This happens frequently, with many shops experiencing a frustrating issue with what we tend to identify as “difficult” customers. A passenger car enters the shop for a reported “brake noise.” Your inspection reveals badly scored front rotors, a badly rusted right rear rotor, stuck calipers, badly worn front pads and flexible brake hoses that have seen better days.
Quite often, vehicles enter your shop which feature a trailer hitch (bumper hitch, frame-mounted hitch receiver). This should alert you to that fact that the customer may, on occasion, be using their vehicle to tow a recreational or commercial trailer.
Who among us doesn’t smile when we watch the classic 1973 movie “Magnum Force,” as Clint Eastwood, playing his iconic character Detective Harry Callahan, walks slowly away as the corrupt Lieutenant Neil Briggs’ (Hal Holbrook) car explodes and he mutters his infamous line, “A man’s got to know his limitations”?
Faulty inflators are fueling concern for airbag service safety. According to reports, this includes approximately 34 million vehicles in the U.S. and over 85 million individual airbags, when we consider steering wheel, passenger and side airbags.
I hope I’m not alone in this. One of my pet peeves is the all-too-common misuse of the term “turbocharged.” It seems as though manufacturers of just about any product feel that they can freely apply the term to promote the benefits of a host of consumer offerings.
Ah, the lowly fender cover. It was born with a single life mission: to protect the painted surface of a front fender from nicks and scratches while underhood work is being performed.
Vehicles enter the shop. Some customers require routine maintenance. Some customers complain about driveability issues. The brakes squeal. They hear a clicking noise on turns. The engine cranks but won’t start. The tires are wearing out fast. The car pulls to the left under braking. The engine is leaking oil. The list goes on.
Proper wheel alignment is obviously important in terms of preventing premature tire wear, and to maintain predictable and controllable handling and braking. But in winter weather, where the customer encounters slippery conditions, wheel angles become much more critical. The effect of improper toe, camber and/or caster angles becomes more pronounced and are compounded as the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road are reduced.
When I was a kid and obtained my first driving license, I realized that it was my responsibility to learn to operate a vehicle. The thought of punching in a street address and having the car deliver me there would never, ever cross my mind.
It should be standard practice to perform an overall inspection of every customer’s vehicle when it enters the shop, regardless of what specific repair prompted the visit. Inspections such as checking fluid levels, tire wear, belt condition, a visual inspection for leaks, loose or badly worn steering and suspension parts, a brake pad and rotor check, etc., should be included, as a pre-emptive strike to alert the customer to any issues that require immediate or not-too-distant attention.