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Motor Club Aims to Improve Garage Standards

By October 27, 2010No Comments

Duane Ellis, General Manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA)

Earlier this year Lee Green had a problem with his car. Often the engine would overheat and the motor vehicle would embarrassingly shut off while he is driving in heavy traffic.

The problem with his car was a simple one: three tiny hoses hidden beneath the engine had worn out and needed to be replaced. The hoses were inexpensive and easy to replace; however, Mr. Green ended up spending more than $50,000 to correct the problem.

First, he took the car to a mechanic who suggested that there was something wrong with the water pump; therefore, he paid him to install a new one. And, as he drove the car through the gate, the engine began to overheat again.
Believing that the problem might be the radiator, he then visited a radiator specialist.

“They told me, it was indeed a radiator problem and they could fix it. They said I never needed a new radiator it just needed ‘rodding’,” a frustrated Mr. Green related.

The mechanics “rodded” the radiator and fitted it with a new cap, a procedure for which Mr. Green also paid, but the problem persisted. It was not until he visited another mechanic, who suggested that the engine needed skimming, that the real problem was discovered. By then Mr. Green had spent a “pretty penny.”“I spent about $50,000.00 on the car, to fix a problem that was being caused by three rubber hoses that cost about $100 each!” he ranted.

Mr. Green believes that if the technicians he visited were better trained, and more thorough in the service they provided, he would have saved this time and money.

“Many motorists continue to have experiences very similar to Mr. Green’s,” says Duane Ellis, General Manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA). “Bringing your vehicle to the garage can be such a frustrating experience for motorists who encounter poor standards that pertain in some facilities.”

He stated that the motor club will be launching a new programme aimed at improving the level of service offered by motor repairers across the island. The JAA Approved Auto Repairers programme, requires, among other things, that technicians are certified and participate continuing training courses. The programme has been endorsed by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

“Our hope is that this intervention will raise the minimum standard of the services offered to consumers by operators in the auto repairer industry. But more importantly is that,” the JAA General Manager says, “it will reduce the headache motorists experience when they seek motor vehicle repairs.”

The programme, which will be launched on October 27, will also monitor garages to ensure the facilities are clean, kempt, use proper diagnostic and repair equipment; as well as, provide professional customer service.