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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    So.. rear brake job on the 2016 Audi TTS.

    Work included new pads, new rotors, and a brake fluid flush/replacement with Motul 600.

    What do you think is the right amount of labor for this job?

    A. 2 hours

    B. 2.5 hours

    C. 3 hours

    CA labor rate of my preferred shop is $110/hour so half hours matter.

    Hopefully this doesn't influence your answer, but actual time spent couldn't have been more than 2 hours, but they used just about every minute of that 2 hours. And it was 15 minutes after closing time.... And I was about 15 minutes late for my appointment.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Audis are always more expensive, so I'd guess parts and labor about $600 total.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956

    Audis are always more expensive, so I'd guess parts and labor about $600 total.

    That's about right, but I did select "trackable" pads that while being more durable and longer lasting, did cost $200 + tax. OEM pads are probably half that.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,078
    edited March 12
    Two hours, of my own time, in my own driveway. Total cost: About $300 in parts. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,073
    I’ll go with 2.5 hrs. 1 hr for the fluid and 45 mins a side on the pads and rotors.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    andres3 said:

    Audis are always more expensive, so I'd guess parts and labor about $600 total.

    That's about right, but I did select "trackable" pads that while being more durable and longer lasting, did cost $200 + tax. OEM pads are probably half that.
    I figured you'd opt for good parts.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That's about $4000 on a Rolls.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    qbrozen said:

    I’ll go with 2.5 hrs. 1 hr for the fluid and 45 mins a side on the pads and rotors.

    You hit the nail on the head! Bingo! Jackpot!
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,078
    Oh wait, you actually had a shop do this?! I thought you were a car guy! :p
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,087
    Pads and rotors and a brake fluid flush. The pads are .9, the rotors .2 for 1.1 hours. The brake fluid flush is likely a menu item and is probably 1 hour for a total customer pay time of 2.2 hours.

    Now for the fun part.
    The warranty time for the pads and rotors is .7
    There isn't a listed time for the fluid flush that I know of but if there was one it would probably be about .3 for a total of about one hour. FWIW I would expect to beat that time.
  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXPosts: 2,575
    edited March 12
    Brake jobs are highly desirable work for an auto repair shop, and for a professional auto mechanic. If you're wanting a brake job, most shops will get you in and out the same day, because they like that work. If you have a leaking exhaust manifold gasket, or an intermittent electrical problem, well ... Maybe we can work you in week after next or the week after that.
    2018 Ford F150 XLT Crew Cab, 2016 Chrysler Town & Country Touring
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    xwesx said:

    Oh wait, you actually had a shop do this?! I thought you were a car guy! :p

    Ha! I don't have tools. At some point, I really ought to think about investing in a good set of basic tools, and watching some do-it-yourself Youtube videos.

    As of right now, I pay a good shop to do all my work. Not cheap, but they don't make mistakes.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,078
    andres3 said:

    xwesx said:

    Oh wait, you actually had a shop do this?! I thought you were a car guy! :p

    Ha! I don't have tools. At some point, I really ought to think about investing in a good set of basic tools, and watching some do-it-yourself Youtube videos.

    As of right now, I pay a good shop to do all my work. Not cheap, but they don't make mistakes.
    Yeah, good point. It's a trade-off, for sure. In the end, if you don't get enjoyment out of it, then it really doesn't make sense to do differently than the path you're taking now.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    xwesx said:

    andres3 said:

    xwesx said:

    Oh wait, you actually had a shop do this?! I thought you were a car guy! :p

    Ha! I don't have tools. At some point, I really ought to think about investing in a good set of basic tools, and watching some do-it-yourself Youtube videos.

    As of right now, I pay a good shop to do all my work. Not cheap, but they don't make mistakes.
    Yeah, good point. It's a trade-off, for sure. In the end, if you don't get enjoyment out of it, then it really doesn't make sense to do differently than the path you're taking now.
    I might enjoy "saving money." However, tools are expensive, or is Harbor Freight good enough?
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Very often Harbor Freight is good enough. It's hit or miss with their stuff. $19 jack stands? No. A set of 1/4" sockets? Sure.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,073
    Hit or miss is right. Heavy or steady work? Don't count on it.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Light work basically. Nothing requiring a lot of torque. Oddly enough, I'm most fussy about small hand-tools where slippage could result in injury. Their impact wrenches and electric wrenches seem fine for occasional work. Even the jacks are probably okay if you work them under-rated, and always use stands.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,073
    edited March 14
    I get that. Open-ended wrenches are awful when cheap. just a waste and an exercise in frustration. I do have a set of deep-well metric 6-pt sockets from there that I have had for many years now. Had a little bench grinder that worked well enough for minor stuff for a few years. Just recently tossed that. On the other side, I'm pretty sure I have snapped every 3/8" extension and adapter I've ever gotten there. And their screwdrivers are disposable. I have a lightweight aluminum jack from there. I bought it specifically to carry in my trunk to swap wheels at the track. It didn't last very long before it squeezed fluid out somewhere and now only goes up halfway.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Cheap open end wrenches expand under load, so that's a concern. I'd never buy screwdrivers from them, no. I have some tarps from them, a batter post cleaner, light duty socket set, a little volt/ohm meter, a test light, things like that.
  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXPosts: 2,575
    My floor jack came from Walmart, has been working quite well for 6 or 7 years now. I am missing the saddle, the part that makes contact with the underside of the car. I assume it stuck to the underside of one of my cars or trucks several years ago, and then fell off while I was driving down the road. I usually use a short piece of 2x4 as a substitute. I tried to find a replacement, no go, and d_____ if I'm going to spend $150 on a new floor jack when the old one works fine.

    My father, who was a professional mechanic, taught me to never use an open end wrench if it were possible to use something better. Back in the 1950's and 1960's, my father always bought Craftsman hand tools. He said they were 90% as good as Snapon for half the price (or less). I still have quite a few Craftsman hand tools that I inherited from him.
    2018 Ford F150 XLT Crew Cab, 2016 Chrysler Town & Country Touring
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,078
    edited March 14
    I always loved Craftsman. Until I was about 22 or so, every one of my tools were that make, and rarely did I have a problem with them. I was pretty hard on them, too. In the rare event one would break, Sears was absolutely fantastic about repairing or replacing them.

    Sadly, being a transient, I carried all my tools in a large tool box in the bed of my truck. One day, a group of guys decided to steal that box, and I had to start over again on tools. I was a broke bugger at that point, and my tools represented a small fortune to me back then (well over $1,000, in 1990s dollars), so most of what replaced them was cheap Taiwan crap (and, yes, back then almost everything from China/Taiwan WAS cheap AND crappy!), because at that point I needed quantity over quality in order to stretch every dollar.

    Now, twenty years later, I actually still have most of that stuff (Allied, Stanley, etc.). Newer additions are typically ChannelLock, Craftsman, Milwaukee, and similar, but now nearly all tools are China-made. Only a few specialty manufacturers still have US factories. However, all of the historically good tools are still good tools. When we still had Sears up here, I would look for the tools that were hiding in the back and covered with dust, as usually those were still the US-made ones. Honestly, though, I'm not sure that there was any discernable difference between the two (I just felt better not buying something made half-a-world away).
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,073
    "group of guys decided to steal that box ..."
    Is there a story here? :)

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,078
    qbrozen said:

    "group of guys decided to steal that box ..."
    Is there a story here? :)

    I'm sure there is, but I'm not really able to tell it other than to say that it would have taken at least two (more likely four) men to remove it from my truck, which was parked outside the entrance of a busy store that I entered only minutes before. So, somebody had to have seen something quite suspicious clear as day, yet there was not a soul willing to speak up about it.

    That event definitely solidified my zero tolerance policy on thievery. It literally shocks me how tolerant others are of this behavior, though.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,599
    X2 on Mr Shiftright's point about jackstands. And don't skimp on jackstands. Buy the obviously sturdily built ones that cost more and supposed to carry much more than your vehicle could ever put on them.

    I have a jack from Harbor Freight. It's great. My jackstands are really good ones. My shade tree neighbor who did mechanical work in his garage always had really tuff stands. One day I drove by going home and saw a car rotated about 30 degrees along the long axis. The jack on one side had slipped and the stands didn't catch the right parts because the car moved, but the stands and jack on the middle and other side had worked. He was lifting the whole car to do something...

    I also have one of his old jacks missing the saddle that catches the body. He asked if I wanted it because I occasionally borrowed one of his jacks so I could lift front and rear of the Cobalt to rotate tires.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,087
    Typical. A dealer is faced with confronting the trouble that dealer politics causes for the technicians and all he can do is deny it. From AutoNews

    https://www.autonews.com/fixed-ops-journal/ex-tech-says-he-left-auto-retail-more-control-less-politics
    For former dealership service technician Dan Jentel, the final straw came after a seven-week strike in 2017 by union techs in the Chicago area.

    Local 701 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers gained some improvements in pay and work rules. But Jentel says the work environment in his shop became even more acrimonious between management and labor than it was before the strike — a charge the dealership disputes.
    Jentel had been on the union's bargaining committee during the contract negotiations. He says he decided that moving to another dealership wasn't the answer.

    "You think it's just localized, that it's just happening here," Jentel says. "But when I got into dealing with the union [negotiations] and I'm talking to these other members, it seems like it's an industrywide problem.
    "Somebody else is controlling your paycheck and your work assignments," he says. "I didn't want to start over again and maybe get myself into the same situation."

    Jentel left the dealership, Marquardt of Barrington, in early 2018. Daniel Marquardt, one of the dealership's owners, disputes Jentel's claims of poor union-management relations in the shop.
    "That's his perception, but I don't believe that it's legitimate," Marquardt says. "We have a good relationship with our union steward" and other employees, he says.

    Jentel says he found that he could apply many of the skills he had used in the service department to his new job maintaining industrial machinery at a company that makes office supplies.
    His pay is slightly higher than the base wage of $35.30 an hour that union dealership techs in the Chicago area earn. But now he works a consistent 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekday shift, instead of having to work nights or weekends. If he works more than 40 hours, he gets time-and-a-half.

    "The dealership was hard on me mentally and it's a very physical job, which I didn't mind," Jentel says, Money wasn't the main issue, he insists. "It's what you had to do and endure to make that money," he says, pointing to "the politics." "I love working on cars, but I would be hard-pressed to find myself in a dealership again, knowing what the atmosphere is like."
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,073
    slow news day.

    Man leaves job for better paying position elsewhere. Didn't like former management. More at 10!

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,087
    True. Happens everyday, especially when the management doesn't realize they are part of the problem.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,078
    I had an appointment to have the Takata airbag replacement done on my wife's Forester today. I had a couple errands as well, so I decided to bring my bike into town with me and use it for transport throughout the day... I was really excited, too, since it is the first day this year that I had the opportunity to ride (plus really nice weather, about 30 degrees this morning and warmed to low 50s).

    I get there, unload the bike, talk to the service manager.... they are *really* backed up on the recalls! Apparently Subaru sent them four pallets of parts for the recall, then immediately sent letters to all regional owners to let them know to schedule their appointments. With two techs, they just can't get to them as fast as people are expecting.

    So, I said no worries, tell me when is likely better for same day: He said May 8th, so May 8th it is! I loaded up the bike, drove to work, unloaded the bike, and did my errands with it anyway. :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245
    edited April 2
    I decided to try out my local Mini dealer's service department; they got me in the door with a $55 oil change and multi-point inspection, and I'm getting the brake fluid and coolant changed as well. Before I took the Clubman in I scanned it with my Schwaben(Foxwell) scan tool and found a coolant temperature sensor fault. The dealer confirmed the fault and they are replacing it for a more than reasonable price. The sensor is due in within 24 hrs so if all continues to go well they will be my default choice for servicing the Clubman.

    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

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245
    The Clubman is back and I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the service. As I mentioned, the temperature sensor was replaced and I also went ahead and had the oil pan gasket replaced as a seep was beginning to evolve into a leak. When I picked the car up I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tech had replaced the valve cover gasket and #3 plug to address an intermittent misfire in that cylinder- all at no cost!
    That was a job I didn’t look forward to tackling, so I was especially grateful. 
    So, I should be good to go for another year. 

    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

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