Vehicle Maintenance: Tailored Inspections

Brad York is a licenced automotive technician and owner of Three Sons Auto in St. Albert, Alta. You can reach him at 3sonsautocentre@gmail.com.

Our new columnist, Brad York, looks at one of the most misunderstood aspects of the service provider business: The vehicle inspection.

The inspection process within every service shop is vast, complex and often misunderstood.
Most motorists are completely reliant on service providers to supply them with the knowledge about their vehicle, its maintenance needs and when repairs are required, it’s easy to look past the fact that consumers have chosen service providers or dealerships because they lack the proper knowledge of what each particular part plays in the function of running their vehicle.
Additionally, besides not having a great deal of vehicle knowledge, many consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements that promise anywhere from 80 to 200 visual point inspections included with their typical oil change.
At this point, it sounds like a good deal, but no one seems to question what is covered in these 80 to 200 point inspections. Let’s use a single example, an average vehicle with four tires. Just counting the tires, we have multiple inspection points including tread life, tire pressure, and overall condition. Such diagnosis can take up to 12 points within a single vehicle inspection.
Brakes add more points
While inspecting the tires, it’s simple to peek through the wheels to examine the vehicle’s brake system including pads, rotors or drums, and calipers. Adding the inspection of additional suspension parts can add up to another 20 points.
Today it is the facade of marketing that creates the lack of proper consumer knowledge in vehicle inspection processes. These marketing techniques have just added to the vast and misunderstood language of vehicles and the parts that create a functioning, well-maintained vehicle.
The process of explaining why a repair or replacement part is needed has grown with ease because as service providers we’re provided with the tools and knowledge of vehicles, which help aid and share in the learning process of proper maintenance for consumers.
We can accompany the average visual inspections with numbers and percentages that assist in giving parts or fluids a value and lifetime before they must be replaced. With all the advancements in technology, service tools have become more prominent and readily available for service providers.
Validating findings
These digital readings validate a technician’s findings and provide the consumer with hard proof of why a certain part or fluid must be replaced.
Factory scheduled maintenance intervals may not agree with this process because following the schedule asks for fluids and other parts to be inspected or replaced based on certain mileages. With the factory scheduled maintenance we have once again become infatuated with marketing and how it has created a fear in consumers that if their vehicle is not serviced, their warranty will become void.
The problem with this factory scheduled maintenance is that not all vehicles are driven under the same environment and stress, therefore why should some parts or fluids be changed when they still operate at satisfactory rates?

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