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Right To Repair - A Hot Issue or Big Problem?



  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    This is for the android app only. I haven't seen one yet for the Apple iphone/iPad.
    But that kind of bothers me that it won't connect to the apple product. YOu would think if it has bluetooth capabilities, it wouldn't care what it was.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    you forgot the labor to install these puppies, + mark up + "while we're in there"---you're in $6500, any way you look at it.

    You mean you can't just offer the mechanic a case of beer? (sarc, TIC )
    Then we get the "My Uncle, Brother, Cousin, Neighbor....Used to be a mechanic and he said.....It only takes a couple of hours to put one of these in and if I brought you the part I could save myself some money" (sarc TIC continued)

    Dang that actually looks funny getting to twist that around and throw back out here. Consumer "experts" told consumers trash like that starting way back in the 70's and it was never effectivley challenged because there wasn't anyway to make the counterpoint heard. Combine that with shop owners who didn't have adequate buisness training and the shops simply rolled over and took the losses on the chin. All of that is a contributing factor to where we find ourselves today, and why some shops are supporting R2R in the belief that it will rescue their floundering businesses. It won't.

    Also, who warranties the labor when the rebuild screws up?

    The rebuilder does, it's part of their agreement nationwide. Jasper does the same thing, as do many of the quality suppliers.

    No matter how you cut it, the Audi owner ends up holding the bag.

    Then they should have bought a Ford or a GM. Or if they insist that they want to keep on believing they bought an appliance instead of a machine then maybe they should give up on cars, and use public transportation.

    Transportation costs money, whether your seeing it go out in monthly payments (thats actually the most expensive way) or service and repair costs it will cost you money to have and use a machine for transportation.

    As for the MINI sunroof, that's just bad engineering. There's no excuse or apology for it.

    Again, you had a choice BEFORE you bought the MINI and you chose it. If the sunroof issue bothers you, you should try and understand how the dang thing goes about turning the AC compressor on and just what it might cost to correctly address that. Now sure someone will turn around and hack in a solution and be all full of themselves over it, but there are reasons that control of the AC clutch is left to the PCM based on command inputs from the driver and the climate controls and hacking in a fix does create problems elsewhere in and for the system.

    As for the Porsche---no, that fix was done by pros, and it worked out great. Good as new. Long live the easy-out

    I've had to remove a number of broken crank bolts, but no studs since none of the cars I typically work with use a stud there. "Easy outs" work great, when the bolt will still turn out easily. All they are in many cases is a very hard tool broken off close to the middle of a case hardened bolt. Then it takes a lot more care, precision, and experience to get the bolt out than it should have in the first place.

    But sure, amateurs can hack something up. I've seen Porsche connecting rod caps with vice-grip marks on them----now that's scary.

    But they would argue that they have done it that way for years and never had a problem before!

    I once road tested a vehicle for state inspection and noticed an undesireable amount of play in the steering. I found one of the tie rod ends mechanics wired back together.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,709
    Yeah, that torque my be android only, but there are plenty of other apps.

    After I bought the dongle and failed to connect it, I went searching. As is apple's habit, they lock down every damned aspect of their products, including the bluetooth. Opinion seems to be that a manufacturer of a peripheral has to pay up for apple to add them to the permitted list. Until then, the iPhone just refuses to connect to it.

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

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,709
    Aha! That's the crucial bit of info you were leaving out.

    '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
    Oh, consumers are supposed to have pre-knowledge of all factory engineering decisions before they buy a car?

    This sounds like blaming the victim to me. You're really stretchin' here... :P

    Automakers make it sound so great, so easy...."we have ONSTAR"...."we offer FREE maintenance!" "JD Powers ranks us first in reliability!"

    And then reality sets in when you're facing an expensive repair.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    Automakers make it sound so great, so easy...."we have ONSTAR"...."we offer FREE maintenance!" "JD Powers ranks us first in reliability!"

    They all have been trying to claim lower maintenance costs as a selling point for as long as I can remember, then when the reality of what repairs do cost is revealed everyone tries to lay blame on shops and technicians.

    How do you think the public would react to a car today if they advertised what the average owner can really expect pay each year for servicing?

    Oh, consumers are supposed to have pre-knowledge of all factory engineering decisions before they buy a car?

    LOL, how about if they just understand that checking and adding oil when it was needed is normal, and that cars break and you'll need someone trained and equipped to fix it and get it back on the road and no, it's not going to be free.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited December 2011
    what the average owner can really expect pay each year for servicing?

    We offer that here too. :shades:

    True Cost to Own
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't think most consumers blame independent repair shops for the cost of repairs. Maybe a few shoot the messenger but most understand that it's the complexity of the car and the fact that they aren't BUILT to be fixed.

    Ever tried to take a transmission out of an Audi A8?---well lotsa luck with that. Book rate is 18 hours R&R !! :surprise: That's $2500 where I live, without actually fixing a thing.

    Now tell me that's not just nuts.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    Ever tried to take a transmission out of an Audi A8?---well lotsa luck with that. Book rate is 18 hours R&R !! That's $2500 where I live, without actually fixing a thing.

    Mitchell On Demand. 12.1hrs. That's $907 here. For remove and install. There are some additions, they allow .9 to add the rear main seal, and .6 if your installing a reman.

    The Remove/Install and Overhaul time is 21.1 that's $1582 and remember I'm the HIGHEST shop in my town and on par with the highest within 20 miles of me.

    Here are some A4 and A6 CVT parts, including the CVT chain/belt.

    Here are some fun details (scroll down) for tips on just what it takes to rebuild one of these.

    Remember too, demand for the parts plays a significant role when it comes to availability. But if you really want something bad enough you can get it. The problem with these CVT's is can you actually do the work if you had the parts?

    Pulling a tranny on an A8, nope haven't done one and don't ever expect to. Could I do it? Trust me, I do much more difficult work than that all the time. I'd trade you a set of 6.0 injectors for that transaxle in a heartbeat.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    edited December 2011
    Now why does it stop at 2006? The "true cost to own" as compared to trading in when the payments are gone plummets dramatically. I'll argue that is a cost to use calculator if the owner then trades in and gets a different car and starts the process all over again.

    True cost to own should be broken down and shown year by year, with the first five years also displaying the total of the monthly payments. Then when those are gone show what the vehicle costs to own for the next three years while throwing in a transmission overhaul. Then another three years and lets have done all of the struts, springs, and maybe even drop in an remanufactured engine. Then lets run it on another five years with various repairs scattered in.

    Now compare that final number to what the consumer would have spent if they had replaced the car every five years and you get the cost to "OWN" and it's a heck of a lot less than what they would have paid out for even the total for two cars using the calculator, let alone three. Using a Ford Explorer, we are talking some $70,000 in the consumers bank account (if not a whole lot more).

    Remember people who make money selling cars have no interest in the consmers seeing the facts presented in their true light, people who fix cars for a living rarely get heard and that calculator is a prime example of someone not wanting to tell the whole story. In fact, seeing who wrote the article attached to the calculator, I'm not surprised that it cuts off short of explaining why and how we can really make a difference for the consumer.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    It starts with 2006 models. We didn't start collecting all the data before that.

    TCO numbers can help you predict longer term results. If you have a rig that's expensive to run for five years, chances are it's not going to improve with age.

    Shifting gears, this article may be of interest to those of you in the business (well, if you're in the business you already have on the ground experience with this).

    Consumers Skip Car Maintenance Due to Tough Economy, Survey Finds (Inside Line)

    Some of us (me :shades: ) like to gamble in good times.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited December 2011
    No way you're doin' in it 12, and especially not for a first-timer. Mitchell's is wrong on that one. Try All Data, includes attaching all the parts, etc. And accessibility problems might even increase it. I've seen the job--quite frankly, it looks impossible to get out without some agonizing efforts. Maybe some tricky special tools would help a lot. "There's always a way" and experience sure helps.

    Thank you kindly for the belt tip. I'll check it out (trying to help a friend out) and if they really have it, I'll pass on the info. $600 for a belt--that's interesting, isn't it?

    Anyway, Audi wont' sell it to you--which was my point.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    No way you're doin' in it 12, and especially not for a first-timer. Mitchell's is wrong on that one.

    Myth #1. How do you think they come up with these labor times? Do they actually perform every single possible repair three to five times in order to time them and get an average? Do you think that the O.E's themselves actually study every labor operation?

    Myth #2. Have you ever met me? Stood inside my shop and watched me work? How can you be sure what I can and cannot do? That kind of disrespect among techs, towards each other, shops towards each other, the media towards all of the shops and techs combined is one of the greatest hurdles that the trade has to overcome. Are you simply making that judgement because you feel you couldn't do it, or have done it?

    This will come across as arrogant and but if it wasn't for that edge of ego, I would have walked away from this trade decades ago. "IF" that time is legit, I'll match it the first time I do a simple R&R of the assembly. I don't waste any time fighting corroded fasteners, I expect to use a torch or inductor to heat them and get them loose and I do that before I put a socket or wrench on them and risk breaking one. (The mini-ductor is a great tool for this). The 1/4 Million I have invested in my tools and equipment mean that somewhere in my box (all precisely placed for quick access) will be the right tool to access any fastener in whatever location I might find it. Combine that with service information on my diagnostic tool cart, and all of the O.E instructions and specs are within easy reach without me leaving the service bay and you should have a picture in your mind that everything about the shop set-up is about making me be efficient.

    Anytime I see a transaxle labor over five hours, I check service information for the correct proceedure, and then I take a few minutes to investigate the possiblility of pulling the engine and transaxle together in order to do the job in greater space. I suspect, and no I haven't even bothered to look that this Audi just might be one of those candidates. The intermingling of the engine, transaxle, and final drive might be a real wresling match in the confines of the chassis, but drop all three into the open using equipment designed to do just that and "More work, becomes less work" and the job is not only easier it's more fun.

    There are several kinds of experience at play here and product familiarity always has it's own special place which normally plays to the strenghts for a dealership technician. Thirty five years of fixing anything that ever rolled in the door has it's own set of experience that should be respected as well.

    Mitchells time is 30% greater than the actual warranty flat rate time which allegedly is how long the job should take according to Audi 7.9hrs. That time I won't make the first time, nor maybe the second. By the third, I'd probably beat the time, but I've always been able to do that.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    I've seen three stories in the last two months about how consumers are spending more on maintenance and repairs because they don't want to assume the debt associated to having a new car.

    Studies shows that you can't trust most research. ;)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Think there's a leading question involved eh? :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I've had my nose in there. I'd take your bet..we'll start you at 9, turn out the lights at 5, and I'll give you 2 to 1 than transaxle won't be on the floor and back in by 5. No skillsaws or cutting torches allowed. I also want video and audio rights to seeing you disconnect and attaching the exhaust system at the manifold outlet :P

    An EMT will be on site.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    So what, you cannot drop that portion of the exhaust with the engine and transaxle and steering rack to make it more accessable?

    The trick is to figure out how they build it at the factory and then create and use a service proceedure that mimics the build process. That's why Ford techs figured out in order to be faster at major enigne repairs on many of the F-series pick-ups, they pull the cab off. GM techs have for a long time raised the bed of the pick-up instead of dropping the tank when servicing the fuel pump, heck we even do that with some models to replace brake lines. Major interior work like R&R a instrument panel, often times made way easier by removing the front seats.

    BTW at 7.9, I don't see Audi techs mutinous over the time so there must be a way to meet it or at least be close to it. Top techs learn to figure out easier ways to do as many things as possible and not just fight the tough steps.

    We can do your time study any time. Just find someone to pay for it. Three R&R's. One to learn the vehicle, the second to rehearse and try combinations. The third to see how fast it can be done. Then the real test, bring in a fresh vehicle and you'll be surprised at how easy this really should be when the fourth R&R is performed and that's the one you can time. There is a reason that they don't do real time studies anymore and havent for two decades. Imagine what the cost would be to do just this one labor operation. If we needed an EMT it would be for who ever had to write that check.

    BTW, "Flat Rate" isn't flat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    What does Mitchell show for an R&R clutch and flywheel, 2003 Mini Cooper S (supercharged), as flat rate? I've done that one WITH a top notch mechanic, and fully equipped shop, and we didn't get perplexed, so not much time wasted---, so I'd be interested as to what Mitchell says.

    I ordered up those Audi CVT parts--so we'll see.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    11.0 hours.
    .3 for the clutch fork shaft bushings
    .1 for the release bearing
    .3 for R&R flywheel
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I'm with Shifty on this entire discussion. While I respect your knowledge, cardoc, your responses defend bad car design.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    I had to consider exactly how to respond to this as there are several approaches that could be taken. The main thing that I have to keep reminding myself is the whole reason I have even bothered to spend any time here is the publics (consumers) need to learn what is really going on inside the shops. They also need to see that many of the "respected" sources of information about how to get their car serviced are completely wrong with many of their assumptions. No-where have I seen a strong voice working to bring the realities of what technicians face day in and day out into focus for the consumer.

    As I read your short response, it says to me, that you want to believe everything Shifty is saying in disregard of the fact that I have far from a pedestrian grasp on the trade and how to really go about servicing today's cars. Where you really get it wrong is that I am defending "bad designs". Far from it, I'd be the first to line up many engineers in the desire that some of the trash they have thrown at us get's to be the last thing they see on this planet. (hyperbole) Standing shoulder to shoulder with those engineers would be the writers who really haven't got a clue about what it takes to run a shop or repair today's cars. All they want is to sell their story, so they write it to tell every reader what they think the consumer wants to hear. (You can find good examples of that right on this site)
    Opatience summed it up quite well a few responses ago so I don't need to repeat it here.

    While you want to voice an opinion and support shifty, I am taking the difficult side of using facts and real world experience to have to show that the stereotypes no longer fit the expectations. Shifty comes from a time where marketing inside the trade largely consisted of undercutting the other shops price and both shops continually claiming that the other had no idea what they were doing. He wasted no time trying to say that I could not handle a basic R&R of a transaxle in an uncommon car, when he really doesn't know me, my experience, training, work habits, and investment towards my career. As someone who wants to represent himself as knowlegable about repairing cars, he needs to learn to respect the real professionals and not stoop to such insulting remarks.

    This entire thread is supposed to be about the right to repair act and whether it is needed or not. Supporters claim that the tools, training, and software that we need isn't available to us. The facts are that just isn't true, there is nothing that the dealerships for the manufacturers that I choose to support can get, that I cannot. I currently support GM, Ford, Chrysler, Mazda and Honda all the way up to 2012 model year vehicles, and I have to spend the money to catch back up with Toyota, Lexus, Nissan and Infinity. I'm a one man shop so my pockets are no where near as deep as many others, and yet I have accomplished this over the last 10-12 years through hard work, and thousands of hours of study and training. I'll also say I have accomplished this in spite of all of the "mechanics are just out to rip you off" articles and TV news stories that I have seen through the years.

    I don't like all of the expense that I have had to cover in order to take care of my customers, and I damn sure don't appreciate being called a crook for doing so. Your perception that I am supporting bad designs as a result of all of this is really just part of a consumers wishful thinking that everything about fiixing cars is supposed to be easy, and if your really smart, you'd be doing something else for a living. Shifty even went there with one comment about why am I working retail, when the clear answer is because the consumers need people with this kind of training, committment, and skill out here. R2R proponents largely have not been as committed to staying up to date with the technology in the cars, and they incorrectly believe it will solve the gaps in the information that their aftermarket tools have. It won't.

    "Ignorance" that's a harsh word but it's hard to think of a better one at the moment. Everything is changing so fast these days that unless someone has had a habit of continually studying all of the new systems for the last twenty years they just don't know what they don't know. I am on the opposite side of that equation as a professional technician, shop owner, writer and instructor.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited December 2011
    That's pretty good. Actual time was about 12hours...basically you have to take the entire front of the car off to replace the clutch, plus $1000 for parts. So a clutch job is about $2200 plus here in California
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,986
    I have people who get all bent out of shape when a clutch job breaks $600.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That's funny. I know similar people who think you can have a car painted for $600---and I have to tell them that you can't even buy the good quality paint for that.

    One way I've tried to explain mechanic's fees is to tell folks that you'd readily pay someone who builds kitchen cabinets a great deal per hour, but squawk when a trained mechanic has to R&R superchargers, reprogram ECM modules and re-assemble a hundred pieces on the floor that have to propel you at 80 mph safely. :P
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited December 2011

    Parts is parts.

    Screw the flatpack together with my Harbor Freight cordless drill. :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Thanks for your reply, which I read carefully.

    I've been a car nut for decades, ever since I was four years old. I spend a lot of time reading about cars, but, to my regret, I have little mechanical aptitude. If I had good mechanical aptitude I'd be doing what you're doing for a living. Therefore, we approach this discussion from different points of view.

    I generally agree with what you say, in terms of the amount of knowledge and skills required to be a good auto technician today, and the misperceptions that much of the public has. Nevertheless, on the topic of designs, I think Shifty is correct in saying that some cars are more complex, and, thus, more difficult and expensive to repair than they need to be. He cited his Mini's sunroof and the (FWD) Audi CVT transmission as exampless. I think both examples are inexcusable, and the fact that Mini and Audi are premium brands should mean that these components should be more durable than their counterparts in mass market cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Sure if you don't slam the doors on the cabinets and you don't use the drill more than 10 X a year. IKEA is pretty much crap on a stick. Would you really use IKEA brake pads? :P
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited December 2011
    Maybe not, but I'll sure price pads at RockAuto.

    If I'm working an outdoor construction site somewhere, maybe I don't mind my cheap Harbor Freight drill walking off so much as my Panasonic EY6406.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    cheap tools always seem to let you down when you most need them, but I do see your rational, certainly.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Massachusetts will be voting on Right to Repair in 2012. Either the legislature will approve the referendum or it'll go to a public vote.

    Right to Repair ballot spot approved by state secretary (
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