Auto repair often costs us more than it has to thanks to some very minor oversights. A common example occurs during the process of diagnosing a vehicle’s particular concern. There are standard procedures to follow during auto repair diagnostics that repair shops may neglect due to ignorance, laziness, or from the day-to-day rush. How can we help?
First, here’s an example to illustrate and provide some background. A man brought his vehicle to a repair shop because his transmission felt funny – it didn’t seem to be shifting correctly. The shop jumped to the conclusion that the transmission needed to be serviced by flushing the fluid. The customer was charged $150.00. It didn’t fix the problem. What happened?
The shop skipped a very important step in the diagnostic process. Step 1, confirm the concern (they actually did this). Step 2, check for TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) – they did not do this. Technical Service Bulletins are internal notices to dealers that combine the collective findings of the manufacturer, dealerships, and vehicle owners. Your vehicle may have hundreds of them. Don’t be alarmed, they’re only relevant if your automobile is experiencing the symptoms described in the TSB. These should not be confused with Recalls.
That said, TSBs are critical. They can help a technician fix everything from intermittent radio static to advanced drivability issues. In the case of the vehicle above, there was indeed a TSB describing the transmission shifting symptoms perfectly. An updated ECM (Electronic Control Module) was the fix. No matter what the shop did – even if they replaced the transmission – it still would have had the same problem.
Next time you’re having your vehicle checked for a specific concern ask about related TSBs. It may help get them on the right path and save you some money.