Distraction during maintenance procedures

During my military and civilian safety training, distractions when performing any maintenance/repair or operating procedures was proven to contribute to accidents. Old school: the Technical Manual (TB) or pre flight checklist was required to be opened and followed step by step. Cellphone use while performing maintenance/ repair/ operation was banned in the mid 1990s. Many years later it changed to laptop or tablet. Could cellphone distraction be responsible for loose oil drain plugs and other mistakes at the quickie lubes and dealerships?

It certainly could be a contributor. I’d suggest lack of quality employees is a bigger contributor. Low pay, poor benefits, limited training and a tight labor market doesn’t help attract better employees, either.

Edit: All in the quest for that $29.99 oil change

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Which is stupid, because I pay my locally-owned shop $34 for an oil change, they never screw it up, and even tape a mint to the receipt. :wink: It’s not like it’s that much more to go to a real shop.

I really don’t know if that is a good or bad price in my area. I guessed at the $29. I’d say if your local independent is offering that, he breaks even at best. But I’d consider using them if my cars used dino-oil.

There’s no way $34 is even going to be close for me given the fact the Mustang takes 8 quarts (!!) and being synthetic oil. My cost for just the materials is $74 for Royal Purple and a premium filter.

My truck takes 6 quarts of plain jane Mobil 1 and a filter for $32 my cost. The Audi uses expensive 5w40 VW spec oil (I use Liqui Moly) costing $45 for 5 quarts and a filter.

My Kia dealership charges $34.99. I always get a $10 off coupon in the mail before I am due. The oil and filter change includes a hand wash and vacuum. It also includes a tire rotation which I decline as that is included at the excellent tire dealer. The Kia dealership is required to inflate my tires to the sticker 32psi. which in the Winter activates my TPMS if the temperature drops to 25F. The tire dealer inflates my tires to 35psi and also includes a force balance check + lug nut torque check. All at no charge.

The fundamental mistake any oil change place can make while soliciting my business is to emphasize how fast they can do it…that to me says high probability for shortcuts and mistakes…


I prefer to do it myself. To me, it’s easier than making an appointment and driving there and waiting. My cars are easy to do though. I pay $20 total for 5 quarts synthetic and a filter. Take the used oil to the parts store down the street.

Unfortunately Ive gotten too old to do my own maintenance so for the first time in my life I’m paying others to do it.

Hope I never get too old. My air compressor broke today and I am seriously questioning if I need to buy another. I have a small pancake compressor for tires and a pin gun and an electric 1/2 " impact wrench.

Toilet, vacuum cleaner, microwave, coffeemaker and riding lawnmower all broke this week and Firefox updated itself into a form that makes itself unusable for me. At least I can fix the mower. I could fix the vacuum too but it is about 60 years old and just not worth the trouble. it was an old Hoover Convertible I kept in the basement so we didn’t have to carry one up and down.

My Toyota has made me lazy, I just do an annual oil change,and take the wheels off once a year to check the brakes and make sure I CAN get the wheels off if I have a flat on the road. I don’t ever take the tire out of the trunk well to check the air anymore because the tire stores valve down and has a foam tray with a jack and and lug wrench, other tools I have added in the foam tray, a tire plug kit and one card board and two floor mats over the top. I just put a $7 air compressor under the seat.

Speaking of distractions while working. for 5 years I pulled two 45" trailers up and down the NY Thruway and Mass Pike. The company had ro have tractors with TT numbers on them that were certified to be able to handle the load and the driver had to have a TT (Thruway Tandem) permit to pull the long doubles. I was the first road driver hired in Buffalo and all the other road drivers were from Mass or Albany. They all wanted to help each other or me hook these two trailers and a dolly to the tractor in the Thruway Compound. I always declined the help, I had a mental checklist and always did things in the same order. I told the other drivers that I wasn’t being unfriendly, it was just that if I was going to drop a trailer on the Thruway it was because of something I had missed, not anyone else. The Albany driver that had given me the hardest time about this had dropped his trailers less than a year later pulling out of Utica.

I’ve got a 5hp 240 volt air compressor with an 80 gallon tank, and a 2 post sidearm lift. I’ll never use either one again. I don’t fix small appliances anymore either. It’s just so much easier to order new ones on Amazon when one breaks.

Wow, I wish I would have had that setup when I was taking care of 6 cars in our family. I could see that extending my car repair future indefinitely for as long as I could stand up. Would have made engine and transmission changes so much easier. Trouble is, I would have to move and no way am I going to clean out the attic, basement, and garage. My kids are getting too old also. I will leave it to my great grandchildren to do.

i just cant do it anymore. i recently gave away a load of tools and diagnostic equipment that i won’t be using anymore.

I’m sorry to hear that, I never had much in the way of diagnostic equipment, just a dwell / tach. vacuum gauge, test light assortment, voltmeter, and a stethoscope. That was it until I bought a code reader.

most of the stuff i gave away was 40 years old and really only useful for vintage cars

Back when OK had a vehicle safety inspection program was one of the worst distractions. Law required the car to be brought INTO the shop within 30 minutes. That could be a real problem when the stalls were full of partially disassembled cars.
Once the 2.00 for the mechanic inspection was done then the mechanic had to go back and remember what point he had walked away from that transmission assembly.

A co-worker missed a wrist pin circlip because of something like this. He thought I was pranking him and being dead serious I told him no way. After a half hour of thought he went back into the engine and sure enough,;a circlip was missing on a piston because of that worthless inspection.

In Virginia a State Inspection certified shop must have a dedicated bay just for inspections. So not only do technicians not only get pulled of jobs that actually make money, the shop also has a built in revenue loss center, along with the possibility of a distracted tech botching a real paying job. A lose/lose/lose for shop, tech, and customer who’s repair not only took longer but most likely had short cuts taken to avoid lengthy inspection wait times.