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Your inside look into the world of car repair and Volkswagen Dealer service

People tell me, almost daily, “I can just do that myself”. Normally, I laugh it off and think “good luck with that”. The truth is, lots of jobs can be done by someone with very little skills and just a few tools. I wont be teaching you how to do your our work, but here are some things that you need to consider when tackling a DIY repair on your car.

Price

I think that about 70% of people do not let a mechanic fix their car because of price. We all look to save a buck everywhere we can. Saving $25 by replacing your own air filter seems like a good idea right? If your time is worth $25 per hour, and it takes you 3 hours, NOT worth it. If you can do it in about 1 hour or less, do it!

TIme

You will see that most of these completely overlap! If you can pay a mechanic to do a job that take him, or her 45 minutes, but you take you 4 hours, pay for it. You will spend more time screwing around with it than its worth, pay it and go do something fun, or go back to work!

Tools

Some jobs, most on VWs, require specialized tools. This can be something as common as pliers to remove clamps or Torx drive bits. It a tool that is only used for 1 certain job on 1 type of car. If the repair in question MIGHT require on of these tools, consider paying of the repair. If you can justify buying to tools(this is something I NEVER have a problem with:)) then it might be something you want to consider fixing yourself.

Know-How

This one is tricky. There is so many great resources online to get repair information, that anyone can learn anything. A friend of mine Katie used a YouTube video to learn how to replace a filter in her car! The look on her face was a look of pure pride! The information is out there, don’t use that as an excuse.

Passion

This one is EASY. If you love working on your car, then DO IT! The cost of the tools, time, know-how will all be worth it. It will be worth it because you will enjoy the time working on your car.

Caution

There is a DIY caution that I want to give everyone. If you decide that you are going to work on your own car, I support that 100%! (I mean that is one of the points of this blog!) Just understand that if something gets messed up, it is NOT covered under warranty. It will most likely cost you more now. A mechanic will have to undo what you did, then fix the initial problem

Here are some really great DIY things that I recommend people doing(unless you are my customer)

  • Wiper Blades
  • Light Bulbs(some are a pain, ask me if you are not sure)
  • Cabin Air Filters
  • Engine Air Filters(some VW filters suck, ask me 1st)

There are other things that are DIY, but the the maintenance stuff is easier! I left off spark plugs because they need to be properly torqued( you need a torque wrench). I also left off oil changes. In my mind, its too much work, a big mess. My dealer charged ~$14 in labor for that service. WELL WORTH IT!

What do you guys like to do on your cars? Did I forget anything easy that people like to DIY?

Your inside look into the world of car repair and Volkswagen Dealer service

Happy Monday everyone!

I am out of the shop today on a long weekend. Due to that I didn’t really feel like talking about automotive theory or vehicle systems. I thought I would tell you guys the story that pushed me to start this blog and get involved socially online.

In April or May of 2011, I had a conversation with my service manager. We talked about starting a Facebook page and Twitter account for the service department. This came about because the sales department had made several attempts and doing it, and failed. Like I said in my very first post, we [service department] have an awesome relationship with our customers. The service manager and I really wanted to take the relationship we had in the dealer and bring it online. We knew it would make a statement to other dealers that “THIS” is how to be a great service department.

I jumped in with both feet! In about a day, I started a Facebook page, made a twitter account and got the ball rolling! The ball dropped a few days later when we were told “We do not want multiple places for our customers to go”. I was pretty surprised. What that meant to me was, “We only care about selling people cars”.  I could have totally read that wrong, but I doubt it. The service manager really went to bat for us. We usually see things eye to eye, and I know that he wanted to make the same impression that I did. The powers that be had spoken and decided they would rather pay a “social media” company than let us do it for free!

After a couple of days of being kinda pissed, figured I could just do this myself!  I also had been giving my wife a hard time about starting her blog, so there was no reason I shouldn’t do my own. I got the domain, pickup up some hosting and launched this site! Something that you guys may or may not know is, I do not know much about computers. Well, computers that are not in cars anyway! I can’t tell you how many hours I spent watching YouTube videos trying to figure out how to build a website. I also want to thank Nick from Save Our Skills. He really helped me out early on. I launched the site on June 23 2011.

Just before launching the website, I scored a free copy of “The ThankYou Economy” from The Survival Podcast Gear Shop. It is interesting how somethings line up! The book talks about businesses that do it right, and how they use the tools online to do it! That just validated the fact that I needed to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account!(Be sure to follow them both!).

I have really started to gain some traction with both of those online tools. The really funny thing is, my dealership is moving in the opposite direction. I am not bashing them, just telling facts. I really do love my dealer. Like I said, the dealer pays a company to manage their “social media”. My favorite example of why this is bad comes from a Facebook post on New Years Day. The posted this statement “Happy 2012! What’s your top resolution? Mine is to laugh more!” Not exactly a thought provoking statement is it? Just to be clear, I am not busting on them, I just like being right. 🙂

I really want to thank the folks that decided to keep the dealers page a sales focused page. It really was the push that I needed to do this blog. Also, that to Kathi from Kruse Control INC. Our conversation on Facebook gave me the idea for this post. I have really enjoyed the interactions that have come from “social media”! A lot of the posts have come from questions or comments on Facebook and twitter.

I hope you guys have a wonderful Monday. Long weekend or not, make it a great one. I am lucky enough to be on my long weekend so I will be back in the shop on Wednesday!

Your inside look into the world of car repair and Volkswagen Dealer service

Happy Friday everyone!

I am writing this “unintensional” post today about customer service. See I actually recorded a podcast about this very topic. After fighting with it for about 3 hours(all while the carpet guys are banging away up stairs) I gave up and thought I would just write a post.  I will most likely record the podcast again and give it another try using something other than GarageBand.

Before I get going, I just want to thank everyone for the support over the past few months. I have been working on building the blog and getting some good content up. As you might know I am working with a buddy to rebuild the site to better fit what I want it to be, and to look cooler too!

When you think about the job of a mechanic, you usually don’t think about it from a customer serivce stand point. Most people think of it as a greasy dirty job, which it can be at times, but they don’t think about how much customer interaction that I have. I say I because I feel like most mechanics do not have as much interaction as the should.

I called this post “A dealership of One” beacuse that is how I work. I treat what I do as if the dealership was called “Charles Volkswagen”. I want to make it so that every customer that lets me work on their car knows who I am. I enjoy taking a few minutes out of my day and chatting with folks about cars, tools, weather, whatever it may be. It is actually a really nice break from wrenching on cars. The idea of running my business as in this way really helps set a customer at ease. For me its abuot building confidence, and trust in a relationship. I want my customers to know that if they need something for their car, wether it is a lightbulb replaced, an oil change, or something major repaired, I got their back. Even if we have to have that dreaded talk about getting a new car!

Its funny how just a little bit more “Give a damn” really make a world of difference. A prefect example is a quick story about a customer of mine named Lauren. I met her when my service advisor paged me up to talk to a customer. After a breif chat, she asked me a question that I would have never expected ANYONE to ask.

Who is the manufacturer of the oil filter you are going to use in my car?

I am sure that the look on my face was priceless. I knew that some of our filters were made by a company called MANN, but I had no idea the answer to her question. There are a few ways that I could have handled the situation.

  1. Tell her I did not know and move on
  2. Find the answer to her question

Here is what I did, I went and checked a couple of oil filter to see where they were made. Unfortunaly for Lauren, they were not the filters she was looking for (read that as a Jed:)). So did I really help her out, NO. Did I really do that much extra for her, NO! Did I use a moment to show a customer how much I really value them, and their car YES! Because I took that 5 minutes to help her out, I feel like I will have a customer for life. In fact, I seen Lauren last week, and after working on her car, I stopped and chatted with her about the next service. She told me that she wanted me to be her mechanic from now on!

Folks THAT is what this business lacks! Its actually what most business lack. I wish that more mechanics would just take the time to really understand things from a customers point of view. It costs a lot of money to buy and maintain a car. You should feel good about having someone that you trust to take care of you and your car!

If you are a mechanic and you DONT work this way, YOU ARE WRONG! I will say it again YOU ARE WRONG! You get paid well for working on cars, and customer deserve your BEST!

If you are a car owner and don’t bring your car to me,(It better be because you do not live near me) find a good mechanic. If a mechanic won’t talk to you, keep looking. There are some great mechanics out there, it just takes some work to find them.

I hope this gave you guys a look into another side of what I do. It is something I have not written about before, but it