Call it a rant if you want, but this is what I have witnessed over the last 10 years or so…
Just read an article where a guy says he hit a curb real hard, and the diagnostic computer at the dealer says he needs a new engine and tranny for $22k. Sounds like the stealership needs a new diagnostic computer! That’s the prob with “mechanics” today. They can’t diagnose, they just do what the computer says to do.
I bought a 2012 F150 4x4 platinum Ecoboost with 100k miles in 2018. Usual issues with water in the intercooler, solved by drilling a tiny hole in it (exact size and location is easily found on YouTube). Then the issue with the 10¢ each coil boots to cure misfires.
One day I’m driving to Chicago from Indy after having the truck about a month, and it lost all power and died. Every single warning light came on, along with the “advance Trac” and every readout warning. Got out, looked under hood, found nothing odd. Slammed the hood shut and it started right up. No issues for 2 months.
Same thing began to happen more and more often, and each time had it towed to to one of 3 Ford dealers in Indy. That truck was in the shop at one dealer or another NINE TIMES in 6 months. Sometimes they’d call and say “we got in and it started up, tested it over several days so you’re good to go.” Only to come get it and it wouldn’t start. Each time they said “our diagnostic computers won’t communicate with it”. So they replaced the BCM. Then the ECM. Then replaced a few grounds. None of this was covered under my 4 year/50,000 aftermarket warranty that covers nothing “or wiring related”.
The final verdict? “Sir, there’s something seriously wrong electronically and we don’t have the ability to figure it out. Sorry, but you need a need a new truck. We’ll give you a deal since you just bought this one.”
There was a little shop near my house that had “automotive electrical specialists” painted on the window, let’s try it.
Two days later the guy calls and says he was talking to a windshield repair guy that had heard of these occasionally having issues with the under hood fuse box. So he slaps the box and it starts. I drive it around for a few days, doing the same “slap the fuse box” technique every time it died. Eventually that wouldn’t work anymore, so I bring it back to that little auto electrical shop. He finds a fuse box at an online junk yard, $60. $400 in labor to splice and solder every wire. BOOM truck is fixed and still is.
I spent over $8k between rental trucks and attempted repairs that my warranty wouldn’t cover at dealerships. $460 (which was a steal; there’s about 70 wires to splice) and a little investigative diagnostics without a computer and I’m 100% good.
The bottom line is not only are dealer techs unskilled for the most part (probably 80% or more), but shop management is
more concerned with $ than customer satisfaction. If it’s going to take 4 hours of chasing wires, they’d rather tell you it can’t be fixed, would be too expensive to do so, and you just need a new vehicle.
I’m a professional mechanic myself, and I work in a little 5 bay shop. We get “dealer referrals” at least weekly. It’s become backwards from what it used to be; if the local small shop couldn’t do it, you took it to the Repair Gods at a dealership. Not anymore.
If my Snap-On Apollo (way too expensive btw) or Autel can’t communicate, I get out the probe and start searching. But first, I take a good long look at the electrical schematics, and so this crazy old thing called “troubleshooting” 😂.
I know there’s plenty of you here that work at a dealer, and are highly skilled. I would bet many of you are in your 50’s though. We seriously need more new blood or we’re gonna be driving disposable cars in the future.