Dealer mechanics w/ other makes

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The thread about GM talking about how much work their dealerships do on Teslas has me wondering about this. This isn't a dealership bashing question or about their techs either.

I realize a mechanic likely went to a trade/vocational school where he/she learned to work on any and all brands but when they work at a dealership, how much exposure do they get to other makes ? A dealer mechanic or even an indie mechanic often learns that problem "x" on a certain car is pretty common, for example, but dealer mechanics aren't likely to have that experience (or are they?). What about tools, specifically diagnostic stuff ? I presume a dealer mechanic has access to factory-supplied diagnostic equipment that only works on their models so why would they buy a Snap On or other tool that works for other makes ?

Lastly, how much mechanical repair work do dealers see on other makes, 10%, 25%, etc ? I'm not talking about oil changes or tire replacements either, but starter or alternator replacement, EVAP parts replacement, A/C repair, and so on ? Haha, just thought of another - do dealers only use OEM parts ? 🤣
 
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It wasn't very common when I worked at the dealer, but they would generally accept any brand for repairs. No OEM stuff if it's an off brand, unless there's no aftermarket alternative.

On very old cars it's possible we would get pattern parts even if we had the OEM in stock. Just depended on the price point the customer would accept.

We used the OEM scan tools, though some generations could do standard EOBD on any make.

EDIT, we didn't use OEM stuff on the dealer's daughter car.... the cheapest pattern parts only, except for oil filters. Quite telling lol
 

01rangerxl

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It's hard to put a percentage on it, but there are non-GM vehicles in our shop everyday.

Some techs we've had are comfortable with anything you put in front of them. I wish the guy who did the water pump on my SOHC Explorer was still here, nothing even seemed to bother him. Other people prefer GM or at least mainstream vehicles, but nobody here is only working on GM cars. We have one guy who can swap an engine, but wiper blades on any non GM vehicle are somehow an issue.

I do think a Tesla would get the same reaction as the former NASA Econoline which "probably has all sorts of **** from outer space on it, that's why they had the **** windows taped up" according to one tech.
 
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Dealers ARE more expensive due to big $$$$ overhead + higher paid bosses, BUT if its a warranty job thats different. only ever had 2 new cars, a 1972 chevy nova simple + cheap + dealer fixed the bad valve guides oiling the spark plugs on the crappy 307 V8 that later became an oil burner, + my great 2001 1.8T jetta only seen the dealer for its FREE oil changes!!! i enjoy DIY as well as the $$$$ saved. if i cant handle whats needed these days i have a good, honest, reasonable indy a few blocks away, lucky me!!! benefits of a small town!! almost forgot about a friend that got REFUSED with his acura for work at a Honda dealer a few years ago, trying to save a few $$$
 
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These days I can’t tell you for sure, but I was in a dealer shop 2003-2013.

I was partially trained (as much as possible online only) Chrysler/Jeep. Our shop had a team structure. Three teams, our hours pooled together and split evenly, but I guess the split to 3 teams gave the opportunity to more guys to be “leaders.” We had bonuses based on individual goals as well as team goals. The other 2 teams were your basic dealer techs you’d imagine…one team only wanted Chrysler CARS, one team only wanted Chrysler MINIVANS (and full sized vans as we still had quite a few customers who brought in conversion vans, work vans, etc), and my team which was Jeep/truck. Difference was our team was more hungry and willing to work on anything. We’d take the other teams cars and vans when we were caught up, and we’d also get shoved all the crap work that the used car mechanics refused to work on (which if you know used car mechanics, at least in a dealer setting, is almost ALL of their write ups!).

Used car guys only wanted to do tires, brakes, steering racks, filters, wipers, oil changes. They would even go as far as doing the above gravy work, then punting the car to us for the rear main seal, differential leaks or bearings, wheel bearings, transmission work, suspension work etc. We’d take that as well as all their comebacks and their warranty work too.

As far as normal customers, that was really few and far between. I impressed a wealthy guy with how I fixed his brand new Genesis when they first came out (when our shop combined to make a super team with Hyundai and Subaru). I mounted tires for him as they came with trash Dunlop’s. He complained enough to get a free set of any tire he chose. I installed, road forced, test drove and noticed a pull. Rotated, didn’t solve, so I aligned it for him just knowing the customer he was. All while he waited and watched me through the window (annoying as a tech, especially working on a guys new expensive car). He drove it, came back with a generous tip and asked for my number, and brought me ALL his vehicles, took me to lunch all the time, etc.

What sucks as a dealer tech is you get so good and efficient at a job that it’s hard to get used to doing something your fist time and maybe coming in right at the allotted time, or barely under the time, or over the time, as you are used to doing a job in a quarter of the time for instance.

As far as tools, it varies from guy to guy. Some have a thing about them that they are only the best if they own the best and own everything. Some only have what they need. I fell somewhere in between, as I never saw automotive repair as my lifelong career, I never invested in a huge box, nor did I buy the huge sets of tools. I bought “junk” craftsman/husky, only replaced what I used a lot of with truck brands…figured out what brands snap on simply relabeled and bought the cheaper version of the same exact things, etc. I did a lot of side work and Mustang/race car work and stayed well equipped for all that. The dealer I worked for really didn’t supply anything as far as specialty tools went, the mechanics bought the stuff on their own if they felt the need for it. Dealer provided consumables like sand papers, chemicals…they had tire machines and balancers, brake lathes, ac equipment, but no “tools.” Hardly anyone has their own diagnostic equipment beyond meters and gauges. Few guys did, mainly the guys who just wanted to have everything…but the oem scan tools were best for what you work on in the shop, and the shop provided plenty of them. And the oem scanners typically were great as generic scan tools as well when used on any other make to do used car work or the random customer who would come in with a different make.
 
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With dealerships not getting much new inventory the sales are mostly based on used assorted manufacturers vehicles. Every tech is a general service tech at a dealership today. Whatever rolls through the door or the used car manager picks up at auction gets serviced.

Paco
 
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I've bought used cars from other make dealers with a dealer warranty. They will do basic repairs but anything involved they take to the brand dealer and pay the bill.
 

Hall

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And the oem scanners typically were great as generic scan tools as well when used on any other make to do used car work or the random customer who would come in with a different make.
That's surprising (to me). Even if Ford or GM or whoever didn't design their own tool, if they just rebranded a Snap On or whatever, I'd have thought they would strip the software to only have their stuff.

almost forgot about a friend that got REFUSED with his acura for work at a Honda dealer a few years ago, trying to save a few $$$
Sometimes I've wondered if there was a "handshake" agreement between dealers, especially in a situation like you describe or between Toyota vs Lexus. One person told me that one of the local Nissan dealers wouldn't touch his Infiniti (non-warranty work too). Personally, I needed the oil cooler o-ring for my Infiniti and went to the Nissan dealer (it was closer and the p/n was a Nissan p/n). I told them what p/n I needed and they wanted to "verify" it was right for my car (understandable). When I told them my car they said "we can't guarantee it is the right part".

Whatever rolls through the door or the used car manager picks up at auction gets serviced.
9 out of 10 times, they're just doing basic maintenance work though - oil change, new wipers, maybe pads/rotors, etc. Speaking of brakes and not working on other brands, that could be an example of what I mentioned in my original post. Say it's a GM shop and a Ford (or other brand) needs brakes and uses an electronic parking brake that should be put in "service mode". How many GM techs would know this ? That's not a knock on them either.
 
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