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International Automotive Technicians Network
Re: Goodwill, Where Are The Limits
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 11/19/2015 3 Replies

The type of work you do also has a lot to do with the number of warranty claims. Some types of automotive work is inherently high liability. Additionally, the number of employees and their skill level add to the mix as well. Sometimes the work itself is simply over the tech's head. That's the problem our industry is facing.

The lowest liability shop with the fewest warranty claims will always be a 1 or 2 man shop doing the lower liability type repairs and maintenance.

I was talking to the local Firestone district manager last month and he told me they only do low liability work. They don't do any repair work on transmissions, differentials, transfer cases, or any engine work below the valve cover gaskets. They can't get the skill level need for 2,500 stores nationwide, so why try high liability in all stores when only some of the stores can handle the work?

Get this: They have a high turnover and the lowest position is somewhere between a tire buster and a lube tech. When a vehicle rolls onto the lube pit, the first thing they do is loop a 4 foot piece of chain somewhere underneath the vehicle and just let it hang. The very last step in the procedure is for the shop foreman (or head honcho in charge) to check the engine oil level, check for oil leaks, and remove the chain.

If the last step is somehow missed, the chain jingling out of the shop, in the parking lot (and perhaps down the road) will make the customer realize something is wrong and return immediately. Supposedly, this will reduce failed engine claims due to botched LOF services. Idiot-proofing at it's finest.

Although we haven't gone that far in our shop, we've done certain things to avoid mistakes, like the wrong ATF or lube. For instance, we have a synthetic limited slip gear lube that goes in virtually any diff calling for gear lube. It's backwards compatible and our guys don't have to guess. Same with ATF; we use a universal synthetic that we use in all automatics except CVTs and for those, we have just one type of CVT fluid.

When we have a warranty claim, 90% of the time, it's human error; but transmissions are inherently high liability and getting higher with the growing sophistication of today's transmission control systems.

Larry Bloodworth
Technical Information Specialist/Technician
Tanner Transmissions
Draper, Utah, USA

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