The Dreaded Boomerang
Probably one of the most dreaded aspects of owning a business is having the unfortunate situation of a come-back on a vehicle that you previously worked on. Not only do mistakes lose money and labor, they also put everyone under stress including the customer. Come-backs can lead to a poor reputation which can vastly affect the business. If you’re in the automotive business, having to do a job a second time is one of the worst situations you can find yourself in. But don’t worry, there are ways to minimize these types of situations.
Check All related Systems
One good way of minimizing come-backs is to check all the related systems that are connected to whatever component you’re working on. If you’re installing a new valve body in the transmission, check everything that you can get your eyes on that’s connected to that part. Check the seals, the pan, the driveshaft, the transmission cooler, the shift linkage – everything. The same goes for engine parts such as intercoolers. Check the piping, the boots, the clamps, even the turbo. Taking an extra couple minutes to see if there are any problems with the entire system, not just the part you’re working on, is a very good business practice.
Check with a scanner
One customer came into a local shop with a Duramax with a blown head gasket. It was obviously damaged as it was pressurizing the coolant system and the truck also ran, uh, not so good. The owner asked if he should do anything else while the truck was apart and it was stated no, because it was a low mileage vehicle in good shape. After the truck was back together, it still had a slight miss that was seemingly unrelated to the head gasket problem. It turns out that one of the injectors was completely shot, and the truck had to be taken apart again. The shop had to eat the labor, as they had told the customer nothing else was needed. A simple scan with a scan tool that would have taken a few minutes could have avoided this problem.
Buy Quality Parts
Having a good source on parts is the same as having a good doctor, it’s worth it’s weight in gold. Many shops are reluctant to try new parts from new sources, and with good reason. Even if the mechanic does everything right on the installation, a parts failure can still result in a vehicle coming back to the shop. Beware of cheaper prices from other vendors as the expression “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here. We know of a couple shops who will only use genuine OEM parts in cases of complicated Parts like injectors to minimize failures. Other shops will have these type of parts taken apart and rebuilt so they know for sure what is inside of them. Talking to other shops even if they’re in other states is a good way to find out which pieces will last.
Put a Second Pair of Eyes on the Job
It may sound like a waste of time and labor, but having a second mechanic or even just an office grunt take a vehicle for a test drive can be another way of making sure everything is done right. A mechanic might be excited or quick to get a vehicle out the door and overlook certain things. Having another set of eyes on a supposedly completed project is a great way to minimize come-backs.
The Customer Isn’t Always Right
One of the most common things we’ve seen in rushing vehicles to get finished, is that pressure is being applied not by the shop foreman, but by the customer. Especially if it is a vehicle that is being used for business “get it finished yesterday” is their motto and desire for you as a shop. You have to calmly explain to the customer that sometimes this is impossible, and it’s better to have a vehicle that will be running for the next few months, years, or decades than something that is constantly going back into a repair facility. Don’t be bullied by the customer!