Auto Repair Flat Rate System

flat rate mechanicThe following article is just my opinion on the flat rate system. After being involved with automobiles for just shy of 30 years I have seen a lot of things change in the retail auto repair business. As a matter of fact I have seen huge changes in the world that surrounds this ecosystem.

I could write an entire article on just how the automobile has changed in the last 30 years and maybe I will in the near future. But not only has the car changed but so has the people who drive them and the tools used to fix them. The economy has changed as well. The way that businesses conduct themselves has also changed over the years. But one thing has not changed since I’ve been in the business of auto repair and that is the flat rate system.

Sure a few shops pay mechanics by the hour but by and large dealerships and aftermarket repair centers are still sticking to some type of flat rate system to compensate mechanics. What I don’t understand is in this modern environment of adapting and changing to better service customers why this antiquated system still remains. In my opinion it’s stopping this business from evolving into a customer focused and value driven service that people could embrace instead of loath. Continue reading

Frozen Windshield Washers

frozen washer fluidTo follow will be some information on how to deal with frozen windshield washers. In a perfect world washer fluid would never freeze even on the coldest days in the coldest regions. This is why they have the blue colored windshield washer fluid that contains an anti-freeze to prevent this from happening. As a professional car mechanic I can tell you that even though your windshield washer fluid may look blue sitting in the bottle there could be a fair amount of water mixed in with it.

First of all many windshield washer fluids only protect to a few degrees below freezing. Often this is the $.99 cheap stuff that you might find at your local big-box retailer. Heavy duty fluids can cost a few dollars more but if you live in a cold environment this could be money well spent. When you take your vehicle in for an oil change and the shop is responsible for topping off the fluids all too often they stretch the cheap and weak windshield washer anti freeze by adding water to it. It still looks blue but doesn’t have the protection from freezing like when it was full strength. Continue reading

Cadillac Turn Signal Bulbs

turn signal fog lamp assembly

This article will provide in-depth details about how to replace Cadillac turn signal bulbs that look like the one pictured on the right side. This bulb has two filaments and it also lights up for the daytime running light function as well as the turn signal and hazard flashers.

This also covers the high intensity fog lamp located in the same compartment. The specific pictures and instructions to follow cover any first generation Cadillac SRX from 2004-2009. But I do believe that the CTS from 2003 to 2007 have the same exact set up.

The reason I decided to post a how-to article is because replacing this bulb is a lot harder than you would expect. It took me a couple hours of poking and prodding before I accepted the fact it required pulling stuff apart to reach it. I will dig into details of exactly why below. I provide pictures of what’s necessary to get access to the Fog lamp, daytime running lamp and turn signal sockets. Continue reading

DIY Cadillac Oil Change

2009 oil filter for 3.6L

Cartridge oil filter for 3.6L

I just got finished another DIY Cadillac oil change on my 2009 SRX. This article contains details about the tools and parts needed to perform the operation. First a little more researched information about this really common engine. The GM 3.6 L all aluminum V-6 is the standard power in a lot of different models. It can also be found in the Camaro. This is an impressive light weight V-6 that back in 2009 produced 304 hp. When I stopped into the Cadillac dealer to pick up a PF2129 oil filter I looked at a few of the 2013 models including the new XLS.

All of the new cars on the lot had the standard engine listed as the 3.6 L. Last year and the year before that, you would find a 3.4 L version of this engine as standard equipment. I’m not sure what happened to the 3.4L or why it’s not standard? That will be in a future article as it will take some research. But I was glad to see that they consider the 3.6 L still to be a good choice as a standard engine after all these years.

Before I move on to the details of my DIY Cadillac oil change I should mention that the 2013 Cadillac with the standard engine is expected to get an average fuel economy of 21 MPG. Continue reading