Archive for the ‘Service Standards’ Category
We’ve all seen people do crazy things while driving to or from Grand Rapids. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. All of these are an accident waiting to happen.
The truth is everyone in Grand Rapids Michigan is distracted when we drive. Traffic, road construction and other things outside the car are beyond our control. But the distractions inside our car are things we can often control.
Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Grand Rapids Michigan.
- Drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
- Drivers who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
- And those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.
Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. People are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can we do to manage these distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.
When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.
Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.
If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Pets should also be contained.
If you’re riding with kids, make sure they’re wearing seat belts or secured in safety seats. You may want to give em some distractions to keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.
If you eat while driving, keep it to simple finger foods that aren’t messy.
Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another way to improve your safety. Know how to work the radio by touch. The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.
If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone or text in the Grand Rapids Michigan area.
And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive into Grand Rapids Michigan.
Ervine’s Auto Repair
4311 Stafford SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49548
Remember, driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel.
Make an appointment with Ervine’s Auto Repair to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
4311 Stafford SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49548
Today we’re going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Grand Rapids Michigan who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what’s involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Grand Rapids Michigan.
These are valid concerns. If you don’t understand something it’s really hard to know its value. Let’s start with some history.
Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Grand Rapids Michigan have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle’s Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.
The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can’t adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.
It is also called the ‘service engine soon’ light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your Grand Rapids Michigan service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.
If you’ve searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what’s wrong.
That’s a common myth. The code itself doesn’t tell you what’s broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won’t tell you what’s wrong or how to fix it.
Let’s say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You’ve confirmed a fever, but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician’s examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.
An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads ‘Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response’. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that’s all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.
You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that’s stored in the engine control computer. That history’s very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Ervine’s Auto Repair invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don’t need replacing.
So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Ervine’s Auto Repair. If the light burns steady – don’t panic. Get in to Ervine’s Auto Repair soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.
And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.
All pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget important steps. It is also how you can assure a predictable outcome.
That is why Wyoming and Kentwood automotive service centers have procedural standards for each service they perform. Technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and you are happy with how your car performs.
Each company trains its technicians to standards. The industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they service.
An example is how service technicians grade problems and communicate their recommendations. If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:
- The part no longer performs its intended purpose
- The part does not meet a design specification
- The part is missing
The technician may suggest repair or replacement if:
- The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
- To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
- To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer
- Based on the technician’s informed experience
Here are some examples:
An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is required because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak, but not leaking, the technician may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the customer.
Suppose a customer wants to improve his car’s handling, but his shocks haven’t failed. The technician may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer’s wishes.
Under these guidelines the service center must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition. Let’s say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor, but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician’s recommendations.
The automotive service industry and Ervine’s Auto Repair want the best for you and for you to keep coming back. AutoNetTV is committed to providing automotive maintenance information to help you be confident in your service decisions.
There are some things Grand Rapids consumers should know about Grand Rapids automotive service and repair. First and foremost, Ervine’s Auto Repair cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. Ervine’s Auto Repair in Grand Rapids wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come.
Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The technicians that work for Ervine’s Auto Repair need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other technicians to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed.
The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. The average Wyoming or Kentwood driver may not realize the business and environmental regulations Ervine’s Auto Repair must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any business, overhead is a big factor.
When you go into a Grand Rapids restaurant you don’t value the meal by what the food would cost at the grocery store. The restaurant has rent, wages, insurance, taxes, utilities, professional fees, equipment, supplies – you get the picture. The restaurant has to charge enough to not only pay for the ingredients, but for all these other things as well while making enough profit to remain in business. If you value the meal and are satisfied with your dining experience, you’ll come back and tell your friends.
It’s the same for Ervine’s Auto Repair. The value of its service is not the cost of the parts they replace, but in your satisfaction with the results. If they deliver a good product at a fair price, Grand Rapids customers are happy to see them succeed as a Michigan automotive business.
Contact Ervine’s Auto Repair to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
4311 Stafford SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49548
Or call us at (616) 532-6600
Your Grand Rapids service center loves to see its customers whenever they come in, but they would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. They want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your Grand Rapids area friends and family to go in for their scheduled maintenance too. That lowers the service center’s marketing costs and helps keep its labor rates down. That’s good for everyone.
Ervine’s Auto Repair appreciates this great review of automotive service from AutoNetTV.
Chelsea Vives: Awesome service!! They were extremely helpful and friendly! I loved how they were accommodating to the customers and being very organized with after hours drop-offs and pick-ups. They were also very quick with fixing my car which was great.
Andy Krafft: Ervine's has provided great service for me throughout my college years! They do their best to make time for customers and understand the importance and value in quality service. Would definitely recommend!
Erin O'Brien-Jenison: The staff is very friendly. The technicians take the time to explain repairs in detail. The loaner car service is very convenient for my family. Each of my experiences with Ervine's has been very positive.
Jamie Riehle: My car needed a lot of work and being relatively new to the area, I had to rely on online reviews. Ervine's got great feedback, so I made an appointment through their website. I was contacted almost immediately and scheduled very quickly. The repairs took a few days, but with the free loaner it was no big deal. They explained everything to me, helped me prioritize which repairs to do first, and Jamie even entertained my 5-year-old while I spent 10 minutes on the phone with my bank to get my payment to go through. I may have been able to find someplace a little cheaper, but you can't pay for the excellent customer service at Ervine's. The lobby is clean, has fresh coffee, and is very professional. As a woman I've been intimidated going into car shops but I never felt that way at Ervine's. I'll definitely be returning.
Kaitlin McDowell: I had a great experience at Ervine's. I know very little about my car beyond turning it on, so I was relieved when the staff were willing to spend extra time explaining to me exactly what is going on and helping me to be an informed consumer. I also appreciated that they are not trying to sell something-- I did not actually need the repair that the dealership had told me to IMMEDIATELY deal with, and the folks at Ervine's were willing to tell me that when they could have made a buck doing the repair. The visit was so painless I even got to run errands while I was waiting using one of their fabulous loaner cars. Thank you so much!