What are shop supplies anyway?
Well, there are a few things we need to fix a car. The obvious two are parts and labor. But what about all the other things that make up a professional repair?
For instance, on an oil change I use:
a special cleaner to clean up oil drips on the frame and engine,
I use 2-3 rags to clean my hands and check the oil,
I top off the windshield washer fluid,
I use floor dry to clean up oil drips on the floor,
I use coolant strips to check the coolant, I
go through 2 vacuum cleaner filters per year vacuuming footwells,
I use paper and ink to get oil reset procedures,
I put a sticker on your windshield,
and I use rubber gloves to protect my hands.
That's just an oil change. Most of that is also used on a normal repair plus other things like brake cleaner, additional rags, multiple sets of gloves, lots of floor dry, multiple pages of repair instructions etc...
So, how do I pay for all of that?
Well, I lump it together in shop supplies because it is a cost to fix your car. Then I measure the total that I spend on these things and make sure I'm recovering it. We do cap shop supplies because you only need floor dry once, at the end and you only need cleaners once, at the end of a repair, and you only need to print instructions once, whether it's a $4000 repair or a $40 repair.
Some shops actually try to profit from shop supplies. I don't. In fact, I actually don't charge enough to cover all the supplies. So I'm sharing the cost with you. I just want you to know it isn't bogus. Shop supplies are needed to perform a professional repair.
So the next time you see this on your invoice, know that 5-7% of the repair is fair and that a cap somewhere between $30-50 is about right. It keeps your favorite shop in business and helps them provide an exceptional repair without cutting corners.
Thanks to some wonderful people (A.B. and B.B.) from Able Seedhouse + Brewery for a nice sample. It is awesome! Thank you so much for the business and the beer!
If you are reading this you should check it out by clicking the link above and support a quality Minnesota business.
Apparently, it is fantastic click bait to write articles and blog posts about how auto repair shops rip people off. I see these articles everywhere and it drives me crazy! I'm here to 1) fix your car when it breaks; and 2) to help you prevent it from breaking. Yes, it is going to cost money to do both of those, but it doesn't mean it's a rip off.
First, let's define ripoff: When you don't get what you paid for. You can't be ripped off if you got more than you paid for.
Next, let's define repairs and maintenance:
- Repairs - When I fix something that is broken
- Maintenance - When I fix something that isn't broken so it doesn't break something else in the future
Good, now we can chat.
The first myth is the fluid myth. Fluids need to be changed. They wear out and stop doing what they were designed to do. Sometimes they still look new which is very deceiving. However, they can cause expensive repairs if they are not changed. Below are some of the trouble they cause:
Coolant - loses it's rust inhibitors and begins rusting out your engine from the inside
Brake Fluid - loses it's corrosion inhibitors and eats your brake lines from the inside out
Transmission Fluid - picks up metallic dust from the gears in your transmission and turns the fluid into liquid sandpaper which grinds down your gears and bearings
Differential & Transfer Case Fluid - picks up metallic dust from the gears in your diff and turns the fluid into liquid sandpaper which grinds down your gears and bearings
Oil - picks up dirt and soot from combustion and gums up screens, filters and oil passages. I have see bad oil crack pistons and engine blocks because the grime causes it to lose it's lubricating property
Now do you see why fluids need to be replaced every so often? It is much cheaper to do that than to replace an engine or transmission. Even brake lines are much more expensive than an infrequent brake flush. This is maintenance. You take care of the fluids before they break something.
Second myth, extra parts being added to pad the bill.
I understand where this myth comes from but you have to understand, cars work in systems. One broken part can fail because a part earlier in the system is failing. If you don't fix the root of the problem then the new part will break too. We take a system approach here, to make sure your repair lasts. That's also why we can warranty our work for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Nobody does that!
Third, we recommend fixing parts that don't "need" to be fixed.
This is tough because sometimes we see symptoms of a part beginning to fail. However, nobody knows when that part will fail. In reality, you can only repair a part before it breaks or after it breaks. But there are 2 important things to consider if you are thinking of delaying a repair for a part that is showing wear:
1) It is always cheaper or the same to fix it before it breaks. It is never more expensive to fix it early. Sometimes broken parts require expensive tow trucks or they break other things along the way if you wait too long.
2) A part that is showing wear is only going to get worse and not even Nostradamus can predict the day it will actually break.
This is also maintenance and it is typically much cheaper than a repair.
Here at Integrity you don't need to worry about unneeded repairs. We'll show you what is happening and help you make a great decision about the repair.
Fourth...okay...I'm getting tired.
To be continued...