We wish we could say what shop sent us this but we can’t. However we think its good insight from the service writer and shops perspective.
TO ALL CAR OWNERS!
It has become ever more clear to me that people just have completely unrealistic expectations of what to expect when they take their car in for service at a shop.
As someone that works for a dealership, I would like to address some of these things.
I hope everyone reads this and shares with friends and family.
1: Cars break. There are two kinds of car owners out there. Those that buy a car with the expectation that it will run forever and when it just won’t go anymore when the gas pedal is pressed it is time to take it into the shop.
On the other hand there are car owners who understand that cars do eventually break and that at some point they will have to address certain things in a timely manner. This idea is important for the entire rest of the conversation.
2: Cars are complicated. Even base model cars are extremely complicated pieces of machinery. There are multiple networked control units, gobs of emissions equipment, complex suspension designs and the list goes on. In this day and age cars are designed to be both extremely fuel efficient while also being able to meet constantly tightening emissions standards. The result of this is the reliance on hotter running car using way more plastic parts than in the past. This is a recipe for failure alone. The more complicated your car is the more it will be failure prone. Needless to say this is not your father’s 1970 Chevy truck.
3: We don’t work on cars for free. Everyone wants to get their car worked on for cheap. I get it. I cringe when I see some repair bills myself, but I’m also realistic about what it takes to work on cars. When someone asks me to look at their car I may agree and in most cases I can give a relatively robust opinion on what is wrong. If you bring it to my shop I can use some of that $100,000 worth of diagnostic equipment. It baffles me that people think it’s absurd to charge a diagnostic fee. Especially when you consider the overhead of owning the proper equipment just to be in business. Then there is the issue of time. I make money fixing cars. If I am constantly looking at someone’s car with my expensive equipment and then they take it to their shade tree friend to get it fixed, I just lost money. Plain and simple.
4: Don’t treat your car poor then expect it to be the best car on the road. You can’t eat fast food everyday and expect to be healthy. I see this a lot. It’s owner #1 from the first point. Go around the city smacking potholes and listening to the brakes whining to high heaven. Then get mad when I write a $2000 estimate to fix your car. Get your car regularly checked and maintained, in the long run you will save money. Realistically you should be treating your car as an investment. If you buy a brand new car you should expect the maintenance and up keep to be several hundred dollars a year at the minimum when it goes out of warranty.
5: But I just spent $2000 and now the car is broke again? Remember cars break! We do our best to thoroughly address issues preemptively but that does not guarantee 100% that we can foresee what is about to happen in every case. Case in point. There are a whole lot of BMW’s that have starters nearly guaranteed to fail somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-100k miles. It’s $1000 to fix it. There are no warning signs, when it happens it happens. Remember you own a fallible machine that breaks.
6: But you told me this was wrong with my car and you want to replace all this other stuff? This is maybe the hardest one for people to grasp. The idea of root causes and collateral damage. As I mentioned earlier, cars are complicated machines. Chances are if you have a failure in one component of a system was actually caused by another component in the system. We deal with this constantly. Sometimes we don’t know the extent of these damages until we take things apart and get a through inspection. A damaged fuel pump may lead to problems with fuel injectors and sensors. Generally speaking if your radiator hoses blow up its probably because the coolant pump went bad or the thermostat stuck. People have a hard time understanding this relationship between parts and I don’t expect them too. That’s why we do what we do, because we understand. This happens more often than not, so don’t be so shocked when we call you back and have to add another $800 in parts and time. You have to trust that we are giving you good advice.
7: I found this part online 80% cheaper, will you put it on my car? Nope. For one we warranty parts and labor on our repairs. I cannot warranty a part I did not buy. That is a relationship between the supplier that I don’t have with you. Chances are that the part that is 80% cheaper is garbage anyway. We use original equipment parts 90% of the time and the times we use aftermarket parts is when the quality is known. We cannot use cheap parts and guarantee our work.
This was sent to us by a client and the only thing we would like to add is this. You don’t bring your own steak to Fleming’s Steakhouse and ask them to cook it.