Bob’s your uncle – unfortunately

Process is key to performing a successful service. To do it right, don’t do it like Bob does

Published:  19 November, 2019

By Gareth Banks CAE AMIMI

I like to think I have some good experience under my belt in various aspects of the industry, from working as an apprentice in 2002 in a little backstreet garage to working in a bodyshop to being a breakdown mechanic to where I am now.
I have probably learned more in my last three or four years than at any point in my career, especially when I get to work with (i.e. pester) Martyn, our mobile master technician. One of the things I’ve learned from Martyn is the importance of doing things correctly and also the importance of servicing correctly. I’ve found to be a good mechanic you almost certainly need to be a perfectionist, or at least vaguely resemble one. This doesn’t mean working superficially for hours on one small job though, checking the tightness of one nut constantly. No, it simply means doing things the right way, putting a smear of grease on a fuel filter seal. It means not just replacing a clutch when there is also a DMF hiding in there too.
I still service cars even though my main job title is MOT Tester. I did like my previous job as service technician, but that being said it is one if the dirtiest jobs in a garage. You can be as careful as can be, yet still go home stinking of Shell’s finest.
Anyway, coming back to the point – servicing. We are back with our friends at Bob’s Autos to look at the importance of servicing and the implications of not doing a job right.

One lady owner
One day at that garage, in a place you’ve never heard of, a car comes in for a full service. There is also a warning lamp on the dash. The customer (a lovely old lady) explains that it’s only been 3,000 miles since last service. Before he starts, Fred – Bob’s main man, plugs his scanner into the car in the hope that the car will magically tell him what’s wrong. Sure enough a p0522 fault code is present; ‘low oil pressure’. Both Fred and Bob are scratching their heads.
“Delete the fault code and carry on with the service” says Bob.  Reluctantly, Fred continues after hearing his boss’ forceful advice. With the lights check complete, a battery check, coolant check and his brake fluid check done, he raises the car up, drops the engine oil and moves to the oil filter itself (paper element type). The cap is a little tight coming off (one of those you think may have broken when it cracks loose), half the filter comes out, with the other half still stuck at the bottom of the housing, all sodden and saturated, broken into pieces in its own dirty oil.  With a few swear words uttered under his breath Fred turns to his boss and simply says “well this hasn’t been changed in a month of Sundays has it?”
But like the customer said when she brought the car in, it was only done a few thousand miles ago, supposedly. Fred doesn’t actually remember the car. He was away with the family when it was done. This only leaves one man – the culprit. Bob knows he didn’t replace one of the most vital parts during the service, but he won’t ever say anything. He knows he caused all this trouble, starving that poor little engine of its oil. You wouldn’t starve a human of water would you? Well, Bob might, if the water cost a few quid.
It’s a real shame that people like Bob exist. I’ve seen many cars in my 17 years of working in this industry come to me with similar issues, and you can just tell that some talentless, cheap cretin like Bob had their hands on the car you’re working on. All we can do is rectify their cock-ups and hope that the customer has more trust and faith in you than the last place they went, thus keeping your client base up, keeping people talking about how much they trust you as people. As a garage, do not be a Bob. Bob sucks!

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