Los Altos Auto Repair

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Allied Auto Works(650) 968-7227
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Category Archives: Service Standards

Ethics of Automotive Repair in Los Altos



We're going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Los Altos automotive service and repair industry hasn't been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Los Altos has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Los Altos automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

If we understand what's recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we'll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It's like going to the doctor; If she's using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Los Altos service advisor too. He's so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don't know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don't understand what your doctor's talking about: ask some questions. If you don't understand what your Los Altos automotive advisor's talking about: ask some questions.

Let's go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, "Is this really necessary?" Well, here's the industry standard:

If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose
  2. The part does not meet a design specification
  3. The part is missing

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at Allied Auto Works says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn't want to replace the rotor; Allied Auto Works would ethically have to refuse the repair.

To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could've failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician may suggest repair or replacement if:

  1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
  2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
  3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
  4. Based on the technician's informed experience

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Questions to Ask Your Los Altos Service Advisor



We find that a lot of Los Altos drivers are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions but don't want to be embarrassed or seem pushy. Vehicles are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it's because vehicles have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn't need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.

You know, your local hospital has a Patient's Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Los Altos automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.

It's all about the communication. It's a little harder when you're trying to find the right service center in Los Altos. But once you've developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.

What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let's go back to the medical example. When your doctor's explaining something to you, it's something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don't understand or that you don't have the education and training that's foundational to understanding what she's trying to explain.

So you fall behind and get frustrated.

It can be the same with your Los Altos automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.

Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you're not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there's a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what's done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.

Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Los Altos service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.

Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.

Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that's done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.

Give us a call.

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Arrive Alive in Los Altos

We've all seen drivers do crazy things while driving to or from Los Altos. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It's a wonder we even dare drive on CA roads.

The truth is that all of us are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.

Here's some things that'll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Los Altos.

  • Los Altos drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Los Altos drivers who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Los Altos drivers are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Los Altos drivers do to manage these distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

If you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Los Altos – you're wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Los Altos.

The professional here at Allied Auto Works wand you to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you'll do all day – so don't make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Los Altos.

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

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