Auto Repair: The Top Ten Mistakes Made By Your Mechanic

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Auto Repair: HOW DO They Screw Up An Engine oil Change?

"It's about beating the clock." This quote originates from a wise old service manager, advising me about how to maximize my income as a flat-rate tech. If you have ever wondered why your car doesn't get fixed correctly, or your concerns weren't dealt with, you can blame, in part, the flat-rate pay composition.

Flat-rate simply means that your mechanic is paid a set fee for a particular repair, it doesn't matter how long the repair actually will take. Quite simply, if your car needs a normal water pump, which will pay two time of labor, and the mechanic completes the work in a single hour, he gets paid for two.

In theory, this can work in your favor. If the job takes longer, you still pay just the "predetermined" labor amount. THEORETICALLY, not reality!

The flat-rate pay framework was created to drive productivity. It is rather effective. The flat-rate pay system stimulates technicians to work solid, but it generally does not promote quality.

In terms of getting your car fixed accurately, the flat-rate pay structure has disastrous effects. Flat-rate technicians are constantly looking for shortcuts to conquer the clock to be able to maximize the number of hours they expenses. Experienced flat-rate technicians can costs from 16 to 50 time within an 8 hour day.

It's these shortcuts and the breakneck rate at which toned rate technicians work that result in some of the most idiotic mistakes. Within the rapid-fire pace of your shop I've observed technicians start machines with no oil. I've seen transmissions fallen, smashing into little bits onto the shop floor. And I've seen autos driven through bay doors--all in the name of "beating the time."

Flat-rate technicians can get quite complex with shortcuts. The best was the execution of 6-foot-long 2-by-4, that was put under the engine motor for support while a electric motor mount was removed. It made a job predetermined to consider 1.5 hours achievable in twenty minutes. A win-win, right? The tech makes extra cash; you get your vehicle back faster.

Actually, in many cases the placement of this 2-by-4 damaged the oil skillet. Moreover, it brought on the car, your car, to balance precariously 6 ft in the air, as the technician manipulated the automobile lift to access your engine mount.

This plan was abruptly discontinued when a technician's 2-by-4 snapped causing the automobile to crash nasal down onto the concrete floor.

Sometimes the shortcuts create very simple disturbances, which create problems overtime. An instant example: a car had its transmitting serviced with a fresh filtration, gasket, and liquid. During the process, the technician could save time by bending the transmitting dipstick tube just a bit, in order to find the transmission pan out faster. The automobile was reassembled, and the specialist re-bent the pipe back into place and off it went--no problems....

Six months later, the automobile returned with an intermittent misfire. The engine unit wasn't running on all cylinders. After comprehensive diagnostics, it was discovered that the transmitting dipstick tube had chaffed through the engine motor funnel, intermittently grounding out an injector. Hmm, that's odd. Don't usually notice that.

The high-speed environment and the subsequent shortcuts illustrate the devastating ramifications of the flat-rate, sales-driven pay structure on the grade of car repairs.

No wonder even an olive oil change gets screwed up!

The indegent quality of work encouraged by the level rate pay composition is disconcerting enough. Regrettably, it generally does not stop here. The unwanted effects of flat-rate get exponentially worse, as it opens "wide" the door to rip you off!

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