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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    The scanner has yet to be invented that tells you exactly what part to replace.

    Just imagine how magic one would have to be if an onboard failure prevents communication with the vehicle.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,421
    When it gets that bad they'll just recycle your car and pro-rate you. Then in a few weeks you'll see your car on Amazon as a "refurbished by manufacturer" unit at a discounted price.

    It'll be sorta kinda like "factory buy back" cars are now, but more respectable.

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,015
    I think it's coming. As is redundancy so if one info path dies, another will pick up the load.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Then in a few weeks you'll see your car on Amazon as a "refurbished by manufacturer" unit at a discounted price.

    I'd love to see the look on some dealers face if they ever proposed that for real. (In otherwords, no way they'd sit still and let that happen)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,421
    If factory direct car sales survives various legal challenges, as Elon Musk of Tesla suggests they might, then you'll see it soon after that....not on Amazon of course, but a factory website that will deliver your refurbished unit to some factory-supported "service only" facility in your area.

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,015
    Only in the car biz. We've had two Apple refurb devices and they've been fine.

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,015
    edited November 2013
    "He tinkers at his garage, but his previous inventions were car parts. Seven years ago, he said, employees were imitating a video showing that a cork pushed into an empty bottle can be retrieved by inserting a plastic grocery bag, blowing until it surrounds the cork, and drawing it out."

    Car Mechanic Dreams Up a Tool to Ease Births (NY Times)

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,015
    edited November 2013
    Nice, five for five.

    Okay, one more:

    Auto Repair Goes Virtual With "Car Mechanic Simulator 2014" (Automechanicschools.com)

    This could be bigger than World of Warcraft. :-)

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Once players spend some time in the shoes of an auto mechanic, they may decide to pursue a career in the auto repair industry. If that's the case, they may want to look into attending a postsecondary auto technician program to help develop their skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some employers are reporting difficulty finding auto mechanics with sufficient education and experience.

    Once players really spend time in a mechanics shoes, they will find another career choice. But hey at least they can have fun with the game. The pays about the same but with the game they don't actually have to get their hands dirty too. JMHO
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,421
    Doc, maybe your shoes are too tight...this can lead to dizziness, loss of appetite overwork :)

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    OK, let me make sure I understand the rules, you can write anything you want to, but if I respond to something like that, I'm the one that is wrong.

    Anyway, it doesn't matter what anyone on the outside thinks. The latest idea of how to run a dealership has them deducting two hours a day from the productivity of the junior technicians, in order to pay senior techs that they are assigning to only do the diagnostics.

    Just in case someone doesn't understand what that means, lets say the junior tech produces eight hours of work in an eight hour day. He/she will get paid six hours so that those dollars can be put towards paying a senior technician for only doing the more difficult diagnostic work.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,421
    edited November 2013
    Your objection presumes of course that those 8 eight hours the jr. tech put in were 8 profitable hours. As you probably know from running a shop, if you hire a newbie they basically aren't making much if any money for you for the first 3 months.

    I'm not defending this idea, just wondering if we know all the ins and outs of it.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    edited November 2013
    No presumption about it. Every tech in the shop who isn't one of the diagnostic techs surrenders two profitable hours a day to "the system."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,421
    that doesn't even sound legal. Besides who would even take such a job?

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    that doesn't even sound legal. Besides who would even take such a job?

    Maybe someone who is good at Steve's video game.......

    Seriously, why should anyone come into this trade until serious changes are made from top to bottom? In short they shouldn't. That's why I highlighted the part that I did off of Steve's link. They are probably going to use the game to paint pretty pictures of the job, but the reality is garbage pay plan ideas like that. The only thing they have to do is pay minimum wage and as long as they meet that, they are free to do whatever they want. The best part is if it fails, they just blame the techs.......

    When I heard about it, I advised the techs to seek new employment immediately. Its on my blog but I'll paste it here.

    ---------------------------------------------------


    Another technician wrote a post about a dealership who has restructured their service department so that they have some techs who only do diagnostics, and then they pass the cars onto other techs to do the actual repair. The real kicker is that they take two productive hours off of the regular techs each day to make a pool from which to pay the diagnostic techs. I can only wonder how people who know so little about being a technician get into a management position over them where they get to make these kinds of decisions.

    I could see myself as potentially one of the diagnostic guys. What I can't see is handing the work off to someone else once the diagnostics are completed. Fixing the car means also doing the actual repair because that serves to reinforce the intuitive side of a technicians knowledge and experience. As one of the other posters noted anytime the process doesn't work and a car isn't repaired, who do you point the finger at? IMO, the moment you have to start pointing fingers you have all the proof that you needed to prove that this wasn't a good idea to start with.

    Getting good at diagnostics requires just plain getting good at fixing cars, plus a whole lot of hard work on top of that studying and developing as Jim Garrido says a good game plan. I think most of the top techs will agree with me that there were a lot of mistakes on the way to figuring out their game plans, and most of the lessons taught by those mistakes were (and occasionally still are) learned the hard way. One of the toughest hurdles was to learn to take a patient disciplined approach, especially when the store only wants to pay pennies no matter how much time needed to be spent doing diagnostics. I have 1999 Jaguar XK8 in the shop right now that makes for a good analog.

    A week ago a shop sent it to me for a P1646 which his information showed to be fuel pump #2 relay control circuit issue. Except that the #2 pump is only used on the super charged cars, so right away he had no idea what was going on with this car. It took some researching and it turned out that P1646 is for the heater circuit upstream sensor bank A. But instead of having me go through the steps to prove what the failure was and complete the repair the shop stopped the diagnostics and took it back to their place to just throw a sensor in it. In the process of doing that they bought a "very inexpensive one" compared to the O.E. that I would have recommended and to install it they had to splice the connector from the original sensor. Two key starts later, the light was back on and the code had reset, so now they wanted it tested completely.

    If you are able to look at that paragraph and see quite a few miss-steps, from not fully diagnosing the problem at any time, to them having inadequate service information, and then using questionable parts and repair habits you see how a lot of shops run. By the numbers, however 95% of the time they were going to get the final outcome correct by just slamming that sensor if they had only used a quality part so one can argue there is a potential reward for that approach. However instead of fixing the car, they added yet another variable to the problem and that has both of us further away from fixing the car than they were a week ago. At least they broke tradition at this point and are going to let me prove what is going on before they just slam another O2 sensor even if it is the correct part this time.

    The real problem isn't whether what that dealer is trying to do is legal or not, it's how many things will go wrong with it because management hasn't thought it out completely.

    The above scenario where some techs are doing the diagnostics and while others are replacing the parts are going to create a lot of Jaguars, and when they slam the parts and get it right they will turn around and feel that the lower level tech was all they needed. While if they still rush it at all they will defeat the whole idea of having the diagnostic techs in the first place and that's when the finger pointing will start. One of the worst parts of this is they have just added a glass ceiling to the career path for the next generation of techs who should be learning to be their diagnostic techs of the future, and they are taking two hours off of them each day to pay for all of this. To me that shows that they don't care about technician retention nor does the management understand the long term technician career path.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,015
    Lots of shops have "leads" who parcel out the work to every tech in the shop. Presumably this is to make sure everyone keeps busy and jobs are finished in a timely manner. The lead is paid a bit extra for doing this, but it doesn't come out of anyone else's pocket.

    Seems fairer if you are going to have someone diagnose problems to pay them more since those techs would be more knowledgeable. For entry level techs, you just pay at an entry level rate.

    It would be a logical transition just to make the diagnostic person the lead.

    And if the "junior" tech figures out that it's a different problem, they could get a bonus - out of the lead's pay, lol.

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  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,252
    Doc, if you don't get any respect in this discussion, why do you continue to post. I say that with all do respect your way for having the talent and instinct to solve the problems others can't. Why not spend the time you spend here on something enjoyable with family or friends. On the other hand, maybe you just like to mix it up a bit --- that makes sense I suppose.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    edited November 2013
    f you are able to look at that paragraph and see quite a few miss-steps, from not fully diagnosing the problem at any time, to them having inadequate service information, and then using questionable parts and repair habits you see how a lot of shops run. By the numbers, however 95% of the time they were going to get the final outcome correct by just slamming that sensor if they had only used a quality part so one can argue there is a potential reward for that approach.

    And unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), the fact that 95% of the time the problem gets fixed by replacing that sensor illustrates what Doc's up against.

    Back to our favorite P0440 code for a moment. What to do - replace or reseat the gas cap, or pay for a more expensive diagnostic procedure to really verify what the problem is?

    And it's not just the car repair industry that faces this dichotomy. When problems show up with a system I'm working on, program managers generally want a couple of options to weigh. One might be:

    -pull in all the heavy guns (the experts), instrument the heck out of the system, run some tests, see what they tell you, and $20,000 later, you have a pretty good idea, say 98% accurate, as to what is wrong.

    Another - ask those same experts what their best guess is as to the cause of the problem and follow their recommendation, for a cost of say $2000. They tell you doing so has an 80% chance of solving the problem.

    What does a program manager do? Go with the sure-fire approach for $20K, or go with the lower cost $2K solution, knowing that if the cheaper (and quicker) approach fails to solve the problem, they have to use the more expensive one anyway. But the cheaper solution usually works.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,421
    There is no technician on earth that can claim 100% assurance with their diagnosis, so "guessing", while too flippant a term for what a trained tech is doing, can still be operative--it's precisely calculated guessing, but every now and then it's the best one can do.

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