automotive sleuth


Automotive Suspension Components – MacPherson Struts

Posted on June 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

You may well have been told that you have “MacPherson Struts” on your vehicle and wondered at the dealership or big box store automotive service department tech writer what on earth are these car parts and how do they differ from good old fashioned ( and inexpensive ) auto shock absorbers.

It is relatively easy to spot if you do have MacPherson Struts. A suspension system with Macs can be easily identified by even automotive repair novices by looking for a very heavy and thick tube shape strut attached to the wheel assembly at the base and slanting upwards away from the wheel. A coil spring is visible from the outside of the strut at the top, and an A-shaped arm running horizontally from the base of the strut so its’ too legs attach to the frame.

When the MacPherson strut has the spring around the strut assembly, the shock absorber spindle and spring is sometimes a combined unit held in place at the top by the upper mount assembly and at the bottom by the ball joint and lower control arm. The shock absorber is actually built into the MacPherson struts’ outer housing. The coil spring itself is held in place by a lower seat welded to the strut casing and an upper seat bolted to the shock-absorber piston rod. In turn the upper mount bolts to your car, truck, and bus or S.U.V. body.

Any looseness in the control-arm bushings, ball joint, or strut-rod bushings or stabilizer bar links would mean replacement. The strut assembly itself should be checked closely for spring fatigue, poor damping characteristics, binding and popping that may well occur when the wheels are turned or rolled – should be checked between for leaks between the shock shaft and shaft housing. By bouncing the suspension, check for binding which indicates a possible bent shock absorber shaft. If any of these conditions exist the strut will have to be taken apart for service and this is a job for which any back yard mechanic should really seek auto mechanic professional help and assistance

Good Customer Service is Not Up-selling Customers into Oblivion

Posted on June 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

The new buzz-word in the Auto Industry for customer service is; Right-Selling, your customer. In other words do not sell your customer something they do not need or up-sell them into oblivion. The problem starts industry consultants continually talk about; dollars per customer sale.

In other words how much money did you make on average for each person it came in to purchase something? This is a bad way to judge your business especially if you are in a business which requires a repeat business to ensure success.

Oil change facilities, car washes and many other automotive service businesses work very hard and even pay extra commissions to their service writers when they up-sell the customer. But overselling the customer makes the customer think that they have paid too much and are over budget on their auto expenditures.

One industry analyst says; if the customer’s butt is sore when they leave they are liable not to come back. But I believe it gets even worse than this, because a customer who feels that they have paid too much for service is when the only win in for an $8.99 carwash or a $19.99 oil change and in some paying $24.99 for a super deluxe carwash and hot wax or $149.00 oil change, transmission fluid change, engine flushing and several other ancillary services is not likely be happy.

This is why the term has been developed; Right-selling. And that means giving the customer services within their budget and immediate needs rather than up-selling them into oblivion. By right-selling the customer, you get a steady repeat customer and referrals too. Over selling means you lose the customer and that is just not good business. Please consider this in 2006.


Car Repair Prices: Why Even Service Managers Can’t Protect Service Customers From Getting Ripped Off

Posted on May 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

If one wonders why car repair prices are so high, or if they just feel as if he or she is being ripped off, an easy target to focus on in the automotive industry is the leadership. If a business or industry has an issue, always look to its leadership. Automotive service managers are an especially interesting study given that most are incompetent.

What’s strange is that there are no licensing or training requirements for service managers. There are no schools or college courses for automotive service management. Anyone is eligible, regardless of ability, experience, or ethical practices. This is particularly remarkable given a service manager’s power and influence in a very lucrative industry.

What’s frightening is that this leaves the service customer at the mercy of a service manager who lacks even the fundamentals of management.

A McDonald’s manager is likely to have significantly more management credentials than an automotive service manager!

Most service managers rose through the ranks of the service industry. They learned a lot of insider tricks, but not how to set guidelines, protocols, and accountability structures to produce an honest, well-run service center.

In fact, I’ve seen service managers stick their fingers in their ears and sing la, la, la, la, la because they didn’t want, or know how to respond to their customers being ripped off by their own employees–I am not kidding!

A point to remember when questioning whether or not your auto repair costs are trustworthy; service managers lack the critical business management skills to keep the service customer from getting ripped off by their own employees.