Car repairs continue to escalate in price and the trend is not going to slow down. If anything it will most likely increase exponentially because of all the additional safety systems being mandated by government watchdogs and the insurance companies.
The mechanics have taken as much of a pay cut as they can, in fact more than they should have. When a top mechanic “A” grade technician, is only making $35,000 per year according to the U.S. BLS statistics, he does not have any room left to directly help. Do the math. The mechanic works about 50 hours per week, 50 weeks a year, thus he makes about $14 an hour.
The carmakers need to develop new models, so as to keep the public returning to buy their merchandise. The profit percentage per unit keeps falling. In fact Audi recently stated their profit percentage per unit was going to under 6% and they expect it to stay under 6% on new cars for the foreseeable future.
The carmakers are in a rush to always bring new technology to market, but this increases the defects in the cars. They can BS their way out of quite a few repairs until enough surfaces and the public brings litigation like that in the Toyota Unintended Acceleration cases. Or they are confronted with a safety recall, mandated by the NHTSA. Or the massive 30 Million car recall of 2014 by General Motors for safety problems, of which quite a few resulted in the deaths of the vechile occupants!
I personally do not remember ever hearing of so many recalls on literally new cars. The number of safety forced recalls on models that are sitting on new car dealer lots is extremely high. I even find it somewhat scary, since you do not know if the car you are about to buy will fail to stop or catch on fire. Or the fuel tank fall out of it. These are some of the latest recalls on 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles.
These low quality parts they are using was recently acknowledged that it will most likely get worse according to Ford’s global purchasing boss, Hau Thai-Tang. .
These brake recalls jogged my memory about the master cylinder on our classic Ford Ranger. The factory installed master cylinder lasted almost 20 years. But the replacement units purchased from O’Reilly Auto Parts are lucky to last 2 years. This points to a serious lack of quality in the new parts, and this is across the board.
I received an email from a mechanic that told me his pay has fallen. Not because he can’t do the work, but because of defectives. He related a story of a Rack & Pinion Steering Assembly that he installed in a Ford Explorer. The unit was remanufactured by a nationally recognized company out of Ohio. The unit had no power assist, no matter what he did.
He contacted the company’s tech support line, and performed every test, and suggested fix as required by their support staff. After a full day of this, the manufacturers’ support staff suggested he send the SUV out the way it was, even though it was going on a trip. He conveyed this to his supervisor. The vehicle left, the next morning the vehicle was broke down almost 500 miles away.
His supervisor required him to pay for a replacement unit, and overnight shipping to a garage near the customer. His company paid for the labor to put it in and the towing. The parts manufacturer refused to pay for anything, including either part.
He said this was becoming very normal in the business as the number of defects is climbing rapidly. Even from companies formerly known for quality parts. Some would like to blame these problems on foreign part manufacturers, but these problems are just as much a problem for U.S.A. parts manufacturers.
The carmakers are trying to find ways to increase their profits and they are using the tactics of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to sway some mechanics that the ONLY diagnostic scan tools are theirs. If the mechanic falls for this con, he must pay exorbitant amounts to get a scan tool. This of course increases the profits of the carmakers and reduces the available funds to the mechanic, who is already suffering.
Some mechanics of course are doing research and finding scan tools like our 2X80S obd2 scan tool, which puts the carmakers’ scan tool to shame on data retrieval speeds. This increased speed of course allows the mechanic to find problems more quickly than their brethren with higher priced tools. This not only allows the mechanic to do more quickly, but he can save well over $2000.00!
The carmakers are hitting him in other areas, as they cut the suggested labor time for jobs and even though the actual time to do the job did not go down, his pay does.
The repair shop is also being squeezed by the carmakers lower time rates, and the charges from companies for data access like AllData and Mitchell. And there are the other specialty databases, which mechanics help create from their troubleshooting, but have to pay to access.
I am not against the concept of a union, but when a union no matter who they are can force wages and benefits on a manufacturer that are beyond what a particular job is really worth –Something is wrong! And it needs to be corrected.
I personally know someone that worked for GM in the 1970s, hanging fenders on S10 pickups. His pay with benefits was over $30 an hour according to him. Talk about being overpaid!
Repair shops at that time were charging $35 an hour, body shops were $15 to $20 an hour, and this paid the overhead, supplied a profit to the shop and the mechanic or body mans’ wages
The U.S. Government in their bailout of GM and Chrysler will lose almost $10 Billion according to the TARP Special Inspector General. But they did quote “save 1 million jobs” unquote and those people are now making it rougher on everyone. Of course the net cost of saving those jobs is $10,000.00 per job to the American taxpayer.
When that happened, the U.S. Government took ownership of those companies away from the shareholders (rightful owners) and gave it to the unions. This is nothing but a disguised theft of property.
Here we are 4 years after the bailouts, and the unions are wanting more. If they get this and they will. Who do you think is going to get hurt from this?
The repair shops? The mechanics? The customer? Or all three?
My money is on all three. The parts prices are climbing, and the parts quality is falling. The labor times are falling, because the carmakers can’t or won’t pay what’s right. The carmakers are going to have more defective parts on new cars, but they can’t afford to fix them. The tool prices are increasing. The data prices continue to climb.
It's interesting to note that the CEO of the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Marichonne said in a recent interview in late 2014 that the safety problems, recalls and defective parts are going to continue to escalate as car complexity increases and agencies like the NHTSA and China's watchdog are forcing recalls and fining companies.
Now that the safety problems are being exposed vs covered up at General Motors, we have learned that GM received enough "bailout money" that they have a leftover 'horde' that current investment companies are suggesting that it be distributed to current shareholders.
Sooner or later the mechanics and shops are going to unite, and they will force these things to the public attention. If not through the news or their refusal to repair cars or replace defective parts for free to the manufacturer—then they will increase their labor rates per hour. So get ready! This is a ticking time bomb and the fuse clock is running.
How can you protect yourself of these impending changes? First, by getting manufacturers data system while you can. Second, get a good quality professional grade scan tool like the 2X80S, and match that to some software like OBD2Spy or ScanMaster . And thirdly, learn to use it. Or get another job, because you will need the extra money to pay for car repairs when, NOT if, this happens.
You can pay a little now or a lot later! The choice is yours.
If you like this information being shared with you, that has been the dirty secret of the industry for a long time please make mention of it on social networks, forums, chat rooms, emails – well just everywhere to get the word out.
Comparing our 2X80S with competitors
|Controls Data Corruption|
|Improved Data Speed|
|Enhanced Software Included|
|Phone Tablet PDA Capable|
|Multiple PC Applications|
|Multiple Phone Tablet PDA Applications|
|2 Wheel Vehicle Applications|
|Legacy OS Support|
Yes or Included No or not included Some or limited
|All above information is based on published information as of 01/2015 or products purchsed to confirm|