Behind The Wrench, Interview With Denise Cook
It has been so long since we did a Behind The Wrench interview. So I am excited to introduce the first women featured on the blog. If you, or anyone you know in the auto industry, want to be featured in an interview like this just contact me. So without any further delay, take it away Denise
How long have you been in the Industry?
What is your current job title?
What were you doing for your first automotive job?
I was helping restore motorcycles, and cars, cleaning parts.
Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop?
Aftermarket` we own our our business, have for 18 years.
Do you prefer one over the other?
Never worked at a dealership, but my husband had before we opened our own business. I think there are pros and cons for both.
Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.
I wear a lot of different hats through out the day, it all depends on what is needed for me to do. Usually I come to the office around 7:00-7:30 a.m. I prepare for the day by checking messages for appointments or cancellations..I check the inventory and order what is needed. Once we are opened I talk to the customers about what is going on with there vehicle if they are dropping it off, or go through the repair if they are picking it up. I show them pictures and/or videos of their car repair, or what we found. If we are checking out a vehicle,I tell them I will give them a call with an estimate if it is not known at the time as to cost. After checking the vehicle over, I will estimate cost of repairs and give the customer a call with different options if there are any available. As far as repair work goes, I do mainly services ( coolant flushes, transmission service, belts, brakes etc) and I help the tech.’s by what is needed done ( help bleeding the systems, getting tools, cleaning parts,stripping cylinder heads for pressure testing etc) I search TSB . I also talk to the customers when they call and set up appointments. If a customer is waiting, I will sometimes bring them into the shop and show them what is going on with their vehicle When needed I will pick up parts, make a bank run, pick up customers. then after work, I do the book work. We get home usually, when were busy, around 7.00 at night.
When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?
Lots! I love cooking, riding bikes, hiking, gardening and being with my kids and grand kids.
What kind of car do you drive?
A 2002 Toyota Camry.
What was your first car?
What made you want to work on cars?
My first car was a sports car, and my dad wanted me to know how to work on it. So he taught me a few things. Then after I was married, my husband had motorcycles that he spent time on so, I decided if I wanted to spend time with him,I would learn about them. It went from there to cars and when he opened his own shop I quit my job to help him.
What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?
A dead cat in the back seat, extremely smelling up the whole car.
Do you have much customer interaction?
Yes I do.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Talking with the customers. we have made a lot of good friends from our customers
If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?
Being in a car while it is UP on the lift while its being worked on ( or for any other reason ). Luckily that doesn’t happen much. but I hate when it does!
The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?
Well it depends on WHY they think we are trying to take advantage of them. If they think because we are charging more then some one else had quoted them, I let them know WHAT we are going to do that is different. Factory parts, full maintenance, proper fluids. That they need to compare apples to apples, not oranges. Not all repair is the same. If they want the cheapest price, then we are not the place. But if they want quality work, and the best parts for the job, an 18 month unlimited mileage warranty and someone who cares about their work, then we are here for them.
Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?
Most people neglect their cooling systems. A vehicle might be able to GO a hundred miles without flushing the cooling system, but what harm has it done to the system. If they want to keep their vehicle long term, regular maintenance of the system needs to happen.
How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?
Very important. You should know the systems of your car and how they work and what needs to be done and when.
Have you read the owners manual to your car?
Yes I have.
What tool in your tool box do you use the most?
It depends on the job, but air ratchet and wrench
Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?
No. But like quality made tools
If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be (and why)?
They would have to be the very basic tools. Screw drivers, wrenches and pry bar.
If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?
I don’t watch James Bond so no idea.
You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?
Our youngest son went off to college in his dream car, a Camero! he still has it too.
What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?
I think that media has it played out that most technicians are dirty, stupid, fowl mouthed, dishonest, and if your a women in the industry, your even more so that way.. They don’t expect you to be a lady with any intelligence on mechanical things.Where that might hold true once in awhile, it is most diffidently not true for the most part. I am proud of what I know and do. I find it quite humorous that when people first meet me they don’t expect me to not know anything, especially men.
Well folks, there you have it. Great look in to the industry from Denise.