Professional mechanic s forums

do professional mechanics have any forums where they get together and discuss and help each other with repairs or diagnostics?

Yes. But first and foremost most shops pay a few to several hundred dollars per month to have access to complete service and repair information, sometimes directly from the carmaker and sometimes from organizations like Alldata, Mitchell, Snap-on, Motologic, and others. This includes up to date service bulletins, recalls, campaigns, revised repair procedures,and the like.

And like there are public forums and websites that the general population uses to rate and review auto repair facilities there are also private, member only forums in certain locales that rate and review customers, sometimes “blacklisting” them if you will. So if a guy is a PITA money-losing proposition for one shop, he may not be welcome at the shop down the street.

And yet, they keep welcoming me back… {:slight_smile:

There’s one that I know of and use called IATN International Automotive Technicians Network.

@TSM, as long as you work for free, we welcome your presence here. ;-). Unlike Kramer on Seinfeld who got fired from his unpaid “job” on Wall Street.

Many times the pros will have their forums within their brand, such as Ford’s FMCdealer website where the chat room is all of the Ford dealers, techs, sales, parts, finance, anyone can chat with anyone else…if you’re Ford dealer passworded.
Same in each of the branded dealers.

Jesmed, you may be right. I usually walk in with all the parts, the exploded view drawings, the torque values, and realistic expectations. Not only don’t they have to do the looking up, they don’t have to tie the bay up waiting for the parts delivery, and they don’t have to worry about getting a lot of grief when they suggest replacing the rubbery bits too… 'cause they’re already in the parts box and highlighted on the exploded view drawing. I suppose I make life easier for them than the average Joe.

Sometimes I lose too. A year or two ago I knew my alternator was going out, so I ordered one on the internet, figuring I’d change it during the weekend. That Friday, on the way to work, the charge light came on glowing with a vengeance. Knowing I had about 20 miles max on the battery alone, I drove straight to the nearest shop and had them put a new alternator in (I commuted 31 miles each way). That day when I returned from work the one I’d ordered was on my stoop. I could have returned it I suppose, but knowing I plan to keep the car forever I just put it in my inventory shelf in my garage.

Speaking of PITA customers reminds me of Tom and Ray’s story about the guy they called “Heavy Duty.” He always asked for “heavy duty” parts to be installed in his car. When it needed a new clutch he wanted a “heavy duty” one. So they gave him a heavy duty clutch. He came back in a few days complaining that his leg hurt because the clutch was so hard to operate.

LOL, good story. I call those things the “law of unintended consequences”.

I suppose I make life easier for them than the average Joe.

That, plus the fact you don’t come back 6 months later and say that, because they rebuilt your front end, that’s why the exhaust system is now falling off the car! :smiley:

Years ago, I worked with a man named Ed Allaire. He would do mechanical work for people with ten thumbs. But, when the work was done, he would recite the famous Ed Allaire guarantee: Should your car break into two pieces, I guarantee you can keep both pieces, at no additional charge.

True, TT.
Irlandes, I like your friend’s guarantee.
Back in the '70s, not too long after I got out of the Air Force, I rebuilt a coworker’s carburetor for him. No big deal, and the engine ran great after. But every time he developed a problem he blamed the carburetor rebuild. The problems were always totally unrelated to engine operation, but somehow he’d find a way to blame me. I decided then that I would never do free work for anyone. I’ll guide them, I’ll help them, I’ll explain things to them, but they need to do the wrenching themselves. Other than my mom, who’s passed on now, there has only been one exception to the rule, and she’s a very close, very long-time friend. I will always be happy to work on her cars.

Speaking of PITA customers . . .

When I was at the dealership, we were warned a few times by other dealers that a PITA customer may be headed our way, because he’d burned his bridges at other dealers already.

In most cases, the customers were in a bad financial situation, as they had leased or financed a car, which turned out to be too rich for their blood in the end. They were desperate to get it bought back, so they’d invent these phony complaints, in the hopes that a shop would throw parts at it. 3 strikes and you’re out. You know where this is headed, right?

There was one particular devious POS customer, who I clearly remember. I don’t apologize for using that acronym, because that’s exactly what he was.

He also had bitten off more than he could chew, and was desperate for a buyback. When the car showed up at the shop, it was in awful shape. Worn out brakes, tires, broken taillamp, dirty, just a few hundred miles from being out of warranty. However, if he somehow could get a buyback, the manufacturer would have paid him the NEW value of the car.

It came in with the cluster lit up like a christmas tree. Every conceivable warning light was on, the transmission was in limp home mode, and the car had about a million fault codes.

My very sharp shop foreman eventually discovered two CAN wires, which had been switched. We took pictures of the wires and showed it to him. We explained that this can’t have happened by accident, and somebody knowledgeable clearly had something to do with it. We told him, we’d unswitch the wires and clear his codes, as a courtesy, in spite of our better judgement. Then we essentially told him “GTFO & don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

By the way, when “repairing” the CAN wire situation, the warning lights immediately extinguished themselves, and all the fault codes were now stored, not current.

This POS customer was so stupid he didn’t know when he was licked. He hired some sleazeball lawyer to attempt a buyback. I was at the “hearing” and it was interesting. Not only was his lawyer a sleazeball, he was also incompetent. In the end the guy hearing the “case” threw it out.

The iATN forum gave me some great tips over the years. It was free in the beginning and required a great deal of effort to link up to their European server but worth the effort. I recall being required to jump through a few hoops and paying a membership fee in later years but it was worth it. It’s been years since I last visited there and without renewing the membership I doubt there is much open to see.