Monday, January 21, 2013

Workday: Ch. 3

One last post from the auto industry.

If you own a car - read this. 

To all of you who think you shouldn't have to pay your mechanic to figure out what's wrong with your stinky p.o.s. car - you do. Flat out, you should, and you should want to. Free diagnostics means a whole mess of things that would inform any educated human being that the auto repair shop you're about to get your car fixed at, is not the best choice. Pay for your diagnostics and pay gladly. 

A repair shop that does not charge for diagnostics first and foremost means that the technicians looking at your car are not happy people. You do not want an angry technician touching or going anywhere near your car. Second, that means that repair shop will jack you on pricing somewhere else on your bill. Third, that shop will not still be in business to warranty your car or for you to keep coming back to years down the road. Lastly, just consider wouldn't you rather going to a doctor that charges for his opinions than the one that gives them out freely and willingly (providing you have the money)? When someone's not getting paid for their work, they'll cut corners and guess wherever they can, they can't use those expensive computerized machines to help guide them to the correct answers.

Business 101: A business that is for-profit, needs dollars to operate - meaning they must collect some change from your pockets. 

Oh, I could just keep going on.

and so I must..... This is for your own good though... And the only reason I'm offering my free opinions is because I did this as my job. I had to explain over and over why I must charge you and got so sick and tired of educating you, that I decided to write it all down and get it out one last time so that maybe sometime in the future people won't be so darn clueless about what it takes to fix cars. 

First of all, in almost every repair shop, the technicians - the men working on your car, only get paid per labor hour that is charged to you. This labor hour is based on nation wide standards, there is no cheating this time. You look it up from alldata and bam, you bill it. So anything you get for free - your technician did, literally, for free. How much do you like working for free? And no I'm not talking about checking your emails after the 'workday' because you're on salary. I mean like F-R-E-E free! Now, it's not like I feel so bad for them, they signed up for it, but as a person informing another person about what their car needs you just need to know how this whole thing operates. 

I've held a lot of different jobs in my lifetime, and I feel like working in various industries has provided me with the information to not only understand how business works and why it works that way but how you can't just go in, as a customer, demanding whatever you want and acting like a complete jerkoff. 

Rule #1: Loyalty always pays off

First rule of thumb, when you find a repair shop that makes you feel confident, only go to them and never go anywhere else unless you absolutely have to. Go ahead and ask them to show you or give you the old parts, if they refuse or they won't, don't trust them. But don't be the jerk going to a new person every time you have a problem. This goes for everything you need in life, search for the right cable guy, doctor, handyman, grocery store, mechanic and stick with them, through the good and the bad (only if the bad gets handled in a proper manner). In the end, you showing that you will be that loyal customer every business wants, will only get you the results you desire. After you show a place you can be a loyal customer, than maybe you can feel confident in accepting when they offer you a free diagnostics sometime.

Rule #2: If your car starts making unnatural noises and you continue to drive it, you're officially retarded. 
That's it, that's all I can say for that one.

Rule #3: If your car starts making unnatural noises and you continue to drive it, it will not be cheap to fix your car.

Rule #4: Buy new belts.

As soon as your mechanic mentions anything about needing any new belt, do it, do it now, even if you needed your car back yesterday, you do the belt. I don't care how much it costs, if you want to keep your car, you do the belt. In the seven months working at a repair shop, I saw at least ten of the cars we had recommended getting new belts to the customer, get towed back in. Guess what though, now you don't just need a new belt, 1 or 2 of the cars needed new engines! ...Or at least half the work that goes into rebuilding an engine. That costed them a couple thousand instead of a couple hundred. When a belt breaks, so do multiple things on your car. Belts operate by pulleys which keeps all the vital components in your car moving, thus keeping you on the road. Power steering, alternators, ac compressors have pulleys on them, therefore your belt or belts, keep those things working. 

Rule #5: Pumps 

A car has numerous pumps. Basically a pump for every major system in the car, like power steering, brakes, air conditioning, oil, transmission, coolant and maybe a few more depending on what kind of car you drive. Pumps need fluid in order to work. So change your damn fluids. 

Rule # 6:Alignments are not always < or = 1 hour

Alignments are not always a quick and easy process. I'm not saying they can't be, but before you just expect your alignment to be done in one hour, why don't you give it a try. If your technician tells you it is taking longer than they thought, that's exactly what is happening. Those rusty tie rod ends and bolts you have on your 1990 jalopy are not always the easiest to adjust. Have you ever tried to loosen a bolt from something 10 + years old? Yeah, didn't think so. Go head, give it a try then keep up your b*tching. See how fast your car gets pulled out of the shop, your keys get handed to you and how fast and unevenly your tires start to wear over the next few months. Then go back to your mechanic and b*tch some more. My answer "You're going to need four new tires to correct the problem (which will be the vibration you feel when driving), that'll be at least $600." Which brings me to Rule #6.

Rule #7: Good tires aren't cheap

Don't buy cheap tires. But how do you know if they're cheap tires. Keep complaining about prices and your mechanic will try to find the cheapest tires possible to put on your car. Any tire brand you've never heard of, is a bad tire to put on your car. Stick to Michelin, Cooper, BFGoodrich and spend some $ to get some good tires on your car. After all, we all buy the best shoes we can afford since they're the only thing holding us up all day long. I'll say it again for you... Buy good tires, Good tires aren't cheap.

Rule #8: Cars aren't cheap

So if you're any kind of educated, and well if you're reading this you obviously have a computer or some kinda smart phone so you're already in the top whatever small percentage of the population... so I'll assume you are. Cars need things. Just like people need fresh water every day and good healthy food and exercise - so does your car. Just because it can't talk to you and say 'Mommy I want some water,' doesn't mean it doesn't need things. Think of your car as a baby or a dog, it can't exactly tell you what it needs. So let me tell you, it needs good, fresh, healthy oil, coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, brake fluid and more. You can't just neglect your car for miles or years and expect it to not need things. You're lucky enough that it can go 3,000 miles, basically across the country and back without needing new oil. When your mechanic tells you that your fluids are dirty, don't go buy the new latest and greatest cell phone instead of changing your fluids... that makes you an idiot. Your car takes you everywhere you need to go, it is more important than replacing your 6G iPhone from last year.

Rule # 9: Don't buy an expensive car if you're a cheap prick. 

We've all seen 'em... the cheap whiny people in the BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo, Saab, Hummer, Jaguar, Infiniti, you get the point. If you're going to own a luxury vehicle, be prepared to spend luxury prices to fix your car. Therefore something that would cost $100 for a normal car, will cost you $300+. 

Rule #10: Top ten best cars

These are listed in no specific order... and are just my opinions. If you keep up with the maintenance schedules on these, they are great dependable vehicles.
1. GMC & Chevrolet Trucks with the 5.3L engines.
2. Honda Civic and Accord
3. Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
4. Nissan Xterra
5. Toyota Tacoma
6. Minivans in general (although I hate them, they're fairly cheap to maintain, plus have small tires like a car, which saves you a lot right there.)
7. Toyota Highlander
8. Jaguars
9. Lexus (all of them)
10. Subaru (all of them)

Rule #11: Cars you should never buy

1. Chrysler Sebring (don't EVER buy these)
2. Ford Taurus (multiple issues)
3. Volkswagen's or German cars in general (often develop oil and transmission leaks)
4. Pontiac Aztec (all around awful cars)
5. Suzuki (Parts are EXPENSIVE!!)

I shall stop here. I think I've given you all enough info.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Finding My Niche

I've been on a creative binge lately. I found something, some way of entertaining and amusing my passions in a way in which they coincide with each other. Since I have indulged in my love for automobiles throughout my blog, I'll be vague about that this time. My fetish for speed, mechanics and motion has turned a new leaf as far as my art goes. I'm destined to be surrounded by cars and maybe if I push it through my art, I can remove it from my 'day job,' as I so desire. 

Here's some pics of my new art, all digital paintings created with 
photoshop and my 'kiwi' as I've so named my Bamboo Drawing Tablet :) I put my most recent pictures first because well obviously I'm more proud of them than the first few I did ;)

Unlike the rest, I did this one for my fiance who wanted my new style to come through in a portrait of him with one of his guns. 

Custom piece created for my coworker, a digital painting/canvas print of his Ninja.