Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tramcar Puts Customers First


Tramcar Transmissions at 5914 N. Milwaukee Ave. is still owned and operated by its founder, Cary Hajduk.

Tramcar was founded 27 years ago for the purpose of repairing the transmission and transmission-related problems. For the first 5 years, Tramcar performed general repairs. But, according to Cary, “We discontinued general repairs (engine tune-ups, brakes, shocks). By specializing, we could become very efficient.” As a result, in the last 23 years Tramcar has specialized in strictly transmission and transmission-related repairs such as automatic transmissions, manual transmissions, drive shafts, axles, flywheels, clutches and differentials. Tramcar’s technicians regularly attend ATSG & ATRA sponsored seminars that explain the new designed transmissions and proper fixes. ATSG & ATRA are recognized as the leading trade organizations for the transmission industry.

Cary opened Tramcar Transmission after working for both franchise and independent transmission shops in the Chicagoland area. “My first concern was whether to go independent or franchise, but after researching some of the transmission franchises, it appeared the only thing that a franchise added to the business was the price the customer paid, which in some cases was 20 to 30 percent more than an independent shop. Obviously, the choice was independent, and we adopted a slogan of “Independently Owned & Operated, No Franchise Fees means lower prices.”

When Cary was questioned about what separates Tramcar Transmissions from other shops, he stated, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it! Many transmission shops do not attempt to diagnose or repair a minor problem. The customer is automatically sold an entire transmission. I have had experiences where a customer has come to me after being at another trans shop and was told they need a new transmission, and we ended up doing a minor repair for often less than $200.

The other issue is what constitutes a “rebuilt transmission”? Over the last 30 years I have seen my share of trans shops come and go, but what I have seen lately is a lot more of what we term “patch & pray” shops. These are shops that claim to rebuild the transmission but in actuality end up “patching” the specific problem and “praying” that the transmission is fixed and holds up. Cary was asked how does a consumer avoid paying for this type of rebuilt transmission. “I recommend that the consumer ask the shop for an “itemized” repair bill which lists exactly what parts the shop is installing in their transmission. This approach will help the consumer avoid paying $850 for a broken snap ring which costs $2.”

“I have run my business by putting the customer first! By that I mean putting myself in their shoes – ‘Is it worth putting that much money into fixing the car?’ – I have even recommended not fixing a car if I truly felt the benefits of the repair weren’t greater than the costs.”

How has Cary’s philosophy of running his business worked out? “After 27 years the benefits of running my business has really paid off. 80% of our work is referrals or repeat customers. I have many general repair shops that send me their transmission work. Some have been dealing with me from just about the time I opened. I know of one family with five brothers who at one time or another I have done some type of repair work on each of their cars.

“I believe a company is better off retaining its customers than trying to get new ones. That is why one of our objectives is complete customer satisfaction. If my customer is not satisfied, neither am I. That’s why we have a ‘NO HASSLE’ Warranty Policy, which means my customers are entitled to the same prompt attention after the repair as they got before the repair was done. If a problem arises after a repair, we fix it – plain and simple!”

Tramcar also offers extended, full-car ownership warranties, allowing the customer to have the piece of mind knowing that if a problem develops 2, 3 or even 5 years down the road, the repair is performed with no hassle, no excuses, and – best of all – No Charge!

What changes have there been in transmissions over the last 30 years? In one word “ELECTRONICS”. The introduction of “Fully electronically controlled transmission” has created a strong demand for technicians with the knowledge and expertise to accurately diagnose and repair this new breed of transmission. The modern transmission technician must be well versed in all areas of electronics as well as computer application. My staff, which includes 3 full-time technicians, regularly attends seminars to get the latest information to help us diagnosis and repair a transmission properly. The age of simply driving a car around the block and being able to diagnose the problem is no longer. All major automotive manufacturers are constantly seeking to improve the performance of their transmissions, and, if you don’t stay on top of these changes, you’ll miss the boat!”

When Cary was asked what main advice he could give car owners who are seeking transmission repairs, he responded. I have been in the transmission business for over 30 years and I have come to realize consumers are very skeptical of transmission shops. A few unethical shops have generated bad publicity for the entire industry and quite frankly I don’t blame the consumer for their apprehension. I saw a need for consumers to be better informed so they could feel more comfortable about selecting a transmission shop. As a result I put together a free 24 hour consumer hot line, which offers 4 misconceptions about transmission repair along with 7 questions that any consumer should ask before they ever set an appointment at a transmission shop. I also offer some suggestions that will help consumers save some time when selecting a reputable shop. The phone number to our hot line is (312)409-8021. It is a recorded message which can be accessed 24 hours a day.

We also supply all of our customers with a transmission tip sheet that offers suggestions for prolonging the life of their transmission. We would be happy to give any one a complimentary copy if they give us a call. Our transmission tip sheet along with most of the information offered on our hot line can be accessed at our web site WWW.TRAMCARTRANSMISSION.COM.

Tramcar Transmissions is located at 5914 N. Milwaukee Ave., about 4 blocks north of Bryn Mawr Ave. The shop is open Mondays through Fridays 8 AM to 5:30 PM, and on Saturdays, by appt. only from 9 AM to Noon. The shop’s telephone number is 773-792-1003.

This promotional/informational piece was provided as a courtesy of Tramcar.

Tramcar Transmission, 5914 N. Milwaukee Ave. (4 Blocks N. of Bryn Mawr) (773) 792-1003

You may download a printable (pdf) version of this blog post here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Patch and Pray Transmission Repair

Why is there such a large difference in the price to fix a transmission from one shop to another?

The answer may be like comparing apples to oranges!!! Some shops may be quoting you on complete rebuilt transmission, while another shop may be quoting you on what you believe to be a rebuilt transmission when in reality you would be getting a “Patch & Pray” transmission.

If a transmission shop replaced this snap ring would you consider that to be a complete rebuilt transmission?

Many consumers have paid a lot of money to replace a snap ring just like this and were told they are getting rebuilt transmission. In the trade this is commonly referred to as a “Patch & Pray”. “Patch” the transmission problem and “Pray” that it works.

While at Tramcar Transmission we would install the following at a minimum to call our transmission a custom rebuilt!

How do you avoid a “Patch & Pray” Transmission? Ask the shop if they give their customers an itemized list of the parts that they replaced when they rebuilt the transmission, and secondly, how do they quote a total price to rebuild a transmission when they don’t know exactly what is wrong inside the transmission. This “full disclosure” practice will help you avoid these types of shops that sell “patched” transmissions as rebuilt ones.

For more information on ethical, honest, transmission repair, please visit .