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Right To Repair - A Hot Issue or Big Problem?

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Comments

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,810
    The CVT has a natural "slipping" feeling to it so for the moment it feels as though it has been restored but that is the equivalent of the placebo effect. The chain and pulleys are now contacting each other and wear will be occurring at a much greater rate.

    That's contradictory. Placebo effect is when you think something is happening and nothing is happening. As you stated in your second sentence, something IS in fact happening. So its not a placebo effect and its not snake oil. Again, I'm not arguing good or bad. I think we both obviously agree that different types of fluids produce different effects, hence not snake oil. We aren't arguing mechanics in this instance, just language.

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

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    LOL, so now we are into the etymology of the phrase as used. It may not fit your interpretation but it has made it's way into ours. We have quite a few "mechanics in a can" that fall under our use of the phrase. :shades:
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    edited March 2012
    OK , we all know what a wonderful tech you are. You've told us in great detail. You are to be commended for your accomplishments.

    However, you totally missed the point I do believe.

    A pristine Audi come in with a bad transmission. It's shot. Yes, the proper way to fix it is a total overhaul.

    The trouble is, the cost of such repairs exceed the value of the car. Since you work on Northstars I don't have to tell you how many nice Cadillacs have been totaled due to a Northstar oil leak or head gasket problem.

    So, the customer is told..." You can take your car to a junkyard or we can TRY to buy some time by putting in ford Type F fluid. It may not work at all, it may last five days, five weeks or five months."

    I don't think anyone suggested doing this in an attempt to dump the car on an unuspecting new owner or a car dealer. I know this happens but I believe in this case, it was a matter of...Do I call a junkyard for you, or do we spend 100.00 to try something?

    Am I correct, Mr. S?

    On this subject, given the complexity of today's cars and with 150/hr and higher labor rates coupled with the price of parts, I think we are going to see many a nice car "totaled" when a nasty repair hits.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,875
    I've never trusted CVT transmissions, and I really didn't like them in the Nissan Murano, nor the A4 Audi.

    I can't imagine why anyone thought they were a good idea. Then again, I hear pet rocks sold well once.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6T
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    This whole thing was presented by the way, as an extraordinary case of when you intentionally VIOLATE certain common sense rules---it was not intended to be a justification for a new way of doing things.

    So really there's no reason to be defensive about anything. :P

    The owner is delighted and grateful to have had the extra use of the car. Think of it as having kept someone's old dog alive for another summer.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,810
    I hate beating a horse and we may be a bit off track here, but I feel the need to clarify this.

    If you are using the term snake oil to describe a product that you believe can cause damage, then you are not being clear. Snake oil does not harm you. The term describes that which has no effect but will not do any damage. So if you really think something can do damage and you call it snake oil, you are misleading people by making them think it won't hurt to try it.

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

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Oh, I understood you perfectly!

    The dog comparsion is a good one.

    " I can put him down now or I can try a controversal drug that just may give him some more quality time"

    It is, kinda sad when an otherwise pristine car becomes "totalled" when one major component fails.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    edited March 2012
    It is, kinda sad when an otherwise pristine car becomes "totalled" when one major component fails.

    And at that we have worked our way back to common ground. With one caveat. If the car is genuinely pristine then the cost to replace the transmission may well be justifiable. Even at 6K it would be many times less than what it would cost to replace the entire car. Properly repaired it would do everything a new one can, and that is provide transportation.

    We prove to consumers day in and day out that repairing their car correctly and driving it for 20 years and 300,000 miles is cheaper than owing four different cars for the same period of time. Cheaper on the order of about 1/2 the cost if not less.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    the origins of the term are interesting: (from WIKI)

    "Chinese labourers on railroad gangs involved in building the First Transcontinental Railroad first gave snake oil to Europeans with joint pain. When rubbed on the skin at the painful site, snake oil was claimed to bring relief. This claim was ridiculed by rival medicine salesmen, and in time, snake oil became a generic name for many compounds marketed as panaceas or miraculous remedies whose ingredients were usually secret, unidentified, or mis-characterized and mostly inert or ineffective."

    So you're right then, Type F transmission fluid can't be snake oil, since it is identified and, at least for now, effective.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I think both sides of that can be argued.

    First of all, people get tired of their cars. They simply don't want to drive the same car for 20 years or 300,000 miles even though that may be the most economical thing to do.

    But, take that Audi as an example.

    It's worth maybe 4000.00. The owner knows it's been well maintained. It looks and runs great. Other than the bad transmission, it's a nice car with say, 120,000 miles on it.

    So, he decides to ignore it's "value" and spends the 6000.00 figuring it'll be good for another five years.

    Two months later, the A/C quits and it doesn't "just need a charge". It's a 1200.00 repair. Fixed! Then something else breaks...Fixed!

    Then a year later a guy runs a red light and totals the car!

    By this time, it's worth 3000.00 and that is what he gets! the insurance company doesn't give a rip about the repairs that have been done.

    A person deciding to spend more on a car than it's worth needs to REALLY take a hard look at the rest of the car. Otherwise it can turn into a never ending money pit.

    " It would do everything a new one can"

    Well...perhaps. What about the lack of safety features on a 20 year old car vs. a newer model?

    Want to trust it on a long trip?

    To be fair, I can argue the other point of view too.

    As a shop owner I would definatly push fixing rather than replacing!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    When I think of "snake oil" I think of the many "miracle" oil additives that have come and gone, Frantz oil filters, cow magnets and things like that.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    FYI.. No response from the reporter(s) after one week.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    It is, kinda sad when an otherwise pristine car becomes "totalled" when one major component fails.

    It is indeed sad, frustrating and also a big waste. It's never happened to me, but I wonder if that'll be the eventual end for my wife's '07 A4 Quattro 2.0T automatic. It's got 58,000 miles, and everything works perfectly, but...it's an Audi.

    After a lot of back and forth, and numerous tests, the dealer finally acknowledged that its oil consumption of a quart about every 1,000 miles was excessive. They took out the engine and rebuilt it with numerous new parts, including rings, and it no longer burns oil. In fact, it runs beautifully. I first reported the problem, and had the dealer log my complaint into their records at ~45,000 miles, while the car was still covered under the factory warranty. The work was performed at ~51,500 miles, after the warranty had expired. I felt relieved, but am wondering how long it will be until another major repair is required. The dilemna is that we love the car. Incidentally, the Quattro equipped A4s have the 6-speed automatic (8-speed on the new ones).
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,395
    A problem is that having a code output doesn't mean the part hinted at by the code is actually the problem. The diagnosis needs to scientific and needs to eliminate parts as problems. I wonder how many have bought parts needlessly?

    I noted the Alero in the article. I don't know what year and which GM security system, but I thought the systems would not shut down while the car was running: they only prevented starting if a security breech were discovered.

    I think, also, of a neighbor who is good with brut force repairing cars and often is right on with far beyond shade tree ability. A car had a 24-valve GM motor about 15 years old, and disconnecting the MAF let it keep running instead of dying. Replaced expensive MAF. Then it was the MAP sensor replaced, because disconnecting it let the engine keep running, so it must have been the problem. They finally took it to a mechanic with skills and I can't remember what part was defective... oxygen sensor? But that was what it needed. The code scanner and the troubleshooting all wasted a couple hundred in parts.

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

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    I noted the Alero in the article. I don't know what year and which GM security system, but I thought the systems would not shut down while the car was running: they only prevented starting if a security breech were discovered.

    You are correct. The security system cannot shut the car down once it is running for more than two seconds. In fact a failure of the system after that point shuts the theft deterrent system down and it goes into a "Fail Enable" strategy that is intended to prevent the driver from being stranded.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    A problem is that having a code output doesn't mean the part hinted at by the code is actually the problem.

    Sure, and the comments to the article talked about that. One wag pointed out that some mechanics out there seem to use the brute force method and just replace every part that may be associated with a code.

    Present company excepted of course. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    As a private party, I'd just as soon spend 5 hours on diagnosis rather than 1 hour guessing with my money. Not only don't codes often tell you what's wrong, sometimes they completely mislead you, especially with CAN systems. They'll throw codes that really have nothing to do with the problem (directly).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited March 2012
    Click of CarTalk fame weights in. Or is it Clack?

    Either way, "Ray Magliozzi, co-host of the popular Car Talk radio show that airs on National Public Radio, testified in favor of the legislation as a consumer and independent repair shop owner.

    “This legislation protects consumer choice and levels the playing field for independent repair shops,” he said. “Right now, many repairers do not have access to the information and the customer pays big for that disadvantage.”

    Consumers and Local Car Repair Experts Testify in Support of Right To Repair (massrighttorepair.com)
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    Click and Clack are very entertaining, but wouldn't be employable as technicians working on today's cars.

    From the side bar

    "Just yesterday, a repair cost the customer several hundred dollars more than if I could have simply gained access to the code. I support Right to Repair because it will allow me to buy all the repair and diagnostic information I need to service my customers."

    -Glenn Wilder, Wilder Brothers American Car Care,N. Scituate, MA


    Why doesn't Mr. Wilder have the tools and information to fix his customers cars? It's all available, but it isn't cheap. You have to be willing to make the investment.

    It’s sad that big car manufacturers have resorted to scare tactics in order to fight your right to repair your car where you want. The Right to Repair bill would simply allow me to buy all auto repair and diagnostic information so I can compete for your business on a level playing field. Period.”"

    -Barry Steinberg, Owner, Direct Tire and Auto Service


    Owner of a multi million dollar facility who hasn't made 1/4 of the investment that I have.

    "When a customer trusts me to repair their family vehicle, they’ll be driving home our reputation. Ultimately the customer should have the freedom to choose where they want to take their car and how much they want to pay. After all, it’s their car, they paid for it. "

    -Dave Gallerani, Cape Auto, Plymouth MA


    That's right Dave the customer should have that choice. Now if you just got the training, tools an software that is avilable you'd be able to fill that gap.

    "This is about protecting small businesses and jobs – I drive around my town and businesses you never thought would go under are gone, closed up. Who’s to say the guy who fixes my car isn’t next if he has to turn away long-time customers like me?"

    -Jeff and Sherry McLeod, Marshfield Mass
    .


    Of course the small shop is going to fail they aren't investing in their future with their people and with the tools and software required to fix the cars today. Legislation isn't going to stop that from happening. So many shops live week to week trying to be the cheapest that they can be, and that means they don't have the resources that are required to try and keep pace with the technology on the cars. That means they have to try and compete for just the easiest work, and send the hard stuff back to the dealeror to an independent that is making the investement. In a lot of cases, the cut throat approach thy are taking is not only going to do them in, they will take a lot of other shops with them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That is quite true. Any independent shop that isn't spending a fair amount of time and money on equipment and training will see their share of the pie shrink and shrink year to year.

    I remember when the first mass-produced electronic fuel injection came out in the 1968 VW squarebacks. I was just starting to tinker with cars---all of us young 'uns were all too eager to learn how this system worked (wasn't that hard) and many of the middle-age mechanics were telling us that nobody needs that "electronic crap"--they refused to even learn about it.

    Well it wasn't long before those guys were either having to play serious catch-up, or leave the game.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "But warranty work, once the mainstay of service departments, has plummeted in the past decade as vehicles got vastly better. At most shops, it dropped from around 70 percent of daily work orders to 30 percent or less.

    Likewise, the intervals between maintenance work have grown. Spark plugs last 100,000 miles now, and some synthetic oil can go 10,000 miles between changes.

    Consequently, no one is quite sure what service departments — and their critical financial contributions — will look like in a few years.

    "When you look at advanced technology, we'll have to have a different business model at our dealerships."

    And more pressure on the independents, no doubt.

    Mechanic's role shifting as vehicles get more high-tech (Detroit News)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    There may be some tech solutions out there to address this problem...one company is producing a device that monitors a car's performance and problems:

    CARVOYANT

    Works like this:

    "By signing up with our service, we will notify a shop when a client with a repair need in the local area is seeking a place to get work done to their car. The service is simple, a shop contracts with Carvoyant and we sell a device to install in the shop’s customer’s car. Shop staff help client’s download our app to the client’s phone. Our system will ‘listen’ for messages coming from the driver’s car. The shop will be messaged when there is a service need occurring on the car. This notificatin allows the shop to reach out to the client informing the client what is wrong and an idea of what it might cost. The shop and client then schedule the appointment. No longer will a shop need to mail costly brochures as WE tell the shop when someone needs auto service attention!"

    Also check out the home page.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    I'm sorry was that another add for an expensive technical school that's promising fantastic wages "for the right technician"?

    Other than that a lot of what they are saying is true. The complexity has been skyrocketing, while the regular maintenance has been dwindling. Add in the kind of price pressure that unwitting consumer advocates pile on while the cost to be tooled and trained is prohibitive and you have a trade that has to collapse before it can begin to move forward.

    Steve do you know where the cost of getting something for free adds into all of this?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I read it as "the need for regular maintenance has been dwindling."

    do you know where the cost of getting something for free adds into all of this?

    No, but I know where the savings are. :)
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    I looked into Carvoyant, lots of promises for what they want to do, but they are along way from having a workable system. While their device is only $20, they will require the user to have an active smart phone in the car, and then pay a $5 a month fee to use their app.

    It's only designed to support global OBDII, which represents less than 10% of the systems that are on many newer cars. I'll beta it for them and see just how far they can go. We need an effective method of having telemetrics support and this could be a start, but in the end the tool will need to support more vehicle systems to try and level the playing field. (It will have to support every system to actually do that)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well with newer cars it's still OBD II with CAN protocol, right? There's no OBD III yet although rumors abound.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    Well with newer cars it's still OBD II with CAN protocol, right? There's no OBD III yet although rumors abound.

    Most "code pullers" are only global OBDII capable, that makes them limited to just the engine performance standard that OBDII can present. Anything other than that is beyond their capability.

    As far as OBIII, what do you think On-Star, Sync, etc really are? The manufacturers that have the capability already had to come up with fancy names to market the technology. The full implementation of the system only requires that GM, Ford, and others forward emissions failure information to a government collection data base.

    Now for the really fun part. Start watching the R2R facebook page.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Massachusetts-Right-to-Repair-Coalition/1988994034- 70180

    Over the last couple of weeks they have been getting responses from knowledgeable technicians explaining why R2R isn't needed. In one exchange you could see one of the supporters getting the real facts, and found out that the information and tools that they needed was really available. The result? The thread dissapeared! That has resulted in spin off site, technicians against R2R and the information value while generous is being overshadowed by the entertainment value.

    https://www.facebook.com/saynotoSB2204
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,023
    Something happened yesterday that made me think of this post.

    2004 Buick Lesabre was towed in. AAA had told the owner the battery was OK but couldn't figure out why the car wouldn't start. The shop it was towed to last week couldn't figure the car out either. They called me while I was in Corning NY teaching. It was towed to my shop and dropped off Friday. I finally got to look at it yesterday. The first thing that I had to do was charge the battery, which after charging four hours was able to do the job but barely, because it tests bad with both the carbon pile and capacitive testing routines.

    The main reason the car wouldn't start is the PK3 chip inside one of the keys had failed. Combine that with a very weak battery, numerous attempts to try and start the car with poor system voltage, and the fact that there was likely a code cleared that was formerly allowing the car to run under a fail enable strategy, and a car that was starting suddenly became a no-start, won't crank.

    I was able to take and retrain the car to accept it's Valet key. The low system voltage can cause the theft deterrent system to learn a false value on rare occasions and lock out a key that someone is trying to use.

    Anyway when I called to inform the customer of my findings, and that I had the car running for him I never even got to give him the price of the battery, the moment I confirmed to him that it needed replaced he cut me off and stated that as long as it's running right now he will go get a battery himself.
    He couldn't understand how a AAA tow truck guy ( They are NOT professional technicians with the kind of training required to diagnose today's cars) didn't find the battery to be bad. He also didn't understand how the shop he had the car taken to first didn't find it either. Meanwhile there wasn't enough power in the car to turn my scan tool on let alone actually perform any diagnostics when I first got to the car, VBG.

    The moral of this story is at first he struggled to believe the person who actually diagnosed and fixed his car over two different people who couldn't. When he did get proof that the battery is indeed bad he didn't support my business by making the purchase. He instead went to a parts store to have them install one making the net result of my investment and effort not able to generate the financial return to me and my wife at the level required to allow us to operate in a viable fashion. He got his car fixed, and he still saved himself every penny that he possibly could. The next time his car breaks and no-one else can fix it, I hope that I'm no longer in business. Even then I doubt he will ever realize what it was he actually did to us.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I don't know if you can fault a guy for trying to save a buck. Money is tight all over.

    I assume you got paid for diagnosing the problem.

    Sometimes you have to eat the potatoes without the gravy. :)
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