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View Poll Results: Your perception of Auto shops and technicians?
Greedy? 11 13.75%
Can't afford to take it to a shop, it costs too much of my budget? 14 17.50%
Lack of training? 15 18.75%
Poor personal professional image? 9 11.25%
Poor shop professional image? 7 8.75%
Afraid to let them touch your car? 23 28.75%
Can't repair your car because they don't have the information/tools needed? 11 13.75%
I am happy working on my own car? 39 48.75%
I am happy, having found a great shop and/or mechanic. 19 23.75%
I want to be a professional mechanic? 7 8.75%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 80. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-19-2006, 11:47 PM
whunter's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
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Question Your perception of Auto shops and technicians?

"Fighting Old Stereotypes"

Perception is Everything

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"You Have the Right to Repair"
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Old 10-20-2006, 12:59 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 58
Tough survey. I had to say I was happy, and I am, but I use different shops for different things. One thing I do not do is use the "BMW/Mercedes" type non dealer shops. They may do good work, but they charge like dealers and my old battle axe doesn't need that kind of treatment. I just need a solid mechanic who knows what he's doing and is honest.

When I had a Ford, I took it to Firestone. Very honest mechanics with good customer service. Hardly a discount, but worth it. I used to have an MB mechanic for everything but he closed his shop, so it goes to different places for different things. My MG goes to a strictly british sportscar mechanic, can't beat it.

A little out of sequence, but what I don't like about Firestone is I have a feeling they pay their guys crap. Its like a big law firm, they pay these guys whatever they do and charge book rate for the work and make the mechs work their a$$es off for 20 bucks an hour or whatever. But hey, market forces and everyone makes a choice to go to work everyday and all that.

I'm such a hamfist mechanic, I find exquisite joy in having something done right and expect to be billed appropriately but not exessively for it.
1984 300D turbo, 250K
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Old 10-20-2006, 01:19 AM
Posts: n/a
I want to be a professional mechanic

I work hard at it every day.

I wouldn't call myself a master or anything like that, but I've come a long way in 3 years.
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Old 10-20-2006, 01:28 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 482
It's also sort of hard to get started as a tech. I'm 20, and I'm seriously thinking about going for it. But no shops are willing to hire me for more than $9 an hour, which is impossible to live on in Orange County, and I'm currently making more than that. Don't have nearly enough money to go to a big school like UTI. So I'm just taking a few courses at a community college.

I did walk through the service dept at MB Laguna Niguel yesterday. It's quite a sophisticated operation. Everything was SPOTLESS, and all the techs were working their asses off. Also got a tour of the parts warehouse, it's gigantic. 300,000 something parts in stock, quanities are constantly being updated, changed, etc. Trying to get a job in the parts dept.
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Old 10-20-2006, 01:37 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: KY USA
Posts: 2,238
This is a part of a larger problem; I'm amazed at the complete lack of common mechanical sense exhibited by MOST (but not all) persons under the age of 30. The first machine that most young persons (such as myself) learned the operation and repair of was their car - because they HAD to. When you do this, you actually learn quite a bit. Now, it takes $$$$ to even have the tools to fix a car, and a lot of it, you can't fool with anyway. Now, ma and pa get the kid a two year old car instead of the kid working to earn the money for a 10 year old "fixer-upper". We changed cams to get some performance; today, you put a stainless steel fart can on the back of the car. There are exceptions to this, of course, and I'm amazed at the sophisticated quality things young people are doing. "Pimp My Ride" (look past some of the ridiculous stuff they install due to sponsor's "plug money")restored some of my faith.

A friend of mine in Detroit, somewhere in the early 1980's, told me that there were no "tune-up" or "oil change" shops in Detroit because everyone and their mom - literally - their mom - took auto shop and not only could but were expected to do simple repair on their own cars. Any "working" person who would pay someone to do these things was either lazy, foolish with their money, or an idiot.

When I was in school, there was some vague stigma about becoming an engineer - that you would work with your hands and get dirty, somehow. Exactly why is this a stigma?

Economics will solve the trade worker problem; eventually, it will be noticed that graduates of tech schools are commanding a lot more money than those with four year remedial education college degrees who wind up sitting at a desk cruising the 'Net where they will do as little harm as possible, while the trailing edge of the baby boom and Gen X do the heavy lifting.


Very often, I'm one of the only people in a parts store not behind the counter who speaks English. People think it's funny to see those customers huddled around a car on weekends. I think those guys getting dirty or their children will get the last laugh.
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:04 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Holland, MI
Posts: 1,316
We found an indy who is honest, keeps up to date as much as possible, and won't fix it unless it is really broke!
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Old 10-20-2006, 08:29 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: At the Birkebeiner
Posts: 3,811
I haven't had to take my car in over the last 4 years for anything but standard oil changes and maintenance.
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows - Robert A. Zimmerman
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Old 10-20-2006, 12:38 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milford, CT
Posts: 19,306
So far I have done all the maintiance on my cars since I started driving. But I'm still and school and I can't really afford to pay people to work on my cars to often. If I couldn't do my own wrenching I'd have to sell the MB's. Heck I bet I'd have over $30k into the SDL if I took it to a shop for everything.

As I get older I suspect that I will sub out more and more, but I will also drive newer cars that need less.

There are some very good shops out there, and there are a lot of bad ones. Like anything you need to find a good one and pay them well. Remember the mechanics are trying to send there kids to school as well, so if they do a good job pay a fair price for it.
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:01 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 303
i got rid of my MB's when it was apparent that i soon would not be able to do much work on them anymore. Even when i had them, big jobs always went to an indy mechanic that specializes in Porsches and Mercedes that was near my home. He's also done the front brakes on my TDI. All the other work my VW has needed has been done by three different VW dealers; two here in Houston and one in Killeen, TX. The Killeen dealer was, by far, my favorite.

I only had one problem ever with the shop that worked on my Benz and it was resolved amicably. I don't think shops are greedy (except some dealers) and I don't think they charge too much. I'm pretty happy with most mechanics and shops. In fact, I'll go one step further and say i'm very grateful to the mechanics and shops that i've used over the years.

Former owner of a few diesel MB cars
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Last edited by Diesel4me; 10-20-2006 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:15 PM
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Location: Sacramento-Bay Area Corridor
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One of the greatest things about honest knowledgeable indie mechanics is their desire to make their customers happy. My mechanic goes above and beyond to ensure the work performed on my car is done properly, and that any problems are diagnosed and repaired systematically to make sure I do not waste money, he does not waste time, and so I do not have to return because the problem has not been resolved. "Do the job right, or do not do it at all".

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Old 12-01-2006, 09:53 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sunny So. Cal. !
Posts: 4,220

Huh ~ I don't see where to take the survey , maybe it's closed now ? .

I'm a professional mechanic , I closed my independant VW shop and went to work in a large munincipal truck shop , we're currently hiring dealer mechanics and most of them are just Parts Changers with no real idea about diagnosing much less how the damned thing works

I'm also getting older and stiffer so I'd love to find a mechanic I can trust to actually do the entire job , not just flat rate it and charge me my retirement savings...

I feel badly that mechanics have such a bad name but in all honesty , they've brought it on themselves .
1982 240D creampuff 370,000 miles
1978 300CD back from the dead&1980 300CD ~ SOLD
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:12 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Atlanta.
Posts: 366
I'll give you my take on the issue of dealers vs. independents.

I have worked at factory M/b dealerships and got tired of the games as a technician so I started my own mobile service here in Atlanta on M/b's only.

The dealer techs work their butts of trying to turn flat rate hours.
Some techs are great and very professional, others are complete hacks and cut corners to turn hours.

Some local dealerships here are very good about getting your warranty work covered when you bring your car in under warranty, and others dealers will not touch anything uless you complain about it.

I refer my customers under warranty to the shop that will best suit their needs for factory warranty work when their car is ready to go out of warranty.
Everybody wins with this deal right?
Some dealers, no names, think that it is an abuse of Mercedes benz credit card to make repairs under warranty that the customer does not complain about.
This sucks for the customer and the technician trying to make his 40 hour minimum for the week.
I noticed that the last shop I worked at went to this policy under new management and technicians that usually turned 100 plus hours in a week on flat rate wre now lucky to turn 40 hours, and technicians started leaving in droves, new ,young techs were hired for much less pay and the owners were happy since the big pay veterans were now gone.
Now the dealer has a bunch of kids practicing on their vehicles and the veterans that are now left become large suck ups and become shop foremans to school the kids, customer service goes down the toilet and the place is a big, high priced day care center for new techs.
The veterans have no choice but to leave for greener pastures at another dealership that is not afraid to fix cars or do warranty repairs to make their customers happy.

There are good ones and bad ones.
Good ones are usually the ones that have been around for a while, but some new ones are great as well, they just don't have their name out there much yet, but reputation and referrals will make them better as time goes by.

Treating customers right and being reasonably priced will always get return business.
I, being a mobile tech am limited to work I can do obviously, and I refer customers for engine work and such to independents and factory delaerships depending on their needs.

My biggest problem is that I have no control of what that guy does to the customer I send them.
I was sending alot of work to one guy and my customers were happy with his work, but I always check up on them after I send them somewhere.
I noticed one customer was sent to a guy that charged him over $600.00 for some transmission work, so I go over to see the customer a week later for some scheduled service and I find out the transmission pan was never even pulled and the original gasket was still there.
No tool marks on the pan bolts and residial fluid that was just wiped off poorly with a rag.
Do I send people back to that guy ? No!
Are there still people that love this guy because he has treated them right? Yes!
This is the kind of work ethic that will bite you in the butt hard if caught.
it is just not worth getting greedy and taking advantage of customers.

This puts my reputation on the line as well so that's why I always follow up and inspect work done by someone I refer a customer to.

I personally, always do what I say I'm going to do and treat customers more fairly than most since it's my reputation on the line.

You can't make everyone happy all the time because not all customers are the same, but for the most part, if you go above and beyond, you should do well.
One of the biggest problems I have with customers is honesty.
Remember, it goes both ways.
Everyone wants an honest shop to go to, but one thing that is overlooked sometimes is customer honesty.
Customers can bring in their car to the shop with known problems they have had for years and bring it in for something unrelated, then blame the shop for "creating" theese problems that they may have had patched up cheaply at another shop or by themselves.

This is one reason why I pick and choose the jobs I perform and the people I deal with.
Nobody likes dishonest shops taking advantage of them, and shops do not like being taken advantage of by dishonest customers.

I am always looking for good independent shops in Atlanta to send locals to for repairs beyond my scope due to my mobility.
I just expect those shops to be honest and do what they say they are going to do.
This attitude will keep them in business longer than the rip off artist.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:10 AM
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Bob G
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Long Beach ,California
Posts: 276
auto shops &repair technicans

I do not mine taking my Mercedes benz to a qualified repair shop. I just do not want it to be treated like a peice of meat. I enjoy taking the time doing some of the work my self and the graditute it gives me when I am successful.

It is not a money isue. I am well aware that you get what you pay for and the overhead running a business. I just haven't found people who care about doing a concesious job and looking at the small details instead of the clock.

Robert Geco
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:14 PM
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I'm a chicken
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,148
I have a great mechanic for the Benz. He does good work and charges little compared to other mechanics. Now having said that, I try do do most of my work myself and reserve the indy to stuff over my head. I have not found a mechanic that was good and has good rates also for my "other" car.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:03 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milford, CT
Posts: 19,306
They suck, now that I'm starting to sub the work out. Most of the work is sub par for a very high price.

Freaken tire shop already ruined a set of lugs on my truck.
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