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May 21, 1999 Article
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Continued from last week....

OK lets break this thing down.

We bring a guy's vehicle into the shop because he had requested a brake job and we put the vehicle up on a hoist and pull off all four wheels and tires. We must remove the rear brake drums and one of them is seized on, requiring a fair bit of effort to get the drum off. My Technician does a very thorough inspection and cannot find anything wrong, so he puts the vehicle all back together in order to go for a test drive.

The test drive does not show ANY problem so I take the vehicle for a drive myself and still cannot find any problem with the braking system. I try to get a hold of the fellow through the only work number I have for him, but he cannot be reached. By this time we have spent two and a half hours trying to find out what this customer wants repaired. After we get swore at on the phone, we bring the vehicle back in again and spend more time putting it up on the hoist again and we wait for the customer to arrive. When the customer sees that there is nothing wrong with the brakes, we put it all back together and go for a test drive with the customer. After driving a short distance the customer "Stomps" on the brakes hard enough to nearly stand the vehicle on its nose and sure enough we hear a funny little noise.

The customer looks at me and says., "Did you hear that?" "Does that not sound like noise in the brakes?" and I tell him that it is NOT brake noise and ask him to drive back into the shop. We put the vehicle back up on the hoist but this time I ask the customer to stay inside the vehicle and with it running on hoist, I go underneath with a long pry bar and with a good pry in the right location I have created the noise that he was hearing. He yells to me that he heard the noise and asks me what I did and I explain to him that his vehicle has a broken Transmission mount and when he was hitting the brakes really hard, the whole engine and transmission would tip forward allowing the cooling fan to hit the fan shroud, causing his noise.

It is now nearly seven o'clock and I just catch a Salesman at a Parts store where I can pick up a new mount. After a quick trip for parts and a few minutes with a properly place Transmission Jack, the vehicle is repaired but it is now 8:30 P.M. and both myself and my Technician have worked two and one half hours over time. Between us both, we have spent a total of nine hours repairing this fellow's problem because he sent us off in the wrong direction.

What do you think we should charge him?

But, before you answer that question, let me ask you how many hours a day you work that you don't get paid for? I'll bet that you start collecting pay as soon as you punch the clock when you start and get paid right until you punch out when you are finished, right? How come so many people think that Mechanic's should only charge for what the FIX and they should NOT charge for any time spent FINDING what needs to be fixed?????

"TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - May 21,1999
Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 1999

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