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Right To Repair - A Hot Issue or Big Problem?

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,261
    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: 2,038
    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.
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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    Sorry to hear of your troubles Doc and sure hope things improve.

    The thought of a non transferable license makes no sense at all!!
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038

    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.
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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    Hey Doc, what, exactly is a "smoke machine" that the shops are buying now?
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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 43,580
    edited November 2014
    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.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038

    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.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038

    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.
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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    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!
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    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.
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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    edited November 2014
    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!
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    edited November 2014

    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.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    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.
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    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.
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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    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.
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    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.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    Europe again.
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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    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?
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    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.
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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 43,580

    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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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,244
    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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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 43,580
    "BMW AG on Thursday agreed to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that its Mini division violated the law by telling owners the company would void their warranty unless they used Mini dealers and parts to perform repairs and maintenance."

    BMW settles FTC charges over Mini warranty rules (Detroit News)

    Haven't heard squat from the FTC regarding Dexos.

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

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    edited March 27
    The "D" in dexos is not capitalized because it isn't a name or brand, it is the specification. Products approved for meeting the dexos specification can be found on parts stores shelves (and even Walmart) all around the country. Even Valvoline who was quoted in the one article here in Edmunds reversed their position and now have approved products. Simply claiming to meet or exceed a specification isn't good enough and products that are not approved should only be used at the vehicle owners risk, not the manufacturers. API SN and ILSAC GF5 does not meet the requirements of the dexos specification. There are a number of threads right in this forum that are complaints by vehicle owners about oil consumption and mechanical failures that are the direct result of using products that fell short of the vehicle manufacturer's specifications.

    BTW, speaking of those articles which are still on the website. Are they ever going to re-addressed so that they inform the vehicle owners correctly instead of misleading them? Case in point is this quote from the linked webpage.

    " Fortified with detergents that exceed dexos1™ sulfated ash specifications." http://www.amsoil.lube-direct.com/2011/04/dexos-1-amsoil-has-it/

    Informing the consumer correctly would have that statement explained for what it really means.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 43,580
    edited March 27

    The "D" in dexos is not capitalized because it isn't a name or brand, it is the specification.

    A Rose by any other name is still a rOse. :p

    I think it's more fair to say that GM owns the brand and licenses it out. Here's the dexos licensing site and if you read the fine print at the bottom it says:

    "dexos®, dexos1®, dexos2™ and the associated brand logos are registered trademarks owned by General Motors, LLC. All rights reserved"

    Excellent comment about informing the consumer - people have been looking for the API starburst for years and most people try to remember if they should be using 5w30 instead of 10W30 that was so ubiquitous for lots of years. All GM has done is thrown another complicating wrinkle in the process that costs everyone more money.

    To add insult to injury (due to all those mechanical failures posts?), GM has lowered their powertrain warranty from 5/100 to 5/60.

    Moderator

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

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    So is this supposed to be a forum where consumers can come to get up to date, accurate information or not?

    What purpose is served by attempting to muddy the waters by suggesting that "dexos" is anything other than exactly what it is, which is a specification?

    Why haven't the writers of these articles revisited the following topics and corrected the mistakes in them so as to correctly advise the consumers?

    http://www.edmunds.com/car-care/do-i-have-to-use-the-manufacturers-oil.html

    One of the main points of that article was Valvoline's Tom Smiths quote. Shouldn't the readers be informed about Valvoline changing their position now that Valvoline does provide licensed dexos products? Why have they changed their position on the subject? Why is Amsoil not getting their product approved like all of the rest of these major manufacturershttp://www.centerforqa.com/gm/dexos1-brands and exactly what does the quote above really mean? Is having sulfated ash in the oil exceeding the dexos specification a good thing or a bad thing? Is there a reason that someone doesn't want the consumers to be aware of all of this?

    http://www.edmunds.com/car-care/stop-changing-your-oil.html

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 43,580
    edited March 27
    Well, I have no love for Amsoil. As far as I am concerned they aren't an oil manufacturer, they are a MLM outfit, that also sells vitamins and fertilizer. And Male Power, the The All-Natural Male Turbocharger. Zoom zoom. :D

    My guess is that Valvoline changed their position for marketing reasons. Some fleets probably required the "official" spec for warranty reasons so it made more economic sense for Valvoline to pay off GM so they could sell oil with the dexos brand on the label.

    You keep making my point - consumers don't want to be aware of all this. We just want to go to NAPA or WallyWorld and buy a jug of oil off the shelf. There's probably a lot of dealers out there using bulk oil barrels hanging from the rafters too. But heaven forbid I change my own oil or have my indy guy do it. One engine problem and my warranty claim is denied because I didn't save the receipts, the jugs and an oil sample, and an oil analysis, plus I have to take a video of the drain and fill.

    Moderator

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

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    edited March 27
    Seems someone thought that the consumers cared enough about the subject to warrant the original articles.

    Now that hindsight is getting to be 20/20 everyone should recognize that the linked articles were inaccurate. Aren't the consumers needs supposed to come first? How can those continue to stand and risk yet someone else being mislead by them? Besides, when it comes it making someone else's point, the misrepresentation that you intentionally continue to make between what is a brand and what is a specification isn't funny and could lead to someone making a mistake that could hurt them financially. The manufacturers shouldn't be responsible if someone doesn't service the vehicle correctly and fails to use products that actually meet the specs. Are you willing to make it right for them should their warranty be denied if what you continue to write contributes to them making the wrong choice?
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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 43,580
    It'll be so nice when we all get EVs that don't require oil.

    But I'll only use electricity from small solar that doesn't fry birds. :D

    Moderator

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    Just a glitch? A sign of more troubles to come? Last night (Mar 27th) GM suspended its support for aftermarket shops to have access to the theft deterrent and key programming systems. They cite technical issues for the reason for shutting this down.
    http://www.nastf.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

    Without this access a shop that has already made significant investments in tools, training for their techs and software cannot complete repairs that might include the replacement of a PCM, a body computer on some models without having to sublet that portion of the repair to the dealer.
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,038
    edited March 28
    stever said:

    It'll be so nice when we all get EVs that don't require oil.

    But I'll only use electricity from small solar that doesn't fry birds. :D

    Nice idea, but technically we aren't ready for that yet. You'd have to read dozens of articles like this one..

    ttp://www.quora.com/If-all-cars-in-the-US-suddenly-become-electric-how-much-more-electricity-do-we-need-to-produce-in-percentage

    and this one

    http://www.evelectricity.com/evcosts/

    to even get close to having an idea of what it would cost today and you really don't know if those prices would go up or down. But let's play with todays numbers and see what it might look like. You would need at the minimum a 3Kw system. Those are projected to cost between $25-$100 dollars per month. Now of course let's use the higher number beause $100 a month lease doesn't sound bad at all. They project yearly increases up to 2.9% per year for 20 to 30 years. So based on two guesses the worst case scenario means you would pay $1200 the first year and by the 30 year mark you would then be paying $2829 which works out to about $235 a month for something you still don't own. Total approx. $57,768 which from my POV has too many variables in play to have any real meaning, other than to compare it to the increased cost of an approved engine oil over a non-approved one which in the case of Mobil1 5W30 dexos is actually about half the price of Amsoil which isn't even approved.

    Remember that is just for the solar array. That doesn't include costs of maintenance on it, the charging station, nor the cost of the EV cars and any repairs of the EV cars that you own during that time. You don't have to wish for this, you can have it all right now because it IS available. Just don't pretend you will save any money with the idea. By the time you add in the rest of the numbers you're going to easily blow through some $250K-$400K over the next 30 years.
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