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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    https://toptechshifts.com/fixd/A4R1/?thrive=1&prog=1

    Stuff like this is probably never going to go away. :(:(
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490

    Sounds like the answer to a question nobody asked. Is this really a response to 1 "hijacking" from 3 years ago?

    What?

    What I meant was, do we need to install all this complexity for a problem that rarely seems to occur?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited November 2018

    https://toptechshifts.com/fixd/A4R1/?thrive=1&prog=1

    Stuff like this is probably never going to go away. :(:(

    Fear sells things. The auto mechanic is the perfect bogey-man. (definition--"a non-specific embodiment of terror"). Often shown as a gruff male who preys on females, or a crafty foreigner with the hands of a magician, able to switch parts and devise clever schemes to cheat you. It's really an almost perfect marketing tool.

    Historically, this stereotype has a historical basis. How did auto mechanics get such a bad reputation? Why not carpenters or electricians or appliance repair people? THEY are called "tradesmen" or "handymen" or "craftsmen". They are rarely called thieves.

    I think this problem goes back to just after WW II. With a scarcity of new cars available, both the used car business and the car repair business were absolutely BOOMING. And, as a consequence, anybody, and I mean anybody, looking for a way to make a quick buck jumped into this trade. You had ex-cons, street gangsters or grossly incompetent men who didn't want to do menial labor. So they hung out the "auto repair" shingle. There was no licensing, no test to take, no apprenticeship. The customers were like flocks of sheep, waiting to be sheared.

    And it's been an uphill battle ever since.

    I think it's getting better but ethics standards still need to go higher, and training certifications need to be ramped up considerably.

    I think media like YouTube has helped actually, even though it sometimes conveys bad information. At least you get to meet interesting and generous auto technicians who are trying to help you, not cheat you.


  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,383
    I suppose I should turn in my Carli app, my Peake Research RC5, and my Schwaben Scan Tool.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    RB, I think Doc was referring to the tone of the ad, not the product so much. There are references to being "ripped off". More mud-slinging against mechanics, I think was his point (not trying to speak for him, just sayin' that's what annoyed me about the ad).
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,383
    I'd agree with you 100% on that point. What angers me is the attempt by some qiuarters to keep diagnostic tools out of the hands of DIY owners like myself.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You can buy whatever you want if you're willing to pay, can't you? Most DIY folks aren't going to fork over $3,000 bucks (or more) for a specialty scan tool or some heavy subscription fee.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,383
    I have less than $400 invested in the above tools and I can-among other things-pull BMW/MINI specific codes, reset adaptations, register batteries and code several dozen features. Doesn't the Peoples Republic of California ban shops like Autozone and Advance Auto from pulling codes for customers?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't think there is any law per se about code readers--the problem is that parts stores can't operate as repair shops. Still looking for this "law" everyone is talking about but can't find it...yet.


    These code readers make great revenue machines for auto parts stores, especially since more often than not the wrong parts are replaced.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    You'll find how it was enforced a number of years back based on this following regulation.

    https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/MARDA_Approved_Final_Regulatory_Text.pdf

    The BAR did a sting operation and found the parts stores pushing parts off of the free code pulls without doing any testing to see why exactly the system generated a code. The other issue that occurred at the same time was guys who hung out in the parking lots that would replaced parts for the parts store customers who were effectively running businesses without the appropriate licensing.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174

    I'd agree with you 100% on that point. What angers me is the attempt by some quarters to keep diagnostic tools out of the hands of DIY owners like myself.

    They want to get them out of everybody's hands. There are functions with some of todays cars that the dealer technician can only watch take place and isn't given any information on at all.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    edited November 2018

    RB, I think Doc was referring to the tone of the ad, not the product so much. There are references to being "ripped off". More mud-slinging against mechanics, I think was his point (not trying to speak for him, just sayin' that's what annoyed me about the ad).

    Correct. The tool (loosely described) doesn't really sell on it's own merits, so they resort to the old bad mouth the shops and techs garbage. Meanwhile the flaws in their presentation speak for themselves, provided the viewer actually does know something about the work. The cannister purge circuit code that was set can have many causes and pulling the code isn't a diagnosis. There is no way for them to predict what fixing a car with their own demonstrated problem should cost. Which for techs leads to when they approach diagnostics the right way, fixd has already painted them as dishonest.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The problem there is that the dealerships, especially, don't let techs and the general public interact, to explain things. So what you get is a very inexperienced "service writer" who is more often than not cranking on an "upsell" or, in the best case, not providing much information (because they don't know all that much).

    The Indie shops do a better job in that regard.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,383

    The problem there is that the dealerships, especially, don't let techs and the general public interact, to explain things. So what you get is a very inexperienced "service writer" who is more often than not cranking on an "upsell" or, in the best case, not providing much information (because they don't know all that much).

    The Indie shops do a better job in that regard.

    That's what I like about my BMW SA; he knows BMWs and we can discuss potential fixes and alternatives with no pressure.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I was talking to a young man who is a Ducati motorcycle technician, and he was talking about the shortage of technicians.

    He mentioned an interesting aspect of how Ducati trains their mechanics. I'm not sure exactly WHY Ducati does this thing that I'm about to describe, but they do.

    One day, while on a 3-day training class at company HQ, the instructor presented the students with a black box, into which they inserted their hands. They could not see inside the box. The instructor covered the box with a blanket and then inserted parts into the box, and the technician had to identify them without looking.

    Interesting? I thought so.

    Anyway, this guy said that it is virtually impossible for the dealer to find qualified people anymore. Ducatis are, as you know, pretty precise and temperamental machines, so you do have to know what you're doing.
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 819
    (Forgive me, did we discuss this previously?) What do you know about schooling gentlemen? I have attempted to research this and what I seem to find is that one has to attend one of three or so locations in the US for Motorcycle Mechanics Institute training, and that is before any OEM classes. Is that right? Who the heck is going to do that? It is one of those catch-22s where one must be employed and have a sponsorship dealer for training. For any other trade one would otherwise have several vocational schools in their immediate area. Hint: Go into welding nowadays...

    The hiring businesses have to drive this. Technicians are not going to appear out of thin air. My motorsports dealer experience matches closely with car dealers in that they just want to move inventory, including motorcycles and weed whackers of all things.

    I love the Ducati box test. The old adage "I could do this with my eyes closed" has a great deal of meaning for troubleshooters.

    Regarding Ducati bike complexity, I will not dispute that aspect, however many Ducati bike repairs consist of disassembling significant assemblies because the maker never considers that someone may actually repair the vehicle someday. "Excessive labor" is different from "complexity". Just sayin'...Ducati also creates the necessity for a lot of wholesale replacements, and very expensive ones at that. Replace computer $2000. Replace X, $700, etc. No need to build electrical components that can actually withstand the weather and vibration, just charge for a new object. You may never replace an ECU or such on a Universal Japanese Motorcycle, but the Italian model does not believe in robust standards that many others have agreed upon. More weird and unnecessary problems does not necessarily equal "complexity."
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174


    One day, while on a 3-day training class at company HQ, the instructor presented the students with a black box, into which they inserted their hands. They could not see inside the box. The instructor covered the box with a blanket and then inserted parts into the box, and the technician had to identify them without looking.

    With absolutely no feeling in my hands at all....

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    Techs are reporting finding Penta bolts in more places. Penta of course meaning 5 sided as a security fastener. The end result is yet another whole set of tools. Guess they figure we haven't been buying enough. http://www.pentabolt.com/Penta-Bolt-Sockets_c_13.html
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Where in the vehicle are these used? Mostly suspension?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,261
    Doc, have you had any experience with those "universal" sockets? The ones with all the little pins inside them to form fit different style heads. I think "Gator Grip" was one brand name I saw at some point.

    I thought about buying a few for those cases when I'm dealing with a marred bolt head that doesn't want to play nice with a wrench or socket, but they just came across as gimmicky to me.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    I have seen them advertised but wrote them off as a gimmick too. I can't say that they won't work but I doubt that they are going to work on a bolt that has been tightened correctly, especially if it's been together for an extended period of time. I do suspect that they would work fine on a bolt that wasn't fully tightened, but then again almost anything else would work then as well.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174

    Where in the vehicle are these used? Mostly suspension?

    Beyond the tamper proof torx penta's I haven't run into them myself. I have been finding those on components related to ADAS systems. That set of sockets set me back $550 for the set of eleven. What's bad is I think I have only ever used the same two of them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    For the English-speaking world, ADAS is "Advanced Driver Assistance System. :p
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,383

    For the English-speaking world, ADAS is "Advanced Driver Assistance System. :p

    AKA: The Ray Charles Package

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    To All Car Buyers: Be careful what you wish for.

    My current level of tech is excellent side view mirrors, bright reversing lights, great sun glasses, heated seats, and a cell phone plugged into an AUX outlet.

    I'm good.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    Some of the comments in the past centered around flash programming. Most of it was about what shops have to charge for the service because of what it costs them to be able to do it for their customers. Eventually there was an expectation that that would go away as the vehicles would self update. That is exactly what happened in this story. http://www.thedrive.com/news/25221/2019-chevrolet-silverado-breaks-down-in-the-middle-of-detroit-red-wings-marketing-stunt?xid=thedrive-amp-fbshare&fbclid=IwAR3Pnm7cfGrXJhQ6ypFQYIu__6kJ7-vfxiWIlhnMWs0hp8EtnjqZesvflpg
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 819
    No problem, it just needs the old Bill Gates special, an extra warning: "Are you sure you want to intentionally disable your vehicle at this time?"
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    LOL
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    Just an observation. I still get calls where someone wants to bring a car to the shop, but I don't do that work anymore, so I try to steer them to someone that can help them. Lately the callers often describe not being able to find anyone who isn't back-logged a week or more in advance. Even the weaker shops are very busy and have more than they can handle.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 137,908
    I see that around here, as well.

    Shortage of qualified mechanics doesn't help.
    My local shop used to have four mechanics, and the boss did mostly administrative work and trouble shooting.
    Now, he is down to two mechanics, plus he wrenches full time.

    He says he can't find help. But, he has only raised his labor prices by $5/hr in the last six years. (only at $75/hr, now). I think if he would charge closer to market rates, he could pay more, and probably find someone.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,383
    My indie shops sometimes have a 2-5 day backlog, but recently I was able to get both my Jeep and Mini in without a wait. My BMW dealer is almost always on a 3-5 day wait; I always schedule about a week ahead so it doesn't jam them up. When I have had the rare unscheduled repair issue I've always been worked in immediately.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    edited December 2018
    Some Dealership technicians reported taking a survey a while back. The results are staring to be shared.

    From Automotive News.
    https://www.autonews.com/article/20181217/RETAIL05/181219910/survey-suggests-deep-job-dissatisfaction-discontent-with-flat-rate-pay

    Job dissatisfaction is extremely high among service technicians at new-vehicle dealerships, a survey indicates, with one-fourth of techs saying they expect to leave their jobs in the next few years. Amid a growing industrywide technician shortage, the discontent measured in the survey by consulting firm Carlisle & Co. suggests
    further difficulties for franchised dealers in their efforts to hire and retain talented techs.

    Averaging out

    The average service technician at a franchised new-vehicle dealership in the U.S. or Canada
    Is 40 years old
    Has been a tech for about 20 years
    Earns nearly $61,000 a year
    Works 49 hours a week in the U.S. (43 in Canada)
    Source: 2018 Technician Survey, Carlisle & Co.

    Carlisle, of Concord, Mass., worked with 28 auto brands to survey techs at their U.S. and Canadian dealerships in July. About 35,000 techs responded, nearly twice as many as the roughly 20,000 techs who took part in Carlisle's last survey two years ago. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates there are 267,000 service technicians at U.S. dealerships.

    Among techs' biggest complaints in the survey were flat-rate pay plans and poor communication with service advisers at their dealerships. Key findings of Carlisle's fifth poll of dealership techs include:

    The percentage of service technicians who say they wouldn't recommend their job to a friend exceeds the share who say they would by a staggering 52 percentage points, two points worse than the previous survey.

    "I have never seen any score that low," says Harry Hollenberg, a Carlisle partner who oversaw the survey. "Nobody else is in the ballpark."

    Hollenberg notes that even companies that are unpopular among consumers, such as Wells Fargo, Sears and Spectrum, have so-called net promoter scores that are far higher than the overall score reflecting dealership techs' attitudes toward their jobs. That degree of dissatisfaction suggests that today's technicians are unlikely to help dealerships recruit the next generation of techs, he says.

    Lower satisfaction

    Fewer than half of dealership techs expressed high satisfaction with any of these aspects of their job:
    Technical training 42%
    Field technical support 38%
    Online/phone technical support 34%
    Access to service information 32%
    Special tools and equipment 30%
    Workshop technology 27%
    Diagnostic equipment 25%
    Pay plan 21%
    Source: 2018 Technician Survey, Carlisle & Co

    Just one in four technicians expresses high overall satisfaction with the job — far below the satisfaction levels of service managers (57 percent), parts managers (44 percent) and service advisers (42 percent). The tech satisfaction rate has dropped 3 points since the last survey, and fewer than half of techs say their job has improved over the past year.


    About one-fourth of techs say they don't expect to stay with the brands sold by their dealerships beyond the next two to three years. These techs generally don't plan to work for a dealership of a competing make, the survey suggests; instead, they expect to retire, change industries or work for an independent repair shop.

    Flattened

    Nearly three-fourths of U.S. techs say they are covered by flat-rate pay plans, even though such plans are widely unpopular among techs.
    Type of pay plan % of U.S. techs
    Flat rate 73
    Guaranteed hours plus flat rate 7
    Hourly 7
    Hourly plus production bonus 7
    Salaried 4
    Team-based 1
    Other 3
    Total does not add up to 100% because of rounding.
    Source: 2018 Technician Survey, Carlisle & Co.

    The main reason techs in the survey say they plan to leave their job is money. The key reason they plan to stay is their working environment: having a clear career path, feeling supported and recognized by their bosses and liking their co-workers.

    Nearly three-fourths of U.S. technicians say they work under some form of flat-rate pay plan, although such plans represent a major source of job dissatisfaction and reason for quitting among techs in the survey.

    Technicians who draw salaries tend to be the oldest and to focus on high-skill diagnostic work and express the highest job satisfaction. Techs paid by the hour are youngest and heavily concentrated in lower-skill express service and quick lube work.

    Flat-rate techs are between these two groups in age and the skill level of their work and have the lowest job satisfaction. According to the survey, flat-rate technicians are more satisfied and make more money the higher their ratio of hours earned to hours actually worked.

    Techs' relationship with service advisers has a "dramatic" effect on their plans to stay on the job, their job satisfaction and their willingness to recommend their job to a friend, Hollenberg says.

    The most experienced techs express the greatest dissatisfaction with advisers on such matters as writing inaccurate or incomplete repair orders or giving service customers unrealistic promise times.

    Four-day workweeks for techs are growing in popularity as a retention tool, the survey finds, especially among Asian brands. Hollenberg says he's unaware of any corporate strategy among Asian automakers to promote four-day workweeks at their dealerships.

    Other key areas of dissatisfaction expressed by techs include the way jobs are dispatched (although most techs feel that automated dispatch systems are fairer, techs whose jobs are assigned by a foreman or team leader have a higher ratio of hours paid to hours worked); poor tool storage at their dealership, which delays their work; lack of technical support from automakers (some automakers take calls only from foremen or have long wait times and onerous paperwork requirements); lack of easily accessible service information online (the same part can have different names for different brands) and a lack of reliable special tools or diagnostic equipment at their dealership

    Carlisle is working with some automakers that sponsored the survey to identify and disseminate best practices among their dealerships to improve tech recruitment and retention.

    Hollenberg says these practices include better recruiting software and management training; he notes that a dealership service manager is often a former tech who was promoted but not adequately trained to supervise other employees.

    Hollenberg says other areas that need greater focus are communicating the benefits of a tech career to middle and high school students, recruiting tech candidates from underserved populations, improving digital information and support for people considering careers as technicians, expanding tech mentorship and apprentice
    programs and developing clearer career paths for techs.

    Although the survey breaks down technicians' attitudes and other data by the brands they work for, Carlisle's agreement with its automaker partners requires it to keep that information confidential, Hollenberg says


    There are two more articles this month about the shortage of qualified technicians. One of them is a follow-up of the Chicago Union Technicians strike from last year. By the looks of things, they will be walking off the job again.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,261
    Ouch.

    However, the study certainly lays out the issues and doesn't mince words in doing so. If the industry cannot fix some of its ails as a result of this, then it is certainly broken in an unrecoverable way.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    Going by this statement in the article "The percentage of service technicians who say they wouldn't recommend their job to a friend exceeds the share who say they would by a staggering 52 percentage points" That works out to 77% of techs who would not recommend their career to a friend. It has gotten so bad that just trying to throw money at it wouldn't be enough.

    Flat rate is a lie, because the rates aren't flat.

    Back when flat rate first became the norm auto manufacturers performed time studies to measure how long it really took a qualified technician to perform a given task. They quit doing that almost twenty years ago. The warranty flat rate labor times are calculations based on how long it takes to put things together on the assembly line and have no real world correlation to what it really takes to do the work. Assign a tech to do a customer pay job that pays an hour and turn him or her loose to get it done and they get that flat wage of one hour. If they get the job done in six tenths of an hour they make a bonus. If they take 1.4 hours to do that job then they lose. Now make it warranty and it pays .6 hours and now that win/lose scale resets to having to do the job in .4 hours to make a bonus and .8 hours is a loser.

    What the higher ups fail to comprehend is the higher the techs labor wage goes, the greater the insult when a repair pays less. Some might counter with "yeah but they would make more with the customer pay work that they do" except that the majority of that work is being done by low wage hourly employees, while the seasoned technicians see primarily warranty work.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Let's say you were some kind of enlightened owner of a major multi-brand dealership network. A big player.

    And let's say you read this report, found it credible and alarming. What would you do about it?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    Nothing. I'd already have programs in place where the shop wouldn't be one of the ones where the techs would steer others away from the trade.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    And that is accomplished by.......???
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    Well the first step is to get everyone outside of the trade to accept that they can't just guess what is wrong with a car based on a given symptom. Testing has to be performed the right way, each and every time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Does this result in such shops costing the customer more money? How do they remain competitive?
  • fushigifushigi Chicago suburbsPosts: 1,459

    Well the first step is to get everyone outside of the trade to accept that they can't just guess what is wrong with a car based on a given symptom. Testing has to be performed the right way, each and every time.

    I hope you realize that people do this with pretty much everything in their lives. People who aren't electricians try to figure out why lights don't work or appliances don't turn on. Millions and millions of people self-diagnose/guess at what's wrong with their PCs & smartphones v. bringing them to IT professionals. Gardeners try to figure out why their plants aren't growing (and the weeds are) instead of calling in a professional horticulturist.
    2017 Infiniti QX60 (me), 2012 Hyundai Elantra (wife)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,447

    Well the first step is to get everyone outside of the trade to accept that they can't just guess what is wrong with a car based on a given symptom. Testing has to be performed the right way, each and every time.

    Oh, I disagree. People most certainly CAN guess what is wrong, and testing does not HAVE to be performed each and every time.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think he means that they can guess what is wrong but have to accept the failure rate. They shouldn't presume they are as good as a well-trained technician. Trouble codes can certainly fool you.

    However----At $135/hour shop time where I live, I can afford a couple of guesses....but they should be educated guesses.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    edited December 2018
    qbrozen said:

    Oh, I disagree. People most certainly CAN guess what is wrong, and testing does not HAVE to be performed each and every time.

    2017 Trailblazer. Customer reports the vehicle is trying to kill her. When presed for more information all she would say is drive the car with the cruise on and see what it does. The first check that the dealer technician performed was an all module scan for codes and there were none in any module. Taking the vehicle out for a road test on the interstate and setting the cruise resulted in the vehicle failing to space itself with the traffic ahead. The vehicle closed on the other car at the cruise set speed and just about the time that the technician was going to apply the brakes out of fear that he was going to rear end the car in front of him the vehicle suddenly braked, aggressively. After dropping back, it accelerated back up to the cruise set speed and repeated the symptom.

    Go ahead and start guessing.

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,383
    Don't have to guess; the Trailblazer is a dog's breakfast- as the Brits would say.
    The fix?
    Sell it.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,447
    Oh, I disagree. People most certainly CAN guess what is wrong, and testing does not HAVE to be performed each and every time.
    2017 Trailblazer. Customer reports the vehicle is trying to kill her. When presed for more information all she would say is drive the car with the cruise on and see what it does. The first check that the dealer technician performed was an all module scan for codes and there were none in any module. Taking the vehicle out for a road test on the interstate and setting the cruise resulted in the vehicle failing to space itself with the traffic ahead. The vehicle closed on the other car at the cruise set speed and just about the time that the technician was going to apply the brakes out of fear that he was going to rear end the car in front of him the vehicle suddenly braked, aggressively. After dropping back, it accelerated back up to the cruise set speed and repeated the symptom. Go ahead and start guessing.
    I'm not going to go through all of the things I would check. Regardless, it ain't my car, so I have no skin in the game. My point was your choice of words was poor. People CAN and DO guess all the time. And as RB just explained, you don't HAVE to perform testing, as there are other options, such as selling the vehicle, not using the cruise control, etc. 

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    edited December 2018
    qbrozen said:

    Oh, I disagree. People most certainly CAN guess what is wrong, and testing does not HAVE to be performed each and every time.

    Except for every time that the guess turns around and fails. Because when that happens the techs are criticized for not testing. Part of dealing with the shortage of qualified technicians is respecting the need to be disciplined and supported for being so. Not until that happens will there be much of any improvement.

    I was asked what it would take to fix the technician shortage and had already mentioned that money alone isn't going to be enough.
    qbrozen said:


    I'm not going to go through all of the things I would check. Regardless, it ain't my car, so I have no skin in the game. My point was your choice of words was poor. People CAN and DO guess all the time. And as RB just explained, you don't HAVE to perform testing, as there are other options, such as selling the vehicle, not using the cruise control, etc. 

    FWIW the pre-crash avoidance system is also affected by the probem with this car. It would work but way too late to have helped the driver. So just not using the cruise still leaves that issue and the owner wouldn't be aware of that until it would be too late. Can you picture the lawyers lining up to try to take advantage of the situation?

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,447
    I could be wrong, but I don't think precrash avoidance systems can be cause for lawsuit. That would be a total mess for automakers and nobody would make the systems available if they had to be 100% effective at preventing accidents. 

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,174
    You are correct from the perspective that they aren't sold as a system that prevents accidents, but they are supposed to alert the driver and help prevent them. This car would have activated too late and the data collected from the "black boxes" would easily prove that.
  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXPosts: 2,575

    Well the first step is to get everyone outside of the trade to accept that they can't just guess what is wrong with a car based on a given symptom. Testing has to be performed the right way, each and every time.

    I'm on board with that, 100% in agreement. If and only if the car is under warranty and someone else is paying. If it's on my nickel, compromises can and will be made.
    2018 Ford F150 XLT Crew Cab, 2016 Chrysler Town & Country Touring
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's not a DIY problem that Doc is presenting. Part of the current burden on technicians is having to try and correct the bad engineering GM put into the Trailblazer in the first place.

    I guess what I"m saying is that Doc is only cherry-picking one portion of the "Chain of Disaster" that can occur with modern cars: The factory doesn't do it's R&D, the technicians have to try and solve it in the field, and if they can't, the owner files for a Lemon Law case, or eats the whole enchilada and sells the vehicle.

    I suppose if I were stuck with a Trailblazer and had this problem out of warranty, I'd either bite the bullet and let the dealer or a repair shop have a go at it, just not use the cruise control, sell the vehicle (in the case of the TB, I'd have other reasons to sell it besides the cruise control), or I might take a stab at it by reading through the 60+ TSBs on the car, getting a schematic of how this particular system works, and then applying Occam's razor.
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