Yeah. It’s getting tougher!
I had a 2001 Infinity QX4 come in. And in order to diagnose a misfire condition one of the steps is to check the wiring beween the ECU and the coil on plug connectors. Well, in order to do this the battery has to be disconnected so no voltage spike occurs at the ECU when it’s unplugged. But if you do this without first taking a Nissan specific scanner and capture the Nissan Anti-Thieft System code so it can be entered back into the ECU when the battery is reconnected, the engine won’t start. I had to refer the person to the Nissan dealer.
You know, it’s really a shame that the law that provided for the OBD-II system has so many loopholes that the manufacturers are making cars in such a way as to work around them. I typically keep cars until the wheels fall off. I enjoy working on my own cars, and generally avoid the ‘stealer’-ships when the warranty runs out. A lot of my clients also keep cars longer simply because they cannot afford to replace every few years. And come to me because they cannot afford the dealership to work on a 10 yr old car. When the dealerships around here are charging $80-$120 just to read trouble codes?
But, I also have little faith in our politicians. A bill with 51 co-signers sits cooling it’s jets for 9 months?
I believe what this will cause is more people will run their vehicles with CEL or other indicator problem lights on without having it checked and repaired. Could cause serious troubles with vehicle, safety problems for the public, as will as cause more enviromental problems. They need to make it easier for mechanics to get this info instead of harder! Also it would help to make it more affordable.
we are more and more close to the perfect consumerist society, were there is not a developed transportation system, barely sub standard (but expensive) and the working population is dependent on automobiles that only lasts 5 years the most. This is a pot of gold. You will have to pay for a car for the rest of your life. And better get used to this idea. I can see the price on older cars picking up. I thought that by now we would be flying like the Jetsons, but we are getting more close to the Flintstones.
I have long maintained that they build cars to get them off of the showroom floor. They don’t build them to be worked on. A good example is the excessive time it takes to replace a heater core in a Taurusable. (See youtube for an easier way to remove one.) I think this is another nail in the coffin of the indy mechanic. Let’s hope this bill finally gets passed.
Do we need to start a grass roots letter writing campaign to send each or our congressmen (and women)?
Here is a link to the Senator’s addresses: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC
Here is a link to all the representatives: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
I guess I’m the only one who thinks that it’s easier these days. I’ve been doing my own maintenance and repairs for 45 years now and I’m driving more miles than ever with less and less time spent under the hood. I remember adjusting points and changing plugs all the time. Today’s computer controlled engines start and run better than any of my older cars did. I have yet to encounter a repair on my current vehicle, a '06 Corolla with 108,000 miles. I just changed the plugs and they really didn’t need it. I’ll change the coolant soon, but it looks brand new.
I can see how things could get complicated, especially for professional mechanics who encounter many more vehicles with advanced electronics. For me, OBDII has provided more help than hindrance. I can usually arrive at the correct diagnosis a little faster given a code versus no code. I always stick to simple technology when I can, though, and drive standard transmission cars exclusively. The more “toys” on the vehicle, the more pain and expense one will experience. For the most part, I have enjoyed the challenge of learning something new, and the internet, epecially the knowledgeable people on this board, makes it all much easier.
One problem that I see is that GM and Chrysler closed dealerships that weren’t performing up to expectations. Now when we limit the access that independents have to tools and repair manuals, it certainly makes it more expensive for the owner to have a car serviced or repaired.
I have colleagues that own Mercedes Benz and BMW automobiles. The closest dealer is 60 miles away. Many independent service people won’t touch problem areas on these cars. I drive a Chevrolet product. I have a good independent and a dealer within a mile of my house. I don’t want the inconvenience of a car with a lot of bells and whistles to go wrong.
I remember back in the early 1960’s that a four year old Cadillac and a four year old VW Beetle in equivalent condition sold for roughly the same price. When new, the Cadillac cost three to four times as much as the VW. The reason is simple–it cost a lot less to maintain a VW Beetle than a Cadillac. When the VW product lost its simplicity, its sales tumbled. In my community of 60,000, the VW agency went out of business. When VW was in its heyday, having a VW franchise was better than having a license to steal gold at Fort Knox.
IMHO, if auto manufacturers would design their products to be easily serviced, this would ultimately help sales. The resale value would be higher and this reputation would attact customers.
Interesting article. I think both sides overstated the facts some. I don’t think that cars are that much harder to troubleshoot, there are occasionally some very difficult codes to solve, but it seems that the dealers don’t have any particular advantage with them. When model specific issues arise, web sites like this one are good at spreading the word when a solution is found.
The dealers claim they need to protect intellectual property. I can see that, but then they can use this excuse to make a simple problem very complicated to troubleshoot with any other equipment except for that which they supply to the dealers. I’m not saying they do that, just that they could. The reason that they probably don’t is that the dealerships are not owned by them. Any specialized equipment that they may develop, they have to sell to the dealers who may not want to buy it.
Another think is “Consumers Reports”. Regardless of what you may think of them, they have a great influence over what sells and what doesn’t. when their members complain about having to take their vehicles to the dealer only, that gets out and that will certainly drive away a potential customer like myself.
I do like the law though, Too bad it is needed.
I wonder if the day will come when auto manufacturers have authorized service stations for their products. This is done for appliances as well as televisions and electronic goods. I don’t know why this couldn’t work for automobiles. An independent would then have access to the service manuals and tools courtesy of the auto manufacturer.
They already do. They’re called “dealerships”.
(posted with a smile).
I posted a link to this story about 3 days ago, recieved 3 responses. My post was titled “I tought it would be more” (in reference to the Dealer vrs Independent charges). You guys are a little asleep at the switch.
Perhaps a better thread title would have helped. I don’t read every thread. I look for the ones with titles that interest me.
About the article, I have been hearing mechanics and DIYers complain about this issue since about 1985. Are cars really that much more complicated than they were ten years ago, or do people just balk at the idea of continuing education?
Also, I don’t like the comparison between cars and human bodies. Although our bodies may not be changing from year to year, medical technology and new discoveries change year to year. Just look at how little we really understand the human brain. Look at how many medications are accidentally discovered because they were designed to tread one problem, but they end up being used to treat another (Viagra is a good example).
So Whitey “What do you think about this” worked for you?
Faux News just carried this story about 10 min. ago. The woman said “service is where the Dealership makes it money”, maybe right now but the Sales Department is the true bread winner for a Dealership.
I have proposed many times that the limiting factor to how high in technology cars will become will be decided by the fueling system (how you get the charge or the fuel) and the level of training required to fix them.
In reality if you are competent to repair all or most systems on todays cars you are more than competent to get a much better job, some do it because they love it.
In the “bad ole days” of OBD 1 you had to use a scan tool for each car make. Congress passed a law for standardizations. The result was OBD 2 which you could use one scan tool to diagnose the DTCs. Now, car makers are, again, designing systems which are diagnosable, only, with their particular scan tool and other test devises. This should anger the consumer as well as the independent mechanics/shops. Is Congress too busy to listen?
that 93234973457345634587634032476 page health care reform bill they get at 9pm tonight and have to read and decide on by 9:01pm can wait
I have purchased lawnmowers and rototillers where the authorized service center is an independent small engine repair shop that does not sell equipment. I thought that this might be a way for automobile manufacturers to take care of customers in an area where the dealer is more that 50 miles away.
Big box stores such as Lowe’s and H.H Gregg sell many different makes of home appliances and outsource repairs to independent shops. In large cities, there may be several dealerships selling different makes of automobiles owned by the same person and the dealerhips all have the same name. I wonder if the day is coming where quite a few makes are sold under the same roof and the repair work is farmed out to independent garages.
I think with the closing of tens of thousands of dealerships they may ultimately evolve to having authorized indeoendent repair shops. But I don’t think they’ll displace dealer shops. Dealer shops are generally a profit center.
I also suspect that the new Federal Reserve expanded oversight legislation, the giant new deficit, the $100B/yr that Hillery just promised for climate change efforts, the hundreds of billions promised to certain senators to buy their health care votes, and the added cost of anywhere from $800 to $1500 a month for those who will now need to buy health insurance, so much money is going to be sucked out of circulation that dealers may even become service centers with franchises to sell new cars. Like the whole thing began in the early 1900’s.
I am all for this bill, I can’t even bleed the brakes on my 2002 Town & Country because you need computer commands to keep the valves in the abs open. I would like to replace my master cylinder and I can’t do it because I can’t bleed the brakes and my favorite independent shop also declined the job. The dealer gets $200 just for the bleeding.
What is is slightly different than you present. Manufactures still must make certain information available with a generic tool (emissions data) but they are free to use a proprietary devive (in this case the “device” would be software) to access systems outside the mandated ones. There is no standard set by Congress for,lets say, a HVAC system or a traction control system, or self leveling system. Manufactures are free to go their own way with these systems.
Why should a manufacture like BMW be forced to either use a low level Kia system for HVAC or VANOS control or sell KIA the technology they developed? It’s called trade secrets.