About 80% of the vehicles on MINNEAPOLIS roads today are behind on their preventive maintenance schedules. That translates to about 160 million vehicles in the United States that aren't performing as well as they could be - thousands right here in MN. Some of the maintenance issues are minor. Others represent serious safety concerns.
There are a number of reasons MINNEAPOLIS drivers neglect their routine car care. Some of the more common ones are complacency, lack of confidence, lack of trust, and budget issues.
Modern vehicles are amazingly reliable compared to their older counterparts. They can run for years without any repairs, and we sometimes translate that to mean they don't need any maintenance. The trouble is that without maintenance, parts in the vehicle are gradually wearing out, fluids are getting dirty, oil is developing sludge — a lot of stuff is happening that we can't see, and it is destroying the vehicle. The first time we learn there is a problem, we have a major repair bill on our hands.
Older vehicles just couldn't keep going without frequent maintenance; they broke down without timely car care. Modern vehicles are designed to keep running even when they're not fully healthy. Unfortunately, that convenience has led some of us to become complacent and ignore car care — until we have to fix something. And fixing something today takes a whole lot more than it used to.
Some people in MINNEAPOLIS just don't feel comfortable taking their vehicles to their local MINNEAPOLIS service center. They don't know much about engines or auto mechanics, so they don't know what questions to ask. They don't want to appear foolish or ignorant.
Your physician doesn't expect you to understand what a ligament is or how it works. But if you have a problem with one, she's going to explain to you what it is, what's wrong with it and how it can be fixed. It's in her best interest as well as yours to do so. You'll both feel more comfortable with the treatment.
That's what you can expect from the pros at Affordable Transmissions. They have to be highly trained and work with a lot of complex, high-tech systems. They don't expect their MINNEAPOLIS customers to understand car care. So ask questions. You need auto advice from a service specialist, just as you need medical advice from a doctor and financial advice from a financial advisor.
Which brings us to the next concern: trust. A lot of rumors fly around MINNEAPOLIS about auto repair scams. You may have heard about some local auto shops taking advantage of customers and replacing parts that weren't broken. Frankly, this is just bad business practice. MINNEAPOLIS auto service centers won't stay in business long if they're engaged in this type of activity.
It's in the best interest of MINNEAPOLIS service centers to diagnose a problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That's how they keep their businesses open.
Trust must be earned. But just as it took time for you to establish a relationship and rapport with your doctor, it will take time to build a relationship with your service center.
Also, realize that when your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Affordable Transmissions recommends routine maintenance, he is generally relying on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. In other words, your trust lies both with your service advisor and your vehicle manufacturer. You'll find that most of the service recommendations from Affordable Transmissions you receive coincide with what's in your manual.
Those recommendations were set up by the engineers who designed your vehicle, not Affordable Transmissions. The team at Affordable Transmissions is just offering you a friendly reminder — a helpful reminder really, since most of us don't post our owner's manuals to our calendars.
Money is behind most neglect of vehicle maintenance. First, they worry that they can't afford it. Second, they worry that they're being overcharged.
The simple truth is, car care is like health care. We can't afford not to have it. Preventive maintenance is cheap compared to repair work. It extends the lives of our vehicles and saves us on fuel. It also makes our vehicles safer to drive, which can prevent accidents. Putting off preventive maintenance can be very expensive.
MINNEAPOLIS area service centers have to be competitive. Like any business, they can't afford to overcharge customers or they go out of business. But car care today does cost more in MN than it used to. Vehicles are more sophisticated, complex and high-tech. That means technicians have to be better trained. They have to purchase high-tech diagnostic equipment and tools. They have to keep up with the latest advances in vehicle engineering and subscribe to computer databases. Like any business, they also have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, taxes, office supplies, etc.
If you are strapped for cash, Affordable Transmissions can offer auto advice to help you keep your car running safely and manage your budget. For example, let's say you need new brake pads, transmission service and a new cabin air filter. A technician can't ethically recommend you delay brake service: that creates a safety hazard for you and other MINNEAPOLIS drivers. You need to get that done now. But they can let you know if the transmission service can wait a month and how long you can put off changing the cabin air filter. They can also estimate what these services will cost. That gives you the time and information you need to save up for the other services.
The key to modern car care is preventive maintenance. Our modern vehicles are safer, more fuel efficient and more reliable than ever before. But to keep them that way MINNEAPOLIS drivers have to be more proactive about caring for them. It's good to know there are knowledgeable professionals at Affordable Transmissions who can help us do just that.
There are some things drivers should know about MINNEAPOLIS car service and repair. First and foremost, Affordable Transmissions cares about you and your family's safety. And we really appreciate your business. Affordable Transmissions in MINNEAPOLIS 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 pros that work for Affordable Transmissions 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 in MN and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. Average consumers in MINNEAPOLIS may not realize the business and environmental regulations Affordable Transmissions must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any MN business, overhead is a big factor.
When you go into your favorite MINNEAPOLIS area 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 Affordable Transmissions. 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, customers are happy to see them succeed as a MN automotive business.
Contact Affordable Transmissions to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
At Affordable Transmissions, we love to see our MINNEAPOLIS customers whenever they come in, but we would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. We want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your friends and family to come in for their scheduled maintenance too. That lowers our marketing costs and helps keep labor rates down. That's good for everyone in MINNEAPOLIS.
One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Affordable Transmissions in MINNEAPOLIS is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.
Cars in MN are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So, it's challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it's not something obvious, it's easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.
Let us at Affordable Transmissions introduce you to something we'll call 'Customer Detective Work' – that is helping your technician find clues to what's wrong.
We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me; You come in to Affordable Transmissions and your car is making a funny sound...
Do you see where we're going? You're gathering additional information to help your technician at Affordable Transmissions know where to start. Based on your car and the tech's experience, he'll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.
You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says "making a funny noise".
If the tech can experience the problem personally, he's better able to make a diagnosis and repair, and then test to see if the repair solved the problem.
Ask us for details.
All MN 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 steps. It is also how they can assure a predictable outcome.
That is why MINNEAPOLIS automotive service centers including Affordable Transmissions have procedural standards for each service they perform. Affordable Transmissions technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, MN service centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and MINNEAPOLIS customers leave happy with how their vehicle performs.
Each company trains its technicians to standards. The MN automotive industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual MN service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they service.
An example is how Affordable Transmissions grades problems and communicates their recommendations. If your service advisor 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
They 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 manufacturer
Based on the technician's informed experience
Here are some examples:
An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak, but not leaking, the 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 may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer's wishes.
Under these guidelines the MINNEAPOLIS car repair shop 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 MINNEAPOLIS 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 MN automotive service industry and Affordable Transmissions want the best for you and for you to keep coming back.