It started innocently enough: just a routine phone call on a cold November day about a post-purchase inspection. We set up an appointment and the client brought in a 2005 vehicle with (allegedly!) 53,600 miles on it.

Larry Henson, our lead tech, test-drove the car and then went over it. First, the obvious. The paint was in rough shape, the car needed tires and wiper blades, and it pulled badly to the left. Under the hood he discovered the drive belt was ready to go, the brake fluid was alarmingly low and filthy, the oil level was low, and three of the four powertrain mounts were loose to the touch. Moreover the fuel door lock was inoperable, the valve cover gasket was leaking, and spark plugs were dirty. Larry noted that the car was in extremely poor condition, given its mileage, and questioned whether the odometer was accurate. And that was only the beginning. By the time he was through, he’d noted about 20 different things that needed to be corrected on the car, ranging from minor to major. We reviewed our findings with the client, turned the car back over to him, billed him, and thought we were finished.

But little did we know, this wasn’t any ordinary vehicle inspection, it was test of our shop’s quality by Bosch Car Service. The odometer on the car had indeed been replaced and there were 100,000 additional miles on the car. Bolts had been loosened, dirty spark plugs inserted, and fluids intentionally drained to find out exactly how thorough an inspection the car would receive at ours as well as a number of other local Bosch-certified shops.

In 2006, Bosch initiated a program with the goal of improving the overall quality of the Bosch Car Service (BCS) network in the U.S. Its objective? To measure the quality of work and customer service performed (relative to the Bosch quality standards) at authorized BCS locations. An unannounced routine vehicle inspection establishes whether several important maintenance issues are discovered and resolved. Bosch uses an outside company to assure neutrality in the testing, and that company hires only certified inspectors.

The results of the inspector’s findings – starting with the initial phone call and greeting, including the cleanliness of the shop and timeliness of the inspection, and ending with the results of the inspection and the courtesy of the shop’s employees – serve as a starting point for specific improvement measures. Low scores or weak points are analyzed and the information serves as a basis for introducing improvement measures.

We’re proud to say, that won’t be necessary here at Munk’s.

We take pride in knowing that using our customary checklist during what appeared to be a normal vehicle inspection, our technician identified each and every problem that BCS created. As a result, we scored 98 out of 100, and the two points we lost weren’t even Larry’s fault. Though we’re proud to be a Bosch-certified service center, our only deduction came from failing to answer the phone, “Good afternoon, Munk’s Motors, your Bosch Service Center.” So fifteen lashes with a wet noodle to the person who answered the phone.

Whoops, I set up that appointment myself. Sorry about that, Larry!