Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 20, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Secret letters that can save you money: TSB

Niagara Gazette — While everybody understands what a recall is, not many car owners have heard of the Technical Service Bulletin (TSB). TSB’s are sometimes confused with recalls, but they are not the same thing. Recalls come about from vehicular defects that result in loss of life or limb. TSBs, on the other hand, are documentation of defects that come about as a result of consumer complaints to mechanical failure trends that develop as a result of a non-life threatening defect. The car companies have technical field reps that travel the countryside visiting dealer-to-dealer and reporting on mechanical failures, this data is then given to the technical labs of the car company and repairs are developed from the data. While these service alerts are issued to dealers by the car companies, a TSB repair is usually only covered if your vehicle is still under a factory warranty. If your car is out of warranty, a dealer doesn’t have to perform the fix for free. Oftentimes, TSBs are confused with the urban legend of a “silent recall,” where the carmaker repairs something without telling you, say, when you drop the car off for oil change. Trust me that this just doesn’t happen in the real world — there is no such thing as a “silent recall.” Sometimes carmakers authorize their zone reps to offer a free repair called a “Goodwill Adjustment” based on customer loyalty, service history, ownership loyalty, meticulous service work or some other practice that indicates ideal customer idiosyncrasies.

Footing the bill

The savvy car owner will use TSBs to their advantage. We’ll get to some practical applications shortly, but first let’s address the whole issue of who pays for a repair that’s part of a TSB. While the carmaker is under no obligation to do so, the bottom line is that sometimes they will, depending on the repair and the specific situation of course. Carmakers and dealers both have made it a habit of making “goodwill adjustments,” extending an olive branch to the consumer in these cases. CSI or Customer Satisfaction Index is what carmakers base employee bonuses on, hence the often used “Goodwill Adjustment” because it affects the sales person’s pocketbook. Smart way to do business if used in the correct manner. But remember, before you can plead your case as to why you deserve such an olive branch, you need to know about the TSB and understand what it means. As I stated before, carmakers have technical service representatives out in the field all across the country, collecting service data. They use this data in order to identity patterns and trends coming up with what is called a “failure trend” index. Usually the carmaker will come up with the fix within their own labs, other times if a vendor is involved such as a lubricant company or a maker of a particular part that failed, the carmaker will work with the vendor to come up with a solution to the problem. Once an effective repair is found, and if the problem is not considered to pose a safety threat significant enough to force a recall, the information gets written up into a TSB.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Scheer, Mark mug CITY DESK: Hobel will be missed

    Lost in all the hoopla surrounding last week’s announced retirement of state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, was the loss of another well-known figure in local government and politics.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Border Patrol chief examines deadly acts A former Buffalo police chief now has the formidable task of reviewing cases where border agents have used deadly force.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Nostalgia for nostalgia: Where will it end? Not only has there been a huge nostalgia boom in America, but we're now getting to the point where there's much nostalgia for nostalgia! Maybe signifying that nostalgia will wear itself out, or, as in the old adage, that it ain't what it used to be?

    July 20, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Driven to distraction by recent incidents For reasons best left unexplained, Doug drives home from Niagara Falls at twilight many nights, usually alone. It's about 10 miles, 15 minutes, from pressbox to driveway. He exits I-190 at the Beaver Island ramp, hugging its right edge in deference to any mainstream traffic, which would be coming downhill from the left at a 140-degree angle.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Council, administrative hypocrisy, and that is the gospel truth If there isn't a walk-on resolution on the Niagara Falls City Council's upcoming last agenda before the August recess to change the zoning back to what it was prior to the South End Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission opening its hearts and doors, then the city council should just cease its hypocritical practice of even saying prayers before the meeting.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug 071714 GLYNN: Hochul retains a low profile as running mate If you're still not convinced that politics makes strange bedfellows, consider the report claiming Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been keeping his running mate out of the spotlight.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Chiropractic doc wants to help area vets

    The idea came to her when she was running a half-marathon in June. Kristin Jacobsen is that type of person. The Pine Avenue chiropractor says she gets her best ideas when she runs. She also uses that time to pray.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Really good summer reading, still great after all these years I am always impressed by the power of the pen, or, in today's parlance; the keyboard. Words can bring joy; they can also bring sorrow; they can bring life, they can be deadly, and they can bring justice which can often deliver neither joy nor sorrow.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page