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Automotive repair and maintenance is a necessary evil for most people. Just mentioning automotive repair to some people will bring up a series of emotions, including anger, despair, confusion, anxiety and a lot of mistrust. I haven’t met a lot of people who enjoy taking their car in for service. The industry is plagued with a bad reputation for misdiagnosis, dishonesty, overselling, overcharging and the big one, taking advantage of women! People are confused about maintenance, what “schedule” should they use, when should I change my oil, does this work really need to be done, what do all these warning lights mean on my dashboard?
How do I know all this? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve been in the automotive industry for the last 25 years. 13 of those years I have worked as an automotive technician for somebody else, (ok, mechanic for the older folks), and I have owned and operated my own shop for the last 12 years. I see it every day with my new customers. They ask questions (which they should!) and tell war stories of past experiences. They come in skittish, or defensive because of what the last shop did to them. They try to be proactive and bring in information they got off the internet, or have their computer scanned at a parts store and ask me to just “fix this code”.
So this brings me to why I want to write this blog. The biggest problem I see is a lack of education. Not personal education as what grade did you complete or what college you went to, but the information you receive about your car and your cars needs. People spend a lot of money to have their car serviced or repaired, but if they don’t understand what is being done and why, it leads to a poor experience. On the other hand when people are educated about a service, that is, they understand what is being done and why, and most important, it makes sense to them, then they will have a more positive experience.
So my goal is to pick a subject and give you an insider’s view and perspective. Not only to cover the facts and figures, but also to give you the practical side of the story, what I see in the trenches. I would like this to be an interactive blog so feel free to comment, and I look forward to a healthy discussion.