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International Automotive Technicians Network
Posted to Emissions Forum on 1/15/2013 3 Replies

Hi Jason,

I believe that he is giving a specific example from a much larger group of improper or incomplete repairs. I call this particular one "Cat-slap Fever", with apologies to Terrible Ted.

The sad truth of the matter is that these types of repairs occur rampantly in certain demographics, and can cause untold damage, due to the illogical nature of the FuPR scoring system.

A failing vehicle can be made to pass a 100% unbiased, legitimate, competent, thorough inspection, without correcting root causes, but usually only temporarily. It doesn't take a genius to do it, either; trust me, I have witnessed hundreds of examples. If the diagnosis, repair, and maintenance sides of the dice were properly delineated and regulated, this would become much more difficult.

Of course, the problem is that customers are allowed (by regulation) to repair their own vehicles. How they go about doing that is entirely up to them, but I can assure you that the vast majority of them are not qualified to do so.

Another problem is that the customer, if he/she decides to take a failing vehicle to a repair shop, is (by regulation) in complete control of the diagnosis and repair process through the approval of repairs performed. It is very common for me to provide an exhaustive list of recommendations following a proper diagnosis, only to see it "cherry-picked" to accommodate the customer's budget, schedule, and whim.

If all of these cases that I mentioned resulted in an after-repair failure, then all would be well. Unfortunately, that is not the case; many, (>50%), slip through the cracks and either barely pass, or pass temporarily.

Inspectors that take steps to avoid these vehicles, by whatever means necessary, are less likely to suffer any FuPR damage. Inspectors that test-as-received, with no bias or prejudice, are more likely to suffer FuPR damage, regardless of their level of "inspection performance", as STAR likes to call it.

Test-Only centers are more susceptible to this phenomenon, but it can happen to anyone that doesn't take steps to avoid these situations.

Take care,

Michael Barry
Quick Stop Smog & More
Sacramento, California, USA

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