Chapter 11: The Auto Repair Industry

Chapter 11: The Auto Repair Industry
    Chapter 11: The Auto Repair Industry

    Chapter 11: The Auto Repair Industry

    Consumers should be aware of how the auto repair industry works. When you bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop and enter the office, you re usually greeted by a service writer. It doesn t matter if you go to a dealership, a franchised shop (like Midas or Firestone), or a small independent shop -- more often than not, the service writer is the first person you meet. The service writer acts as an intermediary between you and the repair technician. He tells the technician to inspect the car, the technician informs him what the findings are, and then he comes back to you with the findings. Some shops allow the customer to come into the repair room to see the technician s findings, but many don t.  

    The service writer is evaluated by upper management, which may include the manager of the shop, a director of one or many shops, and/or the owner. The owners of large shops are not usually onsite and function mostly as investors. They re hoping to make a return on their investment. Directors may manage multiple shops or be the head of an entire department, such as the service department at a dealership. 

    Since the service writer is a middleman between the customer and the technician, there are frequent communication problems that can occur. A customer may come into the shop and say that the car makes a squeaking sound when the brakes are applied. The service writer thinks it s the brake pads, so he tells the technician to inspect the brake pads. There may be nothing wrong with the brake pads. What the service writer should have done is write down that there is a squeaking sound when the brakes are applied. Then the technician can diagnose the problem better. Similar communication issues can also occur in the other direction. The technician may explain problems or findings to the service writer and the service writer may fail to relay the information correctly to the customer. 
    The service writer is first and foremost a salesman, not a technician. His knowledge and understanding of how a vehicle works is often not any greater than the customer s. Some service writers can be very knowledgeable about cars; others are not. In either case, when the customer speaks to him, he will appear to understand what is wrong with the vehicle.  
    A major problem with the entire industry, from the technicians to upper management, is that everyone is paid on commission. This means that they are motivated and rewarded to increase sales and raise the price in order to make more money. The services that they suggest are often not damaging to the car; they re just not necessary. They may say that your cooling system needs a flush when it doesn t or they could fudge the numbers on maintenance intervals to increase the frequency of services. Maintenance services are often based on mileage, so it s easy for a shop to say that a service is required at 30,000 miles when it actually isn t due until 90,000 miles. By changing the interval to every 30,000 miles, they sell the service three times instead of one. This is why it is important to review the maintenance chart in the owner s manual of the vehicle. Also, some repairs are needed at an earlier time than what is specified in the owner s manual. This will be based on certain conditions which can include the weather, the driving route, the driver s habits, and other environmental conditions where the vehicle is driven or parked on a regular basis. 

    to be Continued ....

    copyright : ebook The Crawfords Auto Repair Guide to Beginner’s Auto Maintenance and Repair
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