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Car inspections and mechanics "diagnosis" for imaginary problems

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posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 06:57 AM
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IDK what the percentage is for the diagnosis I've had on my vehicles when they have gone in for inspection or for service work but the most recent is that my ebrake wasn't holding as tight as it should be holding and the diagnosis I was told was to have the rear calipers replaced - not even the brake pads but the CALIPERS! That is a pretty expensive "repair" if it needs to be done and usually if something like that is wrong you will notice it while driving (braking) and it won't effect just the emergency brake. If I wasn't a little knowledgable about cars, like I was when I turned 16 (had same diagnosis then as well and there was nothing that needed to be done - but this is a different shop), I'd end up spending a lot of money on work that is not necessary.

I really wonder how many people get taken for unnecessary work like this and the problem with a yearly inspection is that it it puts a person in this situation every year for each vehicle.

I had one shop charge about $800 for diagnosing an electrical problem and they couldn't find anything after a week at the shop. I brought in a new battery, after I was assured it couldn't be the battery b/c they checked mine and tested with a "good" one, and the problem was instantly fixed. Turned out that the battery they had sold me 8 months before had been bad so IDK if they ever tested anything or not or if they did any "diagnostics" of the electrical system.

I'm wondering if women find this particularly difficult and find that their car always needs work at the inspection time, or if they have noticed a difference if they have a guy take the car in for work vs if they take the car in.

Has anyone come of with any method for preventing this type of "fraud"? The only thing that I can think of is to tell them that if there is any work that needs to be done I'll have my own mechanic/shop take care of it but the problem comes in when a shop you have come to trust pulls this stuff. The hardest part is when you call them out on it and ask them why they think it needs XYZ and why it will fix the problem. I don't want to insult the mechanic on how they do their job, but after this thing happening so many times it's hard not to be suspicious - if they are honest they shouldn't care about a person questioning the work, I would think. IDK though..




posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:03 AM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

The best way to prevent yourself from being ripped off by mechanics is to educate yourself.

Auto repair is not rocket surgery.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:05 AM
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originally posted by: watchitburn
Auto repair is not rocket surgery.


What if this is your daily driver?




posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:09 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

Touché salesman, Touché.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:09 AM
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a reply to: watchitburn

This, so much this.

As a former mechanic and builder of all kinds of fast cars, I always tell people who gripe about the cost of mechanic work "You're not paying for the actual labor, you're paying for their knowledge." Cut-rate mechanics tend to be parts-swappers who don't actually diagnose the problem. They just throw (your) money at the problem and hope it fixes it. If it doesn't, they just tell you that it was something else and charge you for the part/labor that didn't fix the car anyway.

I actually plan to start rebuilding my truck's axle tomorrow. The differential died, and I'm changing the gear ratio while I'm in there. Parts cost: $900, if I paid a mechanic, it'd be double that at least for parts/labor, and it wouldn't have the bulletproof parts I want in there.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:19 AM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof




Has anyone come of with any method for preventing this type of "fraud"?


Learn to work on your own stuff. I'm not trying to be a smartass, just saying. You wont get ripped off if you do it yourself.

I've had several thousand dollar cars in my lifetime. Had to learn to troubleshoot/repair stuff myself. Youtube is a wealth of information. Eric the car guy has some great videos on just about everything you could ever want to do.

Brake calipers can be done pretty easily as well. Just gotta make sure you bleed all the air out the lines after you get the new ones on there.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:22 AM
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a reply to: watchitburn

If the government were not so busy doing nothing it would be nice if it did it's job protecting the consumer from fraud. I do believe fraud is against the law. Rather than just raising taxes for hiring their whole family corrupt local governments need oversight.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:23 AM
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a reply to: cynicalheathen

Yup,
When I go to a mechanic, it's because I don't feel like doing it myself. I'm lazy.

But I tell them what the problem is and give them the needed parts if required.

My alternator went a few months ago, simple swap. But that damn thing is such an ass pain to get to. I'll be having someone else do it next time.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:27 AM
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a reply to: dfnj2015

I don't need the Govt to protect me from fraud.

It's called personal responsibility. You might want to look into it.

But I know you leftists like to have your nanny state pat you on the butt and tell you everything will be okay.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:28 AM
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originally posted by: watchitburn
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

The best way to prevent yourself from being ripped off by mechanics is to educate yourself.

Auto repair is not rocket surgery.

That may have been true maybe 15+ years ago, modern cars are just a mess of electrical systems, sensors, computers and whatnot, theres not a lot of work that can be sensibly done by a "google mechanic".
A lot of smaller mechanics have shut up shop as all the big brands for any kind of diagnosis now need proprietary diagnostic gear costing big bucks.
So the car owners are now tied to the dealership for the life of the car, basically they can charge whatever they want cos no one else can fix any issues(of which there seem to be many, mucho electronics= mucho gremlin). Zero completion=gouge gouge gouge!
Holden in Australia is the only car maker I'm aware of that will share their systems diagnostic hardware and software/data with independent mechanics, and its not cheap either.
The OP's new battery story is very familiar, exact same thing happened to my mums new Kia.
Great car but had intermittent starting issues.
Dealership ran diagnostics, couldn't find squat.
I had a brand new battery, hooked it up to her car, problem vanishes!
Personally I won't touch any car newer than 2003/2004.
My 03 Toyota Hilux(Tacoma) is the last of the Japanese builds, everyone I speak to with newer models have had issues with the electrics in one form or another.
Plus overall "ruggedness" has gone way downhill, body panels, suspension, running gear etc are all a lot less tough than a decade or to ago.
Used to be a good mechanic was like a good doctor, you find one and you don't go anywhere else.
These days its irrelevant, you get what you're given( which half the time is a first year apprentice on minimum wage, good luck!).



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:34 AM
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My teenage daughter has been changing the oil in my truck with me for years now.
Our project last month was changing the bearings in a front load washing machine.

Nobody will ever sell her headlight fluid.

So glad I dont live in a state with vehicle Inspections.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:35 AM
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DFT.

This is an issue that is prevalent throughout the automotive repair trade. I have been 'diagnosing' (a term I dislike) vehicles all my life. There are very few (15% of Technicians in the trade) who are capable of correct testing and repair of modern vehicle systems.

This is getting worse and 'snowflakes' don't like trades. So the industry is on its knees for new Tech savvy recruits.
20,000 vacancies in UK motor trade alone.

The answer to the problem of 'mis-diagnosis' and garages playing "parts darts" (the terms for badly train technicians fitting parts to cars because they don't know how to test properly) is to establish a relationship with the garage and gain some trust. Ask for relevant data that brought them to the conclusion that X needs to be replaced.

I am disgusted by garages that charge 300 $/£ to 'have a go' at a fault. They should know whether that have the knowledge and equipment to test and repair the fault presented to them.

When a vehicle is presented to me with warning lamps on, I have no idea what the problem is. I agree with the customer a period of TESTING to evaluate the problem. Then with close communication (5 phone calls in a day is not unheard of) with the customer we agree to move-on. Sometime I find fault in minutes (split vacuum hose) sometimes I have to get lots a test gear hooked up to a car, access Factory Data then do quiet considered data evaluation. Before moving on.

The problem the OP had is rife in independents and dealers. I could go on and on.

Simple answer is hold the garage to account - ask for evidence/proof as to how they came to their conclusion. Ask for a guarantee on 'this fix'.

YTT - 7th place in "Top Tech of the Year" 2016


Diagnosis - is not plugging in and reading fault codes. Anyone can do that...Cars are now rolling computer networks.
edit on 26-11-2018 by YesTodayTomorrow because: typos



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:37 AM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

I think farm machines are moving in a bad direction too. A farmer has to go directly to john deere for software upgrades in their new tractors.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:45 AM
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I've been working on cars 14 year, mainlyGerman, euro cars, our shop is family owned and operated.
I had a 06 jaguar xJ cone in, cruise inop, we have auto logic scanners, 2 of them, so we can do everything the dealer can scan wise and programming wise. They are very expensive.
This care gives you zero info on cruise with the scanner, all you can see is if the stop light switch works, and the cruise cut off switch works, so I replaced both switches, didn't fix it, cust had to leave so I put old ones back in till he came back next day.
Came back, I pondered it overnight cuz if I can't figure something out it eats at me, told guy we aren't charging you more diag, or for those parts, we thought we had it diagnosed, but we didn't, it's our fault, we will figure it out no charge.
Ended up being a weak battery, mind you it tested good, charging system good. These cars, specifically BMW and jaguar, will start to cause all kinds of wierd electrical issues due to a weak or bad battery.

Also, if a customer has a question about diag, or why they needsomething, I take them out to the bay, and physically show them the problem and explain it to them. That goes a long long way with people, especially people that can't even check their own oil. (Btw, Mercedes, BMW, rover DONT HAVE FREAKING DIPSTICKS ANYMORE)

Anywho, i agree with OP, people get fleeced all the time on car repairs, and it pisses good techs off because it gives us a bad name.
Also, we dont like fixing other peoples Fups.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:49 AM
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a reply to: Osirisvset

I disagree.

I have an uncle who has owned his own repair shop for almost 40 years now.

Like any other business, if you want to be successful, you have to stay relevant.
He gets all the updated software and diagnostic tools. So I know it can be done independently from the dealerships, I've seen it.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:51 AM
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a reply to: YesTodayTomorrow

So true, it takes so much knowledge and experience to be able to diagnose cars now, 1 central gateway module with a teenie bit of corrosion can cause 8 other modules to not communicate, which is where actual skill and experience come into play.

I get so tired of hearing, 'just hook up your diag tool, it only takes a minute, that will tell you what's wong'
No sir, it won't, and it doesn't, all the tool does for me is tell me where to start looking and what data everything is outputting.

A competent mechanic is like a pot of gold in this industry.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:54 AM
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a reply to: watchitburn

We pay over 30k a year just for our 2 auto logicboxes, we specialize in Ferrari andlambos, and it is 100k a year for lambos dam software and site access, they freaking doubled the price last year.
The dealers are trying to make it so expensive and difficult for independant shops to be able to do what the dealer can do via programming and such, that a lot of small shops just can't keep up or handle it.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:55 AM
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We have never been nailed for a repair at inspection time. I think only once for something we pretty much knew was due for replacement going in.

But we do our research and build a relationship with our mechanic and use them regularly.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:58 AM
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originally posted by: Osirisvset

originally posted by: watchitburn
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

The best way to prevent yourself from being ripped off by mechanics is to educate yourself.

Auto repair is not rocket surgery.

That may have been true maybe 15+ years ago, modern cars are just a mess of electrical systems, sensors, computers and whatnot, theres not a lot of work that can be sensibly done by a "google mechanic".
A lot of smaller mechanics have shut up shop as all the big brands for any kind of diagnosis now need proprietary diagnostic gear costing big bucks.
So the car owners are now tied to the dealership for the life of the car, basically they can charge whatever they want cos no one else can fix any issues(of which there seem to be many, mucho electronics= mucho gremlin). Zero completion=gouge gouge gouge!
Holden in Australia is the only car maker I'm aware of that will share their systems diagnostic hardware and software/data with independent mechanics, and its not cheap either.
The OP's new battery story is very familiar, exact same thing happened to my mums new Kia.
Great car but had intermittent starting issues.
Dealership ran diagnostics, couldn't find squat.
I had a brand new battery, hooked it up to her car, problem vanishes!
Personally I won't touch any car newer than 2003/2004.
My 03 Toyota Hilux(Tacoma) is the last of the Japanese builds, everyone I speak to with newer models have had issues with the electrics in one form or another.
Plus overall "ruggedness" has gone way downhill, body panels, suspension, running gear etc are all a lot less tough than a decade or to ago.
Used to be a good mechanic was like a good doctor, you find one and you don't go anywhere else.
These days its irrelevant, you get what you're given( which half the time is a first year apprentice on minimum wage, good luck!).


Also disagree, Manufacturer's have to, by law release data for their vehicles. Depends on whether the garage owner knows this and will pay. Education of Technicians, who should help educate their customers.

Its a constant race to keep up with the technology. Many new cars are self diagnosing and giving live data to Manufacturers pre-emptive fault finding is here.



posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 08:22 AM
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a reply to: Osirisvset




A lot of smaller mechanics have shut up shop as all the big brands for any kind of diagnosis now need proprietary diagnostic gear costing big bucks.




You can use your own computer or laptop and diagnostics software to attach the computer to your car, the software can be bought on eBay for any model of car for a next to nothing when compared to fully servicing your car over and over with a mechanic.

From the top of my head its a few $100 or less to buy diagnostic software.

I guess it depends what make and model, but from memory when I was searching for diagnostic software for my Evo 7

it was a few 100$.







 
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