Writing preliminary estimates for automotive connector repair

How a $150 electrical repair became $8,500 and destroyed cycle time

The above photo says it all … but it didn’t have to.

Not long ago we received a call from a body shop who wanted to get a second opinion on the repairability of a Mercedes fog lamp connector.

The reason: they had just placed an order for a $5,000 body harness (backordered) which would be shipping from Stuttgart, Germany.

They were also told it was nonrefundable.

So the body shop decided to give us a call just to verify if the entire electrical wiring harness had to be replaced. They were told that the fog lamp pigtail was not available and non-repairable. The only way to safely repair this Mercedes fog lamp connector was to replace the whole harness.

When we inspected the vehicle (it happened to be located in our backyard; Houston, Texas) we determined that we could repair that fog lamp pigtail (via a de-pin/re-pin), quickly and safely. One pigtail, two wires plus a little labor, installed and out the door for around $150.

Simple! Or it could have been.

The body shop realized that they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The harness was already ordered, approved for repair and non-returnable. At this point they felt like they had no choice but to continue waiting on the harness from Germany, thus setting their cycle time back in excess of 45+ days.

Aside from the harness itself, installation was labor intensive, leading to another few thousand dollars. The vehicle had to be completely gutted down to the shell, seats removed and all. The techs had to compare the new and old harness side-by-side, to cross-reference and be certain they were installing the new harness correctly.

To make a long and sad story short: this was completely avoidable.

But we can’t blame the body shop or others like them who make a similar decision, simply for lack of knowing to whom or where they could turn for complete and accurate information and technical support.

This is where FindPigtails.com steps in.

No more connector uncertainties

Time is money. Searching is money. Severity is money.

As the collision industry changes, adapts and innovates, we’re relentlessly committed to adapting and innovating alongside you.

We like to say that finding your automotive electrical connector should be the absolute simplest part of your day.

FindPigtails ranks in the top 3% in customer service for our livechat. We make it easy to ask questions, share photos, receive technical support and fulfill orders all in real-time.

[Cue in the gameshow announcer 👉 “But wait … there’s mooooore …”]

A new game-changer was just released!

Introducing our mobile app with instant connector image matching

Just take or upload a photo of your connector and *boom*: your pigtail instantly appears, complete with pricing, availability and the model-year-fitments the connector can be used for.

If our app can’t match your connector, no worries. Within seconds, you’ll be connected with one of our Pigtail Pros to help you over livechat in realtime.

We make it very difficult to leave without receiving the information you need.

 

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Eric Palazzolo

Eric Palazzolo is founder and president of FindPigtails.com, a Houston-based company dedicated to providing high-quality automotive connectors and top-shelf customer service to its clients in the collision repair industry.