A Check Engine Light can definitely give you an uneasy feeling when driving down the road. Just about every single working hour of every single day we get calls from people asking how much for a “Tune up” or “How much to replace” a specific part (you can read more about that here). The reality is that when that light comes on most people think a Tune Up or a gas cap is the problem and just want a price for either. The problem here is that based on our experience less than 2% of the customers that call or just come in requesting a certain part replacement or ‘Tune Up” actually need that part or service to repair their immediate concern. Seem like a low number? We agree!
Today I want to tell you about a customer that absolutely insisted we replace her Jeep Transmission because she was told it needed one. Our first interaction was when she called us about a week ago. She said that her Jeep Check Engine Light had come on and the dealer told her she needed a new transmission. She looked for a second opinion at another local shop that confirmed that her Jeep Transmission needed to be replaced but they “don’t have the equipment” to handle the job for her (Tip; With the exception of computer reprogramming, in most cases if a shop “doesn’t have the equipment” to perform a repair then they most likely don’t have the proper training or tools to properly diagnose the issue in the first place). She was quoted roughly $4000 to replace the transmission and was hoping to get it done cheaper. The woman basically dropped the vehicle off and said “Don’t let the bill go over $4,000”.
Now it’s important to point out that all of our repairs start with having one of our Trained Master Technicians properly diagnose the vehicle before we give any quotes for repairs or replace parts that may not need to be replaced (we go more into detail about this here). The main reason is that we want the customer to leave happy and that wouldn’t happen if we were replacing parts that didn’t fix customer concerns.
So as usual the repair process started with a road test. We found that the vehicle was stuck in 2nd gear. When we scanned the computer for codes (Code is a sequence of numbers that lead us to a troubled area, no scanner will tell you the exact issue without a little bit of testing). The codes were leading us to an issue inside the transmission. So we decided to take a look inside. When we lowered the pan on the bottom of the transmission that holds all of the fluid we found a couple of broken screws and when we started inspecting we found that the metal plate that holds the accumulators into the valve body was bent and broken. The broken screws in the pan were clearly used to hold the metal plate in place but when they broke it allowed the plate to bend.
Jeep Valve Body Repair
This Jeep Repair was actually pretty simple. We lowered the valve body, replaced the seals on the accumulators, replaced the metal plate, the screws that hold the plate in place, and filled the transmission with new fluid. After that we cleared the codes and took it for a road test to verify that everything was working like it should.
The entire repair took a few hours and only cost the customer a few hundred dollars. While replacing the transmission would have definitely fixed her issue, it also would have cost her about $3,600 more than our repair and with the exact same result. Replacing the transmission would have just been unethical.
I must say that I was pretty annoyed that they wouldn’t just give me a price. Like how hard can that be to look up? But once I picked up my vehicle I realized why they do things that way. I was absolutely insistent on getting a price and wanted them to just go ahead and order the transmission. If “the customer was always right” I would have had to pay over $3,000 more for my Jeep to get fixed. These guys are the best! They really are. I went in because of the reviews and they were spot on. From beginning to end this group of people really know how to treat people and they know how to fix cars. I suggest checking them out. Great place and great people.
Most us can look back at a time when we got stuck in the snow or mud. It’s a horrible feeling. For me personally I get mad at my car when I’m the one that got it stuck…. Last week we saw a customer come in with a really nice Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. He was passing by someone that was stuck and decided to help pull them out. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to pull the vehicle out and the whole ordeal ended up with the need for a Jeep Axle Repair.
“No good deed goes unpunished” – Clare Boothe Luce
When the customer brought the Jeep in he was holding a large piece of the axle in his hand and there was a puddle of differential (gears that help move the wheels) fluid under the right front of the vehicle. It didn’t take much time to see where the problem was. The only potential issue here is that when the axle breaks there is a large possibility that the remaining portion of the axle can damage other components when it spins free, or the piece that broke off could damage things on the way out.
One of our Master Technicians checked the whole front suspension and the damaged area. The customer was pretty lucky because the only major problems were the axle being broken and the axle seal. We also noticed an ABS light on the dash that was caused by an improper alignment (the skid light will come on if the steering wheel is off center because the vehicle thinks it’s sliding sideways down the road sideways and the driver has turned the steering wheel to correct course). So we recommended replacing the axle, the seal, and an alignment.
It was a pretty simple fix. The broken portion of the axle was removed. Then the front differential had to come apart to replace the seal. There are special tools that are “supposed” to make replacing this seal easy but we have the tools and the seal never goes in correctly… So we access the seal by going into the differential. After we put everything back together we performed an alignment.
In conclusion, this was a pretty simple repair. The only problem was that we had to wait a few days for a new axle to come in. Other than that the customer was out the door as quickly as possible and he won’t be towing anyone out of the snow anytime soon. A somewhat happy ending to a good deed that went wrong.
I’ve never been very fond of the expression “It’s just business” because for the staff here “It’s personal”. We show up everyday and give 110%. We reach this goal by making it a habit to go out of our way for every single customer that comes through the door, every single day. For the customer it’s also personal because they’re spending their hard earned money at an auto repair shop on their vehicle and want value for that. The only thing we’re always looking for in return is that the customer’s like the level of service we provided and that they return.
This story actually originated about a week ago in an earlier blog post. It turns out that Western Mass News heard about the story and wanted to give us a “pat on the back” for going the extra mile….. literally! The story went viral.
In all reality we give this level of service to everyone. But we can all agree that the circumstances surrounding this Dodge Repair were much different than what we’re used to seeing. I can’t even imagine the level of anxiety that Bryan faces when getting ready to deploy. I stress out when I drop my kids off at daycare and I know I’m going to see them in a few hours. Can you imagine knowing you have to go to a job where you won’t see your family for 6 months, 1 year, and unfortunately sometimes never again…..? The staff here just didn’t want to add to that anxiety and needed to do whatever we could to make the situation right, immediately.
Not to mention that Army or no Army, he paid for a service. The part went bad and we sold it to him. We needed to make that right because it’s the ethical thing to do. Normally we would have just put the customer in a rental car until the new part came in but due to his deployment the solution had to be a little more outside the box than that. So we did what we had to do to make it right. It was/is truly flattering to be acknowledged for our efforts in this way.
I just really want to express our sincerest “Thank you” to everyone that reached out to Bryan and his family to show support for all he does to help protect our freedom. “Thank you” to Western Mass News for sharing Bryan’s story. Last but not least “Thank You” to all of our Active Duty Military and Veterans, for all that you have done and continue to do for our country. We hope that this story will help influence others to go out of their way for someone without expecting anything in return.
Yesterday was the first time in 10 years that we saw a problem we didn’t have an immediate solution for. It’s not uncommon to see the staff go out of their way every single day here. What most customer’s expect is for someone to hold the door for them, make a genuinely polite comment about their hair, or even give them a ride home and they’re happy. But that’s not what makes us the “Best Auto Repair Shop in Western MA“. Aside from all of the amenities we offer here, our customer service is what sets the bar higher than most others can reach. Allow me to explain….
About a week ago a customer came in with a blatantly faulty rear differential (gears that turn the wheels). The customer is also Active Duty Military and has to drive long distances regularly to report for service then back home to see his family. He was given a few options and chose to go with a brand new unit. These units are built at a factory in Texas then shipped all over the country and installed as one piece. It’s definitely the best way to fix the problem. The customer was also happy about our Nationwide Warranty and Roadside Assistance since he drives across the country to report. Here’s the problem…..
We performed this Dodge Repair and installed the new unit and about a week later it developed a high pitched whining noise. It’s rare but sometimes these things happen. Since we don’t build the units here and just get a new unit with a Warranty from the factory it should be simple enough to just get another unit and Warranty this one right? Wrong! The problem here is that the customer is home for Holiday break and has to leave on 1/23. We didn’t know about the issue until 1/21 and shipping takes roughly 1 week…….. “Sorry Mr. Customer, you’re going to have to delay your deployment” was not an acceptable answer for this guy. Here’s the solution!
We found a warehouse that had one down near Maryland (roughly 5.5 hours away). The unit was promised to another shop so we had to call the other shop in Illinois and plead our case. The other shop offered to let us take that one but with the impending snow storm the warehouse in PA refused to ship the unit. So we drove down to get it….. We drove 11 hours in one day (cost the customer nothing whatsoever) to pick up the unit so we could Warranty it and correct the problem so that he can get back to protecting our country and get there on time. It’s the least we could do for all of the sacrifices him and his family make to protect our freedom.
I think we all can agree that sometimes “things” happen. But it’s how you handle those “things” that sets you apart. I can unequivocally guarantee there isn’t a shop around that would have done this for a first time customer or any customer for that matter. That’s why this is reason #420,247 why we’re the “Best Auto Repair Shop in Western MA“. We don’t just say we care, we prove it!
First off I would like to thank the staff at Precision Auto Repair & Sales. Their dedication to customer service is outstanding and unmatched. I have been in the Army for the last 15 years and have had my truck serviced at many different locations and many different states. The experience that I had at Precision beats them all, by leaps and bounds. When the first differential I had replaced was not acting right I contacted James and told him about the issue he didn’t hesitate and told me to bring it in. After talking with his staff he came back and said the he wanted to change it out for a new one. Now, I was home on leave and this was two days prior to me having to drive back to Alabama, James said we will do what it takes to make it right. His staff immediately started making phone calls to find a new one. There were only two units in the U.S, one in Texas and on in Pennsylvania. He called me and told me this, now I was wondering how it was going to get to Mass and installed in a day and a half. After many phone calls to many different places James called me back and said that he was DRIVING to PA to get the new unit! I was floored, where do you find that kind of customer service anywhere?! And for it to be the owner of the company is completely unheard of in this day and age, 99.9% of other places would have told me, to bad or don’t know what to tell you. Not James or his staff. I may not live in West Side currently, but he has certainly gained a customer for life. I still am taken back by the enormous lengths he and his staff will go to make sure the job is done right!! I can not thank James enough, he will get the mission done no matter what it takes.