The K-I-S-S Method
An older gentleman came to the shop with a wiper problem. His
problem was simple, the wipers wouldn’t turn off. Well, that’s not
unusual, this sort of thing happens a lot, it’s just the kind of repairs
I like to do. Except for the fact that this guy was insistent that it had
to be a serious malfunction. This made me think there was something
seriously wrong with the car, he sounded so sure of himself.
And if it was going to be a huge expense he wasn’t going to have
it fixed, instead, he would return the car back to the lot that he just
bought it from.
My job was clear, find the problem, find the solution, and make the repair. Not hard, no big deal, piece a cake…!
I drove the car into the shop with the wipers on full blast, wiping away on the now very dry windshield. Screech, screech, went the wiper blades. Just before I turned the key off I gave it a shot of windshield cleaner … damn… empty, the old guy has already went through the supply of fluid in the bottle. Oh well, shut the car off and check this thing out, I’ll take care of the fluid later.
Now the nice thing about the newer cars is the factory scanners have the individual systems on the screen so you can check them without tearing anything apart or grabbing a test light. You can read the system on the screen and determine the fault without even getting dirty, pretty cool if you ask me.
I grabbed my NGS scanner and plugged all the car info into it. Make, model, engine, etc… Found the menu for sub-systems, and what do ya know; there it is… wiper diagnostics… cool… I’ll run it through the tests.
Ah, let’s see … switch override, aha, and …main relay on… hmmm, good. Low speed, ah, yep, there’s the high speed control.. awesome … washer pump control… crap… gotta go fill the reservoir up with washer fluid so I can check it. Ok, that’s done, … let’s see, washer pump activation, press 1 on the scanner… yep… washer pump works great too. Ok, now what’s the problem…?
Reading the scanner is one thing, understanding what you’re looking at is another. Here I am with the scanner … watching the command signals on the scanner telling me that the wipers are ON, and not once looking to see what position the wiper switch was in.
All the guys in the shop are watching me standing behind the driver’s door holding onto the scanner, and dodging the windshield fluid spray as if it was incoming fire from an enemy sniper. As always there is plenty of sarcastic remarks from the crew, and few choice words from me when I would get caught with the spray.
Let’s see; I filled out an invoice, brought the car in the shop, got the scanner hooked up, played around with the scanner, and… never checked the basics. My bad…
I’m feeling a little dumb at this point, the boss isn’t suppose to do stupid things like “not checking the switch” that’s what the junior mechanic is suppose to get caught doing… not the old man himself. I was hoping nobody noticed the sly little movement of my left hand twisting the wiper switch to the, OFF position. A quick glance at the scanner’s information;……Now how about that… the scanner shows “commanded signal – OFF” and so are the wipers. It’s A miracle!
No don’t tell me… oh no, he didn’t, did he?… yep, he did. The old guy drove his car all the way to the shop with the wiper switch in the ON position… and, the dumb ass tech went straight for the scanner without looking at the car first. Ya’d think I would at least have looked at the position of the wiper switch before I did anything. It could have save a lot of time; it could have been a quick thank you from the customer, but, noooo…
Nope, just had to do it, just had to go get the scanner, after I just got done telling all the guys in the shop how we needed to simplify our diagnostic procedures and pay closer attention to the information that the customer was telling us. Which information was that??.....He just bought the car, should have been a dead giveaway. My bad…again.
I took the car around front and gave the keys back to the proud owner. He was busy telling another customer about myself, and how he knew I could fix “anything” on a car, and how I was always honest and up front with all my services. When I told him “no charge” he turned to the lady and said, “See, I told ya.”
Now with his new found information that seemingly incredible problem was nothing to worry about at all, and there was no need of going back to the car lot where he just bought it at.
Down the road went my happy, non-wiper turning off customer. I was actually happier for myself than for the customer... Why you ask? Because I didn’t have to explain to anyone in the shop … how the boss couldn’t figure out the wiper switch was left on without consulting a scanner. You know this new technology is great and these new scanners are wonderful….. But I have to remind myself from time to time….. <KISS >…….Keep-It-Simple-Stupid….