Letting Students Service Your Vehicle

Class intent
To provide the automotive student an opportunity to hone their skills in automobile repair while learning essential job skills. The vehicles serviced have real live problems with real live customers. The class runs in 8 weeks sessions. 

Who is eligible to have their vehicle worked on?
The service class only works on vehicles owned by employees of the College of DuPage which includes faculty, staff, and administrators. We do not work on student worker cars. We do not work on vehicles for the general public out of respect to the local employers of our students and graduates, a board policy that prevents it, and for insurance reasons. The only student cars we work on belong to the students registered in the automotive programs that are pursuing a certificate or degree in automotive service technology.

What type of work can be completed?
The service class focuses on the mundane routine service and maintenance repairs that apprentices would be doing the first few years of their professional life. We on occasion take on a "problem child" car to give the students a challenge. The list of "routine service and maintenance" includes the following: brakes, steering and suspension repairs, alignments, tire work, oil changes, automatic transmission services, air conditioning service, electrical problems of all types, and cooling system maintenance, to name a few and give an idea.

What type of work is NOT done?
The instructor for the service class is not interested in the major jobs that only a journeyman automotive technician would be allowed to do in a "for pay" shop. The list includes: automatic transmission rebuilds, engine rebuilds, valve jobs, timing belts, and body work of any kind.

What does the service class consider a challenge?
The "Check Engine" light is one of the biggest challenges an apprentice can tackle. To really become GOOD at repairing these issues requires practice and experience. During our sessions we try to repair several of these issues.

Who is working on the vehicle?
The students registered for the class do the work of repairing the vehicle. This includes test driving the vehicle to verify the complaint, inspecting the vehicle for repairs needed to fix the complaint, repairing the vehicle, and final test drive to verify the complaint has been fixed. The instructor is there to give guidance when the students have questions and to protect the customers from unneeded repairs and costs. Every part or service has to be approved by the instructor before work begins. Every vehicle is test driven by the instructor before it is released to the customer.

When does the service class work on cars? More accurately, when is the service class offered for the students to take?
The service class is offered in the fall and spring in 8 week sessions. The fall session will run during the first 8 weeks of the semester. In the spring semester there is a 1st 8 week session and 2nd 8 week session. The customer needs to understand that during the last 3 days of the service class, students are allowed to work on their own vehicles as a small reward for their hard work during the session.

How do I get my car on the list for repairs?
If you are a first time service class customer you will need to fill out a  Vehicle Repair Request Form and submit it to Mike Foss at fossmi@cod.edu. If you are a returning customer and your personal information, such as mailing address, has not changed then you only need to fill out the Vehicle Repair Request Form. If you are a returning customer but your personal information has changed then you must fill out both forms. Mr. Foss uses email as a waiting list for customers, when there is an appointment slot available he will return an email back to you with a date for your appointment ... there will probably not be a confirmation of your original email until the one scheduling your appointment and yes, the email will be short and to the point.

What do I pay for?
Because of the hard work and miserly ways of the instructor and students, the customer currently only pays for the parts and related shop supplies needed to repair the vehicle. Now the instructor would like to give a few words about repair work when dealing with students ... TIME IS OUR WORST ENEMY! If a shop tells you it will take 3 hours for them to repair, it will take students 6. Now if the instructor has to chase a customer down to get an okay to repair the vehicle we have lost precious class time. This is why every first time customer is advised that we will spend up to $300.00 of your money without calling you! If you have a problem with this fact then take your vehicle to a "for pay" shop and have it fixed...you are paying for that service as part of the labor charge ... a written estimate, someone to guide you through the process, and take your money with a smile. Here we are TRYING to TEACH students. BTW, if the car is not worth $300.00 to you, don't bring it in to the auto lab for service because the students and instructor are not interested in working on junk.

How do I pay the bill?
Remember, the student and instructor are working on your vehicle as well as 4-8 others and trying to have them all ready for pick up at the end of our day, 4:30 p.m. Customer service is part of what we are trying to teach here. Chances are very good that your bill will not be calculated and finalized at 4:30 p.m. on the day your vehicle is serviced. Patience is one of the requirements to be a service class customer. Mr. Foss will be sending you a PDF of your repair order with some detail on the repairs performed and total due. At the same time, a copy will be sent of the same PDF to the accounts receivable division of the finance office to be turned into a College of DuPage invoice. With the invoice you can pay with cash, credit card, or check, in person at the cashier's window, in the drop box outside the cashier's office, by mail, or you can call it in. You will receive a document with the repair order that explains this further ... it is sent with every repair order PDF. REMEMBER ...YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST OF PARTS AND SUPPLIES TO REPAIR YOUR CAR!

When can I drop off my car?
We offer a drop off service. A lab supervisor is on duty at 7:30 a.m. ... although he is typically here at 7:00 a.m.  Your repair order will already be filled out. It is YOUR RESPONSIBLITY to be sure it is correct! This includes your name, address, home phone number, school email address, and department you work for on campus. You are required to initial each job on the repair order ... any job number without an initial will be crossed off the repair order and it WILL NOT be completed (this is new rule ... I bet you can figure out why). You must sign the repair order. I have included the disclaimer from the repair order here for you to read before you sign it and drop off your car.


Contact Information

Tom Robertson, Program Coordinator
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1064, (630) 942-2439

David Earl, Program Advisor  
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1047, (630) 942-2538 

Peter Deeman, Program Advisor    
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1047, (630) 942-2548

Bridget McFarland, Program Support Specialist
Technical Education Center (TEC), (630) 942-8419 

Business and Technology Division
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1034, (630) 942-2592