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Auto Repair: HOW DO They Screw Up An Engine oil Change?
"It's about beating the clock." This quote originates from a smart old service director, advising me on how to increase my income as a flat-rate technician. If you've ever wondered why your car doesn't get set correctly, or your entire concerns weren't attended to, you can blame, in part, the flat-rate pay framework.
Flat-rate simply means that your auto mechanic is paid a flat fee for a specific repair, it doesn't matter how long the repair actually takes. Quite simply, if your vehicle needs a water pump, which pays off two time of labor, and the mechanic completes the work in a single hour, he gets paid for two.
In theory, this can work in your favor. If the job takes longer, you still pay just the "predetermined" labor amount. THEORETICALLY, not reality!
The flat-rate pay structure is designed to drive productivity. It is rather effective. The flat-rate pay system encourages technicians to work hard and fast, but it generally does not promote quality.
In terms to getting your car set effectively, the flat-rate pay structure has disastrous effects. Flat-rate technicians are constantly looking for shortcuts to defeat the clock to be able to maximize the amount of hours they invoice. Experienced flat-rate technicians can bill anywhere from 16 to 50 hours in an 8 hour day.
It's these shortcuts and the breakneck swiftness at which smooth rate technicians work that lead to some of the most idiotic mistakes. Inside the rapid-fire pace of an shop I've witnessed technicians start engines with no essential oil. I've seen transmissions lowered, smashing into little bits onto the shop floor. And I've seen autos driven through bay doors--all in the name of "beating the clock."
Flat-rate technicians can get quite elaborate with shortcuts. My favorite was the implementation of the 6-foot-long 2-by-4, which was placed under the engine unit for support while a motor unit support was removed. It made employment predetermined to have 1.5 time achievable in twenty minutes. A win-win, right? The specialist makes extra money; you get your vehicle back faster.
Actually, oftentimes the placement of this 2-by-4 damaged the oil skillet. Moreover, it induced the car, your car, to balance precariously 6 ft in the air, as the technician manipulated the car lift to access your engine mount.
This plan was abruptly discontinued when a technician's 2-by-4 snapped leading to the automobile to crash nasal down onto the concrete floor.
Sometimes the shortcuts create very understated disturbances, which create problems overtime. A quick example: a car had its transmission serviced with a new filtration, gasket, and fluid. During the process, the technician could save time by bending the transmitting dipstick tube just a bit, in order to get the transmission skillet out faster. The vehicle was reassembled, and the specialist re-bent the tube back to place and off it went--no worries....
Six months later, the automobile delivered with an intermittent misfire. The engine wasn't working on all cylinders. After extensive diagnostics, it was uncovered that the transmitting dipstick tube got chaffed through the engine unit harness, intermittently grounding out an injector. Hmm, that's bizarre. Don't usually note that.
The high-speed environment and the next shortcuts demonstrate the devastating effects of the flat-rate, sales-driven pay composition on the grade of car repairs.
No think about even an engine oil change gets screwed up!
The poor quality of work urged by the flat rate pay structure is disconcerting enough. However, it generally does not stop here. The negative effects of flat-rate get exponentially even worse, as it starts "wide" the entranceway to rip you off!