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Discussion Starter #1
Okay all you techies..here is your chance to help me pick a non-dealership mechanic to work on my smart (and maybe replace the duct tape).

I am taking my smart to a guy on Friday just for introductions and assesments... no actual work. Current specialty is MB and BMW and very positive feedback from MB owners. He is VERY interested in working on smarts (economically, too as this was one of pet peeves with the dealership we discussed) and has actually never seen one in person. I did a 30 telephone interview with the owner of the place last night. He is wanting to be the local go-to-guy on the smarts if all this works.

He has asked me about the common issues with the smart since they have been here, some of the common modications, and maintenence issues.

I need an interview list before Friday. Please help me with the list. Questions to ask, red flags, green lights...
thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #3
nothing...the 30k maintenence is due before the Dragon, the right front wheel is toeing a little and may need aligned; no other real issues that I know about. I am looking at long term maintenence more than urgent issues.
 

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...as you walk into their shop...is the shop clean?...can you see trash or tools all over the place?...if there are other cars there look to see if they are using fender covers when working in the engine area or any other kind of protection for the car being worked on...plastic carpet/seat covers come to mind...

...do they have access to the smart maintenance manual on line?...will they be willing to pay for a subscription?...a good technician when presented with the pertinent information on how to do a task will have no problem performing that job...

...how long have they been in business?...bonded and insured?...warranties from the work performed?...

...but above all...show cleavage...

jetfuel...hairy chest...


luvu2
 

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1. Do only ASE certified mechanics work on the car?

2. Who in the shop has the least amount of years working as an ASE certified mechanic? When did you hire him/her and how many years has he/she been an ASE certified mechanic?

3. Who in the shop has the most amount of years working as an ASE certified mechanic? When did you hire him/her and how many years has he/she been an ASE certified mechanic?

4. How many mechanics work on one car at a time? Is it one, person, two, etc.

Check out these links:

What to Look for in an Auto Repair Shop | Auto Repair by City

What to Look for at an Auto Repair Shop - MonkeySee

http://www.monkeysee.com/play/14091-questions-to-ask-at-an-auto-repair-shop
 

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If they've never seen a smart, be prepared to walk them through the basic stuff - how to remove the service flap, removing the engine cover, even opening & lowering the rear hatch. Seems basic to us but not to other folks. Even starting the car can be an issue if they think they have to hold the key in the start position. Better to tell them too much than not enough. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If they've never seen a smart, be prepared to walk them through the basic stuff - how to remove the service flap, removing the engine cover, even opening & lowering the rear hatch. Seems basic to us but not to other folks. Even starting the car can be an issue if they think they have to hold the key in the start position. Better to tell them too much than not enough. :)
This guy and his team will need education and I have no issue helping with that as much as I can direct them where to find the information and not leave them stranded.

Along the smart topic and besides accessing the repair manual (which this guy is willing to subscribe if the market is there); is there anything I should take to him? Lists of websites? vendors?
 

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If they've never seen a smart, be prepared to walk them through the basic stuff - how to remove the service flap, removing the engine cover, even opening & lowering the rear hatch. Seems basic to us but not to other folks. Even starting the car can be an issue if they think they have to hold the key in the start position. Better to tell them too much than not enough. :)
+1

He is wanting to be the local go-to-guy on the smarts if all this works. He has asked me about the common issues with the smart since they have been here, some of the common modications, and maintenence issues.
Just me rattling off everything I can think of... :) Of course, he'll need to pick and choose what he thinks will be popular/profitable and worth his while.

Maintenance issues:
- Where the tow hook, air compressor, etc. are located and how to remove the carpet/styrofoam to get to it
- Location of battery and due to the electronics, how important it is to disconnect it before doing any electrical work
- Have proper oil, oil filter, drain plug washer, engine air filter and cabin air filter on hand
- Have proper spark plugs and upgraded plugs (Iridium) available and have proper tools to install
- How to remove/install body panels including the proper way to remove the side skirts (send to Evilution's site for this and other common items)
- Have headlight and other bulbs available and know how to replace them
- How to adjust headlights so people don't flash you at night

Be aware of:
- Crazing panoramic roof issue
- Clutch issue
- Brake interlock switch issue
- Shifter lubrication issue
- Purge valve (tap, tap, tap) issue and solutions to reduce/eliminate
- Bulb replacement can be an issue
- Electrical grounding points
- Some devices that plug into the 12V DC socket can throw codes
- Odd noises that smart makes that are normal (startup air pump, ABS test, etc.)

Aftermarket requests:
- How to install an Area451 and/or MDC cruise control
- Installing four equal size wheels/tires including two OEM rear wheels/tires up front and third party wheels/tires (e.g., Rial 15x6 with 195/50 tires all the way around)
- Window tinting
- Touch up paints for the basic colors and Tridion
- Aftermarket air filters (aFe, K&N)
- Aftermarket air intakes, hoses, etc.
- Aftermarket exhaust installs
- Aftermarket engine mount installs
- Rear cargo lighting solutions
- Rear cargo management solutions
- Install OEM clock/tach pods
- Install OEM foglights
- Install HID headlights
- Tow hitch installation with wiring for trailers, etc.
- Baseplate to tow smart behind RV with wiring, etc.
- Replacing stock door speakers
- Stereo, GPS, and other electronic installs
 

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They will check your owners manual for required service for the 30K. It should be easy for them, since the car is simple to work on. I would imagine that the shop has ASE techs. Like jwight said, a quick walk around the car to familiarize them.

If you can, take a quick peek at your owners manual to find out what is required for 30K. Spark plugs? Oil change? Air filter? If so, actually providing the parts or part numbers help. This part # info is all over this forum.
 
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