Internet auto parts
The internet has brought much great information into the world. My businesses use it not only as a home for our web sites, but for accessing information, including logging into our paid reference websites. We use to buy thousands of dollars worth of books per year to get repair information; now we go to Mitchell or ALLDATA websites. We pay more than $1000 per month for the use of these and other sites.
When repairing or servicing a vehicle, it is not only important to have access to the most current information, but to use high quality parts from reputable manufacturers. How do we identify parts? We use our experience through years of installing brand name parts and monitoring the results.
All parts both rebuild (or remanufactured) and new parts are not created equal. A very wide of range of quality can be found. I once used a rebuilder of starters and alternators with a part return rate of greater than 50%. It took about 4 months before I realized that these remanufactured parts where very low quality.
Bosch, a major player in the world of automotive electrical parts, offers quality remanufactured parts. Now here is an interesting twist: I once quoted a price on a remanufactured Bosch alternator, the customer said he could get a remanufactured alternator at half the cost. With some investigation, what they were buying is a Bosch alternator remanufactured by a low quality company. It was a “Bosch” alternator, but one that was remanufactured by someone else, not an alternator remanufactured by Bosch. It gets tricky, but you can see the difference.
Unfortunately, there are so many poor quality parts available on the web. Delco, a very prominent manufactory of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) of parts for General Motors and others have quality parts. I have seen on the web, almost exact copies of their boxes with very poor quality parts in them. It can be easy to get fooled.
One of the world’s largest automotive aftermarket shows is held in Las Vegas yearly called SEMA. It has over 2,000 New Products on display, with over 2,300 exhibiting companies filling over a million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This place is filled with incredible amounts of aftermarket parts for automotive business. Even going there, I still have no idea what is quality and what is not.
In our business, we only use quality parts from well-known suppliers. It keeps our customers happy with qualify parts and repairs, and thus keeps the comeback rate low. Comeback is the term we use for a vehicle not getting repaired properly the first time.
We do make a profit on parts; we get a better price then the general public because we buy tens of thousands worth of parts a month. We also know what quality is and stand behind the part with a good warranty. If that part fails in the warranty period, we will replace it for free, and no, most parts manufactures don’t pay us for the labor.
Trust in your automotive shop that the parts they use are of high quality to provide you with trouble free driving.
Keep in mind what Benjamin Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.
How we prioritize auto service needs
Is all service recommendation/repair necessary? In life, not everything is black or white, good or evil. In the auto service industry there are many shades of gray between needing a repair and not needing a repair. Our shops use this system below for prioritizing repairs. This helps make sure our ethics stay very high, and gives our customers the information they need to make up their minds based on their personal level of risk tolerance:
#5 This problem is very severe; it needs attention right now; it should not be driven. Examples being: no brakes; coolant leak so bad water cannot be kept in the system; water pump so loose that it is going to let loose, maybe throwing the fan through the radiator; wheel bearing bad enough to have a wheel fall off while driving.
#4 This problem is bad, but can be driven short distances with caution, but not to be driven out of town. Examples being: water pump leaking all the time; clutch bad enough that you could not make it over hills in high gears; upper seam of radiator leaking; bad wheel bearing but would be able to drive in town; a poor running car that needs tuning; front or rear brakes below your recommended specs.
#3 This problem is more in the line of preventive maintenance or before long trips. Examples being: coolant dirty but protection OK; dirty brake fluid; small amount of fluid in back of master cylinder; spark plugs wearing but far from worn out.
#2 This is not a problem but merely an observation. It also gives the techs something to keep an eye on the next time it comes in. Examples being: shocks with a very small amount of fluid on them; an oil seep; a water pump with a small amount of stain on it; a possibility of a wheel bearing noise.
#1 This is just a mere observation. I would not, under any circumstance, recommend this. It does the same as above, it shows you are checking the car out completely.
George’s favorite new vehicle gadget
The new Mini Coppers have now “piped” in engine sound. Yes, over the sound system, made up engine sound comes over your speakers to make the vehicle sound more sporty.