Almost everyone would like to save money on having their vehicles repaired. This is possible by taking time to find and learning how to "work with" the right shop. A little knowledge goes a long way, in winning the auto repair game.
Time is literally money, in a modern auto repair facility. Repair shops, highly pay the skilled technicians, required to repair today’s vehicles. Their skills can save thousands of dollars in unneeded repair, when properly used.
Things that clients can easily do can make the work go much faster.
In a shop that bills for time spent, this will save a great deal of money. For instance, even the method of requesting repairs affects the diagnostic process. Asking for specific services, rather than giving symptoms, will almost guarantee an expensive and poor experience.
In most shops, the technicians learn the client’s request through a written work order. They do their best to meet the client’s expectations on "what we request." Most technicians are highly skilled and can do this quickly and efficiently.
What a technician cannot do, is differentiate what the client wants, from what the client request.
For example, a vehicle may run rough, for a few minutes and only first thing in the morning. Rather than giving the symptoms, the client may state, "I need a tune-up." This may seem to make sense. In effect, the client has improperly diagnosed the problem, and requested a specific and incorrect service.
The work-order states, "Tune Up," and there is no mention of any symptom. A technician checks the tune up items. The spark plugs may be worn and the air, and the fuel filter need replacement. They could also notice and suggest replacement of a worn serpentine belt and dirty coolant. The client drove the vehicle to the shop and the engine is fully warmed. It does not run rough, nor was that mentioned as a problem.
They do the work to a very high standard, with everything precisely correct and as requested. Next morning the vehicle runs rough when started, because the original problem still exists.
We could have prevented this, by simply stating the symptom, rather than ordering a service.
Suppose the client stated, "My vehicle runs rough, when started, first-thing in the morning." Here, the shop could arrangements to drop the vehicle off the night before. The technician would employ the tests to monitor factors relating to running, before starting the vehicle. Because they know the symptom and the conditions are duplicated, the problem is quickly found. The cause is a leaking intake manifold, which does not show when the engine warms. They make the proper repair, quickly and at a much lower cost.
Sometimes the exact problem is difficult to explain.
Asking to have the technician ride with client, and pointing out the problem, will greatly speed diagnosis. Finding the problem is much quicker, when the repair person knows what the symptoms are.
Being too general in the complaint can also waste time. For instance, "Has a noise on bumps." Driving the vehicle, several noises are apparent. Many have been there for years, and the driver is not concerned with them. The "new noise" is what the driver is worried about.
The technician drives thousands of vehicles and cannot know which noise is new and, which have always been there. Trying to do a proper job, they diagnose every noise. This takes much time, and the client pays far more than they wished. Pointing out the noise that is the concern could easily avoid this.
Specifically giving symptoms and communicating wishes, saves a great deal of time and money.
The technician can also repair the vehicle properly the first time, in far more cases. These simple methods, in the right shop, will save a great deal of money. It will also prevent many problems.Both the client and the shop win, and that's the name of that game.