On any given day I have so many, many phone calls. 10% are telemarketers (which face it they are fun to mess with), 10% are my suppliers, and the other 80% are my customers. My customers call me for one of three reasons, their car needs work, and they don’t have the time or tools to fix it, they don’t know how to, or they simply don’t want to.
With today’s cars being so super techy, you have lights: to tell you have low brakes, the wrong butt is in the seat, air filter should be changed, traction control is off, you even have one to tell you, your trailer is no longer hooked up. You also have a check engine light which is really a misnomer because that light could come on because you forgot to close the gas cap the last time you filled up.
Now you could go to AutoZone, or some places they will read the code sometimes for free, tell you about the most common fixes for any car make and model with that code, and they will promptly sell you whatever parts they can talk you into buying. Here’s why that sales pitch can fail, for example: We had a 2014 Chevy Trax, guy comes in with missing and rough idle in engine (coughing, sputtering, car won’t go). He was able to buy a cheapo scan tool and get the code P0300 for misfire in engine. 9 times out of 10 you get that code it is spark plugs and coils. Parts at the store are roughly $300.00. He put those in, and problem remained. So, he replaced the fuel injectors, at $175.00 a pop and there’s 6 of those. Problem remained.
Then he came to us, we retrieved the codes, seeing as he already did plugs wires and injectors, we verified that they were done right. Then, we used programs to check into if there is known reasons why the car is having a rough idle. Lo and behold that model is known for valve cover air leaks. We tested the system and there it was a nice air leak through the valve cover. We replaced the valve cover and gaskets. We cleared code and road-tested the vehicle, the problem did not return. Our end cost for the repair was $306.38 Today’s cars not like the 80s, or 90s vehicles. Every year they come out with newer features, and those features, integrate with the whole working of the car. Now your cruise control will disable if you have a check engine light on, and traction control may disable if you have ABS codes in the computer. Parts are expensive even if you do your own repairs now. Wouldn’t you want to make sure you are putting only exactly what your car needs?
We don’t sell just parts for a reason, because eventually if you throw enough parts at it, your problem isn’t going to be your car, but your pocketbook. We use our knowledge, scan tools with more than code reading capabilities, programs that gives us specs and fail rates on your specific make and model, and last but in no way least, we have a network of other mechanics that we can bounce ideas from. So yes, we might charge you a diagnostic fee, but that fee covers the cost of the tools and knowledge that we use to repair your vehicle. In the example above he was charged a total of 75.00 in diagnostic fees, and the rest was for the repair. Imagine the money he might have saved by coming to us versus doing it himself once he got out of his realm of experience?
I am not saying that we are the be all, end all, but I do think it is smarter to know what you don’t know and own it. If you don’t know more than you turn the key and go for your vehicle, own it. We can’t help you learn and take care of your vehicle if you won’t first ask for the help. I don’t know how to do brain surgery, that doesn’t mean I am going to go on Google or YouTube and plan on doing my own brain surgery after watching videos or ask the nurse which way to cut before I make an incision.
Auto repair is our full-time job, and because it is our full-time job, we take training courses to stay current on as many makes and models as we can, we are constantly upgrading our equipment. We just recently bought a new AC machine that takes the 1234YF freon. We make use of manuals and repair info on every vehicle that comes into the shop, and we network via in person and social media with other shops and auto techs to make sure that we are fixing your vehicle in the best way possible. We also work with our suppliers to make sure that your warranty which is for the most part 2 year/ 24000 miles is as ironclad as can be, and if you need to use your warranty that it is as painless as possible. When you are looking at a new or used car and asks us for our mechanical opinion, we actually have one. Let’s see when you just buy parts beat that!