718Miata

Are Burnouts an Appropriate Way for Mechanics to Road Test Cars?

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As many of you are aware, I brought my 72 S30 to SZR Pro, in Houston, Texas, for a top to bottom evaluation of the car, and for any resultant work. The car was there for many weeks. When I picked it up, I had a long conversation with the mechanic who did most of the actual work on the car. He told me that he really liked the car and had been doing burnouts in it. 

I’ve been extremely dissatisfied with the quality of SZR’s work. I’ve been recently going back and forth with Brad, SZR’s manager, about the propriety of the burnouts.  He gave the following explanation:  

“No, he didn't admit that he did burnouts in your car, but burnouts in sports cars on private property in front of a performance shop aren't terribly uncommon. It's an effective strain check on the drivetrain of the car, similar in applied force to a spirited acceleration on the road. Oil pressure goes up, fuel pressure goes up, engine, clutch, trans, driveshaft, diff, and axles are under load, and the rear suspension compresses. All of this without leaving the parking lot, endangering anyone, or breaking any laws. We're not going to fill the lot with smoke or burn the tires down, but it is an effective test. That being said, I can see how one might consider that mistreatment. Though examining the physical forces applied to the various vehicle components would show that they're either equal to, or less than the forces applied by an enthusiastic drive down the road, some might be disturbed by wheelspin and tire smoke. If Raul did do burnouts in your car, and this is distasteful to you, then I humbly apologize for our apparent mistreatment of your sports car.

Even if I were to accept Brad’s explanation that the burnouts were done for testing purposes (which I don’t because it contradicts what the mechanic told me), is road testing a car with burnouts at all reasonable? 

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Hoonigan....

I don't do burnouts in my own cars. Why would I let or encourage anyone else to do so? That's just a way to create a possible problem by looking for it. Now if it was a track car, purpose built for abuse, then that's another story...

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I can't think of a single reason why they'd need to do a burnout, or how that could be helpful in diagnosis or testing. 

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Be thankful they don't run into stationary objects to test the seatbelts.  😎

Dennis

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7 minutes ago, psdenno said:

Be thankful they don't run into stationary objects to test the seatbelts.  😎

Dennis

Don't be silly. You don't test seat belts that way. You attach heavy chains to the rear bumper with some slack. Then you accelerate quickly. Once the slack has been removed, the car comes to a sudden stop, and the driver and passenger test the seat belt integrity. At least that's how my mechanic checked mine.

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Maybe request a refund for 10,000 miles of unnecessary rear tire wear ....  (only 1 tire unless you have limited slip)

Edited by S30Driver
spelling

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3 minutes ago, SteveJ said:

Don't be silly. You don't test seat belts that way. You attach heavy chains to the rear bumper with some slack. Then you accelerate quickly. Once the slack has been removed, the car comes to a sudden stop, and the driver and passenger test the seat belt integrity. At least that's how my mechanic checked mine.

I've printed your comment and passed it along to my mechanic to use during my next maintenance interval visit.  It's good I still have the tie down hooks on the rear so he can easily attach the chains.

Dennis

 

 

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That’s a good point. Dynos exist. 
 

is it possible that SZR could have caused an oil leak at the rear main seal by doing burnouts (and god knows what else) in my car? 

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Not any mechanic I would use. Like Wheee said, I don't do burnouts in my car why would I let my mechanic do it.

 

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I am guessing possible  Ujoint Damage, differential damage, clutch damage, Front Differential Mount Damage, maybe differential retaining strap damage and a louder clunk.

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Brad’s explanation for the burnouts is cut and pasted directly from his email. Perhaps next I’ll post his explanation for SZR’s failed electrical work. 

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3 minutes ago, 718Miata said:

Brad’s explanation for the burnouts is cut and pasted directly from his email. Perhaps next I’ll post his explanation for SZR’s failed electrical work. 

We all like a good chuckle, sorry it's on your dime though.

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Great conversation - complete Homer Simpson!  Don't take your car to them any more.

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Wow.  Reading this post really put me in a bad mood.  Beat the crap out of someone else's classic car....

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2 hours ago, 87mj said:

Wow.  Reading this post really put me in a bad mood.  Beat the crap out of someone else's classic car....

...and then charge them money for it and tell them it's all fixed!  Unbelievable.

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4 hours ago, grannyknot said:

...and then charge them money for it and tell them it's all fixed!  Unbelievable.

Is there a state licensing board to complain to?

I’d be interested in seeing the service procedural checklist and summary sheet.

If they have one it probably looks something like this:

  1. Replace plugs, wires, points, rotor, condenser, & cap
  2. Set timing
  3. Check brakes for wear
  4. Check brake fluid
  5. Check tire pressure
  6. Adjust clutch
  7. Change oil & filter
  8. Top off radiator fluid
  9. Check to see if owner is in the waiting area
  10. Drive it like you stole it
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So I sent an email to Brad Hobbs, SZR Pro’s manager about everyone’s feedback, and received a response.  Pretty lousy response, if you ask me.

 

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Edited by 718Miata

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