lets say the customer decides to take us to court if I said no-way to fixing the damage and the husband didn't speak up. I have no proof that the damage didn't occur while the car was under my care. We don't have a leg to stand on. Then we not only get to pay to fix it we have court costs, and lost time, etc, etc.
BTW if something does happen to a car while we have it, we immeadiately make it right.
I'll never forget the one incident. A guy that owned a Buick Lesabre that I had worked on was standing at the service managers desk with the dealership owner. I got called to the desk and the owner immeadiately jumped all over me for smoking on the customers car and burning a hole in the carpeting. Only one minor little detail to the guys story, I don't smoke and can't stand it, never could. Looking back, I was probably losing my job right then and had I been a smoker likely would have. The service manager spoke up and pointed out that little flaw in the guys story and told me to go get back to what I was doing.
#2443 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [thecardoc3]
Apr 26, 2013 (9:25 am)
" I'll go back to RBs comments. He didn't like me taking the position that I wouldn't just take him on his word and he got a lot of support and everyone wanted to question me over it."
Now hold on again, doc.
You have made a few posts about this and not letting it drop, and now with this one, I feel compelled to get cards on the table..so let's do it.
I know I said that this forum might be pretty dead if you weren't here, but I guess I should have also mentioned a caveat. That being, as long as credibility remains intact. You question his, yet when we did press you to back up your ridiculous potential theory of a pothole jarring loose the oil cap, then you went a different direction and decided it best to use the argument that "shops are supposed to check fluid levels even if just in for a tire swap". Yet we know that when RB called them, the reception he got was of incredulity with them saying that he should be calling the shop where he did the oil change last. That confirms their common practice is to not check fluid levels if the car is there for a tire swap. It's either that or RB's original theory was bang on. If it looks like a duck..quacks like a duck..even though I know you would love to grasp at almost any other theory at this point.
And to cover harmomic vibration...of the kind that will loosen a cap, but actually once loose, leave it free floating threading itself anti-clockwise and clockwise within a range coinciding with engine RPM, but because that RPM range is never enough to have it anti-clockwise itself right off, it continues to free-float wearing the threads throughout that range. Sometimes you will see this type anomaly on...for an example...an engine mount bolt through the frame of a bike where the engine is stressed in the frame to assist in frame rigidity. Other places I have seen this is in fact an oil cap...of the threaded type as opposed to the 180¼ twist to lock rad cap type. Except that we know that that wasn't the case as not only would RB have seen that when he stopped to check oil, and even if he was not observant enough, about the only thing that hasn't been contested yet, is that loss of vacuum would not, *not* trigger a CEL *.
You speak often about common sense, yet you drop the ball on that front when it suits you and/or when others use it.
Let's be forthright here among friends ok, doc? Since you are as capable as you have most of us convinced that you are, tell us *every* single possible cause (obviously that you can think of) for the oil cap to not have been in its proper place. No need to use the pothole one..we are all quite familiar with that one. Next? *
I'm not trying to be a prick here. I am merely pressing in a similar fashion that you yourself do to us, so I figure this getting pinned down is fair game. I'm not trying to be mean. I really am curious now, even more than before, what are all the causes for the oil cap to not have been in place?
* Now maybe I have given you one potential clue to start with?
#2444 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [thecardoc3]
Apr 26, 2013 (8:37 am)
"As far as fighting it, lets say the customer decides to take us to court if I said no-way to fixing the damage and the husband didn't speak up. I have no proof that the damage didn't occur while the car was under my care"
Well, the burden of proof would be on the plaintiff to prove that the car was damaged while under your care. The only proof that you could of had would be a walk-around with the customer before accepting the car for repair... marking any dents or scratches.
I had 4 new tires put on one of my vehicles, a decade or so ago, at Firestone. I think it was my Olds Cutlass Supreme, had the snap on hub caps. Lost a hub cap on the way home. In looking at the other hubcaps, they weren't completely seated. I returned to Firestone asking for reimbursement because they had not installed the hub caps properly. The owner said go buy you another one and bring him the receipt. Which is what I did. His body language suggested I may be lieing. I don't recall him apologising for my inconvience. I suppose he thought I was one of those 1-800-givemesomethingforfree people.
#2445 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [gimmestdtranny]
Apr 26, 2013 (8:47 am)
I had a second thought after I had posted that and almost changed it but had to get busy with a customers car so I let it stand.
The point was simply taking a position that wasn't automatically inline with his assumption, wasn't approved of by just about everyone else. It was immeadiately accepted that what he wrote was exactly how it had to be. If you look I never said that it was or wasn';t and still dont. Jipster was questioning why we wouldn't stick to our guns when we are falsely accused. If you stop and read what I wrote there, all RB had to do was dial Tire Kingdoms 1-800 givemefree number and they would have done cartwheels to make his situation right, whether they were at fault or not. My dissatisfaction with him was how quickly and freely he went to looking down his nose at the tech, mistake or no mistake.
I said there were gaps in his story. The non use of that customer satisfaction system being a glaring one as compared to how most of that kind of stuff goes down.
#2446 of 4850 Re: BMW passed emissions today!! [thecardoc3]
Apr 26, 2013 (9:33 am)
When I was with Honda it got to the point that the Service Advisors would do a walkaround of the cars we took in. If there was fresh body damage, we would point it out to the customer.
Quite often they would hear.." Oh, wow...I wonder how that happened?"
Had we not pointed out the damage we would have been blamed for it when the cars were picked up.
As for the oil cap? From my vantage point, I don't think the tire shop did it but the question..." Do you guys check oil levels when a car is in for a tire repair?"
If yes, than they did it! If the answer was.." Now, why would we do that?"
Then it came loose for a different reason.
Cardoc may seem a bit...well...more than a bit defensive buit I've been in his shoes and I remember getting blamed for things my shop never did.
We once did a brake bob on a Pontiac Le Mans. I watched the customer as he
approached his car after paying his bill. He did a slow walkaround and then he crouched down and looked under the car.
He then came looking for the manager in charge...me.
" Ah, my car is leaking something"
So, I had one of the guys put it up on a hoist and it was discovered that the rather substancial leak was coming from the transmission. I told him he needed a reseal job.
Well, it never leaked before..you guys must have done something"
Long story...he when and whined to our Store Manager and I got to reseal his
100,000 mile transmission for nothing. The convertor "o" ring came out in
several rock hard pieces. When he came to pick up his car with a smirk on his
face, I showed him the pieces of o ring.
" Those probably came out of someone else's car"...Yeah...right!
When doing brake jobs, we didn't fully raise the cars in the air. Had we done this my brake guy wold have spotted the leak and one of my advisors would have called the customer and noted it on the work order.
Getting blamed for things got pretty old sometimes..