(first off, sorry there has not been any updates for a while- we had no internet for a while I will get a basic update in next week but for now:)
It has been heard by millions the famous phrase “trust the professionals” but the question stands, can you really trust the professionals? As a person that likes to work on pretty much everything I love to know and understand a little of everything so when I am “trusting the professionals” I will watch them and see want they are doing and I tend to notice things that are done right as well as wrong. I have a few examples to share with you to give you the understanding on how I came to this point of view.
Tire shops – we have all had to or will have to take our cars in to have our tires replaced or fixed. Simply it is part of owning a car. I have always enjoyed watching as the techs use the impact guns to zip the lugs off and on until one day a when the front wheel on my mom’s suv sheared all 5 lugs off going down the road. As I did more digging, I found that this is caused by the lug nuts being over torqued upon wheel installation. Since that time I have watched to see the process that most all shops use and realize that many of them are doing things all wrong. I am not going to say that using an impact to install the wheel is wrong, it is just how they do it. Watch them, when they pull out the torque wrench (a long handled ratchet looking device that clicks when a specified tightness is achieved) if they put it on the lugs and it clicks without them turning the bolt at all, odds are, it is too tight and runs the risk of snapping the lug stud. All this is checking is that the lug nuts are at least as tight as they are supposed to be, it does not chech to see if it has been over tightened. The proper use is to get the lugs just snug with the air tools and then do the final tightening with the torque wrench. This does take more time but it is also the correct way to do this. In my view, if you see the procedure is being done correctly, complement the service tech or their manager on that so they know you are paying attention to that. If it is being done incorrectly, the shop should be called out on it and they should replace all of the lug studs (once the damage is done, the damage is done, you cannot UN-stretch a lug stud).
Big-o tires in St. George – This review is already up on google maps so, it is already public but this gives you an idea of why I watch the services being done at shops. I was traveling though ST George and was having some bad wheel shake and was concerned about a smell from the transfer case so I went to this shop and had them do a “Balance and Rotation” as well as “please check the fluids while it is on the lift” after being a mechanic for several years I have a habit of watching the work done, which was a good idea in this case… first I caught them not balancing the rear tires and was told “we only balance the tires going on the front” I then instructed them to balance ALL! my tires! Then I caught them draining the oil…??? “are they changing my oil?” I asked the floor manager and, his reply was “uhh yea. my bad” I only run a specific type of oil in my car which they were not able to locate (even though Auto zone and Wal-mart stock it) so they put some of their oil in, so I could get back on the road (now I will have to pay for another oil change to get their stuff out). shortly after that they pulled it out with the appearance of being done. When I asked about the fluids they indicated “we could not check them because of a skid plate” I do not have a skid plate so really they did not look. After indicating that there was not a skid plate on this vehicle, they proceeded to pull it back in and lift it back up. They did check the rear differential but in checking the transfer case said that they did not have the correct socket. (really!!?? go buy one! they are 5 dollars from ANYWHERE! How have they been in business this long and how many of these were not checked when they said they would because of a $5 socket) and then they never did check the front differential. By this time all of the other shops were closing (I was there for over 2 hours) and was unable to get the remainder of what I needed done, done by a real shop, for the rest of my trip I had to worry about what was about to break due to wrong or missing fluids… oh yea, by the way the wheels now shake more after the balance. I did call and the Store Manager indicated that he “will resolve the situation and compensate me back for the “Service”” I really should have demanded my money back along with the cost to change the oil back to the right one. Looking at the other reviews on Google maps, I see that the same crooked practices continue to this day.
HVAC – This is one that I am dealing with currently so I will have to keep you up to date as more happens but here it is. The house we currently live in was purchased from family and so I know what was done. They paid a company “The Professionals” to install a new HVAC unit in the house (heat and A/C) about 6 years ago and to this day it still has not worked properly. It runs constantly and in the summer is barely able to keep the house around 78° and that is when it is set at 74-76°. At this point, we are looking at the cost of having all of the duct work, heater, and A/C units replaced. From a visual standpoint it does not look like a professional and attractive installation. The facts are the facts, my next action will be calling several companies to come and look at the unit and determine how to better fix the situation.
So, the question again. How much are we really able to “Trust the professionals”, in my opinion, we cannot unless we have tons of money to throw at every problem. What? That is not the case, then you need to educate ourselves so that we know what is going on and we just use the professionals based on our knowledgeable understanding of the task and just having a lack of time or tools with the research on which professional “seems” to have the most integrity.