What Has Happened to Diagnostics?

Michael Mobile Technician Utah Posted   Latest  
Discussion
Driveability
Emissions
2004 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 5.3L 4-spd (4L60-E)
Evap Large Leak

This week I was called to an end users home to look at a vehicle. He had been told by three shops that he needed a new computer because he had a code in the PCM. I pulled to codes expecting to see some strange code that made no sense. Nope, just a garden variety EVAP code. The customer told me that the rubber hoses and gas cap had been replaced. One of the shops had told him that it would cost $1K to replace the computer and there was no guarantee that it would fix it.

My first thought was that if the front door was shut (purge solenoid), the system would see it as a leak. I removed the hose from the purge solenoid. No vacuum. Used scan tool to run up duty cycle to max. No vacuum. I then used my handy 1 channel scope to test for signal from PCM. I had a nice pattern but no pintle hump. So the circuit was good, however there was no movement and therefore no air flow. I condemned the purge solenoid. 

This should have been easier for this gentlemen than it was. Why did three shops miss this diagnosis? What led the previous shops to believe the computer was bad? I could understand one or even two getting it wrong but all three?

What can we do as a profession to help lift others to a higher standard?

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

CHARGE/PAY for diagnostic work same as they would for four struts and and alignment. That would be a solid five hour ticket that might get done in two. Shop has NO problem charging five. But diag? Nah. Remove diag charge if they buy a repair. Nope. I'm sitting at home watching CNN. Pays the same as doing diag work in my area.

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Jeff Technician
California
Jeff Default
 

Pretty much the same everywhere!

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Minimum 2 hour charge for ANY warning light except washer fluid and TMPS. STOP GIVING AWAY MY TIME!

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

I definitely charged for diagnostic. The customer was relieved that it was just a part instead of the computer. It is sad that the most technical task (diagnostics) is the least valued by customers. I guess the customer thinks "the machine" will tell us all we need to know.

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Jj Technician
Massachusetts
Jj Default
 

There are an unfortunate number of techs that think the same way as the customer in regards to "the machine". Old school and new school alike, I've talked several techs through a diag over the phone because they just chucked whatever part showed up at the top of Snap On's list of fixes. The saddest ones are the ones that have a Modis or better, and then are confused when I tell them to put the…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Most of the time its not the mechanic at fault. Customers don't pay for diag!!!! End of story!!!! For some reason if you tell them a number for diag, they give me this weird face and say "just to check it?" The customers need way more education on what diagnostics actually is!!!!!

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
   

Preach it brother!

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

I do have to admit...90% of the techs i've worked with can't diag a ham sandwich. Don't get me wrong. I MUST have service info to do diag. Some of the current trainers seem to have magical abilities. Not me.

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Jj Technician
Massachusetts
Jj Default
 

After having that conversation with some customers I like to bring a scan tool out to the car with them, and scan the code. When P0455 - Gross Evap Leak shows up I like to look at them and ask "Now what?". 90% of the time they catch on.

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Edward Owner
Texas
Edward Default
 

Yup JC i do the same but when you have customer telling you they can just you-tube it for the fraction of the cost or have it done at Autozone for free, point being how do we educate customers on proper diagnostic without breaking the bank which is the customer point of view...

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Jay Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jay Default
 

That's simple. Just pack things up, tell them to go ahead. Let me know how you make out.

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin Default
 

Either the mechanic or the service adviser is at fault. No money received should result in no indication of what will resolve the fault.

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Gord Owner/Technician
Saskatchewan
Gord Default
 

And where do you think the customers are going to get that education? Its from the shops and techs. We have no problem selling diagnostic time for every problem, customers will pay if you are repairing there vehicles. Most techs have a problem looking at there job as profession and acting as a professional. This industry needs to change, the only ones that are going to change it are the ones…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Sure, it starts with the techs to educate them. You yourself don't have an issue selling diag time. There could be many factors at play. One of them would be that you are in a pretty well known franchise. That helps a lot from an image perspective. Now for your comment about "customers will pay if you are repairing their vehicle". Does this mean if the diagnosis ends up being a very pricey…

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Jay Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jay Default
 

For the true customers who are willing to listen, I'll spend all day informing them. It's in both our best interest. The ones that ALWAYS bitch and cry and moan are the ones that are too busy to listen to us. They're the first ones back later after NOT following our recommendations. I can spend 2 or 4 or 6 hours working and you don't have 15 minutes-?? There's an added tax for that.

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George Owner/Technician
Alabama
George Default
 

I take what the customer says with a grain of salt as far as what other garages said or did unless they have a print out.......There are many times when they just want advise and no scan test which could run as much as 75 here. Did you sell him a solenoid ?

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi George, I just do programming and diagnostics so I did not sell and install part.

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

You don't do any of the easy repair like this one?

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Justin Mobile Technician
Utah
Justin Default
 

Guys that do what Mike and I do don’t carry tools to do removal and replacement. We also don’t have the time to order a part and wait or go pick one up. We are specialists. Just like those that we are working with are specialists. The specialize in R&I.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Gail, If my schedule was clear that may be something I would do. I carry only a few tools with me. Normally I have too many diag and programming jobs to take time out to run to the parts store and come back to install. This was late in the day and I still had three jobs to go. I did write down the name of the part for the customer. My thinking was that he was going to address it himself…

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Steven Instructor
Georgia
Steven Default
 

Michael, , Allow me to first outline the valuable skills you implied and/or demonstrated in this case: - You understand the EVAP system operation; you have internalized it. - Your approach is influenced by your expertise with the O-Scope, Scantool, and basic electronics. - Your reasoning, logic, and problem solving skills are clearly shown. - To decided there is no movement inside the…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Steven, Thank you for the observations and complements. Something we may be forgetting is that GM in this case has laid out step by step tasks to come to the conclusion that I did. Trouble trees don't always get you in trouble. A technician with only nominal skills should be able to follow a test plan. How many times are we (myself included) in too much of a hurry to read the…

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Edward Owner
Texas
Edward Default
 

how in the world are body shop repairing vehicles with out SI, I know with YouTube and Autozone......

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Hi Mike. I wonder why so many still refer to published diagnostics as "Trouble Trees". Perhaps it has been that long since they have actually used the flow chart style of diagnostics, where one path was "Yes" and the other "No", leading to replacement of the ECM at the bottom, or going back around the loop again and again. GM long abandoned flow charts and in the '90s created the 5 column…

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

If all else fails, read the instructions.

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Scott Owner
California
Scott Default
 

Hi Martin, I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I was not aware of DSC-V. I probably missed the Techlink article that mentioned that. I looked this morning and sure enough there's a quick access link at the top - Diagnostic Starting Point -----> DSC-V. This might not be a game changer for me, but it will help for the other guys in the shop. Thank you! Now get back to being the…

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Jay Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jay Default
 

Hi Martin. I for one LOVE to read. Can't get enough actually. I've assisted many another tech/shop in my day and it is usually a teaching opportunity, and that is for both them and myself. While some larger and urban areas feel that internet access and subscriptions are easily accessable, and affordable, it is more of a problem for smaller shops and/or rural shops. True, some don't like to…

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Stuart Mobile Technician
Illinois
Stuart Default
 

I run into this similar situation all the time​.​Just yesterday a customer hires me to install an upstream o2 sensor on his GMC Envoy.I try to get as much imformation from my customers as I can before even giving quotes or accept any job​.​Getting imformation from customers is like pulling teeth from a rabid dog​.​He claimed another shop already diagnosed it…

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Mark Mechanic
Michigan
Mark Default
 

AutoZone, Advanced Auto, etc only add fuel to this fire with their free code reading and parts recommended. I recall one long-time customer bringing in his own part, telling me this will turn off the light. I tried to sell him diagnostic time to confirm, but they declined. So I installed their part, called them to say their vehicle was done, but the light and same code still returned after…

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Scott Owner
California
Scott Default
 

Hi Mark, I can't speak for the general public and the return policies for open & installed parts, but...A lot of 'shops' use that for part of their 'diagnosis' - Install new part, Is the vehicle fixed? No, return part, and order the next one...Rinse & Repeat if necessary. BTW, different spelling, but my wife's maiden name is Dewall. Do you have family in Wisconsin?

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Mark Mechanic
Michigan
Mark Default
 

I agree that parts stores are more liberal with electrical return policies for automotive repair shops. Usually no questions asked. I also just told the customer that statement to hammer home the fact to let trained technicians tell you what part you need. It was an EGR Valve and it really needed the DPFE Sensor that Ford uses. And no, I don't have any relatives in Wisconsin. Dewall is not a…

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Paul Technician
California
Paul Default
 

The haves and have nots will be further distinguished as more newer technology arrives at our shop door. They will have to either have to step up and learn, or close their doors. Part of the problem is that these shops don‘t want to or don’t know how to educate their customers on the necessity of diagnostics. It’s too easy for them to go after the easy stuff. One needs to either grow, or go…

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Justin Mobile Technician
Utah
Justin Default
 

The shop that is the best shop I service as a mobile diagnostician sells my time to do my job before I get there just like this. He tells the ones that don‘t want to pay for the diag that his shop isn’t for them and to have a nice day. This shop is a one man band. Anytime there is a running problem, malfunction light, or diagnostic of any kind I get the call. He doesn’t throw all the top…

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Stuart Mobile Technician
Illinois
Stuart Default
 

Paul,some customers especially the younger ones do not want to be bothered with our rationality of having proper diagnosis performed because they seen it on youtube or they just don't listen to reason​.​HHow can you educate someone that don't want to be educated.

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Show them the door.

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Stuart Mobile Technician
Illinois
Stuart Default
 

Gail,You know when you worked at Pep Boys they would charge a flat rate of an hour for diagnosis even if it takes sometimes several hours to pin point the problem​.​When you ask for more time they would never get the customers authorization,they would never cal the customer.

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Paul Technician
California
Paul Default
 

Hi Stuart, Like someone above said, say for instance a person comes in with a P0455, major evap leak code. You show them the code and the say: Ok, now what?” If they still don’t get it, or don’t want to reason, then that customer is at the wrong shop. Tell them to have a nice day and send them on their way. I just don’t believe that every customer is like that.

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Stuart Mobile Technician
Illinois
Stuart Default
 

Paul,not all the customers are like that,just the ones that think they are entitled to have their cars diagnosed for free. for whatever reason they feel that diagnosis is not the repair.

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Have a fairly intelligent buddy that disagrees. He says diag is part of the repair and shouldn't be billed separately. Said he's never even seen a line item bill for diag. But he also rarely goes anywhere but the dealer. Does most of his work himself. He's NOT a tech. Just cheap and doesn't trust any shops. He's all about the google an u tube.

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Hi Gail. Your buddy could not be more wrong. The only exceptions are when a technician receives an R.O. stating, "Replace water pump, leaking", where the concern requires only verification and the repair. A good example of separating diagnosis from repairs is required when documenting warranty diagnostics and repairs. I worked in a GM dealership for 23 years and if extra time was required…

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

I worked at GM dealer back in early nineties & Ford 2001-05 so very familiar with punch time.

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
   

Flat rate and diag hahah. I've worked at OEM dealerships being the head diag tech and now I own my own specialty diag shop (thank god) Don't you think the diag guy should be able to make gain time on a diag just like we make gain time on a brake job?? Why the hell should the diag guy suffer just because big old GM doesn't want to pay?? If anything, he/she should make the most gain time!!!! The…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Maybe if you had read what was written and comprehended it, you would realize that it was factual and relevant to warranty documentation, diagnostics and repair time punches, that are required to be separate in order for the dealership and technician to be compensated. No, there is not intended to be an opportunity to make profit on warranty diagnosis. That has nothing to do with remuneration…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Yes I have read and "comprehended" your post. I am criticizing how you back the way the dealers pay for diag vs regular work. Why shouldn't a tech make gain time on warranty?? He didn't make the damn vehicle. It is up to the manufacturer and the dealership to compensate that specific tech. Why? Because he/she is clearing the way for the producing techs and is helping the manufacturer to keep a…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Your views on diagnostic time are not based on the reality that dealerships have the ability to and do pay properly for diagnostic time when properly managed. That is the key. The dealership pays the technician, not the manufacturer and it is often less than "coffee" money that upsets those who feel that they have been paid unfairly. However, just like poorly managed aftermarket shops, not all…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
   

You are the one who is assuming that I have never worked at a GM dealership. I don't have too much time to argue on all your flawed points. You and I will never be on the same page about diagnostics. Dealer level or aftermarket. I really don't care about how many years you have been doing this for. In fact, it just shows how many years you have been doing it all wrong. I know many techs that…

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin Default
 

You are really presenting yourself as a dunce with this response, Saifullah. I recommend that you reconsider.

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

The only "dunce" would be the person that cannot comprehend what I am saying. Instead of trying to comprehend the response, the "dunce" responds with name calling. It shows that not all of the older generation is true wise. Trust me, I know some pretty great older techs. You come accross as not being one of them. If my opnion is too hard to take in, keep silent and move on. I speak of my own…

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

We understand what you are saying...we just don't agree with you. Its called an opinion....

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Exactly, an opinion. Let that sink in for a few.

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

I believe it already has...thats why a "few" dont agree with you. But that is........ok

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

A few minutes...

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Jim Mobile Technician
Pennsylvania
Jim Default
 

Hey Marlin Good and Salifullah Sanaye, you BOTH are reminding me (and probably some others) of the reason I'm no longer on the IATN. I think it is FINE for everyone to have their own opinion WITHOUT the name calling. I feel this is TRUELY a Professional website and there is NO ROOM for this. Only my Opinion.

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin Default
   

Ah, I gently warn someone about the way he is presenting himself. and you refer to it as "name calling". This reminds me of the way the snowflakes in Portland comment online.

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin Default
 

I agree, except for discussing labor time. The customer has no need for that; two thing matter: how long until he gets an answer, and how much money will it cost him.

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Exactly what my buddy said. Just wanted to know cost. But his point was he discounted the idea diag was even a thing. He said the "book" or scan tool tells you what's wrong...as i said. He's NOT a tech.

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Jim Mobile Technician
Pennsylvania
Jim Default
 

Michael, We have talked about this before, But Good or Bad we have just about the same thoughts on Training and other issues within the industry. For whatever reason, I'm seeing more then ever where the BASICS and the understanding of how the circuit is suppose to work skipped right over. I recently returned from presenting a diagnostic approach class down at the Daytona Speedway for the local…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Jim, You may be the original source for the front door / back door analogy. I heard it in an ATG class. Although the Beef and Beer was omitted. It made so much sense I adopted it. Nowadays the basics are being skipped. I did some testing on a Mercedes Sprinter van a month ago. I told the customer that from my diagnosis we needed to remove the EGR, make sure the ports are clean and verify…

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Jim Mobile Technician
Pennsylvania
Jim Default
 

Would LOVE to talk to you more at this year's VISION, if you are going on this subject and My Thoughts.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Jim, I am thinking about going to Vision. I may be coming on my own, or it could be working with a company at a booth. I will know more as the time grows closer. -Mike

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Same here Jim. I use the same analogy because it is very simple for technicians to visualize and very easy to draw up on the board. I believe that the first time that I saw "front" and "back" doors was in an old Star Envirosystems slide show. I don't know who was the originator of the terms, but thanks to whomever, we have a useful method of explaining the system using the "doors"…

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Jim Mobile Technician
Pennsylvania
Jim Default
 

Martin, You and I both know it isn't about showing off of what we know, it is about getting them to understand. Another I use all the time is when the students are coming into a classroom, I'll be there checking out the light switches on the wall to see which switch operates which row of lights, after the class gets started, I'll ask the student closes to the light switch to turn off a certain…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Exactly Jim. These simple demonstrations and analogies that they can tune in on, make for great introductions to systems.

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Michael Technician
Massachusetts
Michael Default
 

Great analogy Jim thanks for sharing it on Evap.

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

You put all the blame on the tech? This is ridiculous. Show the tech the money and then I am damn sure he will head to your courses and pay whats needed. Finding customers that pay for diag is not easy at all. Not only does your Tech need education, the customer does too.

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Allan Owner
Virginia
Allan Default
   

I did mobile diagnostics and programming for 10 years. Like everybody that’s done that for other shops You see how many techs are paid on their ability to crank out hours and not what they know. As a company I guarantee at least 100 times we heard I’ve already checked the fuses just to find they checked the wrong fuse box, the fuse was in fact blown or often missing. problem cars cost techs…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Allan, So this is interesting. Generally, shops are willing to pay mobile technicians shop rate or a little more than shop rate to come out and diagnose a problem. At the same time they seem unwilling to pay for technician's diagnostic training or a higher salary than that of the R&R technicians. Don't get me wrong. I am OK with the hiring a mobile guy.

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Eric Instructor
California
Eric Default
 

One of the biggest problems I see with teaching and learning is poor ability to read and comprehend. There are certainly exceptions, but the reality is that most folks getting into auto repair are not motivated learners or good readers. This starts in high school where schools place poor performing students or those with behavior problems (these often translate into poor work habits and ethics…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
 

You have it nailed, Eric. Some high school counselors I've met still believe that auto mechanics don't need to know how to read...

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Geoff Diagnostician
Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

Drifting a bit here...., but although I could read at grade 12 level by age 13, I have always found it so darn time consuming (impossible?) to FIND the operational theory in AM SI, that I gave up looking many years ago. Now days there is often nothing else to do, so I will usually look for it after already having diag'd the vehicle base on the wiring diagram and experience. Sometimes it is…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

Indeed, Geoff Last week, I nearly screwed up a diagnosis on an 05 Duramax because I didn't read closely enough between the lines. Although it's a vital component of any diagnosis, some service information is so poorly written that it's gibberish. I don't blame techs for winging it when, as you say, they could spend half the day trying to translate what should otherwise be presented in simple…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

I agree Eric. The trend towards decreased levels of reading and comprehension were once mostly associated with those entering the automotive fields, after being shunted through high school auto shop as a means of meeting the passing grade. These academic issues were once isolated to automotive, but have since escalated to become widespread concerns in other fields and higher level academic…

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin Default
 

Wow, a short post from Martin, and he nailed it!

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Better be careful Marty or else you're going to start hearing "OK Boomer." ;) Guido

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Eric, I suppose I have never looked at it quite like that. As an instructor, you see it first hand. Even though I was not the best in reading or comprehension, I have been blessed with a good education. My parents were both school teachers. I was raised in an environment that allowed me to experiment and learn. (On the farm with many opportunities to repair machines) Sometimes hands on and…

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

<<<Flying wrenches, Drama, Filthy Language.>>> You been spying on me?

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Allan Owner
Virginia
Allan Default
   

Shop managers and owners are part of the problem IMO. We did almost 30,000 cars in 10 years and hundreds of not thousands of those were please come program our new (often used) pcm. I did as told and on the 2nd start it would set a code. More than once vent solenoid on GM K trucks. Techs aren’t getting paid the diagnosis from the shop because the customer doesn’t want to pay and the shop still…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

I run a very similar busines as you. Most times that rate you speak of is actually being covered by the shop. It is not coming out of the customers pocket. Shops rarely want to let their customers know that the need a specialist to come in. They don't like how it looks. The shops call guys like us because they are stuck, they will lose more money trying to throw more parts at it than to call…

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Scott Owner
California
Scott Default
 

Hi Michael, Not trying to be argumentative, but shouldn't the question(s) be - Why is testing and analysis stuck in the dark ages? Why is there no value in this? Why are we not held accountable for misdiagnosis? Why do consumers not demand better? ________________? My mantra would be, and is, this is the most important part of any repair - knowing what to fix. I believe consumers do not place…

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

And to be clear...I HATE when techs slam parts at something. The car inevitably comes back on their day off and I get the job fixing the actual issue. But I also have a natural curiosity. I want to know what/why/when on every car that goes thru the shop. I introduce myself to new co-workers as "annoyingly helpful". I just want stuff fixed the first time. Sometimes it isn't a 15 minute diag. Most…

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Eric Instructor
California
Eric Default
   

That's another issue too, service advisors are often uncomfortable or unable to explain to the customer the value and details of diagnosis. They would rather just deal with the parts and labor aspect and be done. I always said, "You have to sell it to the service advisor first" I had this argument often with service advisors often when I was a tech. My position was; I don't sell cars, I don't…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
 

Hello, Michael I see the same issues each day. The new throttle body that doesn't fix the fast idle problem. The new fuel pump that doesn't work. The complete "tune-up" and intake clean that still has this nagging rough idle on a cold engine. The Cummins diesel that quits in the middle of the road and the shop that wants to install $6,000 of new injectors. The new alternator that sets high…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Great stuff!

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Geoff Diagnostician
Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

It's a lost cause. I've explained it until I am blue in the face with people I actually know. It goes in one ear and out the other. Telling customers you will only see for ten minutes, in your life, is definaitely a waste of time. Be thankful you live in an area where you can cruise around doing what you love in different spots all day. If the market only supported you busting tires, you'd be…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
 

Good point, Geoff...

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Edward Owner
Texas
Edward Default
 

Yup I see this all day long and getting worst 😣 and worst, has newer systems are more advanced the ever, majority of people believe all you have do is hook up a scan tool at Autozone and it will tell you what the issues they sell you the part and most of the time its fixed according to customers i ask why pay were its free at Autozone. majority of the hired techs working will not take the…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Mike: While a few of the responses danced around the edges, most responses only picked at a symptom. It been said that diagnosing something is like a 3-legged stool. There is training to learn how systems work. There is service information describing the variants on that particular unit and how to test it. There is diagnostic equipment, which facilitates that testing. Take any one of those…

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Jim Mobile Technician
Pennsylvania
Jim Default
 

WELL SAID, Guido

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Very well said.

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

You mean an R.O. should have more info on it than just the word brakes or ac. And when you ask for more info the front counter shouldnt respond I cant find my notes and cant remember so just go drive it and see if notice anything.

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Eric: The situation that you're illustrating is an example of all 3 legs of the stool being broken. There is an inter-dependency in a shop (actually any "business"). As one goes, they all go. I read an article which addresses technology. While it is not directly related to a shop environment, anyone with a passing familiarity of algebra will know that you can change the value of the…

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

Thanks will read through that. I work in a shop where not only are all 3 legs broken but the seat is broke in half. I cant hold a candle to most when it comes to diagnostics, but I am smart enough to know when I am over my head .

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Geoff Diagnostician
Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

Exactly. I think I've seen a legit customer complaint about five times in my life.

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

Michael your story sounds to me like just a basic lack of training on the other shops part more and more technicians need to up their game as far as training is concerned you wonder why a lot of these training classes aren't filled well it's the technicians that don't go to training to be the biggest reason and some of those technicians are probably in those last three shops that misdiagnosed…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Show them the actual money and they will go to your training classes. Very easy to point fingers. You need to assess the complete situation, not just a portion. More training does nothing when the customer does not want to pay. You can train until your head explodes, whats that gonna do if your customers just want you to fire parts at it? Don't get me wrong, there are customers who will pay…

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
   

More training does nothing if your customers don't want to pay? Those are exactly the customers you don't want firing the parts cannon at the vehicle just to make the customer happy does nothing for this industry those type of customers are the Bottom Feeders thanks but no thanks I'd rather put my skills and my training into good honest testing

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Edward Owner
Texas
Edward Default
 

Yup agreed Edwin

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

The customer does not care about the "industry". Industry problem is our own, not the customers. They are the consumer. We provide a service that they want. If they want parts canon and they want to pay for it, well thats just the way it goes. Good luck finding the customers that are educated. Not easy at all. Dealing with a shop is way more easier than just dealing with some John Doe off the…

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

Whatever you feel you got to do for you good luck with that I know what I do and after 35 years I'm trying to educate the customer and doing the right thing my success rate is pretty damn good so let's just agree to disagree peace

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin Default
 

I think that you misunderstood, and that he is indicating that some "customers" will just look until they find someone to fire the cannon for them.

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

Marlin...thats possible. I kinda took his comment as all the training in the world wont bring in good customers which is why i told him that you need to educate your customers and by having qualified technicians to do the diagnostics correctly you will weed out the parts cannon type customers. i also took his comment that all the training certificates wont bring in good customers...hanging those…

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Bill Technician
Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

How about a voluntary evaluation and ranking committee? What if shops were held to a standard? What if competency was evaluated in the workplace by a honest, professional organization. Where an expert comes in to the shops that voluntarily allow themselves to be evaluated? They can be graded, and improve their rankings next evaluation. You could have "gold" standard shops etc.

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Who would develop this "standard"? Making a "standard" for diagnostics will never work. No 2 vehicle issues are the same. The amount of variables/technology differences within vehicles are tremendous. Just does not work for diagnostics. Diagnostics is not black and white.

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Bill Technician
Saskatchewan
Bill Default
   

A group of certified technicians. It is pretty easy for a knowledgeable tech to walk into a shop for a day to evaluate a shops competency level. There would need to be clear guidelines. There is a big group of shops out there that would not be able to test a bulb, but have a scan tool and sling parts.

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Randy Diagnostician
California
Randy Default
 

Bill do you want government to tell you how you are doing ???? This is why we have ase certified teaks

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Bill Technician
Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

In Canada we have a Journeyman Licence. It helps bring the whole industry up a peg. The only thing is, that in my province it is not mandatory to work on vehicles. I wish it was. I am not big on government, but I am big on standards. This industry is a bit of a joke.

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Thanks
Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Here in the good ole USA a plumber has to be licensed. Electrician? Licensed. HVAC? Licensed. Builder/contractor? Licensed. But so many techs moan about keeping government out of their business. Theoretical: Your wife & kids go out of town on a trip. Car develops brake issues with smoke coming out of wheel. Gets towed to Billy Bobs Auto Repair & Bait shop. Sells her caliper, rotor, pads…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Same here in BC Bill. Since about 1996 BC "Automotive Service Technician" status was reduced to "Recognized" from "Mandatory" and we have fought ever since to have that status reverted. Most dealerships will only hire "Red Seal" technicians, while anything goes elsewhere and given the reduced numbers of those entering the trade to the exodus of "Baby Boomers", I do not foresee standards being…

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Bill Technician
Saskatchewan
Bill Default
   

It is unfortunate Martin. Wish things were different. I try my best to educate customers and techs to the best of my ability. I try my best to raise my standards by learning from folks like you, and building my network. Reality as I see it is... In the real world most customers do not understand that there is such a huge difference in the competency levels of technicians and shops. Most…

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Maynard Technician
Ontario
Maynard Default
 

Keep er going Bill, I think the seams are just about to burst top to bottom, something will have to give, and if we step right in when everything comes crashing down there is the possibility of having a GREAT opportunity. Hang in there and keep doing it a bit longer. We are trying it over here in Ontario too, but there is soooooo much old school thinking in the trade, and with clients,, it seems…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

I agree Bill. It feels somewhat like "pushing a rope uphill" in the big scheme of things. There are so many areas that need attention, to improve the worthiness and skills of the true professionals in the trade, doing their best every day against the odds of consumer recognition. I found that all that I am truly capable of is working diligently to make small differences locally and on a wider…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Marty: While Bill and Bill's comment about the 5% may be valid, it is also, for lack of a better term, incomplete. (I don't want to say misleading or myopic because that would be, well, misleading.) It's true that 5% are the top of the nylon, cream of the crop, or whatever you wish to call them. (Twenty years ago, it was closer to 7-8%.) They know what they don't know and have what it takes…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Hi Guido. I believe that Bill was using 5% just as a contrasting value to identify the overall disparity. I've always been a "champion for the underdog", trying to assist those in the grey area in between that you describe, that are attempting self-improvement against the odds. That has most often been the most rewarding and satisfying experience as both a technician mentor and in my role as…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Agreed. It is a joke!

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Geoff Diagnostician
Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

p.s. Mike.....still laughing at "end user" and I read that several hours ago :-)

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Ray Owner/Technician
Illinois
Ray Default
 

Ok, I’ve thought about this so much I couldn’t sleep last night. For what it’s worth I am going to voice my opinion here. All of us know the Automotive repair industry is broken and needs repaired....or does it? I think it’s already fixed, so Im going to toss around a few analogies here. I decided years ago I’m going to buck the system here, locally and do what should be done and forget…

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Saifullah Diagnostician
Ontario
Saifullah Default
 

Well said.

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

What can we do as a profession to help lift others to a higher standard? Educate the customer and educate the technicians. My preface is "Test not guess" In this industry training will never stop and that goes to everyone involved.

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Ray Owner/Technician
Illinois
Ray Default
 

Exactly

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Edward Owner
Texas
Edward Default
   

Amen, Edwin

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

Hello, Michael As to your question about "What we can do as a profession to help lift others to a higher standard?" Speaking from my own experience, nothing is going to happen until we set a standard that we can all rise to. As we all know, our aftermarket automotive service industry has no standards. Anybody with a wrench in his back pocket can hang out his own shingle. I know the Automotive…

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Interesting
Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Most techs I know talk shit about ASE testing. They either think it's too easy (because they passed easily) or that their brothers cousins neighbors nephew is ASE certified and can't fix a ham sandwich the tests aren't valid. Should add; ASE Master since 1994. Could have taken them in late 70's but just wasn't valued in area i grew up.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

Hello, Gail Your remarks are duly noted. Our industry has a lot of problems and the validity of ASE testing is but one of them. I've heard the anti-ASE arguments since 1973, even from some fairly competent technicians. ASE is no guarantee of technical competency, but there's nothing that really is. I've taken hands-on tests that proved absolutely nothing other than the fact I showed up. I've…

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

Couldn't agree more. You nailed it. But i do have one bone to pick. You mentioned taking tests that proved nothing. IMO we are our own worst enemy on this topic. I am GREAT at taking tests. I am fully aware of my superior ability at testing. But have have worked with several techs that would spell cat 3 different ways and still get it wrong but produced great work. To bring this back on…

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Edward Owner
Texas
Edward Default
 

Gail I remember when I was Tech School, there was a student that couldn't read but when he was help by the instructor reading the question out to him he had no problem answering the question majority of the class was dumb founded how could you not read but can answer question. I agree Gail everyone has the ability to retain knowledge in different ways and testing is just another tool to add to…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Edward, I get what you are saying. Let us look at this from another angle. My Sister is a nurse. She can tell me how to treat any number of ailments. She knows all about the new trends in treatment. All the bleeding edge technology in her Genre. Without the ability to read she could not perform her duties. She could not study new treatments or trends. When the doctor gives orders, she would not…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
 

I mentioned taking some HANDS-ON tests that prove absolutely NOTHING. To be specific, this was the National Occupational Competency Institute tests for auto mechanics that I took when I was teaching during the early 1970s. Absolutely worthless test in that it was poorly constructed. But I equaled the highest national test score in the country at that time. I'm normally great at taking tests as…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Gary, Gail mentioned ASE. There is a new certification channel out called myASE. I had the privilege last month to be a part in writing questions for the test. I can tell you from taking the monthly tests online and helping write the questions, they are not all easy. If you are not studying ADAS, you may find yourself in trouble when you take the brakes and suspension tests. The "new" vision…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Well Mike, since every legislator voted for it and the governor signed it, if they're re-elected then they got the message. Guido

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

I agree about the networking effect of ADAS. Whereas each system used to be treated as a stand-alone system, they are now connected not only in communications, but function as well. So, we are now living in an entirely different universe regarding technician education and certification. Our electrical architecture has completely changed and we must change with it. I served on the 1998 A8 test…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
   

Hi Mike. ASE presented their myASE program at a conference that I attended recently in Detroit and explained the concept of monthly question delivery. Participating in question development workshops is also something that I have experienced and is a worthwhile learning opportunity for those who are invited as subject matter experts. In Canada and much like USA with states, we have a number of…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Marty: This goes back to something that I often say when people try to call this an industry. This is a trade. An industry has standards. Actually, under the guild system, it doesn't even qualify as a trade, a tinker's trade perhaps. Guido

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Martin, If I understand your explanation, If all auto repair shops followed the program set forth in Canada, technicians would have opportunities to advance receiving pay increases along the way. Technicians would reach Journeyman status and make a decent salary. Since advancing in rank costs the shop owners more money, they tend to hold back technicians in their development. Despite the…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

Hello, Michael All good points and all beg the question of how fast our industry is changing. I've been trying to solve this problem since I was elected to our board of directors for ASA-Colorado circa … and was appointed chair of the education committee, circa … ASA-CO even advanced to the point of running its own apprenticeship program, but that effort failed in about 4…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Gary, You have invested some considerable thought and effort into the subject. I too have come to the conclusion that there needs to be more representation for technicians, especially the diagnostic type. There should be a common structure of pay, benefits and a retirement plan.

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Bill Technician
Saskatchewan
Bill Default
   

Michael, My opinion, my apologies for chiming in, is that it should be mandatory to have a certain ratio of Journeyman to legally operate. 50% would be a nice number. I would also like to see some type of masters program. Journeyman status only means that you are likely not incompetent. It is a huge improvement over the alternative.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Bill, No apology needed. Thank you for your input. You have some great ideas.

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
   

Hi Mike. Exactly. The regulatory body in BC prior to ITA was ITAC and that organization had counselors in each region supporting the apprentices and enforcing the mandatoring 5% incremental wage increases for apprentices in BC to ensure that a decent wage could be earned. Visits to the employer quickly netted the mandatory raise. Any raises even in the dealership realm, are thus at the…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
 

Thanks, Martin. Your post sadly describes the current situation in the automotive service labor market. As far as I can see, although the Canadian market is far more formal, the issues are the same as we have down south. Every single bit of the compensation issue is adding to the current shortage of qualified technicians. When I began as a gas station attendant in 1957, most mechanics were…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Gary: I started at the station on June 14, 1969. The shop labor rate was $12/hr. The lead mechanic got 50%. There were no benefits, period. He paid for his own uniforms. Diagnostics were free, hoping to get the job. This silly l'il game hasn't really changed. And it won't until enough people call for an air strike on their own positions. Yup, I said it. If you want to fix it in our…

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Maynard Technician
Ontario
Maynard Default
   

Nice! I have just been starting to say similar stuff recently, wasnt really totally sure its true..... but there, i saw someone else say it Guido to the rescue. The sooner the whole thing crashes down the better...? Its just about bursting at the seams anyway

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

Indeed, Anthony Martin's post about wages in Canada was rather discouraging. Instead of raising the threshold to address the continuing advance of technology, we seem to be lowering it. I agree that the only apparent way to get some direct corporate attention is to blow up the system. As I've said before, it's not a recruitment problem, it's a retention problem. Young techs come into the…

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Gail Technician
North Carolina
Gail Default
 

I'm waiting with baited breath for the phone calls I'm gonna get, 5 years down the road, after i'm retired. I've never been the fast guy but given the proper service info and time i usually can fix about anything.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

Hello, Gail That happened to me after I retired. Six months into retirement, my phone began ringing and hasn't stopped since. I've never been the fast guy either. I firmly believe in using different diagnostic procedures for different problems. In any case, it's procedure, procedure, procedure, not guess, guess, guess. That said, the few vehicles I don't fix are usually the ones not worth…

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Hi Gary. The part that is most annoying for us out in the west where "recognized" rather than "mandatory" status continues, is the de-valuing of the trade and the increased power for income control over those who are affected most. Dealerships in general, continue to follow the hiring practice of employing Red Seal C of Q certified technicians, while a wide variety of anything goes exists…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary Default
   

Indeed, Martin We have a free-market system that responds to different market demands. In one way that's good, in another way it's absolute chaos. So we're very close to self-driving vehicles, which were pure science fiction when you and I began our careers back in the 1960s and '70s. Some folks believe that remote diagnostics will eliminate the need for the master technician. I don't think…

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Funny
Richard Diagnostician
Alberta
Richard Default
 

I went through the apprenticeship program in Alberta in the early 2000's. I had a good experience. Each one of my employers encouraged me to go to school and never had any problems getting raise once I got my marks back. Being held back to keep wages low is basically not a problem in my demographic, if you hold a apprentice back they will quit and find a shop that will send them to school. The…

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Eric Owner/Technician
Wisconsin
Eric Default
 

Nothing has changed. I started my business before I graduated high school. The second year I was in business my dad suggested I should have a scope. I agreed so I bought a used Sun scope. No other shop in the county, except dealers, had a scope. I was 19, a one man shop with a scope. At first customers didn't understand the need. Then I started solving long standing problems other shops…

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Jamey Owner/Technician
California
Jamey Default
 

I had one the other day where a 2014 Chrysler mini van was towed in. Had a new “rebuilt“ TIPM, they said the other shop told them it only needed “Programming“. I told him it would be 1 hour to configure the TIPM. If it did not start, 2 hour minimum to diagnose. Well.... it didn’t start. Wipers came on every time the key is on. Codes for wiper module high and ASD circuit control. I activated…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Jamey, Seems like there is a TSB about rewiring some TIPM modules. Maybe that is what you ran into. Good find!

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Jay Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jay Default
 

Jamey, the only problem I can see with this is, what happens when the next guy has to look at a schematic and repair the wipers-?? Either the TIPM was the wrong one, or it somehow got the wrong program, or, someone switched those two wires. If the vehicle matched the schematic in the first place, how would anyone be expected to trace the wiring to the ASD now-??. I can see wrong colour codes or…

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Jamey Owner/Technician
California
Jamey Default
 

I didn’t go into the whole story. The connector was melted, a used connector was obtained and spliced in. The wiper and the ASD are both brown/white. The wires were switched when the connector was wired in.

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Jay Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jay Default
 

Thanks for the reply. Now it makes sense. The two wires got switched when the connector was replaced/spliced in. Attention to detail. The little things matter. Knowing the connector had been spliced in would lead you/us to double and triple checking the pin locations. Did it pulse the wipers before it was programmed-?? If not, I can see how the other shop may have "assumed" it just needed to be…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
   

Hi Jay: I'm reasonably sure that you know this but for the sake of any FNGs here.... You mentioned "I wish they were all just two switched wires." The word "just" tends to minimize the gravity of the action following it. Those two switched wires can be the cause of a catastrophic situation if the circuit switches. As an example: I have a customer in Ronkonkoma, NY. Almost 10 years back, he…

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Jay Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jay Default
 

Hi Guido. While I agree that things can get rather messy, and two switched wires can just be the start of things, I'm curious about your tale regarding the laptop. Was the cigarette lighter adaptor supplied with the laptop-?? and was he not supposed to use the supplied equipment-?? Shouldn't the adaptor have had a fuse to ensure that an over-current didn't happen-?? Was the vehicle not equipped…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
   

Hi Jay: Yeah, the power cord came with the laptop. Me, being "cutting edge", had the first customer this happened with. :( I don't recall if it was fused or what was in it if it was. Of course, the vehicle was supposed to be. (For all I know, it had Storehouse fuses in it. Shame that you didn't ask me this last week. Next time I speak with the customer, I'll ask him if I remember.) We spec…

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Jamey Owner/Technician
California
Jamey Default
 

The vehicle was towed in, no start. When the key was turned on, the wipers started wiping. Operating the wiper switch would make them stop, but not park properly. The other shops told him the wipers wouldn’t work properly until the TIPM was programmed.... After I configured the TIPM, I called and told him it still would not start, wipers still possessed. I pretty much knew there were either…

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Todd Mobile Technician
Alberta
Todd Default
 

Hi Mike. 2 weeks ago, same day, I programmed 5 new modules on 5 different vehicles in a row and not one was fixed​.​Thats a record for me.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Wow, that is amazing! No wonder the rebuilders just paint them silver and update the program.

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Rodney Mobile Technician
New Jersey
Rodney Default
 

I think some shops and techs are lazy. my ex has a 2013 Chevy equinox 2.4l. a shop changed the engine three times finally gave her the car back. battery light on. showed 13.25 vdc at the battery . checked bcm. it had a variety of codes. . spoke with shop he said the bcm was good and it had nothing to do with charging. I sent him the operation and wiring schematics. he changed the bcm and said he…

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