Common Automotive Problems After Service

Human Error isn’t isolated to the auto repair business. Car mechanics are no more likely to make a mistake than any other service oriented profession. With that said mechanics are people and despite their best intentions can become distracted and forget to do something that will force a customer to return to the shop. This article covers common automotive problems after service. See how motorists should handle these situations as well as what to look for on vehicle pickup.

Distracted Mechanics

The realities of a modern world can have an effect on the auto service experience. No matter where you go, you see people looking down at their phones and tablets so it’s not surprising to see mechanics do the same. The problem is when it comes to car repairing it takes a great deal of concentration and the best results are achieved when the job is started and finished in one straight motion.Stopping and picking up where you left off increases the chances of mistakes. Modern distractions in an auto repair shop are compounded by the fact, automobiles are much more complicated than just a couple of decades ago. Mechanics working on cars in the 80s not only faced a simpler vehicle to work on but were also less distracted by gadgets.

Simple Services More Complicated

Car owners dropping off for a spark plug replacement might not realize the operation is more complicated than it sounds. Certain models make it extremely difficult to perform this basic service. In some cases parts need to be removed in order to gain access to individual plugs. Mechanics distracted by gadgets or the many other things in the service center environment can forget to tighten a bolt or plug something in.In this situation if a mechanic goes the extra mile to perform a quality control test drive it might actually take several drive cycles for a code to set on an unplugged sensor. This sets up a situation where the mechanic drove the car and confirmed everything was fine and ready to be released. The owner gets in the automobile and after a couple of drive cycles the check engine light comes on. If a few days have passed the driver might not realize this problem was actually caused at the time of service.

Return to the Shop Immediately

When problems arise after automotive service it’s critical drivers return to the shop as soon as possible. If too much time elapses between a day of service and the return, a shop will be less likely to consider they’ve done something wrong. Instead of examining the repairs previously performed they start looking for a new chargeable problem in this situation. Even though human error is extremely common in this business, auto repair shops can still be defensive when faced with repeat repairs. It’s bad for business and profits to spend time on something that doesn’t pull down any new revenue.

The Ever Since You Phenomenon

Shops can be on the defensive automatically because of the "ever since you" phenomenon. This is where a motorist says ever since you touched my car I now have this new problem. Sometimes the shop did do something wrong and sometimes the driver has a new sensitive awareness they never had before when driving after a major repair. As an example if the shop installs front brake pads and the driver returns saying the engine has a lifter noise ever since the brake job, obviously these two are not related. On the other hand in this same situation if the driver had a brake job and now the vehicle pulls hard right during braking, this should be rechecked at no charge by the shop.

Things to do on Vehicle Pickup

There are several things owners should get into the habit of doing when picking up cars after service. First thing is to look around and under the automobile. Any puddles or leaks should be pointed out to the repair facility before entering the vehicle. Although this might not be from your automobile it’s better to be safe than sorry. Next when you get in and start the engine, look for any warning lights. Since some ABS problems or check engine lights only set codes after several drive cycles you can even take this a step farther and turn off the vehicle and restart it two or three times before leaving. After you exit the lot take your own road tests in the area of the shop to verify the original issues are solved and no new problems have occurred. Anything negative on this road test should be immediately brought to the attention of the repair facility.

Mechanics and auto repair businesses are faced with the perfect storm of distractions combined with complicated tasks. Even the most talented professionals can run into a situation where mistakes are made. Forgetting to tighten a drain plug on an oil change happens to the best of them. For drivers they should check under a vehicle when they pick up from service and keep an eye on things for several days after the repairs. The sooner you get back to the shop to review any issues the more likely they are to be receptive to complaints.