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Why I hate dealership service departments

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Why I hate dealership service departments

 
  #81  
Old 07-06-2019, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug View Post
A perfectly reasonable expectation for a hard failure of a system operating on a simple on-off circuit.


Cheers
DD
My example wasn't limited to any particular circuits but there were some that were simple. Some were not. There were lots of valves and pumps that I troubleshot. Some valves had no direct control from the cockpit, I had to satisfy certain conditions to power the valve. The circuits for the valves often went through several relays, splices, and components. Many of the pumps had various ways for them to turn on, one of which was a switch in the cockpit so I would definitely try that.
Between the switch and the pump there were usually relays. I'd turn on the pump with the cockpit switch first and see what happens. I would always do whatever I could to verify that the part I was about to replace was the problem. I didn't want to waste my time, as I was always working outside, too often in bad weather, and I couldn't go home until the airplane was fixed.
I had very little test equipment such as the scanners we have for automobiles. There was no such thing as plugging one tool in and getting all the faults on the airplane. But some of the electronic boxes have BITE (built in test equipment). If that was available in the system I was working I had to know which box to bite. Mostly, I was using a multimeter and a schematic and wiring diagram that I colored with highlighters.
In addition to hydraulic and fuel systems, I troubleshot electrical systems, pneumatic systems, air conditioning and pressurization, flight controls, landing gear, engines, engine controls, navigation, communication, lighting, fire warning and suppression, and more. And sometimes the toilet won't flush. Almost all done outside, often in the dark of night.
That's why I think that automobile technicians have it easier, and therefore should be more successful. I don't understand when they are not.
 
  #82  
Old 07-06-2019, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by stu46h View Post
, and I couldn't go home until the airplane was fixed.
That's why I think that automobile technicians have it easier, and therefore should be more successful. I don't understand when they are not.

I can think of various possible reasons.

For one thing, you may be smarter and more qualified than many of them

Next, they CAN go home even if the car isn't fixed.

Next, they're almost always paid by the job, not the clock..... and very commonly pressed to hurry-up, hurry up, hurry up with this car so you can move on to the next one by a service manager who needs to push thru xxx-number of cars per day at yyy-dollar amount per car to show a profit for his department. Spending 4 hours on a job that only generates 2 hours of billable labor, while sometimes necessary, is excruciating to both the technician and the manager. Production is paramount. If a tech produces 8 billable hours in an 8 hour day, well, he better have a great personality....because that's barely tolerable production. Ten billable hours will put him in good graces; 11 or 12 would be even better. Some shops demand even more from techs.....often with horrible consequences in the long term. Bad mojo.

If the tech and/or management don't 'make the numbers', well......you can guess the rest.

I'm sure you faced pressures as well, because airplanes don't generate income sitting on the ground. But, the fact that you were allowed and expected to work all night long on a problem is telling. In the car repair business, a few specialty shops aside, a technician spending 'all day long' on a problem is something to be avoided whenever possible. It probably means the 4 or 5 other jobs won't get done that day....possibly high-profit jobs....and some of tomorrow's appointments might have to be cancelled.

It's a rough business. I wouldn't recommend it. But, in fairness to the technicians, it isn't always their fault. It's the system.

Of course, and understandably, the consumer doesn't care (and shouldn't have to care) if the technician is at fault or the 'system' is to blame. He just wants his car fixed properly. I get that.

Cheers
DD
 
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  #83  
Old 07-07-2019, 07:09 PM
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Doug,
That's very insightful.
As much as there was pressure to get the airplane fixed as soon as possible, the longer it took me the more profitable it was for me. There really wasn't anything anyone could do about that. For example, I was the only airline employee for my company in the state of Oklahoma in the late 1980's. I worked alone. There was nobody looking over my shoulder. If it took me 2, 6, or 12 hours to fix the airplane, the company was happy as long as it was ready for the next flight, and if it wasn't, I just needed a good reason. That's all. I could really authorize my own overtime. And they were happy to pay me. It was good to work for a company with plenty of money that believed that time was more important than money. It would be easy to take advantage of this, and I knew a few who did, but not many.
When most overtime is forced, you soon don't want much at all, if any. I actually did things to reduce my own overtime, and my income, like get commonly used parts in stock. Doing that increased my time with my family, which was more important.
I can see the difference in the business models, but the few minutes it takes to verify that the part is bad saves time in the long run, and therefore, money. It's too bad that dealership service departments work that way, which is why I avoid them at all costs.
 
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  #84  
Old 07-10-2019, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by SinF View Post

I have an understanding with a shop that services my classic cars - a) if it is under $2500 don't bother me with it, it is approved, b) if you see it - fix it even if it is not on the list, c) if you open it up, fix everything around it so we don't have to open it again. However, I know most shops/clients are not like this.
Originally Posted by Doug View Post

Rare, yes. But understandably more common when repair shop and customer have built up a solid, years-long relationship.

Cheers
DD
That pretty much describes the dealership I retired from. Much of our business was in light and medium trucks, and many owners considered downtime more costly than repairs. We were well trusted and had many long term, first name basis customers.

Unfortunately, our sales department did not enjoy the same reputation.

Odd, it's usually the other way around. Or no trust at all.......
 
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