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fxramper
Posts: 5837
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:03 pm

Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 2:27 am

I've had some work (scheduled maintenance) done on my car recently.

I drive a 2004 BMW M3. Taking the M car in for an oil change, although the oil is free, the pit stop translates to a $300 cashectomy (99% of the time).

I had some work done on my coolant system last week - $1000+.

I had some engine performance upgrades done yesterday - $300+.

I had new pads put on my Brembos, Friday - $250.

All these issues come as recommended from the certified BMW mechanics.

While this isn't a rant, how the hell does one learn to trust their mechanic?

I wish they didn't make cars so inclusive now. It would allow drivers to work on their autos.



I still love my car.  hearts 
 
ANCFlyer
Posts: 21391
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:51 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 2:41 am

I haven't had a need for major work on the BAFDT. It's got a tad over 28K miles on it . . .

I did get the oil changed last week . . . US$178.00. Chevron Delo 400 Synthetic, 16 quarts, 1 Filter.

I replaced the cheap air filter with a K&N system a year or so ago. Although that cost a few  dollarsign , I no longer have to pay US$45 to change the air filter every couple months.

Quoting FXramper (Thread starter):
I had some work done on my coolant system last week - $1000+.



US$1K on your cooling system? I could get a whole NEW cooling system for that . . .

What cost you a grand for Bmer's cooling system?
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
checkraiser
Posts: 814
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 2:49 am

You can't trust mechanics - they're all theives. Last week I set up an appointment to have my Harley serviced and asked them about changing the baffles in my pipes. The service advisor said 2 1/2 - 3 hrs. I decided to do the baffles myself - and did it in about 2 hrs. I'm sure that an experienced tech in their nicely equipped shop could have done that job in 45 min.

Owning a German car is an expensive endeavor. When they break you may as well bend over. I've had several VW's and a Volvo and finally got sick of that crap. If you have a sensitive wallet you ought to buy domestic or Japanese - the parts and service are much more reasonable and qualified techs are in higher supply.
N1120A is a camel-fucking terrorist.
 
Molykote
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:21 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 3:07 am

Quoting FXramper (Thread starter):
While this isn't a rant, how the hell does one learn to trust their mechanic?

I "trust but verify".
I've had factory service manuals for every car I've owned and do most maintenance myself. Like most situations where one can be ripped off, knowledge is key.

Normally, I'll just let the mechanic know that I too work in (aircraft) maintenance. I'll plainly state my expectations and give any reputable mechanic one chance to impress me. I let the mechanic know that I respect his work and that he should respect my time and trust.

My cars are old enough (and out of warranty) that I do most maintenance myself and have a local mechanic that I've determined to be competent enough to do work that is beyond my capability or inclination. With a late model BMW, I can understand your practice of going to the dealer (at least while under warranty). However, I personally wouldn't bother with the dealer after the warranty expires (I don't have a great opinion of most BMW techs based upon 10 years of 3/5/7 series experience).
Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
 
MCOflyer
Posts: 7071
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:51 am

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 3:10 am

Most of the time I can, and when things do not go right, I call my brother in law and straightens it out. My brother in law assist me with my mechanic duties sometimes.

Hunter
Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
 
petertenthije
Posts: 3261
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 10:00 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 3:15 am

Make sure you buy in bulk. My entire family (parents, brothers, grandparents) goes to the same garage. If they screw one of us, they instantly loose business on 7 cars. The village is not large, and the garages knows they got the business because the previous garage screwed up. So they know not to take their chances on us. They don't mind to take a chance for a quick buck on 1 car, but 7 cars are taken a bit more seriously!
Attamottamotta!
 
Molykote
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:21 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 3:15 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 1):
US$1K on your cooling system? I could get a whole NEW cooling system for that . . .

What cost you a grand for Bmer's cooling system?

BMW radiators fail like clockwork (although I don't know what failed on FX's car).

BMW shop rates are about 20% higher than other dealers (in my experience).

BMW "Special Tool #1" is cold hard cash - Parts are outrageously expensive. As an example, look up an alternator for a 2002 740i (which I've replaced before).



I should also add that my "one chance" given to a local Lexus dealer was no more impressive.
After buying a used ES300 with 65k on the clock, I contacted the dealer to inquire about bringing the car in for a check up before racking up miles on it. The "maintenance manager" listed the service to be completed on my car (ES300) which included a REAR DIFFERENTIAL FLUID CHANGE!

I have the manager 2 chances to take back his remark (thinking he may have believed I had a GS300). After making the potential cause of this confusion clear, the manager continued to insist that a rear differential fluid change would be accomplished for my front drive ES300. I wish I was making this up - I really do. It was a horrible introduction to the "legendary" world of Lexus customer care.
Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
 
FighterPilot
Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:27 am

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 3:25 am

Quoting FXramper (Thread starter):
I still love my car.

 drool  If I owned an M3 I would too!

To quote Dane Cook on mechanics:
Mechanic: "Uhh, we had to replace the roof on you car, it was peeling back. It resented the rest of the car so we replaced that. Also there was a tiny unicorn in your exhaust and it was jumping and poking holes in your exhaust. And it was shitting in your filters as well. So we had to get that out of there."

Dane: "Wow. Thank you very much. I did not know that there was a tiny mythological animal jumping around in there. That's very dangerous. Shitting in filters? No way. How much is it going to cost? $4000? I'd gladly pay that."

Cal  airplane 
*Insert Sound Of GE90 Spooling Up Here*
 
Sabena332
Posts: 14938
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 3:25 am

Quoting Checkraiser (Reply 2):
You can't trust mechanics - they're all theives.

 checkmark 

Quoting Checkraiser (Reply 2):
Owning a German car is an expensive endeavor.

 checkmark 

I can only shake my head in disbelieve when I see the garage bills for our two Audis, one of the yearly inspections for the A8 cost over 600 EUR! Err.... WTF? 600 EUR for a friggin' routine inspection?  Wow! That's daylight robbery!

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 3:50 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 1):
US$1K on your cooling system? I could get a whole NEW cooling system for that . . .

One problem I have seen with modern high end German cars (don't know in how far it applies to other makes) is the modular design of components. It is like replacing LRU's on an airplane. If one little part fails in the module, you can not just replace the little part, but they will only sell you the whole module. Also, since modern cars are fully computerised, you'll need a PC with special diagnosis software to find the fault (which is most likely to happen in some electronic component). Up to a few years ago, until the EU passed some anti-monopoly legislation, the car manufacturers would only sell the software and the necessary manuals to repair shops, with which they had exclusivity contracts.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
RichPhitzwell
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 4:11 am

You can always trust your mechanic. They are the most tustworthy individuals ever.



Sears also had something like this happen in the past.
Nonav.com kinda like Whiners except the lights are on and the pimps been paid
 
User avatar
fxramper
Posts: 5837
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:03 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 5:01 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 1):
US$1K on your cooling system?

They told me that I had 3 hoses that needed to be replaced. Hell, labor alone cost me $373.00 for the coolant deal. They did a flush on the system, that was another $97.00. I needed a new thermostat, that was another $76.00. They also replaced a headlight for $29.99. I read this on the invoice. It just started adding up, and ended up being $989.99.

You see those shows on Dateline and other networks about a insider view with mechanics of all lines of work. From an electrician repairing a refrigerator to a mechanic working on a car. Often times they disable something simple - not costly and see what the victim will be charged.

Anyone else feel like they've been taken advantage of by their mechanic?  no 
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 5:06 am

I haven't found an honest mechanic since I moved out of where an Andy Granatelli's Tuneup Masters was located. The last time I had my old car in for repair, the dealer didn't even fix what it was brought in for at all. Oh, they fixed everything that was covered under warranty they could find (like apparently the transmission was under recall, etc.) to the tune of around $3K, but when I drove it home after them having it a week, it still did what I had reported as wrong. It was a 10-day ordeal in the end to simply find out that the electronic ignition had gone bad. Their compensation was two free oil changes. I sold the car before I could use them.
International Homo of Mystery
 
MaidensGator
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 7:47 am

Quoting FXramper (Thread starter):
While this isn't a rant, how the hell does one learn to trust their mechanic?

Buy a code reader. When the 'check engine' light comes on, I check for myself before I take it to the shop. Sometimes it's something simple I can fix myself. Plus, you can turn the damn "check engine" light off. But bottom line, you know for sure what's wrong. For about $100 I got one that picks up the code and tells you what they mean. For about $40 you get one that only picks up the code; you have to look on a chart for what it means. I know mine has paid for itself several times over.

I was lucky enough to have a local garage owner come to me for legal work about a year ago. We've now got an arrangement that I take care of him and he takes care of my vehicles. It's worked out pretty good so far.
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
 
ACDC8
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 9:12 am

What I don't understand about mechanics is that they have years of training, hundreds of thousands dollars worth of diagnostic equipment in their shops which simply gets hooked up to your vehicles computer/hard drive and prints out a wonderful diagnostic report of you cars engine. But, despite all this wonderful technology, all they do is come up to you and say "Well, we're not quite sure what the problem is. It could be this, or it could be that".  Confused

I trust most mechanics, mind you the only times I've ever had any major issues with a vehicle, it was still under warranty, so no worries there. As far as regular maintenance goes, it doesn't matter where you go, shop rates around here are very close to the same, so it's more important to find one that actually does a good job.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
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jetmech
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 9:14 am

Quoting FXramper (Thread starter):
While this isn't a rant, how the hell does one learn to trust their mechanic?



Quoting Checkraiser (Reply 2):
You can't trust mechanics - they're all theives.



Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 10):
You can always trust your mechanic. They are the most tustworthy individuals ever.



Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
I haven't found an honest mechanic since I moved out of where an Andy Granatelli's Tuneup Masters was located.

Not all mechanics are the same. You sure as hell better trust your aircraft mechanic! Especially when you're travelling non stop across the Pacific in an aluminium tube (B744) at 13,500m altitude and 1000km/h  Wink .

Regards, JetMech
JetMech split the back of his pants. He can feel the wind in his hair :shock: .
 
jetstar
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 10:01 am

I recently went to Sears for new tires. I have always bought tires from Sears because of their product support. If I have a tire problem I can go to any Sears Auto center for replacement. One time one front tire had a bulge on the sidewall, Sears replaced the tire free and I only had to purchase the other tire.

On this trip to Sears, I bought 4 new tires for my Volvo S-80 all wheel drive, I wanted all season Michelin tires, they were out of stock on the tires I wanted so the salesman told me the Bridgestone HP50 tires were the same so I purchased them. Without telling me he added into the purchase price a $64.99 wheel alignment. When I saw the car on the alignment rack I asked the technician why he was aligning the wheels and he told me it was on the order. When I finely found the salesperson the wheel alignment he told me it was to late, the alignment was already done. Only when I threatened to call the Connecticut Dept. of Motor Vehicles who licenses automotive repair shops did he refund the cost of the wheel alignment.

I purchased these tires 3 days before driving to Florida and these Bridgestone tires were the worst tires I have ever rode on, they were noisy, hard riding and my gas mileage dropped almost 3 miles to a gallon. When I got to Florida I went to the local Sears and they told me they were not all season tires but performance tires. They replaced the tires for the Michelin tires I wanted just the cost of the wheel balancing and a small up charge for the difference in the price of the tires.

What gets me mad is that the salesman who sold me these tires is the Auto Center Manager. I will be writing a letter of complaint to Sears and will be filing a complaint with the CT DMV for the scam this manager pulled on me.
 
Molykote
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:21 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 11:39 am

Quoting FXramper (Reply 11):
They told me that I had 3 hoses that needed to be replaced. Hell, labor alone cost me $373.00 for the coolant deal. They did a flush on the system, that was another $97.00. I needed a new thermostat, that was another $76.00. They also replaced a headlight for $29.99. I read this on the invoice. It just started adding up, and ended up being $989.99.

Something else to consider with German cars (particularly higher performance models) is that like any high performance vehicle, parts are more expensive (due to greater R&D and lower production volume) and often wear out quicker. This is partially due to the manner in which they tend to be driven  Smile

However, I have never been able to understand why the Germans can't resort to more "pedestrian" components for lesser (non-performance related) car systems. BMW/VW/Audi/M-B should subcontract all electrical work and most climate control systems to the Japanese. As another example, the function of your thermostat is so basic (and the construction so simple) that I can't appreciate how a $76 component is warranted. By all means, I'm for BMW putting massive R&D into chassis development and I'd be willing to pay a premium for the n-th degree of precision in suspension/brake/steering components. To this point however, I can't understand all of the expensive/small/proprietary/unique components the Germans use to accomplish the same task (often less reliably) than the Japanese "competition".
("competition" is in quotes because I still haven't driven a Japanese sport sedan that holds a candle to a BMW)

If you'd like to consider doing anything yourself, this is a parts source that I like. They have good prices and only sell OE/OEM components (although even at this site your thermostat is $56).
http://www.autohausaz.com/

I suppose my larger point above is that:

(1) Yes, your service bills are expensive

(2) I haven't seen any evidence (based upon what you've presented) that your mechanic is being dishonest. BMWs are expensive cars to maintain (which is why with my 30k/year highway mileage I drive a Toyota).

Even the $76 thermostat (which was probably functioning normally - else you'd notice something amiss with your normal operating temperature) could have easily been replaced as a matter of BMW's routine/scheduled maintenance as part of some "threshold specification" rather than a mechanic declaring it "inoperative". My gripe with BMW is with the over-engineering (and cost) of minor components like this (it's not as if a termostat is stressed in your M3 much more than that in a Camry).

For some appreciation of where I'm coming from, check out this enthusiast site:
http://www.e38.org/
This is a site for owners of the previous generation 7-series BMW. The list of user "project notes" to fix stupid/annoying problems is HUGE. Although the 7-series has the most toys (and by association the most stupid/annoying problems), Issues like those listed on this site have been typical of most 1990+ BMWs (although I'd like to qualify this remark by stating that I think the E36 chassis BMW was very reliable, relatively simple, and remains one of my favorite cars of all time)
Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
 
futurecaptain
Posts: 1918
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:54 am

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 12:07 pm

Quoting JetMech (Reply 15):
You sure as hell better trust your aircraft mechanic!

Thankyou to all the aircraft mechanics who keep the planes I ding up in flying shape. Big hand for you.

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 10):

Damn, I take my car to jiffy lube all the time for the services they provide. I wonder how many times i got scammed? I never take them up on any offer for stupid repairs, they like to suggest a new air filter....when I think its dirty I replace it for 1/4 the cost that they would charge me.
I've come to think I can't trust any mechanics to work on my car fairly. SO I just drive a reliable car and fix the easy stuff myself. Mechanics must hate me and my civic which never breaks down.
AirSO. ASpaceO. ASOnline. ASO.com ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO.
 
MD11junkie
Posts: 2499
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 1:03 pm

D,

I'll give you the nice words my grandpa taught me:

"The only way you can trust a mechanic, son, is by knowing what he's talking about. Otherwise, they are going to try and bullshit you (cashectomize) every time they can." (Dealer mechanics)

As for the independent, I know they are in the job because its what they love to do -- I'd trust them any time, but I'd check the quality of their spare parts. Sometimes, they can be the generic ones.

And that's BE-A-U-TI-FUL M3. Congrats D! I love it!  drool 

Gastón - The MD11junkie
There is no such thing as Boeing vs Airbus as the queen of the skies has three engines, winglets and the sweetest nose!
 
KevinL1011
Posts: 2858
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:48 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 1:23 pm

Quoting Checkraiser (Reply 2):
You can't trust mechanics - they're all theives

And so are Dentist.
Pretty broad statement there  checkmark  raiser. Honest repair facilities are out there but unfortunately are a minority. The automotive repair industry in CA. is regulated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. They have a website where you can check for complaints or citations issued to a shop. There are also professional organizations like the Automotive Service Council. This is a non profit organization of auto repair shops who subscribe to a code of ethics, much like a Rotary club. http://www.ascca.com There is also the AAA or ask a friend.

Call around and see how you're treated. Check out the facility. Are there a lot of abandoned looking vehicles laying around? Is the place clean, organized, well equipped? Insider hint..if you see the owners boat or motorhome parked on site, not a good sign.

Quoting Molykote (Reply 3):
I "trust but verify".
I've had factory service manuals for every car I've owned and do most maintenance myself. Like most situations where one can be ripped off, knowledge is key.

Thank you Molykote!
A lot of people get ripped off due to bad diagnosis and /or poor communication. Everybody thinks that finding the problem is easy. Not all are. A simple oil leak can be easily misdiagnosed. I recently repaired a 1998 Cherokee for a guy who spent $1200 on repairs and all it needed was an ignition coil. By the time I got to it, both catalytic converters were wiped out as well. I currently have a POS 91 Century that has been around the block a few times to different shops and spent over $1000 for a bad fuel injector. Many cars have the injectors powered by one circuit. If one shorts out, all the injectors are taken out. Apparently, not every mechanic knows this. What blows my mind is that neither of these people went back to where they had spent money and complained! The point is, pay for a diagnosis, at a competent shop that knows your car and ask questions before authorizing repairs.

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 14):
What I don't understand about mechanics is that they have years of training, hundreds of thousands dollars worth of diagnostic equipment in their shops which simply gets hooked up to your vehicles computer/hard drive and prints out a wonderful diagnostic report of you cars engine.

I wish that were true. The most sophisticated diagnostic tool for diagnosis is a "scanner" which connects to the diagnostic outlet. This allows you to monitor sensor data, computers output commands and report any trouble codes. The trouble codes only identify which circuit or sensor is out of limits. There has never been a tool which tells you what to repair. The trouble code may say "O2 sensor lean, bank 1, sensor 1" or "MAF sensor voltage high". That's all. It takes someone who at least knows how to use a DVOM and ohms law to diagnose this.
OK, so we have a lean oxygen sensor. Just replace it , right? NO. It could be a vacuum leak, exhaust leak, clogged injector, fuel filter, contaminated MAF sensor due to installation of a K&N air filter, a bad sensor ground , corroded connector and I could go on.

I have yet to see a machine that prints out what is wrong with a car having a brake noise, oil leak, vibration, rattle, overheating, power window or any accessory malfunction. Even the best tools available are useless if not properly used and understood. BTW..the best tools available are the human brain and a Fluke DVOM.

Quoting JetMech (Reply 15):
Not all mechanics are the same

Exactly!  bigthumbsup 
There are 3 types of repair. Each type has it's advantages and disadvantages.

Dealers: Better at specialized repairs like security system problems, ABS and SRS problems. Dealers have access to the manufacturers technical information and special tools. Disadvantage, cost.

Mass Merchandiser: Your Firestone, Goodyear, Sears, PepBoys, Jiffy Lube. These places are good for cookie cutter repairs. Tires, shocks, oil changes but NOT diagnosis! Most of these places pay their people with minimum wage plus a commission on what they sell or install. When you walk in the door, you are their potential paycheck. There is a high probability that you will be sold something that you don't need. As far as finding the problem (diagnosis), you will get the shotgun diagnostic. They will recommend to replace everything that possibly could be wrong and hopefully one will fix it. Should the problem not go away, then you need to take it to the dealer. You really needed all the stuff they did of course.

Independent Repair Shop: Often more honest if they've been in town a while. A word of mouth recommendation is best. You may deal with the person who will oversee the repair and talk directly to the mechanic to be sure the recommendations have merit. Ask to see your old parts. Look for certifications and membership in professional organizations. Disadvantage, do they have experience, tools and technical information for your car's problem? Many independent shops will work on anything and often not very well.

The most important factor in choosing a mechanic is how they communicate with you and do they know your car. Just because somebody works on cars does not mean they can fix every make and model.

 Smile
474218, Carl, You will be missed.
 
ACDC8
Posts: 7182
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:56 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 4:12 pm

Quoting KevinL1011 (Reply 20):
I wish that were true. The most sophisticated diagnostic tool for diagnosis is a "scanner" which connects to the diagnostic outlet. This allows you to monitor sensor data, computers output commands and report any trouble codes. The trouble codes only identify which circuit or sensor is out of limits. There has never been a tool which tells you what to repair. The trouble code may say "O2 sensor lean, bank 1, sensor 1" or "MAF sensor voltage high". That's all. It takes someone who at least knows how to use a DVOM and ohms law to diagnose this.
OK, so we have a lean oxygen sensor. Just replace it , right? NO. It could be a vacuum leak, exhaust leak, clogged injector, fuel filter, contaminated MAF sensor due to installation of a K&N air filter, a bad sensor ground , corroded connector and I could go on.

I have yet to see a machine that prints out what is wrong with a car having a brake noise, oil leak, vibration, rattle, overheating, power window or any accessory malfunction. Even the best tools available are useless if not properly used and understood. BTW..the best tools available are the human brain and a Fluke DVOM.

Like I said, it doesn't make sense ...  Big grin
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
bill142
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 5:12 pm

Coming from a family which owned a mechanical workshop, and having worked in said workshop, I can tell you that European cars were always the most expensive. The exception to that is high volume import models, such as the Astra, Focus, Barina (Corsa), Fiesta, etc.

Alot of the issues come down to the design of the car. I remember we once had to replace a radiator and a few other parts in the front end in a Vectra. The whole front end, Bumper, headlights, wheels, you name it, it had to come off. Then the radiator was about $500 alone, and you could only source them genuine from Holden (GM). I think the whole ordeal cost about $1200 and we went easy on her. They try and stuff so much into a small area that you have to pull the whole car apart to fix it.
 
jafa39
Posts: 4320
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:14 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 7:03 pm

Quoting Checkraiser (Reply 2):
You can't trust mechanics - they're all theives

Not so fast there buddy..I gave up being a mechanic because all the customers wanted it fixed yesterday and for pennies, when they hadn't even considered any form of maintenance until it died....often the real thieves are the manufacturers. Get a BMW parts catalogue and add up all the prices of the parts...it will be a lot more than the car was new.

Quoting FXramper (Thread starter):
I drive a 2004 BMW M3.

This willl keep you poor, I refused to work on BMW's after a while as they are fine when under warranty but make a boat look cheap to maintain after that...too many tears shed on my workshop floor.

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 13):
Buy a code reader.

Good Idea but see what KevinL1011 has to say on the subject...best thing is as you say...you can turn out the red light!!!

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 14):
Well, we're not quite sure what the problem is. It could be this, or it could be that".

Some electronic components can test Ok but not work and test faulty yet still work....its an inexact science and often only replacement will tell if it works or not.........oh for the good old days when if there wasn't a hole in the block, it was either fuel or sparks...still is but there are soooo many systems now.
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
bill142
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 8:15 pm

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 23):
Not so fast there buddy..I gave up being a mechanic because all the customers wanted it fixed yesterday and for pennies, when they hadn't even considered any form of maintenance until it died....

Uggh.. tell me about it. Every customer thought you were out to rip them off. The most annoying were the ones who thought they knew more then a qualified mechanic.
 
Molykote
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:21 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 8:32 pm

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 23):
Not so fast there buddy..I gave up being a mechanic because all the customers wanted it fixed yesterday and for pennies, when they hadn't even considered any form of maintenance until it died....often the real thieves are the manufacturers. Get a BMW parts catalogue and add up all the prices of the parts...it will be a lot more than the car was new.

I'm with you on the general points made in your post, but any car would cost much more to replenish in parts than it would to buy new.
Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
 
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KaiGywer
Crew
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RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Mon May 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 13):
Buy a code reader.

Or if you have an AutoZone in town, go there. My dealer wants to charge me $60 just to run the diagnostic check, while AutoZone will do it for free.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
KevinL1011
Posts: 2858
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:48 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Tue May 29, 2007 6:45 am

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 23):
Some electronic components can test Ok but not work and test faulty yet still work....its an inexact science and often only replacement will tell if it works or not.........

Many problems are intermittant and unless the failure is present while the mechanic is performing the test, everything will test as OK. The trick is to have the failure present when testing. For some reason, failures never happen when the mechanic is testing the system. It goes like this:

Mechanic: When does your car act funny? (typical description for a failure)

Customer: Well I went to visit my sister but first I stopped at the Mall. Then I saw my friend Gertrude and she talked for a while. So I then drove to get gas but I needed some money so I went to the bank...blah blah..

Mechanic: Could you please describe the problem ?

Customer: Well it just sounds funny.

Mechanic: So it makes you laugh ?

Customer: You mechanics are all smart asses! Just because I'm a woman you think I'm dumb!

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 26):
Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 13):
Buy a code reader.

Or if you have an AutoZone in town, go there.

So....what if you get a code for "BPFE out of limits" or "EVAP purge fault" Then what? Just erase it..right?  rotfl 
474218, Carl, You will be missed.
 
alfa75
Posts: 488
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 11:27 am

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Tue May 29, 2007 8:09 am

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 13):
I was lucky enough to have a local garage owner come to me for legal work about a year ago. We've now got an arrangement that I take care of him and he takes care of my vehicles. It's worked out pretty good so far.

And just why did he need your services?  devil 

Quoting Jetstar (Reply 16):
On this trip to Sears, I bought 4 new tires for my Volvo S-80 all wheel drive, I wanted all season Michelin tires, they were out of stock on the tires I wanted so the salesman told me the Bridgestone HP50 tires were the same so I purchased them.

Be careful going to Sears. You have a good point about their nationwide network. However, it is not for the reason you think. The tires Sears sells can only be found at Sears. You also need to make sure they sell you tires that are of the correct speed and load rating. Often, tires from a place like Sears do not measure up. Brand names mean nothing. Life is too short to buy cheap tires.



As someone who works at a dealer I find it disheartening to see things like the Jiffylube scam. It ruins it for the good guys. Our owners don't tolerate that sort of nonsense.
The best things in life aren't things!
 
Dougloid
Posts: 7248
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 2:44 am

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Tue May 29, 2007 8:28 am

The only solution to this problem that I can think of is to buy something that is pre 1993 or thereabouts and maintain it yourself. Otherwise you'll always be at the mercy of high priced parts dished out the old fashioned way-at retail.

Either that or do like I guy I used to know. He was a commercial artist who drove Fiat 128s and he'd put about 30,000 miles a yeart on them, but he'd trade 'em in once a year.

I would also avoid Chrysler FWD products....my Voyager was a poorly designed and built pain in the neck.

Right now I have two vehicles-a 1987 Mitsubishi pickup that I overhauled the engine in about 20,000 miles ago, and a 1993 Mazda MPV van. That one needed a radiator which cost $110 for a brand new one at O'Reilly's my second home. It cost me about $1,000 to get a spare engine for the pickup, buy the tooling and overhaul it including a new head and a rebore. That was about $300 less than buying a rebuilt engine and I've got tooling for years.

About the only thing I subcontract out is exhaust system work because it's usually about as cheap to take it to a muffler shop as it is to try to buy parts and repair it at home.

The vehicles are not real pretty but they're reliable, easy to repair, and cheap to drive-the Mazda broke 25 mpg last week on a trip to Minneapolis, and two years ago tne Mitsubishi took me from central Iowa to Rochester New York by way of Ontario, down to New Jersey, and back all in about five days.

Plus....I haven't made a car payment since 1992 and I hope to keep it that way.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Tue May 29, 2007 8:43 am

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 21):
I wish that were true. The most sophisticated diagnostic tool for diagnosis is a "scanner" which connects to the diagnostic outlet. This allows you to monitor sensor data, computers output commands and report any trouble codes. The trouble codes only identify which circuit or sensor is out of limits. There has never been a tool which tells you what to repair. The trouble code may say "O2 sensor lean, bank 1, sensor 1" or "MAF sensor voltage high". That's all. It takes someone who at least knows how to use a DVOM and ohms law to diagnose this.
OK, so we have a lean oxygen sensor. Just replace it , right? NO. It could be a vacuum leak, exhaust leak, clogged injector, fuel filter, contaminated MAF sensor due to installation of a K&N air filter, a bad sensor ground , corroded connector and I could go on.

I have yet to see a machine that prints out what is wrong with a car having a brake noise, oil leak, vibration, rattle, overheating, power window or any accessory malfunction. Even the best tools available are useless if not properly used and understood. BTW..the best tools available are the human brain and a Fluke DVOM.

Like I said, it doesn't make sense ... Big grin



Quoting KevinL1011 (Reply 27):
Some electronic components can test Ok but not work and test faulty yet still work....its an inexact science and often only replacement will tell if it works or not.........

Many problems are intermittant and unless the failure is present while the mechanic is performing the test, everything will test as OK.

We have the same problems with aircraft. While we have BITE systems in most components, often they will give you only a rough idea where the fault is. If the fault is intermittent and currently not active (happens often, since the plane usually sits quite on ground, but in the air it is exposed to vibrations, temperature changes, pressure changes and condensation) we can do almost nothing, except for maybe shaking connectors or replacing a few most likely parts and hope that the fault will go away, something which is often not understood by pilots and management. The pilots complain about items turning up again and again in the tech log as "could not duplicate fault on ground. FBITE check ok", while management either complains about "unnecessarily" replaced parts or complaints from the chief pilots that the engineers are "fixing nothing".
Also, I have experienced instances where the BITE system has been lying and sent us on a wrong trail. In the end there is only the time consuming way of getting out the multimeter, wiring diagrams and schematics and measuring all wires and components individually.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
KevinL1011
Posts: 2858
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:48 pm

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Tue May 29, 2007 9:45 am

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 29):
1993 Mazda MPV van. That one needed a radiator which cost $110 for a brand new one at O'Reilly's

Wait until the radiator fan goes out! Those are pricey. Always replace the connector as it gets fried.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 29):
He was a commercial artist who drove Fiat 128s and he'd put about 30,000 miles a year on them, but he'd trade 'em in once a year.

Just about when the head gasket goes.  Wink But...man, those are fun cars to drive!

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 30):
Also, I have experienced instances where the BITE system has been lying and sent us on a wrong trail. In the end there is only the time consuming way of getting out the multimeter

So....It sounds like it'll BITE you in the ass!  biggrin 

God bless the Fluke 88!

474218, Carl, You will be missed.
 
rolfen
Posts: 1539
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:03 am

RE: Trusting Your Mechanic...

Tue May 29, 2007 11:21 am

Quoting FXramper (Thread starter):
While this isn't a rant, how the hell does one learn to trust their mechanic?

well, like my father says, a good mechanic is a mechanic who will fix your car without making it any worse then it is.
 Smile
rolf

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