Niagara Gazette

Features

November 21, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Major auto repairs? Ask a service adviser for options

Niagara Gazette — Too often, during the auto repair process, service advisers do not give customers repair options. Very early in my career I failed to do so and l am thankful I had an excellent mentor that straightened me out. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Suzie Customer comes into XYZ Auto Repair because her 1998 “Zorch” is making awful noises on acceleration (reminiscent of those sounds at the racetrack when a racer’s engine blew up off shortly after leaving the line … knock-knock-knock-rattle-rattle-rattle). Mel, the mechanic, diagnoses the sound (crankshaft bearings). He gives Suzie a repair quote that’s more than the car is worth. She tells Mel that she can’t afford it, but she needs the car. Can he fix it cheaper? Mel tells Suzie he won’t do it any cheaper, because he can’t guarantee the job would last. He advises her to take the car elsewhere for repairs. Could this situation have been handled differently to help Suzie? Or is she a lost cause?

I used this example because, several years ago, I found myself in such a situation while working at a large shop as the assistant service manager. A single mother in financial dire straits came into the shop with a car that sounded like it had 12 angry trolls banging away with their hammers under the hood. I didn’t know whether to get a gun before opening the hood, or to call a priest proficient in the rite of exorcism! It turns out that her car’s engine had major damage, and it would be a costly repair. I swung into action checking out her options. As I saw it, she had four repair options:

Option 1: Rebuild the old engine: After pricing it out, this option was simply too expensive for Suzie’s budget. With the cost of parts, machine work, labor, and incidentals like wire, bolts, fluids, etc the price was way too high for her pocketbook.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • NIA UB diabetic art 041914 UB's D-Link helps teens deal with diabetes Adolescence is stressful enough, but going through it with a chronic disease that requires multiple daily injections and finger pricks, as well as a fair amount of mental math, is asking a lot of the average teen.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE 140330 Kidney Soldier 5.jpg Vet wins 'life lottery' with new kidney On a recent weekday afternoon two Niagara Falls brothers were picked up by a private limo and taken to a nearby airport runway where a private plane was waiting to whisk them away to Pittsburgh.

    April 14, 2014 4 Photos

  • NIA Tom T mug TOM'S CORNER: Bringing your own parts to repair shop is a bad idea The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1 040614.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • SUN LIFE Farms 1 040614.jpg NIAGARA COUNTY: Effort to get fresh food to the needy is energized by new venture.

    Tom Tower thinks it's a crime to throw away good food. The gentleman farmer from Youngstown is noted for his passion for agricultural craftsmanship, so seeing his carefully grown produce lying wasted in the field causes him great distress. He was one of the first farmers in the region to bring his apples by the truckload to the Western New York Food Bank. It was pure logic and generosity that prompted him to do so, but when the food bank received some state money to buy fresh produce, Tower and Justin Guerin, food bank director, worked out a deal. One month would be a donation, the next month, the bank would pay a fair price for the apples.

    April 12, 2014 4 Photos

  • NIA Tom T mug 041014 TOM'S CORNER: An update on the technology of electric vehicles The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Partners in Art art 1 040914 Partners in Art comes to the Carnegie Center Teachers, students and guests gathered on Saturday afternoon at the Carnegie Art Center to welcome the annual Partners in Art studio exhibit to it's new home for 2014.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Deputy Sheriff's Assoc art 1 040714 Niagara County Sheriff's association looking for pieces of past The Niagara County Deputy Sheriff's Association is looking for old pictures, uniforms, equipment and any other memorabilia from the more than 200 year history of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • NIA Biz column mug 040714 IN BUSINESS: Leadership Niagara honored at weekend event Molly Anderson, director of Leadership Niagara, was presented with an award for "Excellence in Innovation" by the Association of Leadership Programs on Friday at the Southeast Regional Conference in Atlanta.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Tom T mug TOM'S CORNER: Dealing with diesel vehicle service requirements The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
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