Repairing cars in this recession. - gordonbennet
I've started this as i took another thread slightly off topic, i know thats unusual here..;)

Ifithelps and i had started a little discussion on the possibility of old fashioned repair not replace methods coming back very soon as this recession worsens.

[[ But all we hear at the moment is "it's ten years old and not worth spending 50p on". ]]

I wonder if we might be glad to buy that 15 year old carina soon, older fashioned but basically sound design.

[[ Part of the reason is I'm sure parts are now much more expensive in relation to cars. ]]

But are parts really more expensive now, or have we got lazy or is that so many parts are no longer 'user serviceable' like washing machines, can we even obtain those parts now?

Over the years i've done loads of cheap fixes, re rubber complete braking systems instead of replacing master cyls and calipers, having clutch plates relined instead of a complete clutch assembly, slipping new bushes/brush packs into alternators and starters. All of these fixes reducing £100 to £500 bills to £10 to £50 bills.
Engine starts smoking/knocking? Quick strip down, decoke, regrind valves and new valve stem seals, possibly re-ring and shell if needed, £thousands reduced to £hundreds.
Last set of diesel injectors i had overhauled for £40 the lot (Renault 21), seems almost a lifetime now, and the costs i hear of similar work runs to ridiculous figures.

Obviously the newer computerised everything cars will be almost impossible to fix without the use and knowledge of very complex equipment, will we see a renewed demand for those superb easy to work on a well designed cars of 80's/90's, carina/corolla/primera/cavalier/405/loads more contenders.

Are all those parts available any more, like most here i've been enjoying the more favourable economy and have run the types of vehicles i only dreamed of 25 years ago, so i'm out of touch, but i wonder if we might be going to find out soon.

{Putting words inside the symbols "<>" makes them invisible. Post amended using [[ ]] instead}

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 04/10/2008 at 13:13

Repairing cars in this recession. - gordonbennet
Thanks for sorting out my mess up there DD..;)
Repairing cars in this recession. - injection doc
carrying out proper repairs instead of replacement is very satisfying for the tech as well as the customers pocket but it can come at a price!
For example, replace voltage control unit in an alternator, fine, customer goes stright off on holiday & alterntor fails! customer wants loads of dosh in compensation because we were the last bad boy to touch it.
Now if you fit a new unit & the same thing happens you claim off the supplier! " not easy but does happen"
I fitted a genuine gearbox to a Shogun & the owner went straight to spain where the box promtly failed! customer lost week of holiday & was phoning up with loads of abuse. After numerous calls to Mitzi they took the whole lot over & repaired it FOC in Spain & supplied a spare car too cutomer.
If I had repaired the box myself & made couple hundred quid I would of incurred 2.5k repatriation charges to the UK & a very disgruntled customer. The AA advised me that because the box had been replaced imidiatley before it went to Spain I would have to pick up the re-patriation charge so I was very grateful for fitting a complete & genuine gearbox! hence it wouldn't of been cheaper for me as the repairer to repair.
In this era of compensation culture you have to cover your back so hence the cost of repairs! & getting a customer to sign a disclaimer accepting a part repair may not stand up in court as advised some years ago by the RMIF.
Repairing cars in this recession. - jase1
I'd be too scared to take on big jobs -- get it wrong and you'll end up spending even more getting someone who knows what he is doing to do the job properly.

It's like the thread advising me to fit a new cambelt to the Daewoo myself. I am not a mechanic -- if I get it wrong (as often happens the first time you attempt something) I may end up trashing the engine -- precisely the outcome I'm seeking to avoid by doing the job in the first instance.

I've replaced alternators, various electrical widgets, struts, doors, distributor caps etc before, but these are all minor tasks, and don't destroy the car if ill-fitted.

My approach to these things is thus -- if it looks hard, and the consequences of failure are high, get someone who knows what he is doing to fix it.

Even some smaller jobs I've delegated -- door latches for instance that had 300 different cables leading off them. £20 to local garage seems like money well spent to me -- I'll source the part in the first instance.
Repairing cars in this recession. - George Porge
Jase1, if you never have a go you'll never know what your capabilities are, there's plenty of help here and elsewhere if you get stuck. I find it very rewarding spannering my own cars.

I've recently bought a Golf V5 estate, V plate 130K miles with near mint bodywork and full VW history, the car could easilly last me 5 years as the previous MK3 estate has.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Number_Cruncher
I agree with injection doc's view here. It would be madness for a garage to begin to repair units. As well as the liability issue which injection doc described, there's also the case that the cost of the labour by far outstrips the cost of the parts - in most cases, its either marginal, or simply not worth it. I remember being looked at as if I was daft when I first began work at the Vauxhall garage, and I took the back off a starter motor to look at the brushes - it simply wasn't done!

Of course, both of these objection dissappear when you begin to consider DIY work.

I have recently been very impressed by the MB parts back up for our W124. I recently did the front discs and pads (and an impromptu bearing replacement! - ). While there, I also fitted new piston seal, and new slides and seals on the caliper, all obtained for little money from MB - when you look on the parts slide, it's surprising how many repair kits are available. Although I'm going to do the ball joints soon, they do also still supply ball joint rubbers as a seperate item!

As far as the computer aspects of cars, people tend to get their knickers in a twist about it for no real reason. The electronics parts of these systems are *amazingly* reliable **. You're far more likely to have a low tech fault such as a bad connection, or a corroded earth. Owing to the computerisation of cars, and the removal of awful nasty mechanisms like contact breaker points, cars have never been easier to look after with regard to routine servicing. Fuel injection has removed the problem of blocked jets in what were becoming extremely complex carburettors - but, not being "electronic", this complexity is usually conveniently overlooked on fora such as this! The type of more "special interest only" work we're talking about here hasn't really changed at all - calipers still have seals, and starter motors still have brushes.

** For some odd reason, when people don't really understand a system, when they begin to fault find, they are always too keen to condemn the most expensive part of the system! I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the warranty bill for mis-diagnosed electronics parts runs into many millions per year for a large manufacturer.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Alby Back
I no longer have the confidence to attempt much diy car repair now. Formerly, when you could figure out what all the bits did and could actually see them all when you lifted the bonnet or crawled under, it seemed much less daunting.

A combination of shoving your tongue into the corner of your lips, a bit of head scratching, an odd curse, some skinned knuckles and a Haynes could get you through many a job.

Now it all looks like Jodrell Bank, I'm mostly scared of it frankly. I'll still change bulbs and so on but as for trying to repair an engine I'll leave that to the pros to lash up rather than me giving them a head start.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Pugugly
It dawned on me as well - a new car arrived and when I opened the bonnet saw it had a very large plastic cover on it , don't even know how to take that off !
Repairing cars in this recession. - Number_Cruncher
>>A combination of shoving your tongue into the corner of your lips, a bit of head scratching, an odd curse, some skinned knuckles and a Haynes could get you through many a job.

Nothing has really changed - if anything, it's easier.

On a modern(ish) car, you can go to undo a bolt with a fair amount of confidence. The need for heat, or special methods like sawing down through the side of nuts to get the bolt free is much reduced. (An exception being the front suspension of many VAG cars!)

In the days of carbs, you could have a really quite complex carb playing up, say 2E2, or 4A1, or something nasty like that, and you would be left with very little to go on - there wasn't the wonderful option of plugging in to get live data. In comparison, electronic fuel injection with self diagnosis is great. It's a shame that too many mis-use the self diagnosis, but, people have always been thick - many carbs and distributors were replaced which were perfectly servicable.

Many of the more tricky faults which eventually end up being solved by people like Screwloose and topbloke are really cases where earlier on, mechanics have been mis-using self diagnosis , and have simply relaced the sensor mentioned in the fault code.

Don't be daunted - if you are, the manufacturer has won!

Repairing cars in this recession. - martint123
I bought a 12 year old MX5 six years ago and look after it all so far (last biggie was a clutch change).

When I was last at the village MOT emporium, the boss was mumbling at the price of a fanbelt/alternator/AC idler puller at around 90 quid. All that was wrong was a bearing, but not available from Ford - but if they took the bearing out, sized it up and ordered one (for a fiver tops) and swapped it, the cost to the punter would be about the same.

For the home amateur who doesn't cost his own time, vast savings can be made and well worth keeping an oldie on the road.
Repairing cars in this recession. - bathtub tom
>>but if they took the bearing out, sized it up and ordered one

I've done this before with a washing machine bearing. The original was like two inner races with a single, long outer race and built-in seal. The local bearing factors came up with two seperate bearings and an oil seal that fitted in the same place and saw out the life of the machine.

When someone designs a machine, they don't have a bearing built specially for it. They buy an off-the-shelf item that fits the specification. Like nuts and bolts.

Edited by bathtub tom on 05/10/2008 at 00:47

Repairing cars in this recession. - ifithelps
Reminds me of the first tapered wheel bearings.

They required very little in the way of tightening, but several garages fitted them in the same way as ordinary bearings.

Result - bearing collapses and wheel comes off.

Might have been on Allegros or Triumph Dolomites?

Repairing cars in this recession. - Kiwi Gary
My '65 Singer Vogue had tapered front wheel bearings... Instructions were to tighten [ to a very low number which I now forget ] and then back off one flat. The wheel always felt loose on the stub axle, but never gave me any trouble.
Repairing cars in this recession. - gordonbennet
Looks like those of us who want to repair or recondition parts will either have to DIY then or have a good understanding and complete 2 way trust with their workshops, something i'm very fortunate to have with my MB indy, he is honourable and i hope i am too.

I can see where you come from Injection Coc, and again it seems common sense is lost and so are the vast majority of decent customers who would use their loafes about repairs, this idiotic running for trading standards or dodgy no win no fee lawyers by some people has ruined much of this country's small trader practices IMO, of course there have been some cowboy traders that have ruined it for the good ones.

NC, i have found MB good for parts back up too, can still buy wiper rubbers etc also toyo surprise with their back up and parts prices (fuel filter for my newish hilux £12ish, my mates fiesta diesel £30ish makes no sense), but depends on the parts dept staff a lot, some good, some not so.
Older MB's take a bit of beating for being old fashioned enough to work on too, proper taper bearings and simple braking sytems.
I was going to replace my old girl this year, but have decided against that now, so she'll be staying indefinately, unless of course dick turpin decides the road tax should be trebled for pre 01 cars in the interests of the environment.

Thanks for the interesting replies here, i've managed to get unusual bearings etc in the past, got a complete set of drive shaft coupling ball bearings for my land crab 2200 once by buying a pack of 50 from Germany, much cheaper than new drive shafts, i can even remember the size 25/32", how sads that..;)

I wonder if our no dirty hands youngsters will have to get down and dirty like many of us have in the past in the coming years?
Those that get stuck in all power to your elbows.

Now when it stops raining i must get the waxoyle out again..;)
Repairing cars in this recession. - Alby Back
Will it ever stop raining ? Even saw a bit of snow in Scotland last week.

Repairing cars in this recession. - jc2
Taper roller bearings go back to the 1920/30's and garages had never come across them in the 60's???
Repairing cars in this recession. - ifithelps
Taper roller bearings go back to the 1920/30's >>

Don't doubt it, jc, but I'm fairly sure there were a spate of failures in the early 1970s on one make/model due to over-tightening.

And speaking of tapers, how about taper-seat spark plugs?

Finger tight was nearly enough - if you had strong fingers.
Repairing cars in this recession. - tr7v8
It was the Allegro rear wheel bearings, garages were over tightening them& the washer wasn't big enough to keep the wheel on when the bearing failed.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Screwloose
The Allegro problem was caused by BLMC changing from a torqued angular-contact ball race set-up, with built-in spacer, in the 11/1300; to tapers on the Aggro.

They forgot how appallingly little the average garage [even dealer] mechanic actually knows and just assumed that they would follow the normal, very familiar, procedure for setting tapers - many were too thick and torqued the tapers to 65lbf/ft too!

The "bigger washer" recall was only to add a secondary layer of wheel retention in the event of bearing failure; to prevent the frequent sight of 3-wheeled Allegros sitting at the side of the road on their petrol tanks. Most RWD cars of that era had taper front wheel bearings and none had that extra protection.

Once again; the failure of perfectly sound engineering was blamed on the poor car - not the real culprits.

Edited by Screwloose on 05/10/2008 at 15:58

Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
Quite timely this thread, I need to replace a rear calliper on our Honda Shuttle, my normally very good indy has quoted about £400 for the job (calliper, discs and pads), I have priced up the parts at about £150, substantially cheaper then the indy has quoted for parts!

The problem is I used to trust the indy, he always made his money on the labour and not the parts, but he did a service this week on the Shuttle and his price for the oil is more then I pay for same spec at Makro!!, yet last year he was substantially cheaper for the oil (I know prices have increased, but not by over double), he also did the AT Fluid and this has increased 3 fold since last year!! Now he has lost my trust by trying to make money on the consumables as well as the labour.

As a result I am now thinking of doing the calliper myself, times are getting tougher and a saving of £250 on the job is not to be sniffed at. I have even thought of reconditioning the calliper myself, but for the price of an exchange unit it is not really worth it!
Repairing cars in this recession. - injection doc
A garage can't survive these day's on labour alone!. The cost of running a garage now is horrendous. The only way you could survive on labour only is a one man band in a van & even then its tight.
Don't forget a garage has rent & council tax charges + insurance, wages gas, elec, phone & the waste charges to comply with waste regs are horrendous with having to have specific waste tanks for Antifreeze, brakefluid, oils air con gas Contaminated fuels batteries, & even old car components if electrical have to be delt with & any oil related components such as shock absorbers have to be delt with then clutches & old brake material & the one that made me laugh was the floor sweepings. I had to have waste control just for the floor granuals in total shooting my overheads up to over 35k a month in total for an average indy.
there may come atime where it will be difficult to find a garage left to get a car repaired!
i Doc
Repairing cars in this recession. - scrapmetal
Well put injection doc. These are the overheads that most builders, plumbers, electricians etc dont have and people dont sniff at paying them 30-40 pounds an hour.

Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
So put it all in the labour charge then. Why add it to the consumables where the average Joe can check the price and gets peeved because of the mark up!!

The indy I use(d) charges £50ph so not cheap. All businesses have overheads but trying to hide costs within items that were previously supplied at cost or just above just peas off the customers like me!

I actually work the other way in my business, I make sure my customers know I supply the consumables at cost, and can get them cheaper then they can because I can get volume discounts, this means I then get the work associated with those consumables at my normal hourly rate without quibble as I am not trying to make ££ on every single thing I am doing.

Edited by R75 on 05/10/2008 at 17:35

Repairing cars in this recession. - gordonbennet
where the average Joe can check the price and gets peeved because of the mark

I'm a customer too, and i believe the indy should make something on the parts too, he has to diagnose, order and wait for the parts to arrive in many cases, then goodness knows how often the wrong parts turn up. I know how often its happened to me, think what its like for the indy with your car stuck on his hoist in bits, wrong parts arrive he then has to decide can he wait, or should he part reassemble, push the car off and carry on with something else. He can't really bill you for the messing about, and then the customer complains when the chap makes 20% on the parts into the bargain.
Indy can't win.

Sometimes my indy does get me to obtain parts when they are going to be a pain, a memorable one was the front wishbones on my 124 MB, cos i have the 24v model the bottom ball joints are welded in, MB wanted 225 plus vat a side, he suggested i get some from the usual sources and job done, half the price for lemforder IIRC. (the replaceable ball joints would have been about £15 each from MB..grrr)

Maybe your indy has strayed over the mark R75, i don't know, maybe would be an idea to get a quote for the same work from the dealer, you may have a nasty shock.

In a way the better cost of my MB indy is only a bonus, what i'm really getting is his 40 years of MB knowledge, if he charged the dealer labour rate i would still use him as i have complete trust in the man, he doesn't fit bits till its cured, he diagnoses properly then repairs it.
Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
I can't agree with you i'm afraid about the parts pricing. They order them from their suppliers, if the wrong part is delivered then it is one of their faults, so they should pay for it, why should I pay for them mis-ordering or for their supplier getting it wrong?

I am a little disapointed with them to be honest. Over the last few years we have always used them, as have the MIL and FIL, so at least 4 cars a year going for services and MOT's plus any other bits that crop up. They have always charged full whack for MOT's, which I have been happy to pay as I always felt they were not hunting for work, but this last service has soured things!! Even when I phoned up to book they were a bit cautious about giving an estimate over the phone - this was just for a basic 9k service (oil and filter) and the AT fluid change, never had that problem with them before!!!

It seems the guy who owns it has gone back into the workshop and they have a new guy doing the quotes etc, seems he wants to increase revenue at the expense of business!!

In the end it is their loss not mine, I can find another good garage out there I am sure, but can they replace my family's custom as easily!!! Cash cows are only ever a short term thing!!
Repairing cars in this recession. - injection doc
R75, I owned several business for in excess of thirty years & the labour rate for one of my garages was in excess of £50p/h & i didn't inflate the price of parts but used the retail as a guide. I also had a large purchasing power due to the volume of turnover with parts suppliers but I alway's insisted on buying a premium part thus reducing warranty claims. many a time a customer claimed they could buy a part cheaper but was it the same quality & would it of had the same back up should it of failed was alway's questionable.

Gordonbennet has the right approach. the garage trade has never had excessive profits & mark up in general is low compared with other retail outlets. Electronic goods often have a 400-500% mark up from manufacturer and yet most people are prepared to accept it but when it comes to cars 20% mark up creates an " ouch".
As I previously stated everyones entitled to an opinion & purchase from where they like but if the local garges don't get support they won't be around in the future!
I Doc
Repairing cars in this recession. - jc2
I agree most of the points but when I take a car in for service and get the oil charged by the pint when they buy in bulk,particularly when that manufacturer's oil is a fraction of the cost of the oil they supposedly used,I feel they are Extracting the Michael.
Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
As I previously stated everyones entitled to an opinion & purchase from where they like
but if the local garges don't get support they won't be around in the future!
I Doc

That is my point though. As the line between the indy's and the dealerships get blurred then the indy's will go out of business, what makes them attractive to the likes of me and others is lost and we will seek alternative places - be that a dealer who may now only be £10 or £20 different or another indy who is not looking to make dealership type profits.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Screwloose
who is not looking to make dealership type profits.

You mean a massive annual loss.

This bank-created depression will quickly kill most garages off; the business model of both dealer and indy is non-viable.

Councils hate the motor-trade and won't let new garages start up anywhere. Basically; the customers are rotationally spiralled.
Repairing cars in this recession. - injection doc
The only problem being is that there are a lot of dealerships sailing very close to the wind at present as well as their overheads are huge as they try to comply with the manufactures requirements for even simple things like the colour of the tiles on a showroom floor. The manufactures lay down the requirements for a dealership but manufactures allow their cars to be sold through internet sites where a dealer may be working from his spare room at home & gets a contract cleaner & driver to deliver. How can a dealer compete with that. In reality we could be left to buy from the internet only! how sad would that be.
Main dealers are fighting back with loss leaders for servicing & repairs to give the impression that there is a little difference between themselves & an Indy & lulls you into a false sense of security that the dealer is the best option & then they bite you back when push comes to shove.
Lets hope the whole economy picks up for everyone .
i Doc
Repairing cars in this recession. - injection doc
you beat me to it screwloose by 4 mins!
yeah your right trouble is a brewing for many a dealer at present
Repairing cars in this recession. - gordonbennet
But thats the big debating point R75, the savings can be colossal using a knowledgeable indy.

My example here... '96 MB 320 W124, my car....wiring loom disintegrates its a common fault on those,
My indy replaces the loom, unfortunately the ECU has taken a hit and has been spiked by the shorting.
He knows that i have used a handy chap on the IOW before to repair a errant ECU so he gets me to send it off and it duly comes back and all is well.

The wiring loom is approx £550 plus VAT, he charges me IIRC a total of 4 hours for diagnosis and loom fitting and everything else, i know he's spent longer on it and i have to force some extra on him.
Total repair costs including £350 ecu fix is about £1250.

Now i know if this had gone into MB there would have been the same charge for the wiring loom, but they would only have fitted a new ECU and that alone would be approx £1500 plus vat, and they would have charged me umpteen hours at £100 and hour, conservative estimate at least £2600 for the same job, and i may well have had someone with limited experience doing the job, and no telling what else may have got fitted unnecessarily.

Now if my indy has got 20% off the loom as he's trade and made himself an extra £100 i am still at least £1300 in pocket, and jolly good luck to him.

I am very fortunate to have such a chap to look after my car, almost had my wife in tears one day when he called at our house and took his cap off and brushed his hair before entering, old school manners and decency, what price that, and conscientious work practices too.

Inj Doc is right, unless i and many other loyal customers support him, where will we be, at the dealers...i hope not.
Repairing cars in this recession. - yorkiebar
What R75 and others may not know, or indeed may not even care about.

A big difference between main dealer and independant is the staff. This is a generalisation I accept but is common in my area and others that I know of.

Main dealers often run on 1 experienced guy in the workshop with various levels of trainees around him. He gets the diagnostic and customer relationship work; the trainess get the brakes/servicing/routine work.

You are getting charged full price (often) for a trainee doing the work.

At independant level you are getting the owner (or experienced person) to do the work, but are paying him less than the main dealer. Not many independants can afford apprentices and the routine boring work of the main dealers encourages the good trainees (after qualifying) to go into the independant circle (either own business or working for another).

To haggle over a few pounds in parts prices versus the labour quality versus the labour bill is obviously your choice. But are you aware of it?

Now consider the mark up in parts and consumables prices? If any of these parts fail, it is expected for the garage (dealer and independant) to foot the bill and sort the problem? is that not worth a small mark up? Buy a kitchen and get the appliances at the same price as you could elsewhere? Same reasoning too.
Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
Oh I know all about the trainees at dealers etc, but in my line I have extensive dealing with commercial vehicle garages and they are far better (as a rule) with their charging structures. This I believe is because the transport industry would not put up with anything like that that goes on in car dealers.

My Point was that the OP had asked about people doing their own repairs etc as a result of lean times, and that I was far more likely to do this repair not only as a result of the economy but also because at the same time my indy seems to have changed his pricing structures and is trying to behave like a main dealer with his pricing.

So, no I wont actually haggle over a few pounds, I will look elsewhere or do it myself, but is loosing my business really worth the extra few pounds to him? It is far more expensive to find a new customer then it is to retain an existing one!
Repairing cars in this recession. - pmh2
I do not know whether this is true for all garages in France, but I remember from a couple of visits (to Ford and Peugot franchisees), that they display labour rates for 3 different levels of qualified staff. What you get charged is based on 'electronic tech diagnostic rate' , experienced mechanic, or mechanic IIRC.

The hourly rates are also significantly less than UK! However my 1 experience of getting a quote for a 12 k service at a citroen garage was that it was not significantly cheaper. How that worked I do not know.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Screwloose

Maybe he's now having to absorb £5 per delivery charges since diesel went up. Parts delivery always used to be free - not any more. 10-20 deliveries a day and it makes a big difference.

Maybe he found that he was rushed off his feet, but not turning any sort of bottom-line profit and was forced to change his business model to stay afloat - have you actually asked him why he went back into the workshop?

Or did he get turned over for the usual £25K by the EA when some target-chasing kid walked in and found a drain-bucket and a battery sitting on the floor.
Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
Nope, haven't asked him, and no real intention of doing so either. Who his suppliers are are his problem, but the parts issue does not account for the huge price increases in his oils does it?

As for regulation, we are all caught up in that, all LGV and PCV drivers now have to undergo 35hrs of training in 5 years to keep their licences etc, etc, etc.

In the current climate most of us are looking for ways to cut costs in business and personally, if someone seems to be putting theirs up then I will look at why etc. When I asked about the oil I got some BS about how much the price of oil had gone up and how our car took a special oil - engine oil has not nearly doubled has it? certainly not in the quantities they will buy it in at. And our car takes 15-40 semi synth, nothing special about that either.

I am happy to pay a fair price for fair work, but making £££'s on things like oil is just not on in my book - others obviously disagree and are happy to pay it.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Screwloose

Of course bulk lube has shot up - it comes from the same people that have kept road-fuel and heating oil prices so level over the last year. [Any excuse to add to the several million a minute they make in profits.] A new EA-compliant storage tank may have set him back tens of thousands too.

The re-structuring in you indy's business [he's gone from overhead to producer] has the hallmarks of either his accountant - or his bank's "Business Manager" - going through the books and pointing out why he's losing money.

There have been many recent sudden price increases - haven't you had an electricity or gas bill lately? So thay can jump 40% and that's OK - but if a guy finds that he's losing money on lube, he's not allowed to put the price up?
Repairing cars in this recession. - Number_Cruncher
>>Of course bulk lube has shot up

Yes!, my chin nearly hit the floor when I bought a barrel of engine oil at the Vauxhall dealer recently.
Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
My gas/electric has not gone up, but then I fixed it a couple of years ago and have another 2 years at my current rate yet.

I did post an example of what I was talking about, but it was posted at the same time as yours Screwloose.
Repairing cars in this recession. - R75
To add a bit more to this, last year (almost exactly a year ago) the invoice for the AT fluid was £8, about cost price at todays prices, so last year I expect he made a bit on it, this year the invoice price for the AT fluid was £24.95!!!!!!!! Thats one heck of a price increase in one year is it not! It only takes 2ltrs for the change as well.
Repairing cars in this recession. - Screwloose

It's possible that he kept bulk stock of the ATF last year - but found that with so many different drums now needed, that it was better to get the dealers to supply it in litres along with the other service parts - in which case, they set the price, not him.
Repairing cars in this recession. - yorkiebar
Well put screwloose.

But to agree with R75 a second, I wouldnt worry unduly over him and his business.

The independants that are good and established are busy (but struggling to make profit at moment) , those that arent are struggling for custome.

The irony of these financial times is that more "main dealer customers" are going to independants because they recognise the difference in financial "value" !
Repairing cars in this recession. - injection doc
hey screwloose I like many others got caught up in the Bunded oil tanks senario & oh boy what a cost!, loads of ground area as a catchment & being told by some youngster just out of uni about soil contamination & having soil samples taken it takes the buiscuit when I see what some companies & some motor traders on farm premises get away with!. I even had samples taken from the drains to ensure I was using bio degradable handsoap as even using non bio soap for washing hands would of caused an offence!
Retirement came just right last year.
I agree with the comments on employees, I couldn't afford trainees with the mistakes they make & staff with a minimum of 10-15 years experience were more my cup of tea. a main dealer not far from me had 12 techs but only 2 fully qualified & the rest trainees but charging top dollar.
I think the customer should have the choice of type of tech & level of training to suit the job in hand. great idea.
I Doc
Repairing cars in this recession. - Screwloose

I don't think anyone not caught up in August '06's EA changes would have any idea of how stupid they were. You can't legally unload even an empty drum without the risk of incurring a £1,500 fine.

I'm all for responsible environmental protection; but their 600 hurriedly-recruited errand-boys did more damage to the motor trade than the Luftwaffe. I used to distribute Valvoline with about seven tons of 39 different oils in stock - not any more; their required bunding would have contained the Torrey Canyon spill.

As soon as a friendy eye and "You'd better do summat about that before next time" turned into a "points win prizes" mega-money-making exercise, that makes scameras look ineffective, then most of the good garages gave up and the cowboys won.

Don't think farms are that different everywhere; here they take samples from even the field run-off drains and anything amiss is immediately the nearest garage's £25 grand penalty - no proof required.

Value my car