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Old 08-22-2001, 08:12 AM
stevebfl stevebfl is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Not only would it not be involved, but under an alignment lift it is very hard to see the upper control arm.

I believe a proper alignment starts with a diagnostic road test and proceeds to a inspection for loose links. If the noise was apparant then it should have been checked before alignment. If it wasn't regular or if it sounded like an engine or exhaust rattle, it might not get pursued. It would not be something I would normally look at. They never come apart there and the bushing causes no problems.

I just did an alignment yesterday for a body shop. I found bolts loose where I needed to operate so I checked all of them. They had left 3 nuts loose.

There is one of the longest posts ever running right now on the iATN (International Autotomotive Technicians Network). The story goes that a recently serviced car has one of its wheels fall off while the vehicle is pulling a boat while on vacation. The shop owner is terribly embarassed and is asking in what manner to fire his young (valuably, inhouse, trained) technician.

The posts go from "have you never made an error" to "what shop proceedures were lacking that either caused this mistake or caused the tech to be in a rush" to "are you sure you aren't being scammed - with proceedures to tell if the broken lugs were from overloading or being left loose.

Only one post said to make sure the shop owner kept the tech long enough to pay off the repairs and then fire him. Most agreed that the risk was a shop function and unless business profits were shared, the cost of risks should not. (I agree with this).

I discuss all this because, as most respondents in the post, I have had two wheels come off because of my techs and about 3 oil plugs left loose (luckily no motor damage- knock on wood) over the thirty years I have managed others labors. Good lord willing, I will live long enough for a few more.

Two conflicting goals contribute to this problem from a systematic approach. First is the techs desire to make a living and second is the car owners desire to retain as much cash as the problem will allow. If the shop is honest they probably don't make much and struggle to perform to keep cost down. Flat rate pay systems throw all the burden for performance (billed hours not necessarily cars fixed) onto the tech. Hourly or salaried techs are less likely to be in these positions. Think about the other technicians in related fields like airplane techs, heavy truck techs, railroad techs, etc., they are never paid by piece work. They are paid a real wage and then go to work. There are no end of the month mortgage to be paid, pressures on that jet mechanic to get that engine bolted in before the pay week ends.

Think about it. Auto repair could be a lot better if it was done with an open checkbook like health care.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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