Ethics and Auto Mechanics

TLG Auto first opened its doors in 1978 in the back shop of a gas station on the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Moorpark Street in the Sherman Oaks area of the San Fernando Valley.  Back then TLG was just a small, two-bay shop with not much more than an open door and a small office, but it was owned and operated by a good, honest, factory-trained Porsche mechanic.  That was 36 years ago..

Over the last 36 years TLG has grown and matured, evolving from that two-bay shop in the back of a gas station into a 4500 square foot repair and restoration facility staffed by a team of mechanics with more than 100 years in collective experience.  The growth did not come easy; it took years of dedication … dedication to the Porsche brand, and dedication to providing great, high-quality service to our clients.  And though the shop may have grown and changed – and as it continues to do so – there is one thing that has remained a constant since the doors first rolled up in the back of that gas station 36 years ago … at TLG we are dedicated to providing our clients with good, honest, high-quality service.  At TLG we strive to maintain a high ethical standard.

It’s no secret that auto mechanics have a bad rap.  Countless television exposes and special investigative reports have been filmed about people getting ripped off by auto mechanics who do shoddy work, use junk parts, or charge people for work that was never performed.  The problem is that there are good, honest shop owners out there, but you’d never know it based on all the bad press auto mechanics get because of a few bad apples.  The rest of us are forced to work extra hard to counteract the damage that the few dishonest knuckleheads do to the general reputation of all auto mechanics.  TLG has worked hard to forge a great reputation and we defend it … fiercely.

And why do we defend our reputation so fiercely?  Because we value our clients and we value their trust.

We want our clients to enjoy the Porsche ownership experience.  Porsches are awesome cars, and if we can relieve our clients’ anxiety about their Porsche’s needs or problems, then they can get back to enjoying the drive.  Part of that relief comes from an understanding about what is happening with the vehicle and understanding why we recommend certain services or repairs.  Knowledge is power, and by sharing information and educating our clients we are reinforcing the mechanic/client relationship and earning their trust.  And trust is important because it gives our clients confidence that the recommendations we make are in their and their Porsche’s best interests.

As such, we refuse to compromise our ethical standards … for anyone.

Case in point:   We received a telephone call two days ago from the owner of a 2010 Panamera 4S who was shopping around for the best price on brakes.  After a lengthy discussion involving many questions (by me) and a few answers (by the owner) the decision was made to have the car dropped off to have the front pads, rotors, and brake sensors replaced.  This morning, however, upon inspecting the vehicle prior to performing the job, we found that the rear pads, rotors, and sensors were also dangerously worn and in dire need of replacement.  After reworking the estimate I contacted the owner who was genuinely shocked that the rears were so worn out “because the Porsche dealer said they were fine.”  The owner asked me to do only the front, but I carefully explained that there was no point in doing only half the job as the car would still be unsafe to drive with the rear brakes in their current condition.  It was an all or nothing scenario – either we do ALL the brakes or we do nothing – but the owner was not willing to step up and do the rear brakes, too, so I turned down the job.

From a liability standpoint I was unwilling to put my shop at risk by knowingly sending a car out on the road that I felt was unsafe to drive.  From an ethical standpoint I felt that the safety of my client – and the safety of the other people out on the road – was more important than the money we would make doing a brake job.  It’s just not worth it…

Could we have used the work?  Always.  We’re in the business of making money.  But the right thing and the profitable thing don’t always intersect … it’s the job of an ethical business owner to make the right choice.

TLG Auto has been in business for 36 years because we strive to make the right choice … not always the easy choice, but the right one.  For more than three decades TLG has fought to earn the trust of our clients, and every day we work hard to maintain that trust and foster those relationships.  And as we look forward to another 36 years of serving the Porsche community – not just in Los Angeles, but all over the world – we will continue to maintain high ethical standards and do what’s right.

Take care, and enjoy the drive.