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Right To Repair - A Hot Issue or Big Problem?

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,090
    stever said:

    Revenue....

    Ya think ;)

    Wife had a recent event with a code on our new Versa Note. She came in saying she had filled up and then the "loose gas cap light" came on. I'm thinking check engine light, but I go out, check that the gas cap is now tight and start the car, and sure enough, the display in the center of the dash says "Loose Gas Cap". A quick check of the manual told me to hold in the button that switches the display to different modes to reset the light.

    Seems like an improvement over using an OBD reader to get the the cryptic P0455

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649
    Ford was doing that in 2002. The routine was when the system saw a refueling event (increase in fuel level in the tank) it immediately would run the medium and large leak tests and compare the results to recent historical test data. If a leak was detected that was not there previously then the Check Gas Cap light would be turned on and the regular P0440/P0455 result would be suspended for another full drive cycle. The result of that was instead of maturing into a code in two trip failures, it would require at least three consecutive trips with failures.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    Sorry to hear of your troubles Doc and sure hope things improve.

    The thought of a non transferable license makes no sense at all!!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649

    What was supposed rationale of a non-transferable license?

    Being "available" is all that is required, there is nothing that says that stepping up and making the investment needs to be rational or practical. Seriously is it really such a stretch to consider that it isn't in the dealers and manufacturers primary interests to have vehicles last fifteen to twenty years which can only happen with a service ready technicians trade? (both dealer and independent) If I were in their shoes I'd applaud all of the bashing of the trade whether it was deserved or not too.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    Hey Doc, what, exactly is a "smoke machine" that the shops are buying now?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,980
    edited November 23
    Good point - most anyone with a steady job can easily have three cars in their driveway and cars really do last 15 to 20 years now without needing major rebuilds.

    I'm seeing $200 laptops on sale for Black Friday for $99. A Versa? - $12,600.

    When I look at $50k+ SUV and pickup prices, I have to shake my head, but that's probably not much in 1950 dollars. And that means the $13,000 subcompacts and $99 lease deals are really dirt cheap now. Wouldn't pay to put a $6k crate engine in one of those and a $1k brake job would make you think about just trading it in.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649

    Hey Doc, what, exactly is a "smoke machine" that the shops are buying now?

    A smoke machine supplies pressurized smoke (25" in water approx.) to assist the techs in trying to locate leaks in the evaporative emissions system, as well as engine vacuum leaks, interior air leaks etc.

    With today's systems capable of detecting any leak at all (PZEV , partial zero emissions ) you can't rely on just looking for a failed or damaged vacuum hose or a component issue. A .020 leak is the size of a straight pin, and a .010 leak is in fact only about 1/4 of that. By pumping smoke into a closed system the pressure rise can be measured and the bleed off rate measured. If the leak is present, the smoke will usually be visible in the area of the leak. BTW, my favorite tool to locate the smoke is a laser pointer. Anywhere that the laser shimmers, smoke is present.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649

    Sorry to hear of your troubles Doc and sure hope things improve.

    The thought of a non transferable license makes no sense at all!!

    It does to the companies that would want you to buy a new tool off of them, instead of my used ones.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    Appreciate the explanation. I know pinhole leaks can be miserable to track down.

    So, you were to sell one of those pieces of shop equipment to another shop how would the company find out? This doesn't even sound legal!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649
    The "legal" side of it would be them trying to renew the license falsely as if they were me. That would be "illegal" and would result in immediate revocation of the license "IF" caught. My Ford scan tool turns off next week if I don't renew the license. There is of course no reason to do that and so it will simply turn off. Between the initial purchase, and all of the updates through the years, that makes it a little over $12K for me that is gone, probably forever. It really hurts when you figure in the other manufacturers tools that I have that are headed towards the same fate.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    edited November 23
    Not like the "old days" when I was in the tool business. A Sun Scope and a VAT 40 was all a shop really needed. Is Sun even in business today?

    Heck, the gas station where I worked as a kid didn't even have a dwell meter or a timing light! We set point gaps with a feeler gauge and set the timing by ear!

    No wonder shops charge the labor rates they do!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649
    edited November 23

    Not like the "old days" when I was in the tool business. A Sun Scope and a VAT 40 was all a shop really needed. Is Sun even in business today?

    No Sun was eaten up by Snap-On more than a decade ago.

    Heck, the gas station where I worked as a kid didn't even have a dwell meter or a timing light! We set point gaps with a feeler gauge and set the timing by ear!

    No wonder shops charge the labor rates they do!
    The labor rates that you see today are insufficient to produce a sustainable trade, and they are short of that by a significant margin. Most shops today can run right up until fate cashes them in and then they will disappear and not be replaced. There is nothing that is being done, nor can be done to change what is happening. Heck for that matter we all might as well just sit back and enjoy the show as it plays out. Between the cars requiring fewer repairs, and less regular maintenance on top of the fact that it takes decades of a profitable, satisfying career to be the technician that can handle the complex work when it is needed we have the perfect storm in place to shut the trade down completely. It's now just a matter if time.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    I know that some high end shops are approaching 200.00/hr at least in California. I think the strong WILL survive but many/most will fail.

    I know a lot of the older guys that are still in the business are strongly recommending the young guys NOT to get in the business. I have to wonder how the Vo-tech schools are doing.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649
    Many have shut down their automotive programs, the primary reason of course being the cost to run them. Talk to the instructors and you'll hear the common theme that the majority of the students are only there to take up the time and they have no interest in actually becoming auto technicians. Meanwhile the kids that the trade really needs to attract are going to engineering schools where the wages and benefits after graduation are way beyond what can be realized by someone inside of this trade.

    Heck just search you-tube watch some of the recent pushes to try and do more for making any of the trades more attractive and see if they mention auto repair.

    GM customer service people respond to this forum when consumers complain because their car hasn't been diagnosed and repaired correctly. I'll challenge anybody who reads this to try and do diagnostics ACCURATELY for the .3hr that their dealer techs get paid. (GM isn't alone in this kind of abuse of the tradesmen)

    Techs on average make 20% of the door rate. At a door rate of $200/hr that could be pretty respectable wage in some areas of the country, and yet insufficient to qualify for a mortgage in others.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    Interesting.

    I understand it's becoming harder and harder to be able to "flat rate" jobs.

    Years ago when the 3.8 Taurus were breaking front motor mounts I believe the books called for something like five hours to change one.

    Well, the guys found out how to use a combination of sockets and extensions and a guy who was good could change one in a half hour.

    Well, Ford found out and slashed the warranty time.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649
    Yea the Taurus engine mounts, could get that nut at the top of the front mount, behind the AC compressor without removing the compressor, that 18mm 3/8" drive deep impact flex-socket was a major time saver.

    You should check out the fixed operations forum in Linked In. The same topics replay over and over again from upselling services VIA MPI's;
    To whether the techs should be paid to do the MPI's or not even though they are required;
    To how to deal with techs that over sell when they do the MPI's that they force the techs to do, To how do they get techs to do the MPI's when they refuse to,,,,,,

    To why can't they find qualified technicians... Or what methods does someone use to try and attract the best techs out of another shop. Then of course they go back to the start of the list.

    Meanwhile the labor times have just dropped and dropped while the door rates have climbed, and tech wages per flat rate hour have stayed the same, since the 90's. The bureau of labor statistics shows the mean wage at $36,000 for automotive technicians.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649
    Europe again.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    I wonder how enrollment at the Vo-Tech schools are doing?

    I know that a lot of the veterans in the business will try their best to talk young guys out of becoming auto technicians.

    Then the staggering cost of the tools they have to buy?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,649
    Vo-tech, and for profit schools like UTI are still trying to crank out entry level techs with the promise of a decent career. The reality is that the kids hit the market and find no-jobs other than the most basic entry level and the for profit school grads also face the tuition payment while they start collecting their $50K in their own tools over the first ten years of their career, if they last that long.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,980

    I know that a lot of the veterans in the business will try their best to talk young guys out of becoming auto technicians.

    They should be telling them to go into computers.

    Same difference in other words!

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,953
    I know a lot of people think the shops furnish the tools tech use but except for shop equipment this just isn't true. They don't go to Harbor Freight or Sears for tools they depend on to make a living.

    The future looks scary as the veterans are retiring or simply finding something else to do.

    It take a toll on the body. Very rare to find a guy 50 or older wrenching on a car.
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