Hot advice for heater diagnosis

Nov. 19, 2014
When a cold winter, produces a lot of no-heat complaints. And with the struggling economy, the word we hear from most shops is that customers are not willing to spend for extras. So what’s a conscientious shop looking to pay its bills to do?

When a cold winter, produces a lot of no-heat complaints. And with the struggling economy, the word we hear from most shops is that customers are not willing to spend for extras. So what’s a conscientious shop looking to pay its bills to do? Hopefully it’s learning how to run a year round marketing program that keeps the shop from slowing to a crawl even through tough times.

Some repair shops focus on just getting the job out by doing the minimum,with the least amount of shop labor. Well, unless you are very careful, trying to do the minimum can lead to a lot of comebacks, and jobs that made very little money in the first place, turn to losers.

Sure, when there are cars waiting for service parked all over the place, some shops opt for diagnostic shortcuts –which translates to “replace all the possibly bad parts and expect the problem to go away.” These types of jobs are typically given to young technicians whose wrench skills are better than their diagnostic abilities.

But now? Winter is coming and good temperature control from the heating system also will be a factor in A/C performance as the weather eventually gets warmer. Let us recommend the approach that we prefer even in more prosperous times: more diagnosis. A lot of the time, extra diagnosis will go faster than throwing parts at a problem, so you end up with more net dollars (who said installing a new water pump is a quick job). And if your diagnostic approach is thoughtful, it should take less time than jumping around.

You can learn a lot simply with temperature readings from an infrared thermometer, although they usually read somewhat lower than the reading from the engine’s coolant temperature sensor. And you often can get a rough idea of water pump condition by squeezing the upper radiator hose and waiting for the feel of pressure when the thermostat opens.

Most important is to get a diagnostic result in which you have enough confidence to also make the motorist more confident. So even if the ticket estimate is a bit more than he really wanted to spend, he’ll often say yes because he’ll be thinking, “this is it” – but only if you can say, “this is it.”

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at [email protected]. To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. 

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, Feb. 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, Fla.

Blog via MACS Worldwide. For more information, visit www.macsw.org

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