Auto Repair: HOW DO They Screw Up An Oil Change?

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Auto Repair: HOW DO They Screw Up An Oil Change?

"It's about beating the time clock." This estimate comes from a sensible old service supervisor, advising me on how to increase my income as a flat-rate technician. If you've ever wondered why your car doesn't get set correctly, or all of your concerns weren't addressed, you can blame, partly, the flat-rate pay structure.

Flat-rate simply means that your auto mechanic is paid a flat fee for a specific repair, regardless of how long the repair actually calls for. In other words, if your vehicle needs a water pump, which pays off two time of labor, and the auto technician completes the work in one hour, he gets paid for two.

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

The flat-rate pay framework was created to drive productivity. It's very effective. The flat-rate pay system promotes technicians to work solid, but it does not promote quality.

In terms of getting your car fixed correctly, the flat-rate pay framework has disastrous results. Flat-rate technicians are constantly looking for shortcuts to overcome the clock in order to maximize the number of hours they costs. Experienced flat-rate technicians can invoice anywhere from 16 to 50 hours in an 8 hour day.

It's these shortcuts and the breakneck acceleration at which smooth rate technicians work that lead to some of the most idiotic mistakes. In the rapid-fire pace of the shop I've witnessed technicians start motors with no petrol. I've seen transmissions fell, smashing into little pieces onto the shop floor. And I've seen cars driven right through bay doors--all in the name of "beating the clock."

Flat-rate technicians can get quite elaborate with shortcuts. My favorite was the execution of an 6-foot-long 2-by-4, that was located under the engine unit for support while a motor unit support was removed. It made employment predetermined to adopt 1.5 hours achievable in twenty minutes. A win-win, right? The specialist makes extra money; you get your vehicle back faster.

Actually, oftentimes the keeping this 2-by-4 ruined the oil pan. Moreover, it caused the car, your vehicle, to balance precariously 6 toes in the air, while the technician manipulated the car lift to gain access to your engine support.

This tactic was abruptly discontinued whenever a technician's 2-by-4 snapped triggering the car to crash nasal area down onto the concrete floor.

Sometimes the shortcuts create very subtle disruptions, which create problems overtime. A quick example: a vehicle had its transmitting serviced with a new filtration, gasket, and smooth. During the treatment, the technician was able to save time by twisting the transmission dipstick tube just a little, in order to get the transmission skillet out faster. The vehicle was reassembled, and the tech re-bent the tube back to place and off it went--no worries....

Half a year later, the vehicle delivered with an intermittent misfire. The engine wasn't working on all cylinders. After extensive diagnostics, it was uncovered that the transmission dipstick tube got chaffed through the engine harness, intermittently grounding out an injector. Hmm, that's bizarre. Don't usually note that.

The high-speed environment and the next shortcuts demonstrate the devastating effects of the flat-rate, sales-driven pay framework on the grade of car repairs.

No question even an engine oil change gets screwed up!

The poor quality of work urged by the flat rate pay framework is disconcerting enough. However, it doesn't stop here. The negative effects of flat-rate get exponentially even worse, as it starts "wide" the entranceway to rip you off!

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