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Hey everyone, it’s time for Behind the Wrench! Today we have a former mechanic who now teaches the craft to the next generation! It is my absolute pleasure to have this interview with Bill!

NAME:
William (Bill) Foster
How long have you been in the Industry?
40 years
What is your current job title?
Program Director, Tech School
What were you doing for your first automotive job?
I started out working for Sears Automotive, busting tires, changing oil, you know, grunt work.
In the years you have been in the industry cars have changed so much, what is your favorite thing cars are equipped with now that they were not when you started?
As a music fan, I really like the way radios have progressed. Otherwise, GPS rocks.
Were cars really built better when you first started working on them? Is “they just don’t build them like they use to” really true?
Cars were easier to work on back in the 70s, but they needed a lot of work. By 70K, one had to have suspensions rebuilt and sometime, major engine repairs. Newer cars don’t have to be worked on as often. It is true, they don’t make them like they used to…they make them better.
Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?
My last hands-on job was at an independent. During my career, I worked for both dealers and independents both have their good and bad.
Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.
Currently, I’m a director and a teacher at a technical school in a manufacturers program. I like it because I get the skinny on all the new technology and I have a 40-hour week.
When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?
Summer, boating and jet-skiing. Fall and Winter, hiking.
What kind of car do you drive?
Old Jeep Cherokee. It pulls the boats and takes me to the trails.
 What was your first car?
1969 Camaro SS. 396, 4-speed.
What made you want to work on cars?
A hands-on career with good pay. I have no regrets on that decision.
What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?
A kitten. I rescued it with welding gloves on. When the owner would not take it, I suggested that I put in back in the engine bay where I found it. She changed her mind. They became good friends.
Do you have much customer interaction?
As a tech, yes, and I hated it. As a shop manager, yes, but it was my job. As a teacher/program director, it’s my job and I enjoy it.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Turning on light bulbs in normally dimly lit brains.
If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?
As a technician, I would avoid being directly involved with customers. I would second guess becoming certified, as you get all of the problem cars.
The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?
The next time you go to the doctor, and then have to go back for the same problem, and you get charged for it, think of how cheap the car repair was. Remember, doctors bury their mistakes.
Are cars harder to work on(for a pro mechanic) now? Cars are loaded up with computers, does that make it easier or harder to fix?
Cars are harder to work on for pro mechanics…who think they can repair cars with their wits. You need diagnostic skills, diagnostic tools, and service information. I was fortunate to have worked for employers who purchased good service manuals and equipment.
Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?
Full-service oil changes.
How important is reading your vehicles owner’s manual?
It is very important to read the owner’s manual; you miss out on all the features of a car if you don’t.
Have you read the owners manual to your car?
Yes. After I drove a car for 6 years and found out about the auto-headlight function, I started reading them.
What tool in your tool box do you use the most?
Hammer. Just kidding, DVOM.
Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?
The brand with the best service. Currently, that’s Snap-On.
If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?
Scanner, DVOM, test light. I enjoy the challenge of drivablility and electrical work…now that I’m not on flat-rate.
If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?
DVD player to watch Bond movies.
You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?
Toyota or Scion because of the dependability. Actually, I did that for two of them.
What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?
Your local tech-school instructor works hard to get young men and women ready for entry-level employment. They are not masters yet, and will not be for a few years to come. Give them a chance as someone did you one day. It is frustrating to watch young people work hard for a year or two learning a career just to be denied a chance, or get paid so little that pizza delivery is a better choice upon graduation. It happens every day.
WOW, 40 years in the business. Bill, you must be a trooper! Folks,I really want to thank Bill for such an awesome interview. If you have a question for Bill, post it in the comments.Be sure to swing by and check out Bills website over at AutotechsForum.com. He has a great blog about cars too.
If you want to be featured, just Contact Me. I am always looking for new folks to interview!
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Hit me on Twitter that is the fastest way to get in touch with me.

NAME:

David Hillier or what my fellow techs like to call me, Gravy Davey

How long have you been in the Industry?

I picked up my first wrench professionally in 1993. I worked for a small independent import shop called R.C. Motor King in Rexdale, Ontario, Canada. It was my only way into the industry. In Canada we have to get licensed to be working as a technician professionally and to do this you needed a shop with a journeyman to sign you up as an apprentice so you can start collecting hours so you can go to trade school. Where I lived in Etobicoke (Ontario) my wife and I would always drive by a Volkswagen dealership on the lakeshore called Mississauga Volkswagen. I was a bartender at the time but I have always wanted to get my start in the Automotive industry there. Don’t ask me why but that building had always caught my eye every time I drove by. I tried sending my resume in but I never got a response. I also plugged my resume elsewhere just to see if I could get any jobs. Finally I got a job at R.C. Motor King (a small independent import shop) and got signed up as an apprentice. I worked there for about a year. I was working on everything but what I wanted to work on which was VW. We only had one customer with a two year old (1991) Passat automatic 2.0l 16v that would come in for oil changes. I loved working on that car! Anyways, still wanting to work at Mississauga VW I would pump my resume in by fax, mail and I would drop off a copy to the reception desk once a week for about three months until one day I got a call. It was the service manager from Mississauga VW and he wanted to see me! I was super exited! The day I was to see him I stopped off and got coffee for both of us before I got there. When I got there I pulled up in my 1984 GTi and proceeded in. I finally met the service manager and offered him the coffee. he said “I don’t drink coffee” Thinking I got off on the wrong foot we proceeded into an office and sat down. First thing he said was “You know why I called you in today?” I said “For a job?” He said “You are the most persistent bastard I have had the pleasure to meet and if I didn’t call you I suspect I would be getting your resume sent to me until the day I quit or die. So I’m going to have to hire you.” That was one of the best days of my life besides meeting my wife and the birth of my children. I worked there under two journeymen and finally got my interprovincial licence. I have since worked at two other VW dealerships and currently work at an Audi dealership.

What is your current job title?

Automotive service technician

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

The usual apprentice duties, driving the shuttle, cleaning the shop and doing all the crappy jobs apprentices have to do to earn their keep.

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

I work at an Audi dealership. I would say the dealership is better. I have only worked at an aftermarket shop for a year before I got my first dealership job with VW. I have other friends that work at independents and it’s hard for them to keep up with the latest technology.

Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.

Open my toolbox, have a coffee, get the first job, finish that one, get the next job… You know the drill. It’s always fun that’s why I keep working on cars day after day. You never know what your going to be fixing next until you get the work order.

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

I’m a computer geek in my spare time. I have successfully installed Mac OS X on both of my Dell laptops at home. I also like to (when time permits) work on my 1973 Type 2 Campmobile.

What kind of car do you drive?

A 2000 VW Golf 2.0l manual. It just turned 340,000KM!

What was your first car?

A 1979 Plymouth Horizon. It had a VW Rabbit engine from factory!

What made you want to work on cars?

My Horizon used to break down and I would ask my dad for help (he was a tech back in the day) and he said “Here is the manual, try to fix it yourself” That was some tough love but it only made me the tech I am today, not relying on other people to diagnose and fix vehicles.

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

That is a good question.. We used to get strippers cars in so you could imagine the things we used to find.

Do you have much customer interaction?

I used to as a foreman but not so much now. I miss that aspect of my career.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love figuring out electrical issues. At Audi there are not as many as I had at VW. Which is weird because they are almost the same electrically.

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

Engine and transmission jobs. My body has been pounded by the trade. Bad knees and the occasional sore back. That’s grunt work in my opinion and the apprentices should be doing it with supervision from a journeyman.

The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?

I have been lucky in that aspect, the clients I have always had have been stellar!  We have always shown the clients what they need and stuff they can put off. I absolutely hate scam artists in our trade. Honesty is the best policy.

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

OIL CHANGES!!!!

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

Very important IMHO. The one thing I stress to clients is that you have to OWN your car. One problem I found at Audi is that there is a valet mode button in the glove compartment of the new A7 and when its depressed the trunk will not open from the door switch, the fob or the tailgate button. it’s covered in the owners manual and you won’t believe how many clients come in stating their trunk won’t open. It wastes not only the clients time but our time. READ YOUR MANUALS PEOPLE!!!

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Nope. Hahahaha! But I know my car inside and out.

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

At Audi it would be my oil filter cup, 18mm and 19mm wrenches. Not too much goes wrong with the Audis besides some injector issues.

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

MAC FTW! They are reasonably priced and durable as any tool on the market.

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

The VAS6150A, my Snap-on Vantage and a L.E.D test light. Why? Because I could surf www.techniciandatabase.com and slay ANY electrical issue thrown at me. 😀

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

A cloaking device. The poor SOB’s wouldn’t see me coming!

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

A manual transmission MK4 Golf or Jetta. Totally bulletproof in my opinion.

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?

It’s sometimes thankless work and brutal on the body. It would be great if clients would take a second to thank their technician for a job well done. I know I would appreciate it! But I love talking to my customers. 😀

GREAT interview David! What is it with guys named Dave? The Dave at my shop is Gravy Dave too. HA. Thanks again man, Hey guy follow David on Twitter, and his Campmobile page on Facebook!

If you want to be featured in a Behind The Wrench interview, please contact me!

NAME:

Joel C Armstrong

How long have you been in the Industry?

Since 2005

What is your current job title?

Currently Unemployed

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

I worked at Manhattan Motorcars Inc. In New York City. It’s a luxury/high end dealership that specializes in Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Lotus sales and service. I was a Porsche and Lamborghini Technician. We have a certified Pre-Owned/ used car department that sell other high end brands such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz/ Maybach etc.

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

No, after Manhattan Motorcars I went to work at Mercedes-Benz. I honestly prefer to work at a dealership because of certain benefits but you have more of a family oriented feeling at an aftermarket shop because it’s smaller. There’s less politics to deal with.

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

Everyday i get up at about 5:59 (because 6:00 is just clichéd), I take my mom to work, come home and take care of what I’m doing for school because I plan on going back to Law School.

What kind of car do you drive?

2004 Ford Expedition. I also have a 2006 Yamaha R6 Anniversary Edition.

What was your first car?

1990 Ford Taurus. It was a free gift from one of my teachers when I went to school.

What made you want to work on cars?

I always loved cars. I had several subscriptions to automotive magazines like Road & Track, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile, and Euro Tuner. Naturally, I was attracted to the higher end performance vehicles and wanted to work closely to them. I wanted to see what it felt like to be able to do 150+MPH, just because the car has the ability to do so. The mechanics and engineering that was put into creating such cars captivated my interest while reading about them in said magazine subscriptions.

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

I was once removing a headliner on a Cayenne Turbo and while doing the R&R on the driver side visor, a bunch of Polaroids fell in my lap. Upon further investigation, they happened to be naked pictures of the customer’s girlfriend(s) lol they were at least 3 different girls. Weird.

Do you have much customer interaction?

Yes, for the most part I do. well, when I did work on their vehicles.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The Road test. Definitely.

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

It’s sad to say but I would never trust people so easily. You’re of the mind that everyone is on the same team, but I realized it’s never like that.

The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?

Depending on the situation, I would try to find out what the problem was and then explain to them what we would’ve done or what we usually do in our situation/shop. Most of the time a lot of women think they’re being given the “Shaft” because they’re usually ignorant of most automotive problems, but I explain to them how things work as far as let’s say: why your car takes so long to get an oil change. or why does it cost so much to change a tire or repair a transmission. etc I let them know about labor times, over head, flat rate, parts, tax, test and asses and making sure your problem is fixed when you walk out our door. Things like that take time. So i explain that to them.

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

I would have to say get regular oil/filter services. That goes a long way. Trust me, I’ve seen what NOT changing your oil EVER would do to an engine. This one customer hadn’t changed her oil in her Boxster since she had gotten the car. She came in complaining about her engine pinging. We first off opened the drain plug and what looked like black jelly dropped out in globs. The whole engine was filled with the stuff.

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

It’s really important because it answers mostly all the questions you may have, from what kind of gas your car needs, tire pressure numbers, how often you should change fluids in your car etc.

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Yes. I’m proud to say that i have!

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

It’s either a toss up between my Makita Drill (set) and my Snap On 3/8″ flex head ratchet with the soft grip and smooth ratcheting action.

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

Snap-On. Not trying to sound like an advertisement, but it really does make a difference!

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

A light for dark places, my drill with bits/ sockets and flat head screwdriver for prying. I think those are the most universal tools of all. The bottom of the drill would also act like a hammer indifferent applications and the screw driver for leverage.

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

A HUGE pair of hands to toss these Sunday drivers/ NYC yellow cabs out of the way when I’m going somewhere and running a little late. lol

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

Maybe a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord. Those are good reliable cars and pretty OK on gas.

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?

It’s actually EASIER to get a job there than you may think. Go in and apply, but be prepared to work, though. Any sign of slacking and you’re outta there faster than you can read this sentence!

 

GREAT interview Joel! I am totally cracking up about the pics of the customers girl friends!!! I am also pretty sure that if I was a Lamborghini tech, test drives would be my favorite part if the job! If you guys have any other questions for Joel, post them up in the comments.If we can get him to post in the comments, I would like to ask him how hard working on such high line cars~ How cool!

 

I am really excited to get some aftermarket point of view. The great thing about the performance market, is that it’s more fun for most car people! Thomas has some pretty awesome stuff! If you have a VW, Audi, or Porsche, check out APTuning.

NAME:

Thomas Dickinson

How long have you been in the Industry?

Professionally – approx 11yrs   Enthusiast – approx 15yrs

What is your current job title?

Wholesale Sales and Marketing Manager

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

Car stereo/electronics installation

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

Aftermarket, never worked at a dealer

Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.

I do not work on cars much nowadays so my typical events include email, website, and online orders. Website and internet marketing and advertising. Managing our subdealers for companies such as APR and United Motorsport.

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

work on other cars lol, work on my motorcyle, relax with family

What kind of car do you drive?

B5 Audi currently for a daily

What was your first car?

Honda CRX

What made you want to work on cars?

As any true enthusiast would tell you, I do not think there is a answer for that, it’s just in our blood

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

No Comment HA

Do you have much customer interaction?

Yes quite a bit

What is your favorite part of your job?

Used to be completely some crazy or custom such as a big turbo build. However since I have pretty much migrated to the digital world of the business, once of my favorite things now is finishing video like a dyno runs and such but in a new, cooler looking way

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

Not really sure

The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?

I don’t think it has a bad wrap as a whole, consumers usually think used car dealers seem to be that way, but as we are in the aftermarket its not so bad other then trying to compete with online only venders with little overhead

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

maintain proper oil change intervals

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

It is definitely helpful to making sure to know and get the most out of your vehicle

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Yep

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

hard to say

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

MAC

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

Adjustable, pliers, and phillips screwdriver. Not that its easy but theoretically almost any job can be accomplished with them

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

Turbos 🙂

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

A pre-MK4 Vw. Its easy and cheap to maintain yet still looks cool to the right person

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?

It can be a very stressful and complicated job, its not just turning wrenches nowdays.

 

Thanks Thomas for letting us in on yet another side of the auto industry. If you guys want some performance stuff for your VW or Audi, check out APTuning!

If you would like to be featured on “Behind The Wrench”, just contact me

NAME:

Kevin

How long have you been in the Industry?

Since 2000 so about 12 years

What is your current job title?

Service advisor

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

oil change boy

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

Dealership

Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.

I fix more people than cars.  Pretty much meet and greet, dispatch work into the shop, make status calls and advise on what repairs are needed.  create the final bill and then see the customers on there way.  I’m also a therapist for the techs, and customers 😉

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

I spend time with my girls and play pool and golf

What kind of car do you drive?

2001 VW passat It is a pretty sweet 01 Passat too! **HM**

What was your first car? It was a awesome

1994 mercury villager mini van.  And I still got girlfriends

What made you want to work on cars?

I actually couldn’t afford to get my car fixed so I figured I would teach myself so I didn’t have to pay anyone.  After some trial and lots of error’s the rest is history, never looked back

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

 I was doing a recall on heated seats and found a GIANT bag of weed and a gun. He forgot to mention that it was his car! LOL kidding Kev **HM**

Do you have much customer interaction?

I have more interaction with customers then I do with my family or anyone else that I know

What is your favorite part of your job?

Getting to know and make relationships with a melting pot of different people.  Also making a difference.  If I can be someones hero or save there day it makes all the bad times worth it.  I agree 100% with that **HM**

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

Have a negative attitude.  Keeping a good attitude would have saved me so many  headaches in the past

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 I treat everyone’s car like my moms.  Give me 1 opportunity to earn your trust and fix your car the right way, you wont be disappointed.

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

CHANGE YOUR OIL ON TIME!!!!  Don’t be lazy and neglect your car.  Its a huge investment and needs some lovin every so often just like everything else.  You be good to your car and it will be good to you

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

Depends on if you have trouble sleeping!  Honestly….. I bet %50 of people would save money or time if they looked in the manual first before coming in for service.  There car will also last longer if they follow the maint schedule for there vehicle.

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Thats a negative.  But I’ve worked with VW since 2003, There’s not much about my car I don’t know

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

My mind……all day

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

Snap on

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

  1. Snap On pocket screw driver (if you work on cars you know what I mean) And they are free! **HM**
  2. Adjustable wrench
  3. Scan tool.  I can pretty much disassemble and fix most cars with those 3

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

A sweet tea maker

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

2.0 jetta, prob one of the best/reliable cars ever made

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?
We really are here to help, not rip you off, I promise if your nice and give me the chance I will work my ass off for you.
I actually had the privilege to work with Kevin for about 4 years. We worked next to each other as mechanics for quite a while. That was so much fun. Then he moved up to be a service advisor. When that happened, I think Kevin really found his calling. He was a pretty good mechanic, but he was a phenomenal service advisor.
I am pretty sure that we can all expect great things from Kevin in the future. Thanks so much Kev for giving us a look into the service advisor world!
If you guys have any questions for Kevin, or want to know more about being a service advisor, post it up in the comments.
Today we get to know a little more about being a service manager. I know “technically” he is not behind a wrench, but Rusty has a pretty cool view of the industry.
If you would like to be featured in this interview series, please email me.
NAME:
Rusty

How long have you been in the Industry?
Holy Crap! 25 years. When did that happen?

What is your current job title?
 Dealership service manager
What were you doing for your first automotive job?
One of the coolest jobs I ever had. I was an assistant in a performance street shop that was associated with Team Highball. Team Highball was a racing team, in Raleigh NC, that raced in the old IMSA days. They built from scratch, and raced Mazdas with some factory assistance. They ended up winning the 24 hours of Daytona 4 years in a row. Amos and Bunny Johnson were some of the nicest folks I’d ever met. Heard some great stories there.
Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?
See question 3. The independant shop that I did work at was pretty cool, but you can make a better living in a dealership. Depends on the mindset of the individual as to whether a dealership or aftermarket/independant is better.
Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.
There is not enough room on the net to list that. I was shocked, when I was hired, to see that my job description was 6 pages long. I will say that my job is equal parts psychologist, technical, accountant, ad-man, den mother, daycare manager, punching bag and “Lucy” from peanuts when she is sitting in the stand that has the sign over it that says “The doctor is in 5 cents.”
When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?
Mainly been a family guy for a long time. My 2 girls played travel soccer, danced, swam and I’ve never had more fun in my life than the time I’ve been able to spend with them.
I’ve also been enjoying playing guitar and singing in a bluegrass band, turning my garage into a man-cave and modifying whatever I drive.
What kind of car do you drive?
Yukons, had an ’03 since new, just bought an ’08 Denali.
What was your first car?
1965 Mustang coupe. It was arrest-me red and slow as hell 6 cylinder.
What made you want to work on cars?
The real genuine love of cars. I genuinely like to interact with people and solve their problems. My mother loves to tell the story that the first toy I ever asked for, when I was a baby, was a police car….and it sorta grew from there.
What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?
Would baby mice count? A snake in the “A” pillar? Shotgun pellets and blood? Cigarette tar like a gummy stalactite hanging from a rear view mirror?…..that’s probably enough.
Do you have much customer interaction?
Um….plenty.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Actually solving someone’s problem or teaching them something that would keep them from having problems in the future.
If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?
Listen to someone complain about someone else. OMG! People have really lost the concept and the ability to get along.
The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?
That’s a hard thing to do. Lot’s of folks really build up their defenses when they think they’re getting ripped off. Most of the time it’s becuase they are in a position of weakness. either not knowing what they are talking about or not knowing how to proceed. I just do the best I can to teach them what they need to know, so that they can make an educated decision from a position of strength.
Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?
Oil, do it more often than they say you need to.
Check the air in your tires, change your wiper blades every six months, and clean your windows inside and out. Those things may not make the car last longer, but they will improve your enjoyment of the car. And never, EVER use armor-all on the INSIDE of the car.
How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?
Critical. You will learn something that you weren’t even expecting to learn. But you will know your car.
Have you read the owners manual to your car?
Oh yeah. Each car I’ve ever owned.
What tool in your tool box do you use the most?
Knowledge. With that, you can figure the rest out. Does that sound as corny as it feels?——-From HumbleMechanic YES 😉
Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?
The best one for a reasonable price. I think many guys, especially young ones, get caught up with the name on the tools. Start off with something like Craftsman. If you stay in the business, which is rare, then move on to the high line stuff. Do NOT bury yourself in debt early.
If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?
Does a Gerber multi-tool count? Is that cheating for one tool?
Vice grip pliers, and a good pocket knife.
Maybe, given what I do, I should have said a Bic pen.
If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?
My grandfather converted his windshield washer tank to squirt moonshine under the dash to fill his cup. Now I can’t condone that but it was very creative. But James Bond? Jet pack I suppose.
You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?
Started with a Passat variant. It was a great car for high school and would have been great for college except she went to school in the mountains and needed 4 wheel drive. Next was a Honda Element. It’s a driveable U-Haul trailer and was all-wheel-drive, but cannot withstand being crushed by a Mazda. Now she has a Jeep Cherokee XJ and she loves it. My other daughter is still on her first First Car. Honda CRv. All of them used. Never buy a young driver a new car.
What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?
I’m proud of the people I work with and we really do put a great deal of energy into giving them the best product we can. We are human and many times make mistakes or don’t do things well, but most of the time there are very few that can compete with us.

Is that it, are the cameras still rolling? Am I done? I’m going to bed now.

What a great interview Rusty. I want to see some pictures of that moonshine dispenser your grandfather had.