Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Malibu has a boo boo? No just thirsty! (Auto Shop Story)

This is a story that I recently shared on Reddit and it got such a huge response that I thought I'd share it here too!

Malibu towed into the shop with "fuel pump failure" aka no start.  Turns out it had actually run out of gas.  Fuel pumps can't pump if there is no gas!  Customer demanded that we replace a perfectly good fuel pump anyways...
(Not Customer's Actual Car)

So this guy gets his Malibu towed in to the shop because it won't start. I attempt to get the info we need to diagnose the problem but he keeps insisting we don't need a diagnosis because it's the fuel pump.  I explain that our techs need to verify the problem before we throw a part at it and it still have the same problem starting.

He gets frustrated while I'm asking the usual questions.  He says over and over that it won't start because the fuel pump isn't working. It could not possibly be anything else because it's the fuel pump and to just take his word.  I tell him we'll get the estimate together and get back to him.

Then I got out to the car  to get specific info for the vehicle intake form and the first thing I notice when I turn the key is the gas gauge reading empty.

Maybe that's part of the issue?  Either way we need a little gas in order to test the pump. So, I grab a gas can and dump a couple of gallons in and try it again.  She fired right up and purred like a kitten. 

After some further tests the tech confirms the no start problem was due to running out of gas. Fuel pumps can't pump if there is no fuel.

I called the man to tell him the great news and he looses it.  Screaming about how the car was not out of gas and demanding that he speak to my boss because I am clearly an idiot.

After a short time my boss hangs up the phone and says "we'll be replacing the fuel pump in the "malibooboo" so call the parts in and I'll pull the car around,"

So yeah we replaced a perfectly good fuel pump.  We charged the man for the removal and install of it and the two gallons of gas.   He smugly left saying " knew it was the fuel pump" to me while thanking my boss for his quick action.

We tried to save him hundreds of dollars but he was not having it so we gave him what he wanted...  Poor guy just couldn't admit to running out of gas!

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 update: I did not expect this much of a reaction to my little story, both positive and negative. I have been reading through all the comments and attempting to reply.

 There are a couple of things that I wanted to clarify

1.  I'm female. This story happened 3 years ago when I was in a service advisor position at a shop.  I didn't do diagnosis usually but I'd save techs time by doing basic stuff like charging batteries and reading codes. . Initial vehicle intake records were part of my responsibilities.

2.  I am not claiming to be an expert or any such other thing.  I was not looking for an argument or debate on whether or not a fuel pump failure occurred or if the empty gas tank was he only problem or a symptom of the fuel pump failure.

3. As a rule we never quoted the customer a price until we had verified the  diagnosis.  And we never just swapped one part for another without the diagnostic.  I've seen so many cases where something small and inexpensive causes an issue and instead of investigating the customer jumps the gun.  He pays for expensive  major repair and still the problem isn't fixed.

4.  Customers were always given an explanation of the diagnosis and the breakdown of what it will cost for us to repair (obviously) then given the option to approve the repairs or not.  If the car was brought in because it won't start then the only repairs we quote are what is required to get the car to start.

5.  We always tried to save customers money when we could.   Part of my job was to inform them of all the options, the consequences of those choices and let the customer decide.   

Life is an Echo...  You get what you give and you reap what you sow.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

TIL that the ocean can freeze....

-20F in Massachusetts freezes ocean. https://imgur.com/gallery/77lRXwt