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This newsletter is provided to share information about our users, their shops, automotive industry news, things going on at Mitchell 1 as well as tips for using the OnDemand5.com and ShopKey5.com products. If you have questions or comments about this newsletter, or ideas for what you'd like to see in it, please .
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NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Motor Age 2011 Top Shops Contest Kicks Off
Motor Age -- The last few years have show us one thing about the independent repair market: There are some really great shops across the country.
It's time for you to show us just now good your shop is, as Motor Age launches its 2011 Top Shops contest. The contest is open through Aug. 19, 2011, and there's no time like now to get started on entering.
We've listened to readers this year, as well, and have revamped the contest entry process. This year in order to enter, you will be required to answer nine questions describing your business in a simple-to-complete form. Judges will score each shop on 10 categories: experience, training and education, shop operations, supplier relations, marketing, website presence, aftermarket involvement, community activities, technical offerings and a photo tour of the shop.
Sponsors of the 2011 Motor Age Top Shops Contest are:
What Has Happened to the Owner's Manual?
The owner's manual has been a ubiquitous glove box item for many decades but now more and more manufacturers are "saving trees" by eliminating the printed versions of this often ignored instruction book. You'd think that with vehicles getting more and more complicated that drivers would actually want to read the owner's manual. For some reason, many people just drive away and never look at it. Of course this can lead to issues when they don't understand how their vehicle works. For example, some drivers may complain that their lights don't come on or won't go off when a short time spent reading the manual would explain daytime running lights and automatic time delay headlights to them. And how often does a car come into your shop and there is no owner's manual to be found? At times you need to access the owner's manual when a customer brings their car into your shop, especially on newer cars. Seems it was taking up too much room in the glove box or maybe the kids were using it for a coloring book.
Another explanation might be that the vehicle didn't come with a paper manual to start with. Starting in the 1990s, some vehicles, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, became so complicated that they started including a supplemental VHS tape explaining how to work some of the systems. They still had a paper manual to cover the rest of the vehicle. In the past couple of years Chrysler did away with the paper manual and instead included a DVD version, unfortunately this DVD probably couldn't be played in most of their cars. Owners could still request a traditional paper manual if they wanted one. Since so many vehicles now come with infotainment systems, you can get instructions on how to work the various accessories right on the in-dash screen. Of course this only helps if the system is actually working.
The Hyundai Equus, being the maker's first foray into the luxury car market, goes a step further. Each car comes with an Apple iPad preloaded with Hyundai's multimedia version of the owner's manual. Not only does it have the traditional owner's manual pages scanned in that you can flip through, it also includes several interactive features that show you how some of the vehicle's systems work. Click here to see a demonstration of what it can do. Don't expect that many owners are just going to leave that iPad in the glove box for you to play with if they bring their car into your shop. Of course with Hyundai's plans for how they are going to service this model, it may be a few years before you'd ever see one.
Probably the easiest method for OEMs to distribute owner's manual info is through smartphone and tablet apps. This way they don't have to worry about providing the hardware. Chrysler has already started distributing such apps for their Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles. These apps are available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. While these do not replace the owner's manual, they show you how to work common features and what the warning lights and such mean, and even where to locate the nearest dealer. Of course they're also using these apps to market products like their factory accessories and connect the owner with their social media sites. General Motors goes a step further by connecting an iPhone or Android device to certain OnStar-equipped vehicles which allows the to see information about the vehicle, lock and unlock the doors and even start the car remotely. On the Chevrolet Volt, the app can help you monitor your electric charge and even schedule when you want the car to be fully charged for your next drive.
One of the greatest advantages of using multimedia vs. paper manuals is that it is much easier to keep the owner's up to date with the latest information. If you have a smartphone version of the owner's manual, they can just send you an update and. As people and vehicles get more connected the manufacturers are sure to use these systems to keep the owners informed. The possibilities are endless, of course when marketing people get involved it might just get annoying too. In the end, some people will still prefer the old-fashioned paper owner's manual. In that case, most manufacturers still make them available in some form or another.
How do you respond when your customers ask for this service?
Motor Age - Personally, I cringe. More often than not, there is an underlying problem the customer thinks will be cured by this magical procedure. After all, most dictionaries define tune-up as "a general adjustment to ensure operation at peak efficiency." Wait a minute. Isn't that the job of the engine control module (ECM)? Doesn't it monitor a variety of parameters in order to constantly make adjustments in timing and fuel mixture to ensure operation at peak efficiency? Couldn't we tell our customers that their car is constantly performing a tune-up on itself?
My name is David Lee and I'm the owner and operator of Lee Automotive in Beulaville, North Carolina. Beulaville is a small town of about 1000 residents. There are also 10 or more shops around our area. Our shop consists of a 60x40 garage with 3 bays and there are 2 techs. We've been using Mitchell products for 13 years, Mitchell is a tool that we could not get along without. I've been in the industry for 20 years and have an Associate Degree in Automotive Science and also hold the following ASE Certifications: ASE Master Tech, ASE Advanced Level, ASE Undercar Specialist, ASE Service Consultant.
Our shop motto is "Professional Auto Care" -- So many shops nowadays just bring customers cars in and repair or do only what the customer
asks for. In my opinion, that's not professional. Most customers don't
know what their vehicle needs. Many times we have had cars from other
shops come in and we tell them they need to exchange their transmission
fluid or their power steering fluid (or any other fluid) and they reply
that no one has ever told them they need to change that! We have had
many that needed a fuel pump and their fuel filters are completely stopped
up. We tell them that changing the fuel filter may have prevented fuel
pump failure. Once again they reply, "I have never been told to replace
my fuel filter." My point is that people need to be informed of their
maintenance needs and then they can decide if they want to do it or not. The key
is that it is in their hands, it's their decision. That's "Professional
In my free time, I farm about 5 acres and I have goats, chickens, horses, cats, dogs, pigs. I also spend time with my wonderful wife of 22 years and 3 children. I am actively involved in the youth ministry at our local church and have been for 10 years. I love pointing people in the right direction with their lives. I also served as president of our local Independent Garage Owners (IGO) Association. I served on the state board of the IGO of NC as the Eastern Director for 1 term (2 years). I am currently a member of the IGONC and love spending time with other shop owners. I have gained valuable insight from other shop owners and I think some of them have gained from me as well, or at least I hope they have.
Would you or one of your techs like to be profiled in the newsletter? How about your shop? We're looking for techs and/or shops to feature in this spot. This is an opportunity to let other techs know about you and your shop. You can share information on what your specialties are, what special conditions you have to deal with in your area, anything interesting about your shop or even what you like to do in your free time.
We will also list your shop's information such as location, phone number, web site, or any other information you'd like to provide.
Send your story and photos for consideration to . Please also include your account number.
Did you know...
You can print a portion of text from a repair or TSB article instead of an entire section. Select the text you want to print and then hit "Ctrl" and "P" on your keyboard. This will bring up the print dialog. Under Page Range pick "Selection" and then click the Print button. If there are graphics in the section of text, you will need to print them separately.
Click here for more hints on using OnDemand5 and ShopKey5.
Mitchell 1 is running a tip contest for a limited time in OnDemand5.com and ShopKey5.com. Below are the latest winners of the contest. Each of these tips earned the tech a $100 prize. Click the links below to see the complete tips and for more information on how you can enter.
Mitchell 1 and Motor Age Team up on Monthly Tech Tip Contest
FEBRUARY 2012 IS THE LAST MONTH TO GET YOUR ENTRIES IN
NOTE: The following contest is in addition to the contest listed above. Winning tips from the regular contest will automatically be submitted to the Motor Age contest.
"Necessity is the mother of invention," and techs can be real mothers when it comes to inventing ways to make life in the shop easier. Motor Age now gives you the opportunity to share those ideas with your fellow techs with a chance for monthly prizes on its Motor Age Tech Tips page.
Motor Age and Mitchell 1 have teamed up in this monthly contest for our readers. Just fill out this form with your best tech tip. Each month, Motor Age editors will select the best tip and feature it and you in the magazine and online. Not only that, but Mitchell 1 has great prizes for each monthly winner. Readers will choose the grand prize winner at the end of the contest year.
In the shop, it's all about helping your fellow techs earn their livings a little easier, a mission we share with you. Submit your tips today and help out your fellow techs all across the country!
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