When you face a difficult problem in the service bay, take advantage of the support that’s available.
For service providers and particularly the technicians working the service bays, sooner or later there will be a situation where you run into roadblocks. A car won’t start, the transmission won’t shift and no matter what you seem to do, the problem persists.
When that happens, there are a number of avenues you can take to try and solve the problem. These include fellow technicians, technical service bulletins, online boards or vendor partners that provide diagnostic solutions for the shop.
For technicians, whose job it is to problem solve and fix vehicles, often the hardest part of running into a roadblock, is having to swallow your pride as a result of a misdiagnosis. And if you follow the misdiagnosis path and start replacing (expensive) parts without solving the problem, the outcome can reflect badly on you as the tech and also the shop.
When it comes to performing complex repairs, even though there are often pressures to get the repair order complete, you need to take time. With a complex problem, it can often take a day or more to accurately diagnose and solve the issue.
It’s also important to remember that most of the vehicles we work on were designed to operate in a wide variety of different climates, from cold, arctic-like conditions, to dry, hot deserts and sometimes a particular issue can be a result of regional climatic conditions and moisture levels, so not every technician will be familiar with the problem.
And when you factor in the number of vehicles on our roads, the growing complexity of them and the increasing age of the overall vehicle fleet, the chances of coming up against a difficult problem in the service bay increase significantly.
The importance of support
It’s against this backdrop that we begin to realize the importance of online technical support and TSBs. Today, with a click of a button, or a keyword search, the technician can often quickly get to the source of the problem. Yet this also presents a double edge sword, as typing in the vehicle’s supposed “problem” can also lead you in the wrong direction, particularly with Internet searches, which is why it’s so important to work with professional shop management and diagnostic solutions providers, industry associations and technical groups, as well as utilizing data analyzing systems that provide real advice from real technicians, working on real vehicles.
It’s important to remember that because we all rely on mass-produced vehicles for our mode of transportation, it is also likely, that somebody, somewhere has already encountered the same difficult problem that you’re facing. Therefore, as technicians, we should always be willing to look for and ask for help. We all become better at what we do by advancing our learning and today, we have the added benefit of having access to more avenues for help and assistance than we ever did in the past. So next time, you’re dealing with something like a complex drivability or no start condition, reach out to your peers and support systems for help. You’ll be thankful you did.