Is the service network up to the standards of today’s cars?


diagnosis: snowed in © by erix!

I am inspired by my own personal experience and by the previous article by Matteo Ceronetti regarding the professionalism and ability of the dealer service network.
I own an Audi A6. I have had other Audis in the past as well as a Mercedes, and, unfortunately, I have often found myself noting that the dealer service centers are not up to the standards of their brand image.

The introduction of electronic inspection systems definitely does not make the service center’s job easier. I still believe that a customer who spends 50/70,000 euro or more to purchase a vehicle should find solutions to the technical problems that occur without being forced to make repeat or lengthy visits to the service center in order to resolve faults that are too often treated on a trial and error basis and, in some cases, are never resolved.

In the past I’ve had to solve various technical problems “on my own” such as: incorrect mapping of the EGR Valve which resulted in indicator lights being continuously on or the removal of a vibration that the dealer said came from the disk brakes and instead was due to a simple alignment issue.

Other, more recent episodes concern the non-installation of the system that manages the stereo, satellite and telephone.
Now the car has a slight whistle caused by the power steering but the service center manager told me that it is normal. How could it be normal if it didn’t do it before? I have had quite a few cars and not one ever made that noise.

This is often the case. When they don’t even know how to resolve the problem they simply say “it’s normal”, perhaps hoping that the noise or defect will go away by itself, that the warranty will expire or who knows what other technological miracle will occur.
Fortunately, thanks to my knowledge and the fact that I worked for years in the industry, I manage to resolve the problems for the most part, but what should the overall majority of automobile owners do?We don’t even do any better with simple body shop problems!

The most trivial things aren’t performed with the precision and care that the price of the car and the dealer’s hourly labor cost deserve.Just one example of what has happened: it rained a few days after picking up the car following replacement of a cracked windshield. I turned on the wipers and the right hand one hits the upright.

A simple inspection before returning the car would have resolved the problem and I would not have had to return to the service center. How can an Audi dealer not be capable of correctly installing a wiper arm?Personally, I think the automobile companies are the main culprit for the lack of competence and professionalism among those who work in their service centers.

In my humble opinion, they should have greater control over the ability and professionalism in their service centers and, at the same time, give the operators the tools needed to work on all automobile problems.

They build cars that are true computers and then they aren’t able to guarantee adequate customer service. With the tools and training that they are given, they are limited to running diagnostics. This, however, is not always enough.

All this even though the standards (at least on paper) call for a real electronics expert!

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