Many years ago, the engine of a large ship shut down. The Captain of the ship invited one ship engineer after the other, but none of them could fix the engine. Then someone recommended an old man who had been fixing ships for a long time. He came in with his bag of tools and inspected the engine thoroughly. The owners of the ship were watching him. The old man opened his bag and brought out a small hammer. He gently tapped something and the engine revved back to life. He replaced his hammer and walked away with the ship owners watching with gratitude.
A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for $10,000.
“This is a rip off.” the owners exclaimed. “What did he do that should cost so much?” They immediately ask the old man for a breakdown of the his bill.
Here’s what he wrote:
Tapping with a hammer……………………………..$2
Knowing where to tap…………………………..$9998
Although this story is meant to be humorous, it does demonstrate the importance of experience. Especially in the modern automotive world where today’s vehicles are extremely complicated, experience and resources are paramount to completing a job correctly. As enthusiasts, we understand wanting to work on your vehicle and the feeling of accomplishing an upgrade or repair yourself. But we must provide a word of caution on this. Even though one can usually find a YouTube video or instructions from a forum, that doesn’t always mean you are doing yourself justice by doing it yourself. Experience comes into play when during a job you are aware enough to look for unusual causes for the problem, or seeing other needed items while performing the work. Experience helps knowing when you need that “special factory tool” or when it isn’t necessary. Experience is knowing when the factory directions are inaccurate and also knowing when cutting corners will cause further problems down the line.
We get asked many times a day “Do you think I could do it myself?” That is a really loaded question that we couldn’t possible answer honestly because we typically don’t know what you skill level you have or what type of resources are at your disposal. “Is it that hard to do?” is another common question that is almost impossible to answer. Why is that? Because our staff of 11 have a combined automotive experience of over 164 years. That time has given us the opportunity to know more than just how to replace parts but also gain the knowledge behind how they work, why they work and when they should be replaced. Our staff rebuilds engines weekly, diagnoses complicated electrical systems daily, gets updated training on all modern platforms and has the tools and equipment to do virtually any job in this industry. So to us, it might not be hard. That is not to say that it doesn’t take time, but we might not consider it hard to do. But to an average person, it might seem nearly impossible. But again, we just don’t know what your capabilities are.
We also get asked often why we charge for diagnostics. “Don’t you just check codes?” is a common refrain when presented with an estimate. Many times the first thing we do is to check codes, and honestly some problems can be found by simply doing that. But most of the time, after checking codes, actually diagnosing the problem in necessary. For example, if the computer is showing a fault for a specific sensor, many times the answer on a forum is to replace the sensor, however how do you know if the wiring to the sensor hasn’t corroded to gotten damaged and that is why there is no signal? Or maybe there is a signal but it is so far out of range that the computer doesn’t recognize it, is that a sensor problem or is that an actual mechanical failure and the sensor is indeed reading properly? Could it be a communication problem from the computer? Could it be a bad connector? Is signal and ground routed properly to the sensor? Could something else in the car be causing interference? and most importantly, do you know how to check for these things or do you even know that you should? These are just some of the questions answered during diagnostics. This allows us to be able to provide you with the most honest and most accurate assessment of your vehicle as possible.
There are many jobs that an average person can complete on there own, and we do encourage people to learn about their cars and learn how to do some of this work themselves. But there are jobs that should be left to an expert. When you are paying an experienced shop to work on your vehicle, yes, you are indeed paying for the parts and labor to complete a specific job which would cost less if you bought the parts online and did it in your driveway. But you are also paying for the years of experience that the staff has accrued to do the job properly. You are paying for the overhead of the equipment, training, tooling, resources and warranty that back up that staff and of course the physical building and overhead of running a business. In return, we will provide you with the best possible service, parts, and experience. We will always backup our work and we promise to always try to provide the best overall picture of your car to you so that you can make the wisest financial decision possible. We do not claim to be perfect, but we do claim to always strive to be the best and we hope to reflect that goal in all that we do and all that you see.
RRT is the leading BMW, Mercedes, Audi & Porsche performance, service and racing center in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Founded in 2002, RRT offers a full-range of repairs, maintenance, and performance services completed by highly experienced technicians at reasonable prices. RRT also offers state-of-the-art suspension services and development. RRT is proud to be a authorized Dinan dealer and direct with the premier manufacturers around the world.
Shop online anywhere at rrtracing.com