Humble Mechanic Tool Box

After Tuesday’s post, I feel like I left a black cloud hanging out there. It is so dang easy to focus on the negative parts of the this industry. We often lose sight of some of the awesome parts. So today, I want to talk about some of the awesome things about being a mechanic. Fair warning, this might be some random thoughts straight from my brain. That usually lets folks see who A.D.D. and scatter brained I can be. Hold on tight 😀

While may of us mechanics get overwhelmed about the amount we need to know, we forget how much we really do know. It does far beyond just engines and transmissions. It it little stuff, like VW moved the side turn signals to the mirror for the 2004 and 2005 Passat. Strange right? Or the password to recode instrument clusters on MK4 cars was 13864. Don’t worry, I am not giving away and top secret info/ 🙂 How about that fact that lug bolts and oil drain plugs are the same size and thread pitch.

Mechanical Mind
Being a mechanic really hones the mechanical mind. Putting a car back together days after you take it apart is REALLY hard. The years of seeing how parts fit, and don’t fit, give mechanics a get eye for fitment. Being able to fit parts together is something that ALL mechanics get good at. It might be as simple as turning the wrench around to access a bolt.

Funny story~ One of the guys in the shop was taking off a fuel sensor. I walked over just to see what he was doing. He looked kinda frustrated. He told me that he could not get the wrench on the sensor. This is a job that he had done before, so it was not a matter of know how. I laughed and said, “Hey man, turn the wrench around”. He looked at me and said “WOW, I am dumb”. He turned the wrench around and took the sensor off. We both had a good laugh at him..

Side Work
One thing that can be both awesome and awful about being a mechanic is side work. We mechanics have lots of tools(more on that in a minute). That means that we can do work outside of the shop. It can be a pretty good gig from some people. Get paid in cash, enjoy a beer while you work, not be really pressed for time. It can be a good way to make a couple of extra bucks.

The bad side is, your non mechanic friends will want you to “hook them up” on getting their car fixed. It can be frustrating at times. I don’t really do side work. For one, I just don’t have time. Also, it is not really worth it for me. The liability is really high. I will help my friends out when they need it, but that is usually a good time. I know a few guys that make tons of money doing side work. Just another perk of the job.

Now we are talking! I LOVE tools. Spending time on the tool truck shopping is my favorite part of Friday. Yeah to some spending $400+ on a set of wrenches, or $250 on 1 ratchet my seem crazy. To me it is great. One of the coolest things is finding a tool that will cut the time of a job in half. That tool will pay for itself in not time! This also means I can work on a project car at home. I just load up my tool bag and bring what I need home.

You need a 5.5mm socket, I got it. 1/4in drive stubby 5mm Allen with a ball end, YEP! A 36in pry bar, Oh YEAH! Part of me really thinks that the love of tools is why guys and gals become mechanics. Can you blame them?

RESPECT, Trust, and Appreciation
Most of the time when you hear “auto mechanic” and “respect” together it is negative. You can make a really good case that people tend to not respect and appreciate this profession. But let me tell you something. ANY and I really mean ANY time someone asks a mechanic for advise, it is because they respect you! When a customer hands their keys over for me to work on their car, they trust me to do the right thing. When someone says “Charles, should I make this repair?” or “Do you think my car is worth fixing” THAT my friends means so much to me.

It means that customer trusts me to help them make a choice. A choice that can affect them for the next 5 years or more. Remember, a car is the 2nd biggest purchase most people make. When someone is asking me for help. I take that to heart.

Your customers, coworkers, and boss will not tell you everyday how much they respect what you do. But trust me kids, they do! Understand that a mechanic is the MOST valuable person in a dealership or repair shop. Think of how much money my dealer has spent on training me and the boys that I work with. The average cost of one training class is around $700. That is for each mechanic, at least once a year. That is no joke, and not an amount to sneeze at. That training is NOT just for the customers. It is NOT just so the dealer can say “We have factory trained technicians”. It is a perk of the job. If a mechanic leaves a dealership, they take all that knowledge with them. Tell me how that is not AWESOME!

See, being a mechanic ain’t all bad. 😉 I know my job isn’t perfect, but it is a heck of a lot better than some jobs. Did I miss any perks of the job? Oh, I did, sometimes customers bring cookies,or the really rare(and my favorite) a nice craft beer or home brew. Ok, now did I miss any perks of the job?

If you think that being a mechanic is awesome, go ahead and share this post. It means a lot to me when you do.