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Regarding Forums

Here at MPC, we love cars. We love working on them, talking and reading about them, and just being surrounded by great automotive work every day. In fact, we are in continuously in learning mode, it would be foolish not to be. So it naturally follows that in addition to our many professional sources of technical information, we also read, refer to, and occasionally contribute to several of the specialized forums that are aimed at the German auto enthusiast. We’ve gained and given valuable knowledge through the forum venue, and we have gained many new customers through forum-user generated referrals.

Having said that, forum-derived material has its limitations, which is the subject of this post. About half a dozen times per year, we will have a customer come to us who has spent a lot of time reading forum posts pertaining to their particular vehicle, and with that homework comes everything from “suggestions” to outright demands as to how their repair, service, or modification should be performed.  Since we do always want to be gaining new knowledge and information, we will go ahead and review the link or thread that the customer references, and a majority of the time, there is a substantial difference between what the forum is referring to and what is actually going on with the customer’s vehicle, which we will proceed to explain in detail.

Occasionally, we will come across a truly unique, ingenious, or otherwise novel procedure to address a repair that might either save us time, or actually solve some Gordian-knot-type riddle we had been wrestling with. The latest example of this is the replacement of captured nuts in the no-access windshield channel of Porsche Boxsters. When even our trusted body shop couldn’t come up with a solution, we found a great procedure using steel nut-serts that will clearly last the lifetime of the vehicle.

Other times, there will be anywhere from one to a few posters who will detail how they changed out an alternator, installed a new cat-back system, or replaced, refurbished, or otherwise performed some fix or mod, all in a fraction of the time that “the shop” said it would take to do “the exact same thing”. It is this particular situation that I call attention to, because it puts us as professionals, behind the proverbial eight ball. As a business, rather than a friend’s garage or enthusiast’s backyard, we warranty the work that we do on customer cars. If something doesn’t function correctly, or worse yet, causes follow-on problems in other areas of the vehicle, we have to, and we will make it right. Also, we have seen many multiple numbers of vehicles over what an individual sees, and as such, we’re closer to having “seen it all” with regards to what can trip up, slow down, or otherwise complicate a procedure. For example, there is a popular manufacturers of beautiful aftermarket exhaust systems, (who we really like working with BTW), who routinely understates installation times for its systems. Their product is top-quality, and they are a great company to deal with, but the installs never go in as smoothly as they claim, there is always tweaking needed to ensure that the system doesn’t interfere with suspension or other underbody areas, even on brand new vehicles. If the vehicle is a few years old and particularly corroded, install time can double, as we need torch-time to loosen fittings and fasteners.

Here’s the point: While we belong and contribute to several forums, and recognize their value in the experience of an auto enthusiast’s pursuit of that passion, we have a repair process that has been developed through experience, training, and ingenuity. That process cannot be sidelined due to a forum article. The writer or hobbyist has no skin in the game when it comes to our customer’s ownership experience and enjoyment of their vehicle, but we do.