Educating Fellow Members On What Things Are Like From A Tech's Perspective
Let me first start off by requesting the moderator to move this post to the appropriate forum if needed. I am posting here because it is the forum I frequent the most. I would also like to begin by letting all fellow members understand the purpose of this post. Hopefully, after reading this, MOST of you will get a better understanding of what it's like being a tech, wrenching on these animals.
From the time that I have joined this forum, as well as many other forums, I have tried to help as many fellow members as possible, regarding questions about their truck, be it technical or otherwise. I get a personal satisfaction out of being able to help anyone save TIME and MONEY because I work on these things myself, and can very clearly understand how easily anyone can end up "over-repairing" something when they are not in the know. That being said, all I ask for, is for all of you "out there" to understand that most of us working on these vehicles, really don't make a lot of money when the work being carried out is a warranty repair. As most of you are probably already aware, these engines (the 6.0L) have been pretty troublesome on A LOT of fronts since it's introduction in 2003. The high cost of the warranty claims to Ford Motor Company these engines have caused, is probably no secret to most of you by now, that it has caused the demise of the "relationship" between Ford and Navistar (the manufacturer/supplier of the 6.0L/VT365), effective December 31st/2009.
Those of you who visit this forum asking questions for diagnostic assistance on any particular subject matter, please keep a few things in mind before using the name "stealership" in your posts. Most of the techs on these forums work for "stealerships". That's where they get their information from, to share with YOU. While I will be the first person to agree that getting your ride repaired at the dealer vs. an independent garage can be quite pricey, there are many things you need to consider. #1 is that overhead operating costs are VERY high compared to independent garages. There are manufacturer specific diagnostic tools that can/will access information that more generic scan tools won't, which adds more time to the diagnostic process (and higher LABOUR HOURS CHARGED) by the independent. That being said, a good example of this being illustrated is one case I had, where an independent garage replaced ALL EIGHT injectors (at the customer's expense) only to have the problem NOT FIXED. The vehicle was brought to me afterwards, when I quickly determined it only needed a FICM. The "garage" paid the bill for the diag and replace, only to jack up the bill another 15% to the customer!!!
So, to clarify what is considered a "money maker" type job to a mechanic, let us understand how a mechanic is paid. I am sure most of you are aware that we are paid what is called "flat rate". This means we are paid by the job, NOT BY THE HOUR. So if a particular job is set to pay 2 hours, it pays 2 hours regardless of whether it takes 10 minutes to carry out, or FOUR hours to carry out. Retail brake jobs, maintenances, flushes (be it coolant transmisson, or power steering or brake fluids) are the types of jobs that are profitable for the servicing tech. These are typically considered "low skill" type jobs. Engine work, diagnostic type work (be that "Check Engine", ABS, flashing indicators, etc.), transmission repairs are typically not too profitable to the servicing tech, let alone 6.0L/6.4L diesel diagnostic. For this reason, there are very few who "specialize", and hence the shortage. In MOST cases, warranty repairs are jobs that result in a LOSS to the servicing tech, depending on how efficient/inefficient he is. This situation is not limited to FoMoCo techs either. Unfortunately, this type of pay system rewards those who "repair" vehicles the QUICKEST, as opposed to taking the proper amount of time needed to ensure a quality repair. Sad but true, and for this reason there are a lot of what we call "hacks" out there. Lastly, understand that for every $100 you pay to the dealer, the servicing tech gets only $25 of that.
One final note to those of you who bring their vehicle to the dealer "only for warranty repairs", keep one thing in mind. If a major component (engine/transmission) fails on you, and you are a "regular" paying customer that has had all your maintenance kept up to date at recommended mileages, YOU will be the ones looked after, if/when the warranty expires. This means if you are beyond your 3/36 and your engine or transmission is toasted, you will be the ones that are offered what is called a "goodwill" type repair which means the cost of the repair will be split 3 ways: the manufacturer, the dealer and you. If however, you fall under the category that warranty repairs are the only occasions for your visits, you will be the ones "pushed to the back of the bus" so to speak. This means if your vehicle sustains a major component failure after your warranty expired like the situation mentioned above, you will be on your own for the repair.
I now end this post with a few questions. Why is it that we don't question being charged $200 for having someone install our toilet, but when quoted $100 to diagnose a complex driveability problem with our vehicles, we scream "bloody murder"?