I can’t deny it. I use Google to solve problems that come to my shop. I also use it when I choose not to seek professional assistance on solving other problems I encounter in life. The search engine and the information available to it are invaluable.
What I pay to search, professional technician forum access fees, gives me access to information that is presented to me in a manner that acknowledges my education and mechanical aptitude as well as my toolset. I do also use many of the same forums you might end up on. I know what kind of information is out there.
Just as I imagine a doctor does not go to the same medical information sites as I end up on. It does not mean he/she doesn’t check out now and again what bad and good information is flying around on the internet. I did diagnose my latest affliction online though. Lookout “House”. I also sought professional diagnosis as well though.
Non professional automotive forums are usually dedicated to a specific make and/or model of vehicle. They are usually run by a group of enthusiasts. The cost of entry is usually free but using the search function within the forum may set you back a few pesos. Their existence is based on advertising not members fees though.
I have determined that these forums contain at least as much bad information as they do good information. The question is can the non mechanic decipher the good from the bad?
I can tell you what I think. Each forum has its prolific posters. To post as much as these people do they must spend more time posting than ever fixing anything. All talk no action.
There is a lot of prose suggesting that mechanics are ripping you off or the stealer (aka the dealer) is requiring way too much to do a job that I (your prolific poster) can do for one tenth the cost.
There are also many salesmen on these forums trying to flog their wares. Beware the huckster.
Many an ebay part is available for way less than the ‘stealer’ wants. Will the part work? Who knows? Will I sell it? Let’s see. I have to warranty it. I have to install it. Uninstall it. Then install another part that actually works. Not a chance!
Inevitably people grace our doors presenting a symptom to us with the qualifier “I have googled all the forums and I think I need a new thingamajig. How much?”
I could say how much to change that thingamajig. If I agree to change it without my own diagnosis, am I at all responsible for its failure to fix the problem? You say ‘no’ when you are reading this but at some level you probably would blame me for it. Maybe only subconsciously but I feel blame at all levels.
I have this whole professional tool set both physical and mental. I prefer to use it to satisfy customers not disappoint them.