Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Why to Always Check Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) Before Repairing a Car

Why to Always Check TSBs First Before Repairing a Car

When you’re going in to interview for an automotive technician job, they will ask you about the various tools you use to keep your customers’ vehicles running smoothly. Sure, there will be more to it than that, and they couldn’t possibly ask you about every single tool you might use in your profession, but one that will definitely get brought up is Technical Service Bulletins. Not only is this an essential tool of the trade, but it’s one you should be using every single time you have a customer.

A brief description of Technical Service Bulletins

Everyone is familiar with product recalls, especially people who own vehicles. Listening to the recommendations made by these recalls is essential for staying safe while on the road. Ignoring them can lead to expensive repairs, injuries or even death.

Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) can be seen as a step below recalls. They warn about unanticipated problems an automobile manufacturer has received reports about regarding a specific vehicle. Due to the number of these reports, the manufacturer is essentially assuming there’s a good chance more will follow.

TSBs are sent to dealerships and auto body shops. However, the public can access them as well. Edmunds.com publishes TSBs, for one. Also if the problem becomes persistent enough, the manufacturer will usually send out a Customer Notification letter – much like a recall – to let owners know about the issue. Therefore, it really is important that you look at them as well.

Using TSBs to repair vehicles

The reason why TSBs are so important for repairing vehicles is because they will literally tell you what to do. Keep in mind that they’re not issued for routine problems you’d be used to as a mechanic. Instead, they’re for issues that the vehicle’s manufacturer didn’t even see coming, so there’s a good chance you wouldn’t know how to address it off the top of your head either. Therefore, get in the habit of checking for any TSBs put out for a make and model before you begin attempting repairs. Otherwise, you could put a lot of time and work into a vehicle and only find out later that it had no effect – or that you actually made things worse.

Duplicate the problem first

Another element that’s important to point out where TSBs are concerned is that even if you check the bulletin for a make and model and it describes a certain problem, you can’t just begin with repairs.

The reason we recommend always checking them is because a customer may just want an oil change, but because you checked the TSBs you find out that other owners have been reporting problems with the ignition switch so much so that the manufacturer has released a bulletin.

While it would be a good idea to see if this is indeed a problem for your customer’s vehicle, you must be able to duplicate it – meaning you must witness the issue happening – before you begin with repairs. Otherwise, the customer will have to foot the bill. Being able to reproduce the problem is the only way the manufacturer will pick up the tab.

Likewise, if a customer comes in with their vehicle and reports a problem that was mentioned in a recent TSB (whether they first checked it or not), you can’t proceed with repairs until you can duplicate it. Again, if you do, the customer will be forced to cover the costs.

TSBs are an extremely helpful way to catch problems before they become something worse and fix issues you may not have ever dealt with before. However, be sure you understand how to use them properly. As we just discussed above, it doesn’t take any strenuous auto mechanic training to learn how to, but they could save your customers lots of money and ensure they come back for help in the future.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...
How to Get Chevrolet Dealership Certified
Chevrolet car dealerships offer automotive technician jobs to mechanics who are certified through the many training programs available.
P3485 OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Exhaust Valve Control Malfunction
P3485 means an issue with cylinder 11’s exhaust valve control circuit which causes sluggish acceleration and decreased fuel economy.


Related questions

Q: Used x5 2010 x5 35d common problems ?

Hello, thank you for writing in. Our technicians are mobile, and they come to you. This is one way that we save overheads costs and pass that savings into you! Secondly, always get a pre-purchase inspection done by a qualified...

Q: Mechanic as a career?

If you're interested in cars, you might want to train to become a mechanic. The guys at YourMechanic were telling me that, for qualified mechanics, pay rates start at $40 an hour. Of course, you are not a qualified mechanic...

Q: OD2 scanner read trouble code P0101

Your computer may not be able to correctly interpret the data from the mass airflow sensor on your engine causing the P0101 code to keep returning. The manufacturer has a Technical Service Bulletin that came out January 30th of 2015....