The mechanical industry in our forums, industry magazines etc are chatting about the damage of incorrect log book stamps and its effects for both customer and industry. Maybe its mechanics trying to compete with the big dealers and cap price servicing for work. Customers with a higher cost of living unable to afford the inflated cost of newer vehicles and compensating parts. Could it just be incorrect service procedures and cutting corners. All of the above, more or just something to blame. This does not help if you buy a vehicle with the pre belief is a has a good service history due to log book stamps.
What do you mean by log book stamps? What is the issue?
Driving a long looking up at the traffic lights you notice hey my car is due for its 80 000 service. You call your mechanic and find out what the service price is. Wow hey, my last service was $300 and this time it is $500! Why the cost of parts hasn’t gone up that much. The mechanic then explains, this time your service schedule includes diff oils, cabin, air and fuel filter etc. That is where the price increase is. This is just an example so please don’t pay too much attention to the details of the service schedule or price. So the customer says well I just had to buy a new washing machine and new tyres so ill just book in the oil and oil filter change this time and we will fix that up next time. All complete as per the customers’ specifications and they request a log book stamp. The mechanic complies and stamps the log book even though the full service has not been carried out.
If it is stamped doesn’t it mean it has to be done correctly? You would hope but maybe not always the case.
There a few scenarios where this is a problem.
- If you purchase a vehicle based on its log book stamps and the information is misleading. The cost of repairs and damage done due to these schedules not being kept to is unknown.
- The owner of the vehicle over time is likely to forget where they are up to in their service schedule and the price of repair down the track will be similar to that of the last scenario.
- Next mechanic to service this vehicle will have to work from the start to try and guess what items have been done when a fault is found. This is costly and the unknown is always an issue.
Cost to you
At the end of the day if you own the car the cost financially and lost time to you is the issue. Cost to you scenario builds a level of friction between you and your mechanic. If the log book has been stamped are they lying to you, haven’t these parts been replaced? Do you need these items replaced? I need a mechanic who charges less or knows what he’s doing. If you are like our customers at PCP we find most of our customers look past the $30 filter we replaced on their approval and are thankful with the peace of mind we actually check the filter. The real value is in getting to work without a break down or to your next holiday destination without a backyard high price mechanic visit in the middle of tim buck two.
Tips if having up to date log book is important to you pre-purchases.
If you are looking to buy a vehicle here are a few pre-purchase checks you can do to see how true you feel the log book history is.
- Look at the log book and the speedo – do they match up?
- Read the last service schedule and what was done including dates. Many people have pre sale services compleated to cover up issues. An air filter is an easy item to check. Is it clean?
- Service sticker. Does it match the schedule in the book?
- Owner service. Who serviced the vehicle. It’s not really a log book service if it has been serviced by an unqualified owner. It may have items changed but are they aware of additional common or upcoming issues.
- Service receipts- are they in the car? Look at them as to the log book. Google or have a look at the reputation of the mechanic that has done the work. Its not uncommon we receive calls about vehicles we have previously worked on.
- Drive it does it feel right.
- Ask questions and let the owner speak, listen carefully. Often the task of selling leads to oversharing you will find out more than they wanted to tell you.
- Get under it, don’t be afraid to do more than look at the vehicle and have a chat with the owner. Are you willing to pay thousands to save the embarrassment or offending someone you may never meet again.
Pre-purchase mechanical check
Before you lay down your money for the new car is can save you money by paying money. How? Recently we had a quick look over a vehicle for a past customer who is upgrading his 4×4. For $125 he saved $20000 on a vehicle that was not going to run for much longer than the drive back to the show room. Often vehicles are traded due to the cost of repairing them is too high. They are not checked and are put back on the lot with a fresh wash and blacked tires for the next person to buy. While a mechanic will only be able to look over the fundamentals it can still give you peace of mind pre-purchase.
I really can’t afford a full log book service this time
Hey we understand that, timing belt and water pump can cost $1000 plus depending on the vehicle that’sats not including the common service points and issues you are experiencing. I don’t have a spare K sitting around just at my dispense either. We don’t always plan or look ahead for what may be next. An idea could be to book your service in and have an interval appointment made to do the work required to complete the logbook items when you have saved. Some businesses such as Power Curve Performance offer interest free finance, this can ensure your driving safely and your service and vehicle are up to date. If you haven’t planned that far ahead best practice is to stamp the book in the supplementary section. Alternatively, leave a note saying what has and hasn’t been serviced in this schedule.
If your mechanic dosesn’t think of it maybe something you may do your self. Today we have a patrol in for new welsh plugs, performance clutch and a few other items. Grab the kid’s school labeller or sticker machine and pop products and dates on a sticker under the bonnet. This will be a great reminder for you, your mechanic and shows a well looked after vehicle for the next owner.