What do algebra, automotive racing and diagnosis have in common with one another?
Succeeding at each of these endeavours requires logic and discipline. This means methodically pinpointing and deciphering one unknown at a time.
Tire dealers and service shop operators should recognize the impact these themes have on the long-term health of their businesses.
Cold, hard logic is the opposite of scattershot, guesswork methods associated with unprofessional and/or unethical auto repair.
Historically, many motorists have distrusted the auto repair industry because their vehicles' problems were not fixed correctly the first time.
As I have emphasized in previous columns, fixing cars correctly the first time is the top priority for prudent auto service providers.
Practically speaking, we cannot review and reconstruct the steps that led to each bungled diagnosis and the resulting improper repair.
Nonetheless, retracing them may provide street-smart schooling.
For years, my field research has included analyzing misdiagnoses alongside some sharp troubleshooters. A common cause of misdiagnosis is an inability or unwillingness to proceed methodically and logically.
For example, logical testing validates the need to replace parts. What can you conclude when a competent technician pinpoints the vehicle's real problem — which has nothing to do with the new parts found on that vehicle?
I have to conclude that the previous work on this car consisted of the scattershot approach that has tarnished our industry's image for decades.
Let us consider another practical exercise in logic on a vehicle that another shop did not fix.
First, suppose we successfully diagnose and repair this vehicle's problem.