The other night, I saw a TV commercial from the new Jiffy Lube “Leave Worry Behind” campaign. In the commercial, a car happens to drive by a repair shop. Once the technicians see this car, they get on a piece of equipment that has wheels (a rolling tool chest, a creeper, and an engine hoist) and launch themselves after the vehicle, tools in hand, trying to catch up with the car so they can repair it. One of them even throws a lasso to try and get a hold of the car. In another commercial, a tow truck chases a car with a man dangling from the towing mechanism, trying to get access to the car, ostensibly to fix it.
During one of these chase scenes, the narrator says: Some mechanics are just determined to find something to repair. But unlike those guys, we don’t fix vehicles, we help keep them running right. At Jiffy Lube, we offer preventive maintenance using vehicle manufacturer recommendations, to help you leave repair shop worries behind.
You can see the commercials here:
I was really surprised to see these commercials and the message they imply. They characterized repair shops as being predatory and shady, dangerously pursuing innocent cars who are just driving down the road. It looks as if the technicians will stop at nothing, including high speed chases, to access these cars and force some sort of unneeded repair on them.
According to Stu Crum, president of Jiffy Lube International, “Because most people are not proficient in the mechanics of a car, they’re worried when they bring their car in for something that a mechanic will find something different that they weren’t aware of. There’s always that uncertainty: ‘Is the work being performed on my car really necessary?’”
He then goes on to say that “I’m not suggesting that our industry can’t be trusted, but we want to put the consumer at ease.”
So, what are these commercials really saying? What do you think about the commercials and the message they convey?
Whether you go to Jiffy Lube, the dealership, or an independent shop, you should always do the following to ensure you are getting the right work done for the right price.
1. Have the shop show you any additional parts they are suggesting. For a shop to recommend a new part or service, there has to be some evidence of damage or wear. Ask them to show you how they came to the conclusion they came to so you can better understand what is needed.
2. Ask the shop to rate the severity of the issue on a 1 to 5 scale, one being a new, fully functional part and 5 being a part that needs immediate replacement. Ask how long you can drive before the suggested repair is needed. Shops trying to sell unneeded repairs often will recommend repairs at the earliest sign of wear, which can be well before replacement is needed.
3. Have the shop save your old parts and show you the damage or wear after the repair is completed.
4. Follow the manufacturers recommended scheduled maintenance intervals and services. Additional items beyond these recommendations are often not necessary.
5. When in doubt, get a second opinion.