Additional checks costly for independents

The rising cost of replacement parts in modern vehicle systems is requiring independent garages to undertake additional diagnostic checks before placing orders, according to Autodata.

One of the leading suppliers of technical information to UK workshops, has highlighted a number of examples where independent garages could lose hundreds of pounds or inflict significant reputational damage through failure to fully investigate an issue. This could often be avoided by carrying out a series of simple checks using accurate and reliable technical information.

Autodata explained, ‘A typical problem could be that a diesel powered vehicle is presented with a starting problem. Following an initial assessment of the diagnostic trouble codes a P1168 might be returned, showing the most probable causes as wiring or the FRP sensor.

‘The mechanic may replace the FRP sensor without carrying out any further checks. In some cases this will prove the correct decision, however by rolling the dice they are risking a potentially costly mistake for either the garage or customer.

‘A simple check of the component and wiring, along with verifying that the component signals are correct, would confirm the diagnosis. In this example, it is also possible that the fault could be identified as the result of low fuel pressure.’

Independent garages without access to comprehensive component data, wiring diagrams and engine control module pin data across a wide range of vehicles will be unable to carry out these additional checks and risk undertaking unnecessary repairs with non-refundable electrical components.

Autodata added, ‘In many cases this cost will be passed on to the customer, which can cause dissatisfaction and considerably damage a garage’s image and repeat business. This is often despite the mechanic carrying out what they believed to be a genuine repair that needed undertaking.’

In the example provided above a mistake could cost over £230 on some modern vehicles, as the price of replacement parts continues to increase due to the complexity of emerging systems.

Autodata concluded, ‘Over the course of a year making these kind of assumptions on a regular basis will undoubtedly result in a number of errors that could be easily avoided. With the correct systems in place these checks are often easy to carry out and in today’s market can have a real impact on the success of an independent workshop.’