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Can you bring your car closer to the phone please…

It is an old mechanics joke. When a potential customer calls and says “my car stopped moving I think it is the automatic transmission, it is leaking transmission fluid, how much will it cost”? What can you say if you can’t examine the car? How can you convince your potential client to have the car towed to your shop for an exam without quoting a price or possible price?

Realistically speaking, lets say you thought you had a brain tumor, would you call the doctor and ask how much it would cost to remove it? Of course not, you know the drill, make an appointment and have it diagnosed. Well what makes you think a transmission mechanic can diagnose your problem during a phone call and quote an accurate price?

As far as my shop was concerned, we would talk with our potential customer to make sure they were qualified consumers. Ask a few questions like is the check engine light on, did it make any noises, etc. Then we would offer free towing, within a 15 mile radius and a free diagnosis. No obligation to pay for either service if the vehicle is not fixed at our shop. You have to be confident as a business owner to make an offer like that.

Gaining a potential customers confidence is most of the battle. When I would get a call like that, about the only thing I would say pertaining the problem was that since the fluid leaked out, it would stop it from moving. Possibly you don’t have a transmission problem, just a leak. A vehicle won’t move once it has lost 3 to 5 quarts of automatic transmission fluid. Most cars hold from 10 to 14 quarts of ATF.

The big thing for me was not to create an unreal expectation just to have a customer let me tow the car in. That is always a problem when you use the type of tactics that build unreal expectations on cost and, what may be wrong with the vehicle just to get it towed to your shop.

First off, after the car arrives we would asap start the diagnosis process. Half the time it was a simple problem we could fix in an expedient manner and send the customer on their way.

Many times the transmission was bad and needed a replacement. If our customer requested a good used low mileage transmission, than we called could trust that what we bought from them was pre tested, low mileage and guaranteed.

The point is that a qualified transmission shop will always handle a situation in a similar manner. If not, call another shop.

Use your common sense to make a decision. Read our Blog for more information on choosing the right shop to use over the phone..there is also a bunch of information on the blog on perhaps preventing yourself from experiencing frustrating and inconvenient, not mention possibly expensive transmission problems.

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