Going to a Mechanic is Like Going to the Doctor

Val & Mike Schepens - Mike's Auto Repair, serving Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach & Irvine

Val & Mike Schepens – Mike’s Auto Repair, serving Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach & Irvine

Val Schepens
Fax: 714-375-3160
17662 Metzler Lane #A
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Anyway, I thought that today what I am going to do is hopefully keeping
your best interest at mind. I thought that I would touch on a few
suggestions to help you when you’re talking to either a service advisor or
a technician about your vehicle. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.
Auto repair is very similar to going to your personal doctor. Only it’s
your car.

So, the first thing I am going to suggest that you do when you go to an
auto repair and you’re talking to someone is make sure you give all the
symptoms of what your car is doing. Every squeak, engine miss, check engine
light is on and oil drips. This will actually help your technician in
identifying exactly what is going on with your car sooner.

What happens is what we notice, in our 20 years in business here is that
people are very hesitant to tell them all the symptoms. They think if you
tell them all the symptoms that it will cost them more money. That is not
the case. Or, some of them think, you know what you charge me so much, that
technician is going to work for his money and I am going to keep quiet and
let him find out what is going on. That is the first recommendation that I
would make.

The next thing that I would add is that the internet is wonderful, thank
you Sean to help us with that. Use the internet to get informed, not to
diagnose your car. Many customers walk through our door and tell us the
code that they got from Auto Zone when they checked their car out for free.
Then they want us to get the part or they try and bring their own part and
they want us to prepare it. They tell us it’s a PO171 and how much is that.

What we try to explain to them is like a surgeon, you don’t want to go to
another surgeon or doctor and say doctor so and so said I have
appendicitis. I want to know what your price is to take my appendix out. He
wouldn’t do that. He would also need to perform tests to confirm that you
didn’t have gas and that it was actually appendicitis. From there he would,
then, make the recommendations.

So a reputable auto repair would confirm the diagnosis and repair and I can
give you an example too. A lot of times you come in and diagnose your car,
for example, a young lady that came in yesterday, again this ties in with
all the symptoms, “My air conditioning doesn’t work and I need an AC
service.” Well, we are finding out her door locks don’t work; you can’t
even turn on the AC. Then she wants a price for a body control computer,
which we know is pretty close into the thousands of dollars or a thousand
dollars. We put the check out fee and it looks like it’s a fuse.

You need to importantly, this is my next suggestion is to allow your
technician the time to check out your car. Now my one thing is never say
take your time, that is a mistake, but allow him the time to look at your
car. The reason for that is the check engine light, though it’s very
sophisticated, and we do have the equipment. I’ve shared all the equipment
here before to check it out. It is up to date. Cars have the same symptoms.
Something like a misfire could be a vacuum hose, it could be a spark plug,
it could be the spark plug wires. They need time to eliminate and say this
is what it is. Sometimes it is in conjunction with each other. The
technician needs time.

Importantly too, I want you to know you’re always in control of your car
and of your repairs. A lot of people think that as soon as you bring your
car there that they have control. It is not that way. What a reputable auto
repair shop does is when you come in they will give you a price to diagnose
it. You’ll sign that and then they won’t increase that price without your
verbal authorization and explain to you what they are doing. So you always
are going to be informed and with that you would be able to make the
choice, I want to consider this or go ahead and get the repair.

One thing I like to talk about at Mike’s Auto Service is that we pride
ourselves in being advisors or tellers. We are not sellers. What we do is
allow, like I said, is for you to make an informed decision. When your car
comes in, that is what we do, we check your vehicle and we prioritize your
safety and maintenance issues. That is a little bit different than some of
the auto repair facilities. Again, you got to be careful and don’t be your
own worse enemy. Don’t go in there and diagnose your car because there are
shops out there who will take your diagnosis and run with it.

I am going to share a Yelp review with you that I just got. It was a two
star and Sean knows that when I used to get those one or two stars, I was
on the phone with him. What do I do? I’m panicking. This recent one to me
really showed Mike’s and my integrity. Just to give you just a little
background on it is that the gentlemen came in for a 30k service on his
vehicle. He wanted to wait for it. We took care of him, we checked it out,
and what we found out is that his oil pan was seeping. It was just the
start of it and we documented it accordingly.

We actually checked and measured his breaks on inspection for that we give
every car that we look at. He had five to six millimeters of front and rear
brakes left. That is six months to a year worth left on his breaks. We
didn’t try and sell him brakes. We sent him on his way.

He went to the dealer and his oil pan was under warranty which was great.
The dealer told him that he needed breaks and that he was at two
millimeters. This is the break tool that we use. This actually measures the
breaks right here. So when I am saying that he has six to five millimeters
left. This is where he was. They’re telling him that he had two millimeters
left right here. So he didn’t go to the dealer. What he did was went to
another shop and said, I am assuming this of course, I need front and rear
brakes and they took care of him and he wrote them a great review.

My point is that we gave him an inspection sheet, we went over it that his
brakes were good. My thought was if he any questions then why didn’t he
call. For some reason he felt that he wanted to get his brakes done. Again,
I don’t know from our shop to the dealer he what happened. He might have
made a sudden stop; he might have left his emergency brake on and he burnt
out his rear brakes. I don’t know. That could happen. The interesting part
is that the whole thing about the review is that he was upset that we
charged him for his oil and that was $10. We shouldn’t have charged him for
the oil since the oil pan was seeping. I am going to respond to that
professionally. I just want to share with you, to me when I read that I
felt really good. We did our job very well with integrity and being up
front with him and letting him know exactly what was wrong with his car.

Those are just a few things that I wanted to share. A little bit about us,
Mike and I are celebrating 20 years in business. We are family owned and
we’re operated, Mike and myself and that is going to be in September coming
up 20 years. We are trying to be your one stop shop for all your automotive
repair and maintenance services. We recently have a tire machine. So we are
doing tires. We were one of the first to become a smog repair station and
now with the new smog program the [inaudible 00:09:42] just cashed my check
for the smog repair program. So I’m anticipating within the month we will
also be a smog station where we will be able to smog cars the year 2000 and

We provide, our facility with the latest and greatest equipment, I’m
telling you that, every time I turn around they’re buying something new. I
keep thinking someday I’m going to be able to go and see Guy Ballard. But
not yet. Anyway, we do have ASE master technicians. We do
train them constantly. I’m sending them to classes and I have two master
technicians. Our business focus is on quality, integrity, value, and like
Dawn said, personable service. That’s very important to us.

We’re Triple A approved and we provide a 24 month, 24,000 mile warranty and
that’s covered anywhere in the US. We’re located at 17662 Metzler Lane in
Huntington Beach and we’re opened Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 5:30
p.m. We have a night drop and we also provide shuttle service to your home
and work if it’s local, I don’t want to go down to San Diego.

We look forward to seeing you and your vehicle.