QOTW #53 – Know what is being fixed and charged for?

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Welcome to BamfordRose and another question of the week. As always, it really helps us if you can like, comment, subscribe and hit the bell for notification, so you always get our videos, as soon as we release them.

This week, it’s a question that arose when a guy popped in and just asked us to run over. A repair bill that it had from a franchise dealer. He thought it was quite high, but the car was in at the franchise dealer, so he had no real option but to fix the car how they suggested. Once he’s got it back on reflection, I mean it’s nickeled him a bit to the point where he wanted to come in and just sanity check what was being charged.

This question is entitled to know what you need to have fixed, and therefore pay the correct price for it. What had happened to this chap is that his car had failed to start ignition again. It’s DB9. It’s O7. It’s a conventional key, not the glass key, and put the key in the ignition, turn it on and the car doesn’t want to start.

Normally that phone call comes through to here and it’s along the lines of I think I need a new start motor. If you’ve seen our previous video on tracker failure, you’ll know that the answer is, I doubt it, I think you need to track a disconnect. Here’s the track of failure video, link to that just pop that up now, worth going to watch that, and then come back to this one.

He explained to me the symptoms of a tracker. I said well sounds like you’ve had a tracker failure. And you just need the tracker turning off. He said, all I know that the franchise dealer told me that I needed a new immobilizer. I had to pay for an immobilizer, to be fitted.

So the question is. Well okay. What is an immobilizer? What’s the part number for an immobilizer? Because there isn’t one on the Aston. The Aston has some security in the engine ECU, which deals with starting. So that’s one side of the immobilizer circuit where it does a handshake with the key, or the tracker fob and enables a start. The other half is the signal that’s being sent out through the tracker module, and then received back. If the receiver Center needs to shut the car off at the next start, that’s handled through the tracker module, go into the body module.

There is no separate immobilizer. There’s an engine ECU that does some of the tasks. There’s a tracker module that does some other tasks. And there’s a body module that controls it all and it’s the brain. He didn’t need a body module. He didn’t need an engine ECU. He had a problem with the tracker module.

Now, here, as the franchise dealer could do, that they obviously don’t want to. That is a simple disconnect of the tracker module and a reprogramming of the body module with tracker inactive, because if you just disconnected the tracker module. The body module would realize it’s not there and then not approved the engine to be started. Now, this guy didn’t have a tracker subscription, doesn’t want one. There is no point in having an active tracker. His car didn’t start, it broke down. And he was told he needed an immobilizer which is the tracker module. So instead of putting a brand-new module, that is what they retail for 1,300 pounds. You know a significant chunk of money to repair something that he didn’t need to. So instead of just putting a new tracker module on, because the old one is defective. Then he can adjust had it disconnected reflash software for what 50 quid. He’s on his way.

So, I hear this on other things, quite a bit. It happens within the franchise network you wouldn’t get this happen in the independent network. I think the independents do a good job of explaining, exactly what’s wrong, why it’s gone wrong, what needs to be done to fix it. Whereas a dealer can be a bit standoffish, you know you often don’t speak to the service adviser. You speak through a receptionist, which says hey! The service adviser is saying you need X, Y or Z.

So, I’ve heard them for the people that fall for it. I’ve heard them replace air banks every 10 years. Seatbelt pretensioners every 10 years. When clearly, the guards don’t need that. It might say so in the book, but I don’t know why I Aston put that. A few makers do that they need to be refreshed every 10 years. But it’s not legislation. It’s not an MOT failure.

So when you are presented with a bill, if you don’t understand exactly what it’s for, then question it. If you ask questions and you don’t get the answers, pick up the phone to another garage that can explain it. Because in this instance, not knowing what needs to be fixed, can cost quite some money. Especially, if they think that they can pull the wool over your eyes, as has happened in this case. Because there is no such part as an immobilizer on the Aston.

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