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Is it better to wait with your car, or should you drop it off for repair?This is a really big point of contention in the shop. From the service advisors to the technicians, everyone has an opinion, and they are all right, just ask them. 😉

Like anything, there are pros and cons to each. From a mechanic’s point of view, dropping it off is best. It takes any time pressure off of us and lets us be thorough. It also keeps a service advisor from bothering a mechanic while they are trying to work. I will save my opinion for the end. 🙂

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons a customer might experience,

Pros to waiting at the dealer

  • You will generally get done faster if you are there waiting
  • Most dealer have free snacks
  • I can’t imagine a dealer not having WIFI, at least you can get work done
  • It is a great place to meet folks. I talked to a customer that met his girlfriend in our waiting room. How cool is that!
  • There will be no back and forth on the phone if the mechanic finds something wrong with your car.
  • If they do find something wrong with your can, you have an easy out if you DON’T want to fix your car. “Sorry I can’t wait that long”.
  • If something is wrong, you can see it yourself. Even if you don’t know what you are looking at, it will help to see something the problem, and prevent unneeded services
  • You can test drive the newest coolest cars
  • You have leverage to getting a better deal. Asking for a coupon or a loaner car so needed repairs can get completed. You won’t have that if you drop your car off.

Cons to waiting at the dealer

  • You are stuck waiting at the dealer.
  • It can get boring waiting, if the waiting room is lame
  • There is a chance that a salesman will try to sell you a new car~only a con if you don’t want a new car
  • You might get stuck longer if your car needs further repairs
  • Again, YOU ARE STUCK there.
  • You might have better things to do than wait
  • Mechanics might rush through the job

Like I said there are some good and some bad about waiting. What about your other choice, leaving your car? Pros and Cons~~~GO!

Pros to dropping your car off

  • You are not stuck at the dealer in a boring waiting room
  • This will give the mechanics more time to do their job as thorough as they can.
  • If the mechanic needs to contact a “help line” for assistance, they are free to do so.
  • You just might get a car wash(no promise)
  • If gives the mechanic a chance to earn the money you are paying. It keeps most of us from getting fussy.

Cons to dropping your car off

  • You have to make arrangements for a ride twice
  • You can rent a car, but that adds to the bill
  • There will be multiple phone calls, emails, texts no matter what
  • There will be even more phone calls if the mechanic finds something wrong
  • You have to get your car by the time they close, or “No Car For You”(are soup Nazi joke lame)
  • They might take their sweet time, and push your car until the end of the day.
  • You BETTER trust your mechanic, you can’t see a problem like you could if you were there.(If you have been following my advise, that is not an issue) 😉

When I wrote that out, I really did make a strong case for waiting on your car didn’t I. To me, it doesn’t really matter. Yep, I not mind either way. If you want to drop your car off awesome! If you want to come and hang out while I work on your car, that is cool too. I strive to do the same job either way.

Just remember, it is YOUR choice. If you wait, do not get mad when it takes a little longer then you thought. 🙂

What do you guys think? Do you prefer to wait for your car at the dealer? What is your main reason? How can dealers make the waiting room better? Hit me with what you got!

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So you might be thinking, “Why the hell is Charles talking crap about the internet and fixing car”. I spend almost every second of the day working on cars, or working on this site (and some other side projects), why would I say something like that? Heck this community even has its own Automotive Forum.

Well, for one, its true! The internet CAN NOT fix your car. You can not type “replace my timing belt” into Google and expect it to be replaced. That would be stupid right? Well the same goes for everything else. I wish I could count the number of times someone has come in to the dealer and said “Well, (insert website here) said that this is what is wrong with my car”. Oh, and you usually have to say it with a snotty voice. 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that customers need to be informed. I think the more information that the customer has, the better an experience they will have. Doing research on issues with your car is an important to help from being taken advantage of. I would recommend having the following information.

  • Understand your owners manual.This will also give you maintenance information too.
  • Your service history, Unless you have 1 place you bring your car, always have service information with you
  • If you do find some information about a problem you are having, print it out, and bring it to the repair place. It very well could help gt your car fixed faster and cheaper. Just don’t act like a tool about it.

I rely really heavy on information that customers provide. Researching the issue you are having with your car might help you explain the problem better. Even if it does not apply to the car. I would much rather not need information, than not have it.

I guess what I am saying is it all boils down to attitude. I would like to beleive that when a customer puts a lot of time into researching their car it’s because they LOVE their car. The sad truth is, it comes off like they just want to prove the dealer wrong(sounds like my mother in-law). If you find information that might help your mechanic, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell them. Let them figure out if it applies or not.

Just to be 100% clear, I love the internet. I dig all of the really cool social media platforms(I think Pinterest is about to BLOW up), the amount of information is endless. I used YouTube nonstop when building this site. I had no idea how to do any  of this stuff. I am really thankful for the help I got and continue to get. But I would never expect someone to just do it for me. I studied the information, and did the work myself. That is exactly how it works. 🙂

So what really makes an honest mechanic? Being honest of course. 🙂 I just want to tell you how this subject came about. I will tie it together, just hang with me, it will all make sense.~Promise~

When I first started this blog, I started listening to a really great business podcast called “Five Minutes with Jack”. He gives great motivation to keep blogging and building an awesome brand. Jack is one of the main reasons that you guys get a post every day. 😉 On top of using social media like, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and G+ to my blog out there, the show talks about using SEO(search engine optimization) to get your brand out there. One of the main things is finding a few keywords you want associated with your brand.

That got me thinking, what do I want my brand to be known as. Of course if someone searches for the term “Humble Mechanic” odds are they are not looking for me. So the word that kept coming up is HONEST. Maybe I should have called the site Honest Mechanic. Well, all that talk about honest got me thinking, what really makes and honest mechanic..

Communication
It all starts here. Communication is a skill that is so important, and very underrated. The ability to talk to customers in a way that helps them understand is where a lot of guys fall short. I have talked about mechanics not wanting to talk to customers before, and I firmly believe they are wrong. Talking to customers is one of my favorite parts of my job. I love teaching people about there car. I don’t care if it’s as simple as programming presets on their radio, or talking about advanced computer diagnostics. I do my best to explain things in a way that anyone can understand, even if they know nothing about cars. If your mechanic will not take the time to explain what they are doing, then I would question how honest they really are.

Integrity
I guess it goes with out saying that you can’t be an honest mechanic if you have no integrity. This one might be a little tricky to find out right away. I can tell you that there are countless ways for a mechanic to “cheat”. Charging customers to replace parts then not replace them, selling services that are not really needed, charging too much in labor hours for a job are all things that I have seen happen. So how do you know if your mechanic has points in the integrity department? I find that asking is a great technique.

  • Do I REALLY need this?
  • Do I need to do this repair today?
  • What will happen if I don’t repair it now
  • Can you show me what you are talking about?

These are some questions that I would ask every time, unless you are talking about an oil change or something really simple like that.

Skill
Good communication and a high level of integrity do not mean a whole lot if a mechanic has no skill. You are bringing your car to get serviced, they better know how to do the work. From all of my years working on cars, I have found that the mechanics with the least amount of skill tend to not be so honest. Earning money as a mechanic is not easy, even if you are good, it’s a tough job. Now take a mechanic that is not very good, they almost have to lie cheat and steal to make money.

Be sure to swing by the forum. Remember, if you do not get approved right away contact me and let me know. I try to keep it free of spam, and I don’t want to miss anyone.

Also, swing by Jack’s site, and post a comment to let him know I sent ya 😉 I really do owe a lot to him, and it would be a great way to say thanks.

I am a little reluctant to even write this post. I try t be really positive about things that happen in the shop, and this is a story about something not so positive. I am also reluctant because I don’t want to talk junk about the people that I work with. When I make a mistake, I have no problem telling you guys about it, but what I am about to tell you is about someone else.

Yesterday, I worked on a customers car, this customer has been one of my best customers over the years. She is a little old lady, and is as sweet as can be. She reminds me a lot of my grandma, who is one of my favorite people in the world.

When she came to pick her car up, they service advisor called me to the front. She told me that the work I just finished did not fix her car. Based on the week I was having, I would not have been surprised. She smiled and told me she was just messing with me(a taste of my own medicine). About 15 minutes went by, and another advisor paged me. They told be that someone had rear ended the lady. The auto park I work in has an awful intersection at the top of a small hill.

I drove up to the intersection to see if she was okay. She was really shaken up, but physically fine. The guy that hit her was totally fine. As I looked at the damage of both cars, I knew that she didn’t get rear ended, she must have pulled out in front of the guy. Her Beetle took some damage on the right side. The Mazda the other guy was driving didn’t do so well. The whole front of the car was destroyed. I helped her call a friend to come get her. I was also able to nurse the car out of the intersection and into a parking spot at the Porsche dealer. The cops came and did what they had to, and when her friend showed up, I went back to work.

30 or so minutes later, I get another page to come up to the service drive. The customer was there to pickup some info about where to have her car towed. We chatted for a minute, I gave her the information she needed so she was just about set.

This is where the story gets bad. I am writing this  and I know my blood pressure is gonna be sky high! This poor lady was just in a car accident, she was visibly shaken up, and asked for some water. Now, we have 2 drinking fountain in the waiting room, we have a vending machine in the waiting room, and we have FREE drinks up stairs. My service advisor looks her dead in the face and says “There is free water just up the stairs if you want that’. Guys, my jaw hit the floor. How the hell are you gonna tell this poor lady to walk up the stairs and get her own drink????? Thankfully, my service manager was standing right there and went to get it for her.

Now, I don’t pretend to be a customer service expert or anything, but what type of person does that? How would you feel if that was your mother or your grandmother? I didn’t say anything to the advisor, because what would be the point. Someone that would do that will never get why that is so bad. Really, how can you call yourself a man if that is how you would treat someone in the situation! I hate to admit that someone at my dealer would do that, but I have told you guys before, I will always be 100% honest with you!

Today, I went up to take some pics of the car. It honestly might total her beetle. The car is a 2000, so it wont take a ton of money to total it. It will most likely be better to just scrap it and for her to get a new car.

I have worked really hard over my career to try and get rid of bad customer service stereotypes at the dealer. This like this really set everyone back! So, what do you guys think? Am I just blowing this WAY out of proportion? Should I have said something to him about it? I would love to know your thoughts!

I am really excited to get some aftermarket point of view. The great thing about the performance market, is that it’s more fun for most car people! Thomas has some pretty awesome stuff! If you have a VW, Audi, or Porsche, check out APTuning.

NAME:

Thomas Dickinson

How long have you been in the Industry?

Professionally – approx 11yrs   Enthusiast – approx 15yrs

What is your current job title?

Wholesale Sales and Marketing Manager

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

Car stereo/electronics installation

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

Aftermarket, never worked at a dealer

Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.

I do not work on cars much nowadays so my typical events include email, website, and online orders. Website and internet marketing and advertising. Managing our subdealers for companies such as APR and United Motorsport.

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

work on other cars lol, work on my motorcyle, relax with family

What kind of car do you drive?

B5 Audi currently for a daily

What was your first car?

Honda CRX

What made you want to work on cars?

As any true enthusiast would tell you, I do not think there is a answer for that, it’s just in our blood

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

No Comment HA

Do you have much customer interaction?

Yes quite a bit

What is your favorite part of your job?

Used to be completely some crazy or custom such as a big turbo build. However since I have pretty much migrated to the digital world of the business, once of my favorite things now is finishing video like a dyno runs and such but in a new, cooler looking way

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

Not really sure

The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?

I don’t think it has a bad wrap as a whole, consumers usually think used car dealers seem to be that way, but as we are in the aftermarket its not so bad other then trying to compete with online only venders with little overhead

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

maintain proper oil change intervals

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

It is definitely helpful to making sure to know and get the most out of your vehicle

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Yep

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

hard to say

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

MAC

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

Adjustable, pliers, and phillips screwdriver. Not that its easy but theoretically almost any job can be accomplished with them

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

Turbos 🙂

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

A pre-MK4 Vw. Its easy and cheap to maintain yet still looks cool to the right person

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?

It can be a very stressful and complicated job, its not just turning wrenches nowdays.

 

Thanks Thomas for letting us in on yet another side of the auto industry. If you guys want some performance stuff for your VW or Audi, check out APTuning!

If you would like to be featured on “Behind The Wrench”, just contact me

Today is finally the day. I am launching TechnicianDatabase.com

From pretty much day one of starting this site, I knew that I wanted a better place for people to connect. I wanted to build a place for people to connect with mechanics and learn the truth about our jobs, the industry, car repairs, and so on. What I didn’t expect to find was great relationships with other mechanics. Where it is highly experienced mechanics, guys in or going to tech school, or just hobbyists, the connection has been outstanding.

The site went live today. I also started a few threads just to get things rolling. Here is the VERY important part about the forum, It is for you guys! This is just a continuation of our community. With that, make sure you are all cool to each other, and we all need to work to keep out spam!

One other thing, I started a “First 50” thread in the “Meet and Greet” section. What that will be is, the first 50 people to make a post will be forever locked as the “First 50” founders of the site. It be fair, I borrowed this idea from The Road to 100k. Its a great forum about building websites and blogs. If you guys ever plan on starting a blog, go to the forum and check it out. Everyone there is awesome and TONS of help. I am Humblemechanic on that forum(go figure). Oh, back to the 1st 50. When the first 50 have been locked in, I will give something cool away to someone in the 1st 50. I opened the forum to the folks on my email list this morning. I wanted to give them 1st shot at signing up. That is just one benefit of being on the email list. 😉

One more thing, as far as the logo I talked about yesterday, she didn’t have it ready. That is one problem with working with such an amazingly talented artist. She is actually a tattoo artist. On average, she books 6+ months out for an appointment. I am kinda bummed that she didn’t have it, but for real, this chick is crazy busy, and more importantly, it will be amazing.