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Thread: Dealing with the little guy

  1. #1
    Bronze Member rfnel's Avatar
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    Dealing with the little guy

    Hey Guys

    In a cruel twist of fate, I picked up a scratch on my car (). Anyway, I've been looking for companies to fix it. I can't afford to be without my car for a couple of days, so I found a guy who comes to your home/office to fix dents and scratches.

    What leaves me slightly concerned is that the guy works for himself, so there's no big name behind him. According to his website, he does work for a couple of big dealerships (VW, Audi and BMW, among others) and he has 16 years of experience. On the other hand, you have big repair shops backed by a franchise and whatnot, but HelloPeter is rife with complaints about these guys (causing additional body damage, ripping out wiring, etc).

    In a dog-eat-dog world, who do you trust? The unknown little guy who works for himself and has only his name to uphold, or big, established companies. I'm pessimistic, and cars are expensive, hence my concern. I've decided to give the little guy a chance (fingers crossed that my car will be restored to her former glory).

    On a side-note, has anyone ever dealt with Auto Paint Repairs (http://www.autopaintrepairs.co.za/wcontact.php)?

    Cheers,
    Riaan
    Last edited by rfnel; 27-Mar-12 at 01:18 PM.
    "Fortune favours the bold" - Virgil
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  2. #2
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    A metallic coloured car cannot be fixed as a diy job. If the car is white it should be ok but not Pearl white. If the car is white 2000 Corolla, go for it, if it is a 2010 Merc think think twice.
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    Diamond Member Vanash Naick's Avatar
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    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the little guy! I am a textbook example of the little guy!
    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Karl Marx
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    There is a place for the little guy but not everywhere.

    In this case (if the car is a metallic) the little guy can do a lot of damage because he can't afford appropriate equipment. If he could, he wouldn't be a little guy!

    A bit like the little guy trying to repair the electronics on a BMW M5 without R50K worth of testgear....it can't and shouldn't be done. (Contrary to what people might think, 90% of car problems cannot be diagnosed without electronic diagnostic equipment that speaks to each individual ECU)...Or you could have the little guy repair the brakes on the Airbus A320 that flies you from JNB - CPT, why not...he needs the work.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Just shows you how good the corporates marketing has become, they really have the public convinced that only they can do the job.

    Well if you contact Maroun's auto paint, they will mix you up the correct paint for any vehicle on the planet. They will ask you some specific information on the vehicle, including the VIN number, and will look up in the file, punch the info into their computer, and a few seconds later the paint machine will mix up the paint to the same formulae used on the day that specific car was painted at the factory.

    what stops the little guy of actually having a diagnostic machine to interface into any of the cars out there?
    They all use can bus and adhere to a protocol. So theoretically he can do just a good job as any so called company.

    What we are not seeing, is that manufacturers, are slowly changing the way that they provide services. They are attempting to control the complete cycle from the day you purchase that vehicle to the day you trade it in for another same manufacturer vehicle. By doing this, they are tying you in to be a customer for the life of the vehicle, in other words you can only spend with them, and they will try any trick in the book to ensure you do not stray, as they want every Rand that that product requires into their organization.
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    Diamond Member Vanash Naick's Avatar
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    I'm for the little guy becuase I am the little guy!
    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Karl Marx
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  8. #7
    Email problem KimH's Avatar
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    ^^ the perfect reason to deal with the 'little guy'
    "If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mother told you."

  9. Thank given for this post:

    rfnel (28-Mar-12), Vanash Naick (28-Mar-12)

  10. #8
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    @Justloadit - You are wrong, the little guy does not belong in some industries (It is too late for him) So tell me, why don't you let your garden boy do your dentistry, the garden boy doesn't have the skill or the equipment (but he feels that he is capable because he considers himself to be the little guy and he doesn't need an xray machine anyway), doesn't matter, he has a chair and a Dremel.

    Assumptions are the mother of all f_ups. Being able to obtain the right colour is not the problem, being able to apply it correctly is. Metallic paints are electrostatically charged when painted correctly, doing so forces the metallic flakes to line up. Why do you think you can see a resprayed metallic car door if you look at it from an angle. 2K paints are very difficult to paint and need to be baked. Enamels take a long time to dry thus collecting dust. High pressure spray guns need good clean filtered air. Your neighbour may just not appreciate it when some dingbat with his bakkie and spray shop pull and respray your car in the driveway.

    Now to car electronics. No they don't all use CAN-BUS and no they don't all adhere to the same protocol. There are various communication standards. J1850, ISO9141, ISO 14230-4 and various others running on K-Line, LIN-BUS, CAN-BUS even fibre. All cars in the USA since 1996 have an ODBII port which gives access to rudementary information related to pollution standards and the checking thereof. Besides the fact that cars don't all speak CAN-BUS they don't even speak at the same speed or dialect across a simple communication channel such as K-Line, some speak at 1200 baud and some up to 115200 and to make it more complicated, some speak at totally abstruse speeds. An off the shelf diagnostic tool, such as the LAUNCHX 431 does not have all the information related to all cars, nor does the top of the line R100K Bosch KTS670. The larger car manufacturers simply do not make all the information available. I will say this again, the little guy CANNOT diagnose or repair a fault on a BMW M5 unless he has BMW proprietry diagnostic equipment.

    What we are not seeing, is that manufacturers, are slowly changing the way that they provide services. They are attempting to control the complete cycle from the day you purchase that vehicle to the day you trade it in for another same manufacturer vehicle. By doing this, they are tying you in to be a customer for the life of the vehicle, in other words you can only spend with them, and they will try any trick in the book to ensure you do not stray, as they want every Rand that that product requires into their organization.
    Hmmm...maybe the person who is foolish enough to buy a new car every 4 years doesn't see this. To a car manufacturer a car is a means to an end i.e. your purchase of the car secures a long term business relationship where you get to give them a whole lot of money. A car doesn't have a guarantee so that they will fix it if it breaks, it is done so that you will have them service the car. Why do you think it costs R340 to fit a lightbuld that they charge R43 for (which actually costs R5.40 at Midas and you just reach under the bumper to fit) I bought and fitted a clutch plate, pressure plate and thrust bearing myself the othe day for R 650. The local little guy quoted me R2700 and the agent quoted me R4700. Interesting how the same parts in a different box cost 3x as much. The problem is that some parts simply cannot be pirated such as electronics. I will never buy a new car, give me Martin's Cobra with a V8 and a Holley carb, if it breaks I'll strip the engine in the garage and fix it myself, no electronics, just plain and simple raw mechanical power. Humanity got ffed over by the car industry long ago, 99% of people simply don't know it, they think that all the electronics and junk make the cars better, no they don't, they make the cars disposable and reneder they little guy mechanic useless. Another thing, there was a time when a auto electrician was a guy who used a multimeter and a bit of savvy, it doesn't work that way today, I spent some time with a VW electro tech while he had the dash of a Porsche Cayenne off because there was an electronic fault pinpointed by the VAG proprietary test gear. Think of the most elelctrical wires you've ever seen together and x that by 10. Some are 12V some are K-line, some are Lin Bus and some are CAN-BUS...You need a degree in computer science crossed with micro electroics to work on these cars.

    We can go around this all day long, my view is this: The little guy has his place and we need to support him, but, if the little guy does not have the correct infrastructure to be able to diagnose and correct a fault then the little guy should get funding to do so, or he should stick to technologies where his services add value. In some industries, the little guy is downright dangerous...Make no mistake, I am a little guy too, but I have learned that there are things that I simply cannot do because I don't have the education or infrastructure or skills or whatever. Being the little guy is not a license to stick your nose in everywhere, it is a position of growth where the most important thing is to know your abilities and also your limitations. The little bookkeeper isn't a CA, the GP isn't a Surgeon and the little spray painter can stuff up a R800,000 car.

    Here is another thought: The Dougles DC-3 Dakota has been around since 1936. Those aircraft still fly, the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" flew at Mach 3 in 1966 and continued to do so till 1998, yet, astonishingly we are unable to build a car that lasts for more than a couple of years without falling apart and needing to be mollycoddled every 10,000 km...Ja ja...must be that civilian motor engineers are just doff....or could it be that the public are the doff ones who are simply programmed into capatilist consumption....consume or the system breaks....I got news for them, the system is already broken!
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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  12. #9
    Bronze Member rfnel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    There is a place for the little guy but not everywhere.

    In this case (if the car is a metallic) the little guy can do a lot of damage because he can't afford appropriate equipment. If he could, he wouldn't be a little guy!

    A bit like the little guy trying to repair the electronics on a BMW M5 without R50K worth of testgear....it can't and shouldn't be done. (Contrary to what people might think, 90% of car problems cannot be diagnosed without electronic diagnostic equipment that speaks to each individual ECU)...Or you could have the little guy repair the brakes on the Airbus A320 that flies you from JNB - CPT, why not...he needs the work.
    For safety's sake, I eventually caved in and decided to go with a bigger little guy (or a smaller big guy, whichever you prefer to call a family-owned panel-beater) who has a certificate of approval from the manufacturer of my car. Better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to warranties.
    "Fortune favours the bold" - Virgil
    Riaan Nel
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    @rfnel - Well done and well said "Bigger Little Guy", now that is the right guy to support if your car falls into the next colour category - this guy seems to have the right infrastructure (he has to otherwise the agents wouldn't have approved him)
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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