Guest Blog: Alan Quackenbush

Prepurchase inspections: vehicles vs. human bodies

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

We had an upset customer call us about a pre-purchase inspection we performed a few years ago and over 20k miles have been driven since the service. The customer had a timing chain failure and thought we should have informed them at the time of their previous service. This experience brought me to this thought I felt impelled to put into writing. 

In November of 2018, I had my annual physical with my regular doctor. He said all my blood work was great and all other aspects of the exam had the same good results. I was told I was healthy and to keep up the exercise and good eating habits. I left happy, relieved, and trusted my doctor's findings. In February, merely three months later, I became ill and had a lengthy stay in the hospital with double pneumonia and an arterial flutter. Thank God they were able to get me back to decent health.

My question is “why didn't my doctor tell me this was going to happen?”. Should I be mad because he didn't predict this issue? I am only 59 so it certainly couldn’t be a result of all the mileage and poor habits over the years! Perhaps if he would have performed more tests in November that it would have helped? Probably not. I had experienced symptoms but I put them off until It was almost catastrophic for my body. Was that my doctor’s fault as well? 

I have worked in the automotive repair industry for 42 years. I am good at what I do, I love what I do and I care about my customers and their vehicles. We do offer and perform many pre-purchase inspections, as well as quarterly and annual inspections. We can see external wear items. We can perform testing to help us follow a symptom. What we can't do is x-ray through metal objects, guess how the vehicle is being treated by the owner or what unexpected events may happen in the future. 

Perhaps we can help our customers understand their needs by correlating our personal health with the “health” of their vehicle. Should they still get their car serviced, inspected and repaired on a regular basis? I think they should. Just as doctors can with our bodies, we as service professionals, can help detect and verify many issues with their vehicle. 

Our vehicles are just like our own bodies. Keeping doctor appointments, taking proper care and maintenance, as well as a good diet will help me live longer. Unfortunately, like our vehicles, we will not live forever. 

Alan Quackenbush
MWACA Past President
A-1 Custom Car Care

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