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Is this an accurate look at technicians and mechanics?

Discussion in 'Car Dealer Hangout' started by Clark, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. Clark

    Clark New Member

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  2. 85lebaront2

    Level 2 Supporter

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    Having worked in a dealership that sold Dodge, Chrysler imports (Colt, Cricket) and also British Leyland (later Jaguar, Rover, Triumph) Jaguar and MG along with Mercedes-Benz. They lost their Dodge franchise in the 2009 bloodbath which was sad as the franchise dated back to 1928.

    Labor rates, I talked the service manager into increasing the customer labor on Mercedes and Jaguar, knowing how owners of those cars like to brag about upkeep costs. Mercedes and Jaguar would pay diagnostic time, Chrysler, yeah right, no such luck. You learned quickly how to do a fast check of certain things like alternators, heat riser valves etc. As for beating time, I owned a carburetor shop for a number of years, I was given a carburetor rebuild on a Thermoquad, book time was to most techs unrealistic which is why I, primarily an M-B and Jag tech was asked to do it. I beat the book time by about 10% and that was receive work ticket, clock on it, go get the car, get the carb number for parts, pull it off, tear it down, clean it, reassemble and bench set it, then final warm up and adjustment on the car, park the car outside, clock off the ticket and turn it in. The shop foreman and service manager were both grinning like jackasses eating cactus, they knew I could do it!

    The system now used is the "team" where you have varying levels of experience in a team, and the commission is split in varying percentages, another reason good techs quit. If I spend my work day "babysitting" some kids who (a) think they already know everything and (b) have been coddled through school, I would expect to make good money, unfortunately it doesn't work that way. I quit the dealership in 1981 to go back to Newport News Shipbuilding in the materials test laboratory. I spent 30 years there "breaking things for a living". When I got there in Jan 1982, our lab had 3 trucks, a 1979 F150 and two Chevrolet Luvs. Our maintenance people didn't have a clue about adjusting the valves and they ran terribly. Manager ok'd purchasing two valve cover gaskets, and since our maintenance people were union and we salaried, we hid the trucks behind a large dirt pile while I adjusted the valves so the union wouldn't know.
     
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  3. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Though I do not have experience as an auto technician in a work environment, I have some friends who were at one point in their careers. Most eventually moved on to another career for some of the reasons mentioned above.

    One worked for a Ford dealership. Over 20 years he probably spent over $100K on special tools needed. Here in VA, you have to pay a yearly tax based on the assessed value of the tools. That gets old. He's probably near retirement now.

    Another worked for a Toyota dealership. He got tired of doing maintenance work that didn't need to be done. Service writers were commonly selling work not needed. Changing spark plugs at only 15K miles when they were good for 100K. He eventually opened his own shop, but it was a tough go and he sold the business. I think he's back at a dealership or independent shop.
     
  4. Clark

    Clark New Member

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  5. 85lebaront2

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    I will throw something out on "service advisors" They are salespeople whose job for the dealership is to sell you the work, sometimes un-needed because they are frequently on some sort of commission, whether it be a percentage of the work sold or "bonuses" for upsells. Many years ago, when I was maybe 21, I was asked to take our 1966 Polara to the local Dodge dealer in Norfolk for the certification on the 5/50 engine warranty. They talked me into repacking the front wheel bearings as it was a disc brake car and I had already seen information on the greater heat build up on disc brakes. When they wanted to repack the U-joints is when I balked. I felt if Chrysler wanted them lubricated they would have had a provision.

    When I worked at a dealership we had an exceptional warranty clerk, she documented everything and rarely if ever had a claim denied, this was dealing with three different manufacturers, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar.
     
  6. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    In the 13+ years I've been taking my Ram to the dealer for service, I've hardly ever had the same service advisor in consecutive visits. More or less got whoever was "up". Also during that time, I've noticed a fair turnover among the advisors. There's only one or two that are still there from the time I purchased my Ram in 2006. The rest are "newbies" (new to me anyway). My Ram only sees the dealer once a year now a days. Since I purchased it there new, all state safety inspections (annually) are "free".

    Some complain when advisors recommend additional work (yes, sometimes not needed), but let's not forget that is part of his job. As 85lebaront2 hinted at, the dealer service department is usually the most profitable department at the dealership.

    All that said I've had some good advisors and some not so good. One was extremely helpful when the transmission cable snapped. Initially quoted my $700+ for the repair. By the time the repair was completed, he managed to find some discounts which got the cost down to about $550.

    One time was a mix - took our 2010 Journey SXT in for two recalls. First one was for the ignition (donut ring installed) and the 2nd one was a flash update for the airbag module. First repair went fine. Second one, the handheld device they used to perform the update had some sort of short or issue and shorted out the airbag module. Installed a new one, but same thing happened. No more in stock so they had to put me in a rental from Enterprise until Monday (this happened on a Saturday). Advisor didn't tell me anything until all that had already transpired and he had a rental lined up. I would have preferred to be notified as soon as they had an issue. So while the dealership did right by paying for a rental, they should have been advising me of the process or lack of when they began to have issues.
     
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  7. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    I like the service advisor where I took my Ram for service. It's the same location that went out of their way to fix the audio problems in my Renegade (and provided two loaners during that time: a new 2018 Wrangler Sport Unlimited 2.0T and then a 2018 Grand Cherokee Summit Ecodiesel).

    This isn't the location I buy from, but is owned by the same family. I'll drive across town for a good salesman but am glad I have another location with a good service advisor closer to home. As long as this lady is working there, they have my service business. I'll probably take the Wrangler there for the next oil change rather than Jiffy Lube.
     
  8. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Also had one time where I brought both vehicles (Ram and Journey) in for oil changes, but two separate services on the same day. Brought the Journey in first in the morning. Express Lane service was phenomenal. From the time I brought it in to paying for the service I was in and out in 45 minutes. Went home and brought the Ram in. Took almost two hours. :( When I asked why so long, the advisor said a tech had pulled a vehicle into the bay that was suppose to be dedicated for Express Lane type service (this vehicle needed a major service not considered Express). I told the advisor, you've got 50+ service bays (in addition the 20 bays in the service area connected to the main building they have another building with 30 service bays) and I didn't understand why the tech didn't just use another bay for my Ram's service (oil change). It's not like he would need a lot of special tools. Gave a lame excuse that they only half the techs on Saturdays and twice the workload. I told him it seems to me the dealership needs to adjust the tech's schedule to have more on duty on Saturday if that is the day with the most business.

    Overall, this dealership's service department has been fairly good with only a one or two disappointing services. On the other hand I've talked with several customers who experiences were frustrating to say the least.
     
  9. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    The Express Lane thing is hard to figure out. I wish I had Express Lane at my dealership. You're not _supposed_ to request or wait for a specific advisor but you can. I think the thing there is, the dealership I'm at now, just about everyone's been there for over a decade. No turnover at all.

    Article seemed to be about right, to me, other than missing the sales thing.
     
  10. Tony K

    Tony K Active Member

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    My dealership's service manager is a friend from church. I think very highly of him and Tom O'Brien's dealership in Greenwood. They've gone out of their way for me in the past on service. Way back over 15 years ago, I had my 99 Ram 1500 go into limp mode two days before weekend drill 3 hours away, requiring a MAP sensor and in-warranty catalytic converter replacement. Stacy, the SM at the time said they didn't know how soon they could get it done, but it was ready Friday afternoon in time for the trip. I think they had to do some finagling to get the cat installed. I was just a young 1st Lt still living paycheck to paycheck in a GS job for the INNG.
     
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  11. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    The guys at Teterboro have really come through from time to time. They either make miracles or they turn everyday stuff into nightmares ;) Seriously, they drive me nuts with the hours-long oil changes, but when I have a serious repair, they come through really well—and when I have something that looks serious but isn't, they excel! (That is, they COULD do a really big expensive thing, but they don't, if it's not needed.)
     
  12. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    Does it help to show them your Allpar business card? I mean being Dave Z, first of his name, King of the Allpararians and protector of the Mopar archive has got to count for something? :p
     
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  13. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    They had no idea when I first started going there. Only years later did the penny drop. I don't think it counts for much, though, especially now!
     
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  14. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    Oh, man, that’s disappointing to hear! At least we still have a great amount of respect for you here! That and $5 will buy you a cup of coffee, but I digress...:p
     
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