Episode 176: Diagnosis Tips


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On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, Uncle Jimmy eschews finding a top 10 list from the internet, and instead makes his own and tells you some of the ramifications of not following them! This week- it's Diag Tips!

  1. Get the Whole Story: when a Service Advisor is vague and gives your Repair Orders like, “replace a tire” make sure you find out which one. “Has a leak”, well what fluid is it?- so far the weirdest answer is milk. The customer is rarely forthcoming with details especially when they are embarrassing, but getting the rest of the story as the late-great Paul Harvey would say can make it a “ Good Day!”
  2. Check the Vehicle History: weather you have a host of information from a dealership network or you are just using the Carfax- there is information on the cars that we work on out there on the internet. It can make your life easier and possibly check a few things off the list of potential problems or can provide a smoking gun if not performed correctly. Obviously these things don't cover everything we have seen cars get fixed out of pocket and it never hit the Carfax all the time! Also don’t ever buy a car that was at a training center.
  3. Assume Nothing: instead find out the answer for yourself. Don’t let anyone else assume for you either- all this leads to is problems. Uncle Jimmy doing the wrong recall on a car and not getting paid for it, because he assumed it was one recall when it was in fact another.
  4. Visually Inspect Things: Every battery has a date code on it, a lot of random sensors and camera’s won’t work when they’re dirty. Sometimes you can tell a lot about a car by looking at it! Comfort Access doesn't work after you’ve sideswiped a tree.
  5. Duplicate the Concern: When the “it sounds like there's a bowling ball in my truck” actually turns into there's a bowling ball in your trunk. We also do a deep dive on the Check engine light and why Uncle Jimmy loves it.
  6. Check the Battery- they all go dead, and before they do they can cause some seriously crazy faults! Also take where you live into account, batteries hate extremes in heat and cold so when you get a healthy dose of one or the other, it might be the death knell for your battery. Also make sure the terminals are tightened, not naming any names- but looking at you Autozone.
  7. Scanning for Faults: there's faults in every car that hasn't just been cleared. It doesn't matter how old a car is, somewhere there is a fault where it did not do something right. We also talk about personal records for the most number of faults in a car: 312. Sometimes the faults in a scan are consistent with the complaint the customer has, but sometimes they reveal much more that the customer would rather not think about. Ground problems almost never make logical sense, so if you have seemingly unrelated systems not working, you might want to check your grounds.
  8. Check for Damage: people drive like shit everywhere on planet earth. As a result of running into things and generally not paying attention, their cars are taking some serious damage. That vibration is probably from bent wheels, and no, we can assure you that they are not under warranty because the manufacturer did not hit that pothole for you. When a customer wants to see that their wheel is bent, put it up on the lift and spin it for them. The bad driver tax is especially brutal on EV drivers who are looking at excruciating repair bills when they poke a hole in those battery packs by driving over something.
  9. Eyeballs: you have to look at the problem, because you might be able to see it. The worst case scenario for this is when you have to shred the car for diagnosis, just to have to put it back together because the part is on backorder and you are out of loaner cars. Because you know you will have to do this

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