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April 10, 2020


In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to make the most of every customer visit to your shop and minimize any waste or activity that doesn’t earn your shop money. Using Direct-Hit to write your repair orders can maximize your opportunity to sell additional maintenance, improve your repair quality and customer satisfaction, and reduce your costs from lost technician time and unnecessary phone calls to customers.

When customers decide to bring their car to your shop, it usually because of the following reasons:

  • Maintenance Needs: Oil changes, tire
  • General Repair: Noisy brakes, the window won’t open, failure to start
  • Symptom-based Complaints: Clunking or rattling noise, car stalling out

We’ll go through each of these factors and show you how to make the most out of each.


By having the Service Advisor show the Factory Recommended Maintenance schedule to the customer, it creates an opportunity to highlight what the factory (OEM) or car manufacturer suggests for maintenance at their mileage and time.

This shifts your customer interaction to one of awareness vs. one of telling. In other words, it’s not the shop or advisor telling the customer what their car needs are, but rather it’s the team that designed, tested and built the car.

There are two display options within Direct Hit:

  • OEM Style: a clone of the “Traditional Maintenance Schedule”, as shown in the cars owner’s manual
  • Direct Hit Customer Plan Style: The OEM recommendations presented in a consumer-friendly manner

In addition to improving the efficiency of repairs, Service Advisors can leverage Direct Hit to identify popular vehicles their customers own, common searches on those vehicles and what makes maintenance critical for them.

Because recommended maintenance can feel like just another expense to a customer if they don’t understand its purpose, it’s important that a Service Advisor be able to confidently explain why it’s critical, for example:

  • Fuel filter maintenance is mission-critical for common rail diesel engines. Escaping debris or reduced flow in the high-side pump can damage the pump, sending metal into the injectors, which can lead to repair work that costs thousands of dollars.
  • If engines with timing chains and variable valve timing don’t have synthetic oil changes at the recommended intervals, it can lead to costly repairs resulting from guide wear, chain stretch and sludge leads.
  • Diesel vehicles with particle filters and DEF systems are incredibly sensitive to the types of oil used, so much so that many manufacturers are putting in quality sensors to validate the DEF fluid put in the system. Cheap fluid can cause problems and trigger otherwise preventable service repairs.


Using Direct Hit to further their knowledge in auto service and better understand the cars allows the Service Advisor to build confidence and trust with their customers.


At the beginning of your shift, log into Direct Hit and minimize your browser. Once you know the year, make and model, you can access a particular vehicle by one of three methods:

  1. Copy the VIN number from your shop management system and paste it in the “VIN” Search field
  2. Enter the year and make in the “VIN” field
  3. Use the vehicle selection drop-down tab

Screenshots below depict the options:

Click the “Select Vehicle” button to see the home screen for that vehicle. In the “Estimating” section (yellow panel), select the “Maintenance” tab and click the “View Traditional Maintenance Schedules” button to view the OEM schedule.

In the upper left, you will see “Tire Rotation and Required Maintenance” and have the ability to change the selection by using the drop-down feature.

Now the Service Advisor can explain what the recommended scheduled maintenance is for a vehicle’s age and mileage, according to the engineers that designed and built it.


With General Repair order write up, the Service Advisor can check for technical service bulletins (TSBs) or recall bulletins and attach them to the repair order. This will help the technicians repair the car correctly and quickly the first time. After all, you don’t want to learn of a part or torque spec change when halfway done with the repair!

You can find “Fluids and Capacities” in the “Quick Hits” section on the “SPECS” tab. This allows the shop to ensure it has the correct types and quantities to complete the repair.



Some of the more challenging repair orders to write are those encompassing symptomatic complaints, such as a clunking noise when the car turns, or the battery goes dead after the car sits for two days. The single most valuable item the technician needs to diagnosis these types of complaints is detailed descriptions and information.

Direct Hit can guide the Service Advisor to ask clarifying questions by simply entering the customer’s complaint into the red panel’s “Search” field (the money box). After entering the first three letters of the complaint, a list of related parts and repairs appear. For example, entering “noi” for noise generates:

  • Noises
  • Noise Turning
  • Noisy Engine
  • etc,

By clicking “Noise Turning”, we see three TSBs listed—two of which are related to noises. The summary displayed in the blue font indicates questions to ask, for example, “Is the noise worse when cold outside?” or “Do you hear the noise while driving at low speeds and turning or maneuvering your car around traffic?”

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