Why do garages charge seperately for a diagnostic check

Why do garages charge seperately for a diagnostic check

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Discussion

Bassrock

Original Poster:

4 posts

184 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
Hi all,

So your garage or mechanic has a diagnostic reader.

OK there are many types, from a simple code reader at £50 is to your full blown Bosch KTS dip phil bar and scar at circa 6.5 - 7.5K and all the sundry charges per annum built in (of course), or if your really rich try snap-on verus etc...

So mechanic says he will do a diagnostic you get charged anywhere between 40-100 squid say, OK so your business has to recoup the test equipment cost.

So why is this not built into the hourly charged rate.

Any service on any car should always have a diagnostic quick check run on it, how else can you deem it to be fully serviceable !, therefore costs should be spread across the hourly rate.

Any thoughts out there !




MarsellusWallace

1,180 posts

165 months

Monday 8th November 2010
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Buy your own diagnostic reader and tell the garage the fault code.

hornetrider

63,161 posts

169 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
Uh oh. Not this st again!

MrChips

3,113 posts

174 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
If your car's new enough to need a playstation to be plugged in to tell the garage what to do, then that's fair enough. But why should all the other customers who don't need this service, pay as part of a labour rate?
Surely, Labour Rate is the charge for labour. Diagnostic "rate" is the charge for a diagnostic test confused

andy43

7,243 posts

218 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
They charge because they can.
VW tried charging me £16-something-plus-vat for a diagnostic, foolishly listed on the service invoice. No, no, no. NO. It's a service. Thankyou.
They took it off without a grumble, which suggests it's stuck onto a service to make an extra few quid, and is of a similar value level as a fivers worth of screenwash.

busta

4,504 posts

197 months

Monday 8th November 2010
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Because it sounds complicated enough that 99% of people don't question it, that's why.

Rich_W

12,548 posts

176 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
Technically because "Diagnostic check" (should) involve more than just reading a fault code.

So if fault code said "Running lean" what would you repair?

mrmr96

13,736 posts

168 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
He wouldn't charge you extra to use the screwdrivers or wrenches, so why any other tool? He wouldn't even charge to use the 4 post lift, which would cost a bit more than a diag box.

busta

4,504 posts

197 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
Rich_W said:
Technically because "Diagnostic check" (should) involve more than just reading a fault code.

So if fault code said "Running lean" what would you repair?
Aha, but that's a diagnosis, which is another £40 on top of the diagnostics check smile

mybrainhurts

90,174 posts

219 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
I told the garage what was wrong...

I was right...split hose, the one that always goes, the one that the dealer always holds in stock because it always goes.

They replaced the hose...

And charged me for diagnostics...

When queried, I received a whole lot of bullst about three possible hoses, the need to pressure test, and so on, and on, and on...

Regrettably, I don't want to fall out with these bods because they recondition injectors at half the cost of new ones. There's nobody else who does this in my neck of the woods.

wolf1

2,954 posts

214 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
It's because people had a habit of taking the pee somewhat by getting a garage to plug in read the codes and they'd go and get their mate Kev to fit the part instead. Most decent garages waive the diagnostics fee if you get the work done with them. However diagnostics isn't just plugging a reader into the OBD socket and looking up fault codes as not everything is as it seems. For example multiple missfire and O2 sensor fault logged on the ecu may actually be a collapsed cat which the mechanic still has to find etc.

Rich_W

12,548 posts

176 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
mrmr96 said:
He wouldn't charge you extra to use the screwdrivers or wrenches, so why any other tool? He wouldn't even charge to use the 4 post lift, which would cost a bit more than a diag box.
So the basic labour rate covers what exactly?

rolleyes

D_G

1,711 posts

173 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
mrmr96 said:
He wouldn't charge you extra to use the screwdrivers or wrenches, so why any other tool? He wouldn't even charge to use the 4 post lift, which would cost a bit more than a diag box.
You are missing the point. If you went to the hairdressers for a standard cut then the standard rate would apply, if you wanted highlights (a different service) then that could attract a different rate.
Some of these tools are not only very expensive to buy and update, you are also paying for the tech to carry out other checks. That's not to say it isn't abused by some outfits though..
Adding it on to a routine service is taking the full on piss though.

Edited by D_G on Monday 8th November 22:48

duncansaunders

902 posts

219 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
Surely a diagnostic check - ie plugging in the code reader should be part of a service - in the same way that shining a torch at the discs and checking the brake fluid is. This will take some time which is fair for them to charge for as part of the service.

If you take a car in with a problem and ask them to diagnose it you should pay for it as part of the hourly charge out rate. I don't think you should pay extra because they use specific equipment though. Of the £100 per hour charged, very little goes to the technician - surely the rest is precisely for things like tools etc?

Places I go don't charge extra for a diagnostic check over their normal hourly rate.

Volvo dealers i've been to have carried out an inspection of the car including a diagnostic check when it was with them for a geemlin to be fixed. Good way of generating a bit of extra work :-)

mybrainhurts

90,174 posts

219 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
Rich_W said:
mrmr96 said:
He wouldn't charge you extra to use the screwdrivers or wrenches, so why any other tool? He wouldn't even charge to use the 4 post lift, which would cost a bit more than a diag box.
So the basic labour rate covers what exactly?

rolleyes
1/3 wages, 1/3 overheads, 1/3 profit.

Jayho

1,891 posts

134 months

Monday 8th November 2010
quotequote all
Many of these diognostic machines need regular updates, calibrations ect... At the end of the day its a business, and if the garage thinks its fair to charge for it then they can. Its a lot better than going out and paying £x for a reader which might not even work for your car. I think some garages haev to carry a few in stock nowadays as the manufacturers are making diagnostics harder to get consumers back at the main dealers.

If they dont charge for the diagnostic and just charge extra for an hourly rate then its quite crap for those who are just getting a oil change or their brakes changed? Instead of say paying £X and hour they now how to pay £X+£10 just because you dont think its right to pay for a service they are providing and you are wanting?

Many people can fix their cars at home and/or know someones who can fix it for them, but they do not have the required diagnostic equipement. If garages were just handing out diagnostics for free then they'd be losing out on a lot of money.

thinfourth2

32,414 posts

168 months

Tuesday 9th November 2010
quotequote all
mybrainhurts said:
Rich_W said:
mrmr96 said:
He wouldn't charge you extra to use the screwdrivers or wrenches, so why any other tool? He wouldn't even charge to use the 4 post lift, which would cost a bit more than a diag box.
So the basic labour rate covers what exactly?

rolleyes
1/3 wages, 1/3 overheads, 1/3 profit.
1/3 wages

Certainly not the mechanics wages they are doing very very very well to get £15/hr

neiljohnson

11,298 posts

171 months

Tuesday 9th November 2010
quotequote all
I charge £49.99 for diag but this includes the first hour on the car weather it be repairing or further checks the codes bought up by a machine arnt a magic way to fix cars they just give you an idea of where to look.

The diag fee applies to whatever needs checking weather it needs a plug in or not, (not for a quick 5 min check though obviously) we used to do it for no charge but found that many people were taking the piss & getting us to identify what was wrong then going off & doing it themselves, some even had the cheek to come back to have the code reset or to have a go becasue changing whatever part didnt cure the fault banghead

Some cars require the machine to have the serice lights reset, this is never charged as an extra. We do not check for fault codes unless there is a reson for it (ie the light is on) if the car is in for service then we dont charge extra for doing this.

Steve H

4,328 posts

159 months

Tuesday 9th November 2010
quotequote all
thinfourth2 said:
mybrainhurts said:
Rich_W said:
mrmr96 said:
He wouldn't charge you extra to use the screwdrivers or wrenches, so why any other tool? He wouldn't even charge to use the 4 post lift, which would cost a bit more than a diag box.
So the basic labour rate covers what exactly?

rolleyes
1/3 wages, 1/3 overheads, 1/3 profit.
1/3 wages

Certainly not the mechanics wages they are doing very very very well to get £15/hr
You are also doing very well to find a dealer that charges as little as £45 per hour. Don't forget that the wages have to cover the reception staff, valeter, dogsbody etc as well; in a dealer there will usually be an additional 1-2 members of staff in the service dept to pay for every one that is being billed out at the hourly rate.

Back on topic a bit, in most cases a diagnostic check is not a part of the manufacturers service schedule so if you wanted or needed it doing it would be chargeable whether at the normal hourly rate or as a fixed plug-in price.

If you do need a diagnostic check then it should be done by one of the senior techs rather than the spanner monkeys as it often does take more than just a plug-in and read the result. If you want the mechanic with no electrical knowledge who has bought a Snap-On scanner or a £50 OBD reader then you probably will find a garage that will do the "diagnosis" for free and fit you a bunch of parts that you probably don't need.

A lot of garages will charge a flat rate for the initial diagnosis work as it's often impossible to quote properly in advance to find a fault because it's impossible to know in advance how hard it will be to find - the fixed charge covers enough time to do a basic assessment which may prove the fault but if it doesn't it's enough to give a more sensible idea of what further testing may be required.

Diagnostic work is often the trickiest work carried out in a workshop, doing it correctly can save the customer hundreds of pounds in wasted labour time or unnecessary parts but they still have a moan at having to pay for it rolleyes.




DJFish

5,759 posts

227 months

Tuesday 9th November 2010
quotequote all
I took my car to my very knowledgeable BMW chap to investigate some warning icons and he ran a full diagnostic using two different machines with me driving the car (mainly because he knows a geek when he sees one and knew I'd be interested) the whole process lasted a good hour and cleared some spurious faults but identified some real ones which will get fixed at the next service.

Now that I know what's involved in a proper diagnostic check (ie not a five minute plug in job) I'm happy to pay for one if my chap thinks one is required, however I've just checked the last service and he includes it in the price of the service anyway.

I suppose if you're unhappy with the service then say something, if you're still unhappy vote with your feet and take your custom elsewhere.
I'm