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Old 03-16-2012, 02:51 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 20,273,424 times
Reputation: 6774

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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveorangecounty View Post
Carolina woman, check your gas cap. My check engine light came on and that was the first thing to rule out. The rubber seal/gasket wears out and the light will come on. One time it was the source of the light coming on, the next time I wasn't as lucky and there was a crack in my gas tank which was a manufacturer defect.
I was in a Ford dealer dropping off my truck to get some warranty work done, when a woman drove into the service bay. She yelled out that her CEL was on. The service writer told her to shut off the truck, which she did. He walked over, put the gas cap on, and closed the fuel door. He then told the woman to start the truck. After a minute or so the CEL went off. The woman waved and drove away.

What can we take from this experience?

1. Gas caps issues can cause CELs.

2. Not all service writers are the boogeyman.

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Old 03-16-2012, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Indian Trail
539 posts, read 1,310,959 times
Reputation: 266
Autozone will check any vehicle diagnostic light that comes on for free. They plug in and will print out all codes for you no obligation. Then it is simple to google the code # and find out what is going on. It is better to know upfront what is going on if you do have to bring it in for repair.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:25 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,004,073 times
Reputation: 22370
Quote:
Originally Posted by loveorangecounty View Post
Carolina woman, check your gas cap. My check engine light came on and that was the first thing to rule out. The rubber seal/gasket wears out and the light will come on. One time it was the source of the light coming on, the next time I wasn't as lucky and there was a crack in my gas tank which was a manufacturer defect.
Same type of situation for me with the engine light. I was told - check the gas cap. When that didn't work, we kept digging and I had a leak in my gas tank. Thank goodness my car was still under warranty, as they replaced it, no charge.

What we have found is - any time a warning light comes on, we can take our car to Auto Zone, where they will run a diagnostic test (hook it up to a computer) and tell you what the code is for the defect or problem that is causing the light to come on.

ETA: Car421 - see you posted the Auto Zone info, lol. Did not mean to be redundant. :-)
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:31 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,004,073 times
Reputation: 22370
I stick close to dealerships while my car is under warranty. And I will still use the service at a dealership after the warranty has expired - periodically. For one thing, as Mikey said . . . they have service records. And the other thing is - recalls. We have had 4 recalled items on cars over the years and with one exception, we found out about them at the dealership.
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:57 AM
 
Location: What use to be the South
441 posts, read 1,283,748 times
Reputation: 485
Yes, most mechanics are on commission. As someone stated earlier this can work in both ways. If a job is listed to take 4 hours and it takes 2, then the mechanic basically earns a bonus but if the same job takes him 6 hours, then he works 2 hours for free. Specialty tools can be a huge factor in completing jobs in quicker time, but the cost of professional tools and specialty equipment would boggle the mind of most. However a mechanic will invest in a tool to help speed things up so he can try to make more money in the long run.
Free diagnosis is a thing of the past. Cars are far too complicated to be check for free. It would be nice if loose gas caps were the root of all check engine lamps, but in reality, the check engine lamp can cover many different things. Primarily the light is telling you that there is an issue with the fuel management and emissions system. Plugging in and getting a code only puts you in a direction to look. From that point it takes a well trained technician to find the exact cause of the light. Some of the issues can be very hard to recreate or pinpoint. Especially if it is intermittent. In these cases, and in many with repairs, in any industry, 95% of the work performed is diagnostic, and actual parts replacement is 10%. I doubt any of you would consider doing a job, that you only got paid for 10% for what you actually did.
Keep in mind that most cars today carry multiple computers, and have far more computing power than the spacecraft we sent to the moon.
As for add on work, well this is where you just have to deal with a trusted and honest shop or individual. Cars have thousands of parts that are moving, rubbing, and wearing every time you get in them. Some you can see and hear and many you cannot. If everyone crawled under there car on a weekly bassis we would have more of an idea of what may be wearing out, but fact of the matter is that we don't. A good mechanic will look a car over when it is in his care, and inform the customer of current and future repairs in need. Things like tire wear, brake wear, shock and suspension issues. This is where the trust issue has to come into play. A good tech will gladly show you the problem or take the time to explain it in laymens terms.
Truth is, 95-99% of most people will only visit a repair facility when they absolutely have too. Most people neglect their vehicles for the most part. Having your car looked over every time the oil is changed is a good idea. Pull out the owners manual and make yourself familiar with the recommended service intervals. Maybe everything that is recommended is not needed, but a good tech will help you with what is and what isn't.
Dealers are good places to go. They specialize in certain models. They are specialy trained and equipped for certain models. They carry a large parts inventory and they perform warranty work for the manufacture. However, they are no better than a well trained and well equipped independent shop. In fact, I feel that an independent will put more into your diagnosis due to the fact, he doesn't have that large invitory and he will have to pay for special order parts, whether it fixes the issue or not. Not to mention, he has more of an interest in your satisfaction and return business.
I'm not a fan of the corner oil change and tune up places at all. These places hire very, very inexperienced individuals. These are the places that push the unneeded add ons. I have seen serious damage done to cars by these places. This applies to many dealers too. They hire kids off the street to do basic services. I have seen a case where an engine had to be replaced because the kid at the dealer changing oil, started the car with no oil, and then added oil afterwards, but it was too late. The damage was done and the customer had no idea. Cost was over $5000.
Sorry to go on and on, but I have a vested interest in the issue, and it always hits home when people assume all mechanics are out to get ya.
Like I've said before. Find someone you trust, that has a good reputation, and stick with them. Dealer or independent, it doesn't matter. Just stay away from huge chains offering ridiculous discounts. It's just a draw to get you in!!
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:29 AM
 
8,402 posts, read 20,273,424 times
Reputation: 6774
Quote:
Originally Posted by racewire20 View Post
Yes, most mechanics are on commission. As someone stated earlier this can work in both ways. If a job is listed to take 4 hours and it takes 2, then the mechanic basically earns a bonus but if the same job takes him 6 hours, then he works 2 hours for free. Specialty tools can be a huge factor in completing jobs in quicker time, but the cost of professional tools and specialty equipment would boggle the mind of most. However a mechanic will invest in a tool to help speed things up so he can try to make more money in the long run.
Free diagnosis is a thing of the past. Cars are far too complicated to be check for free. It would be nice if loose gas caps were the root of all check engine lamps, but in reality, the check engine lamp can cover many different things. Primarily the light is telling you that there is an issue with the fuel management and emissions system. Plugging in and getting a code only puts you in a direction to look. From that point it takes a well trained technician to find the exact cause of the light. Some of the issues can be very hard to recreate or pinpoint. Especially if it is intermittent. In these cases, and in many with repairs, in any industry, 95% of the work performed is diagnostic, and actual parts replacement is 10%. I doubt any of you would consider doing a job, that you only got paid for 10% for what you actually did.
Keep in mind that most cars today carry multiple computers, and have far more computing power than the spacecraft we sent to the moon.
As for add on work, well this is where you just have to deal with a trusted and honest shop or individual. Cars have thousands of parts that are moving, rubbing, and wearing every time you get in them. Some you can see and hear and many you cannot. If everyone crawled under there car on a weekly bassis we would have more of an idea of what may be wearing out, but fact of the matter is that we don't. A good mechanic will look a car over when it is in his care, and inform the customer of current and future repairs in need. Things like tire wear, brake wear, shock and suspension issues. This is where the trust issue has to come into play. A good tech will gladly show you the problem or take the time to explain it in laymens terms.
Truth is, 95-99% of most people will only visit a repair facility when they absolutely have too. Most people neglect their vehicles for the most part. Having your car looked over every time the oil is changed is a good idea. Pull out the owners manual and make yourself familiar with the recommended service intervals. Maybe everything that is recommended is not needed, but a good tech will help you with what is and what isn't.
Dealers are good places to go. They specialize in certain models. They are specialy trained and equipped for certain models. They carry a large parts inventory and they perform warranty work for the manufacture. However, they are no better than a well trained and well equipped independent shop. In fact, I feel that an independent will put more into your diagnosis due to the fact, he doesn't have that large invitory and he will have to pay for special order parts, whether it fixes the issue or not. Not to mention, he has more of an interest in your satisfaction and return business.
I'm not a fan of the corner oil change and tune up places at all. These places hire very, very inexperienced individuals. These are the places that push the unneeded add ons. I have seen serious damage done to cars by these places. This applies to many dealers too. They hire kids off the street to do basic services. I have seen a case where an engine had to be replaced because the kid at the dealer changing oil, started the car with no oil, and then added oil afterwards, but it was too late. The damage was done and the customer had no idea. Cost was over $5000.
Sorry to go on and on, but I have a vested interest in the issue, and it always hits home when people assume all mechanics are out to get ya.
Like I've said before. Find someone you trust, that has a good reputation, and stick with them. Dealer or independent, it doesn't matter. Just stay away from huge chains offering ridiculous discounts. It's just a draw to get you in!!
Excellent post!
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:47 AM
 
820 posts, read 1,528,694 times
Reputation: 617
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolinaWoman View Post
Thanks for this info ... I will check the gas cap and see. It only has 38k miles on it. and she get's her trip to the Jiffy Lube faithfully every 3000 miles ... so I just ignore the "Check Engine" light.
From personal experience, I would avoid Jiffy Lube and take the vehicle to a dealer or someplace that won't rip you off. I was out of town for an extended period. My car needed an oil change. They wanted to sell me wiper blades (which I had personally changed a month before). The car, which normally got a $20.00 oil change at the dealer cost me $35 because I had to have a "special" oil filter. I paid and told the manager that's the last time they or a company store would see me because I did most of my own work (shade tree mechanic, as it were) and the vehicle did NOT require a special filter because any GM dealer had the filter and did not charge extra. Note - I have had bad experiences with Firestone dealers in the area. At one store, Matthews, where the service writer said I needed new struts ($900 special price). I knew better. I was there for tires, only. To validate my diagnosis, I took my car to the dealer and asked the service writer to check struts. Checked. No problems. No charge. Always try to get a second opinion if possible.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:55 AM
 
24 posts, read 29,079 times
Reputation: 14
In my opinion, it is not a question of better training, more experience, etc. The dealership should pay these technicians a good SALARY for the work they perform. If these techs are so good, well trained, etc, then their pay should reflect that.
Them pushing unnecessary products or items on the consumer should not increase their salary. The WORK they do to fix the problem should be their salary.
I am sure there are good, trustworthy mechanics out their at these dealerships. But, like most of us, they would like to make more $. If they know they can push an extra part or item to make a few extra bucks for that summer vacation they are wanting......I am sure they will!
Just my opinion:
"Want" type items/services -(sales) Commission based
"Need" type items/services - Salary based
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,041 posts, read 13,103,299 times
Reputation: 2323
I recently found that a dealership that I had been loyal to for many years not only ripped me off, but, endangered my safety. The bad part about it is that I had similar issues with that dealership before and reported them to the manufacturer. The reason that I went back there was because my son worked for the manufacturer and we had a substantial discount for buying things there. However, as my son no longer works for them...we won't be back.

I had purchased my vehicle & the extended warranty from that dealership. As I work many hours & also go to school, I usually had to send my son to the dealership for me to get repairs completed. Several years ago, they replaced my front brakes and also replaced some motor mounts which were a recall item. Shortly thereafter, I noticed a rattle coming from the front end of the car. It was not constant and it was not a huge bother. However, sent my poor son back with this problem which was declared to be a "loose mud flap". It was "fixed" and so I ignored the noise when it came back again. In the meantime, I had the tires replaced and rotated consistently from a tire place and the oil changed from another oil change place. Since nobody mentioned any gaping irregularities from the front end of my car, I just continued ignoring the issue. Meanwhile, my son lost his job with the manufacturer, so, now a visit back to that dealership would be at full price, so, that added to my procrastination in getting the rattle fixed. Again, it was not constant, but, just at different times...

Forward to last weekend. The rattle had now been joined by a thumping so I knew that it was time for new brakes. Took the car to Mieneke for the brakes and I also told them to check out the rattle. Turns out, when the dealership replaced the brakes, they "forgot" to put in the second piece on the front end...so, I have been basically driving around with 1/2 of the needed brake parts! Also, they failed to properly tighten down the motor mounts, so, that was what was rattling. I also needed rear brakes, which Mieneke replaced.

Thankfully, there was no injury nor major disaster following this experience with that dealership. I can only assume that they were thinking that they could garner additional funds by doing the work 1/2 way and that I would trot back there for them to fix the "new" problem. Yes, I am a woman, but, I am one that grew up around cars and hung around the garage with my grandfather and father working on them for years. Now, cars these days are far more complicated than the ones from the 60's, but, I still have a decent foundation. I never believed the "loose mudflap" diagnosis, but, without a lot of time & money, simply did not pursue it. I did tell my son at the time that if anything ever happened to this vehicle, he should find that invoice and sue the heck out of the dealership because I was certain that this was not the whole story.

Things to be learned: Never trust a dealership for car repairs. I used to work at one as the title clerk. I used to see the invoices and knew the mechanics. Believe me, it is rare to find an honest one.

Be on top of your car repairs. Admittedly, I was not and I should have trusted my gut and somehow figured out a way to get these issues correctly repaired. I am very thankful that there was no injury nor permanent damage done to my car or myself.

Get multiple opinions on big-ticket items. It never hurts to compare.

If you can do it yourself...do so!! That way, you know your mechanic isn't ripping you off!!
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:27 AM
 
8,402 posts, read 20,273,424 times
Reputation: 6774
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeiswonderful View Post
In my opinion, it is not a question of better training, more experience, etc. The dealership should pay these technicians a good SALARY for the work they perform. If these techs are so good, well trained, etc, then their pay should reflect that.
Them pushing unnecessary products or items on the consumer should not increase their salary. The WORK they do to fix the problem should be their salary.
I am sure there are good, trustworthy mechanics out their at these dealerships. But, like most of us, they would like to make more $. If they know they can push an extra part or item to make a few extra bucks for that summer vacation they are wanting......I am sure they will!
Just my opinion:
"Want" type items/services -(sales) Commission based
"Need" type items/services - Salary based
The problem with that is twofold. When on salary some people will do the least amount of work possible to maintain employment.

The second point is that being on commission drives (some) people to work harder/smarter/faster to maximize their income, or if they don't, they aren't costing their employer unwarranted money. I was in commission sales for years and learned how to make the most of my time. But before that I was a mobile electronics installer. I was the first guy to volunteer for off site work, such as going to a Ford or Honda dealer to install a basic stereo system and antenna. There were days when I made $800-$1000. Long, often hot days, but that's a ton of money for a 20-something. I was getting paid (my share of) an hour of work, but they were simple cars, and I quickly streamlined the process until I could do one car in less than 15 minutes, perfectly. Every one involved comes out to the good in a situation like that.
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