Posts

Today we are looking at some of the things you will not learn at automotive mechanic school. This is episode 124 of The Humble Mechanic Podcast. I have to also say that I went to automotive tech school. I had a great experience there. I learned a ton in my time there, and it helped me form my career as a mechanic. But there are several things that are not covered in tech schools. Today we are going to talk about a few of those things.

Sponsor of the day:rain eater logo
Rain Eater wiper blades. Wipers are one of the most important safety items on our cars. Think not, you must have never driven in bad weather. When you are ready to replace your wiper blades, a very easy DIY, check out RainEater wipers at RainEater.com. Plus I LOVE that their CEO is the one monitoring social media.

Join me today as we discuss:

  • A little about my time at automotive tech school
  • How to buy tools responsibly
  • Dealing with flat rate
  • Managing money as a mechanic
  • Working with customers as a mechanic
  • Selling work to a service advisor
  • Diagnosing cars
  • and more

Trouble viewing? Watch “6 Things You Will Not Learn In Automotive Tech School ” on YouTube.

As always, your questions and comments are welcome. If you have an idea for a show topic, please use the contact me form, or email me Charles(at)humble mechanic(dot)com

Don’t forget to follow me at:

Being a Technician vs Being a Mechanic ~ Podcast Episode 70

Happy Friday everyone. Today I am joined in studio by Rusty. We had a very spirited chat about being a mechanic vs being a technician. We come at it from 2 very different angles, and that makes the conversation fun. There is a little weirdness in the first part of the show. I had a camera issue that day and it impacted the video quality. The second part of the show’s video is back to normal.

Join Rusty and I today as we break down:

  • Rusty’s view of what a mechanic is
  • Rusty’s view of what a technician is
  • The psychology behind the words.
  • My view of the two words
  • QOTD ~ Do you consider yourself a Mechanic or a Technician?
  • and more

Trouble viewing? Watch “Being a Technician vs Being a Mechanic ~ Podcast Episode 70” on YouTube.

As always your questions and comments are very much appreciated. If you have a suggestion for a show topic, use the contact me form, or email me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com. I would also like to thank Rusty for joining me in studio today. It is always a fun time chatting with him, even more so when we don’t 100% agree.

Don’t forget to follow me at:

Auto Mechanic Time Lapse

Happy Wednesday everyone. Today we have a little mix of the automotive podcast, and Shop Shots. Many of you asked me to do a time lapse video of a day at the shop. So I hooked up the GoPro and gave it a try. I am really looking for your input on this video. Here is what I want to know:

  • Did you like it?
  • What would you change?
  • How was the speed?
  • Any other feedback

If you guys like this video, maybe I will do more from different angles. This was a pretty fun video to sit and edit. It gave me a look at how much time I spend waiting on things. As entertaining as it was, I will be using this to fine tune how I do things in the shop.

Trouble viewing? Watch “What A Day As A Mechanic Looks Like ~Time Lapse Video” on Youtube.

Like I said, your thoughts and comments are very important. As always feel free to share them. If you have an idea for a show topic, use the contact me form and let me know 🙂

Don’t forget to follow me at:

Auto Mechanic

Happy Monday everyone. Something happened this weekend, that totally blew me away. The blog had it’s 3rd birthday. Oh how time flies when you are having fun. So today I want to talk about how I got started, and maybe the future of the site.

I had been thinking about starting a blog for while. I got the final push after being frustrated with the way my dealer handled our internet presence. It all worked out of the best. You can read the entire story here. With the help of some You Tube videos and some very talented friends of mine, Humble Mechanic was born.

When I first started the blog I wanted to share a little mk1 VR6 Cabbyabout what an auto mechanic does day to day. Some of the crazy things we see. I also wanted to help folks learn about their cars to avoid getting ripped off. From early on I also wanted to add a project car to the mix. The amount of cool stuff I could share with a project car is almost endless. I have a separate section at the top just click on “Luv A Dub” and you can see the project from day one.

There have been some pretty cool successes(even though I am far from retiring and doing this blog full time 😉 ). I have been able to meet some ultra awesome people. I have had the pleasure of doing a lot of really fun product reviews and giveaways. Those are some of my favorite things to do. I also have a really cool announcement coming at the end of the week. I think you guys are going to be really excited about.

So where do we go from here? There is no way we can not stop all crook mechanics in the world. So we will have to take a different approach. That means keep teaching folks about their cars. Walking folks through the diagnostic process to find the cause of their car’s issues. I am also working on a really cool program that will help you become a permanent part of this community. But more on that later.

So as I finish up, I just want to say a huge heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you. If it was not for you guys there would be no Humble Mechanic. We have come a long was from that crappy first blog post I wrote 3 years ago. There are big things that are going to be happening in the second half of 2014. I am thankful to have you all along for the ride!

Cheers
Charles

One last thing, if you want  a good laugh, check out some of my first posts. YIKES! 🙂

 

Humble Mechanic Logo

10 years of fixing broken volkswagensYesterday was my 10 year anniversary of starting at my dealer. So much has changed in the decadethat I have been working for VW. Yet the industry largely stays the same. I am sitting on my couch drinking my coffee and reflecting on the past 10 years of being an auto mechanic.
I would like to share some thoughts with you all today.

I started in the industry in 2004. I was totally the “new guy”. While I had just spent over a year in tech school and training with VW, I didn’t really get how the dealership worked. I was very fortunate to have an excellent mentor named Robert. Rob and I shared much of the same ideals about working on cars. He really helped me hone my skills. It was a good mix of helping me out, and letting me get my butt kicked. Something that seems to be lost on techs these days.

While I took to the job pretty quick, it took me about a year to really get my feet under me and feel comfortable in the job. That was around the time where I felt I could be pretty good at fixing Volkswagens. I realized there was not really a problem I couldn’t walk through. That didn’t mean I was going to win every time, but I know I would get through it.

Change in technology
The change in automotive technology has been pretty big over the last 10 years. As a mechanic, it can be tough to adapt and keep up with with the changes. I look at the old guys that have been wrenching for 30 years. I can’t even imagine how they have lasted so long. Makes me wonder if I will be doing this in 20 years. Here are some of the more notable changes from my point of view

  • Tire pressure monitors
    They were on cars in 2004, but now they are required on all new cars. We can thank the folks at Ford and Bridgestone for that 😉
  • LED and Xenon lighting
    This is one of my favorites.There are lots benefits to LEDs. From brighter light output, and lower current requirements to selectable colors, we have just scratched the surface of LED use in cars. Plus they look cool!
  • Built in GPS and touch screen
    I think VW is woefully behind on the radio front. But even they have come a long way since 2004. Back then the highline radio was a Double Din radio with a CD and Tape player. The same radio my Passat has. LOL
  • Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity This goes hand in hand with GPS. With the lightning fast advancement in smartphone usage and function, we have seen Bluetooth become much more standard. It is for more than just looking ultra cool with an ear piece.
  • Faster communication with less wires
    While C.A.N. communication inside a car is not new, the rate of comm has really improved. Also the number of modules that talk and share information is expanding rapidly.

There have been more advancements over the years. But much of what we see is an improvement on an existing technology. Controlling car outputs using pulse with modulation is not new. We can just do it faster new. Pulse with Modulation or PWM is simply controlling an electric output by turning it on and off really fast. It is a different world to light a car light bulb today.

The Industry
As much as the industry has changed, it has also stayed the same. We seem to be stuck in the classic way things are done. There is no change in the flat rate pay plan for mechanics. I do think that we may be moving to something more consistent. We actually lost 2 techs last year to Tesla. One of the big attractions was being paid by the hour. I understand why companies think flat rate is a great way to pay tech. But part of me thinks that it is an outdated way to pay techs. At least the top level techs. That may be just wishful thinking. It might be time to dive into the pros and cons of flat rate again.

Social Media
While I said that the industry has not changed very much, we have also changed in the advertizing world. The introduction of “social media” has been interesting. I think that overall car companies have been missing a huge opportunity. They seem to be scared of what someone like me might say. I have even got in trouble for things I have posted on forums. In my mind, I would think that companies would want to embrace someone like me. How better to humanize your brand than to have someone that lives beat the drum for you?

A personal journey
The last 10 years have also been an amazing personal journey. I went from the new guy, to a mid level tech, to a team leader very fast. I spent a lot of time as a team lead being hating. Most of the techs I worked with didn’t like my attitude. I am an old school dude. I am not at work to be a warm and fuzzy dude. I expect techs to come to work, bust their butt, and go home. That does not seem to be the normal today. Even my boss tells me I am an old school guy. I consider it to a compliment.

The last few years I have been really working on bringing my game up. Trying to move away from the guy that everyone hates, to a true leader in the shop. It really involved me paying closer attention to individuals and finding ways to motivate other techs. It is tough for me. I am not the type of person that needs to be “motivated”. I do my job the best I can, because that is who I am. It took a lot for me to understand that everyone is not me. Different things motivate different people. One of my new goals is learning how to interact with coworkers in a different way.

It sure has been an interesting 10 years. Plenty of ups and downs. I have had days that made me love my job. I have also had days that I wanted to lock my toolbox and just leave. But the truth is, I have been at the same dealer for 10 years. This is an industry that has an average turn around of 2 years. It says a lot about the company I work for, and the management my dealer has. It also means the world to me to be able to work with the customers I have. It really is an honor to have met and worked with so many amazing customers. They are truly one of the best parts of my job. I have several friends now that started out as customers. The fact that so many people have 100% trust in me is an amazing feeling.

I want to finish up with a huge thank you. I really have a hard time expressing in words how thankful I am to all the people that have helped me in my career. From mentors to customers and followers of this blog. You are all the reason that I can keep going, and doing what I do. I give you all my sincerest thanks. I appreciate all of you so so much.

Podcast

Should Auto Mechanics be Required to be Licensed?

In may places auto mechanics or auto technicians are not required to have a license to fix cars. Should we require mechanics to have a license before they can work on cars or trucks? Would forcing mechanics to have a license make things better for mechanics? How is a license different from ASE certification? Today we talk about about mechanic license! Also I think you REALLY want to swing over and check out some awesome comments on Youtube ~ Should Auto Mechanics be Required to be Licensed?
Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast Become A CrewMember
If you like this show. If you get value out of the videos and content that I put out, consider supporting the show by becoming a CrewMember. You will get discounts you can’t get anywhere else, exclusive videos from me, and VW/Audi training manuals. Between the discounts and the training manuals, the CrewMembership can easily pay for itself. Become a CrewMember today

Do you shop on Amazon?
Many of you have asked about supporting the show. For that I thank you. For now, the best things you can do are SHARE THE SHOW, and shop with my links on Amazon. You will not spend any more money that you would normally. Here is the Amazon link ~ Humble Mechanic on Amazon or you can check out some recommended tools I have listed below.

Help Support The Show
Many of you have asked about supporting the show. For that I thank you. For now, the best things you can do are SHARE THE SHOW, and shop with my links on Amazon. You will not spend any more money that you would normally. Here is the Amazon link ~ Humble Mechanic on Amazon or you can check out some recommended tools I have listed below.

Important links:

Thanks for tuning in to the automotive podcast. I am really excited about the response. If you have an idea for a show, contact me via email, or use the contact me form! Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast Don’t forget to follow me at:

Should You Do Side Work as a Mechanic?

Should You Do Side Work as a Mechanic? Side work can be a great way to earn some extra money. There are a lot of mechanics that will do side work for cash, but is it worth it? Can you get fired for side work? What happens if a side work job goes wrong? I didn’t do much side work as a dealer tech, often the risks were not worth the reward.

Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast Become A CrewMember
If you like this show. If you get value out of the videos and content that I put out, consider supporting the show by becoming a CrewMember. You will get discounts you can’t get anywhere else, exclusive videos from me, and VW/Audi training manuals. Between the discounts and the training manuals, the CrewMembership can easily pay for itself. Become a CrewMember today

Help Support The Show
Many of you have asked about supporting the show. For that I thank you. For now, the best things you can do are SHARE THE SHOW, and shop with my links on Amazon. You will not spend any more money that you would normally. Here is the Amazon link ~ Humble Mechanic on Amazon or you can check out some recommended tools I have listed below.

Important links:

Thanks for tuning in to the automotive podcast. I am really excited about the response. If you have an idea for a show, contact me via email, or use the contact me form! Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast Don’t forget to follow me at:

10 Habits of Successful Technicians ~ Audio Podcast Episode 23

Being a successful technician is not easy. In addition to the inherent challenges, the industry also makes it very hard to be a good tech. Today I want to help with some of that. It doesn’t matter if you are still in tech school, or if you have been in the field for a while. We can always use a reset, or a “re-center” as I call it. I hope that this episode does that for you. Take what I say to heart. Own your career and go be successful. Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast Become A CrewMember If you like this show. If you get value out of the videos and content that I put out, consider supporting the show by becoming a CrewMember. You will get discounts you can’t get anywhere else, exclusive videos from me, and VW/Audi training manuals. Between the discounts and the training manuals, the CrewMembership can easily pay for itself. Become a CrewMember today

Do you shop on Amazon?
Many of you have asked about supporting the show. For that I thank you. For now, the best things you can do are SHARE THE SHOW, and shop with my links on Amazon. You will not spend any more money that you would normally. Here is the Amazon link ~ Humble Mechanic on Amazon or you can check out some recommended tools I have listed below.

Important links:

Thanks for tuning in to the automotive podcast. I am really excited about the response. If you have an idea for a show, contact me via email, or use the contact me form!

Don’t forget to follow me at:

Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast