When a problem in a car occurs, sometimes mechanics can easily find it (pray for those types of troubles!), But sometimes the problem is hard to find. Cars are INSANELY complex now and getting worse. When my father did his apprenticeship in the 60’s they estimated that he would have had to memorise 6000 pages of material to know all about cars. When I did it in the 80’s it was closer to 600,000 pages! I can’t imagine what the figure would be now!
To help mechanics, we have access to ‘common problems’ for your make and model (the less cars there are in Australia of your make and model, the less information we will have). I have to pay for this information. Many mechanics charge a ‘Data Fee’ for each job that comes into the workshop to cover this. I don’t do this, at this stage I only charge if I access this data for your car.
Cars are now so complex, that you have to see mechanics as Doctor’s (See middle Photo). There are GP’s and specialists. Specialists are expensive, and GP’s are your first port of call. GP’s don’t know everything, but they know where to look.
Doctors, using the best of their training and experience will say, “We will get this test done” ($600), and if we don’t find anything, we will do this ($1800). And if they still can’t find the problem, they will send you to a specialist.
Mechanics are now similar (well without the huge bills!) We will say, “Let’s scan the computer ($70 – is that ok?), “Let’s do a Compression Test” ($100 – is that ok?). The days are gone where we can diagnose a tricky problem for free. This is an industry wide fact now.
And to finish with an old mechanic / Dad joke. A doctor and mechanic were having a beer together. The Doctor was down because he lost a patient that day. The mechanic said, “Yeah I know how you feel – except we have to live with our mistakes!”