techs leaving dealers episode 38

Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope that you are all rocking it this week. Today you have me in the car with another GoPro video. I really do like doing these. Once the sun is up later, I can start doing them more. It doesn’t make for a great watch when it is dark outside.

I always love your comments. This is a show that your thoughts really make the show great. So post them up! 🙂 Also, my uploader did not upload in HD. That version is coming later today.

Join me today as we chat about

  • Techs leaving dealerships
  • What is the “next step” for a good tech
  • Dealerships and brands do not have the answer
  • I don’t really have the answer either
  • Me worried about getting pulled over
  • and more

Having trouble viewing? Watch “Thoughts on Techs Moving Away From Dealerships ~ Episode 38” on YouTube.

As always, your thoughts and comments are more than welcome. If you have an idea for a show, use the contact me form, or email me Charles(at)HumbleMechanic(dot)com

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15 replies
  1. In the Know
    In the Know says:

    I have a freind that works in an Audi dealership in the UK and he is the best tech that I know, he and his coworkers are considered by the management, sales and service advisors to be just a knuckle dragging mouth breathing school drop outs with no value or future. What they don’t realise is that they chose to work on cars, not that they didn’t do well at school and were limited for choice like everyone seems to think. Over the years at the franchise my freind has proved himself over and over again, obtaining qualified tech status at his own expense without the assistance of the franchise or the management and he is still over looked for master tech. The real shame about this is that the brand don’t care either, he has saved them thousands in training costs by wanting to better himself and he has had no recognition at all. Instead of a valued asset both the brand and the franchise only see an expendable robot. He too will one day leave the industry for a less demanding more highly respected role with a greater salary and wonder why he didn’t do it years ago. The problem is not just one of a short career path but also one of value.

  2. Ed
    Ed says:

    I found this enlightening. I’m an old retired dude, who worked predominately in office jobs, and was never satisfied throughout my career. I often wished I were more mechanically inclined, as cars and racing were what interested me most. I think, in your case, anyway, you are working in an industry that you find interesting. This, to me would be a large factor, but if like myself, what you are doing was not of interest, it would be tough to go turn wrenches everyday for folks you don’t know, while seeing no light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. Kenso
    Kenso says:

    Found this to be a timely video as it’s often on my mind these days. I think dealerships are slowly transitioning away from being the “ideal” place to work as a tech. Between a greater percentage of work being warranty and recalls, and loading up the shop with lower paid C-techs knocking out CP gravy so the dealership turns a greater profit while saddling the A-techs with “junk” work, it becomes more of a battle to turn hours week by week. No practical opportunities for advancement within the dealer either as you mentioned.

    Honestly as an experienced tech looking for a change, it seems like going with what you know via self employment/opening your own shop is the best alternative. I’m curious to see what the future holds for dealers and manufacturers as far as retaining quality experienced techs, I see little incentive for top guys to stick around unless they are paid an exorbitant hourly rate to compensate for declining hours. Hoping to bail out of the dealer myself in the next few years despite 15 years of service and Master tech status.

  4. Dylan Roth
    Dylan Roth says:

    Wow this one hit home. I know exactly how you feel. I am fully certified in all aspects of Mitsubishi certification. While many people do not view Mitsubishi as a cutting edge company or a huge factor in our market, the training and training centers are very very good. My training has benefited me not only on current model Mitsubishi, but also refreshed the stuff I had forgotten from way back in tech school. It made me a better tech overall.
    My thoughts on “the next level”? Well, about two years ago we had an opening as service manager, and as foreman, I progressed into this. It is a horrible, horrible job to be a SM or advisor. I did that for roughly 8 months. Longer hours, less pay, more stress, and I dreaded coming to work. Went back and picked up the wrench.

    One position that has always intrugued me is something of a product quality engineer. We have a few of these guys, who all were former techs, who work directly for Mitsubishi and deal only with repeat problems on a specific model and how to address this issue. These guys fly all over and do case studies, they work directly with product engineers, and they troubleshoot.

    So in my eyes, the next level is leaving the dealership and working for the manufacturer directly. While I don’t view this in my future, it is an exciting prospect to envision.

    Regarding the aforementioned “a techs get horrible work” and “c techs get gravy”, there’s a problem I’m seeing first hand and would love to know a solution. If I’m chasing can bus lines all day, and not doing ball joints, alignments, and head gaskets, I’m taking a pay cut. But yet I’m worth more?

    • Scott
      Scott says:

      It seems your management doesn’t know how (or want ) to balance the work load approximately. I work at a dealership where a dispatcher hands out work according to need and ability of the technician. Not a job I would want, but he does it very, very well!

      • mattyvdubtech
        mattyvdubtech says:

        Yeah I really wish we had a dispatcher. At my dealer the service writer’s are the ones who hand the work out. Which can be a big problem at times because I see writers not giving techs work because they are mad at them or they will favorite one guy and load him up with work. We have tried bringing up to management that we want a dispatcher but they dont want to hear it. I feel like that could solve some problems at my dealer.

  5. Chris
    Chris says:

    One reason many dealership techs leave is due to ridiculous warranty pay. When I was a Ford tech it was just expected that warranty times were going to be unachievable. It’s been going on for so long that it’s just expected for techs to take a loss. That shouldn’t be how it is. I moved to BMW and the warranty times are much more reasonable. Why anyone would want to go work everyday where 3.7 for a heater core is the norm is beyond me. When manufacturers start being realistic about the time repairs take.Dealers will have no shortage of techs

  6. Uwe
    Uwe says:

    I know a few really good VW/Audi techs who got burned out working for dealerships and found their next level at a scan-tool company. 😉

  7. David Summers
    David Summers says:

    Very cool topic… After years in retail and working for the factory, I now consult, coach and teach service advisors, managers and dealer principles and have had the honor of visiting hundreds of stores in the process.

    For every crappy place to work, there are two or three that are either not-so-bad, or decent and at least one that would be a great place to work. If you want to turn wrenches don’t waste your time working for a bad boss or company. I can’t speak for all, but several brands provide lucrative opportunities for someone who takes production seriously.

    From my perspective though there are lots of other career options for a technician ready for a change including being a service advisor, parts counter, and why not try sales. Some techs would be great at that. Also there is teaching in technical schools, for OEMs, aftermarket parts or repair companies. There are lots of field technical jobs, sales jobs, and customer support roles that require technical knowledge in insurance companies, body shops, manufacturing companies, tool and accessory companies. Technical skills can also be transferred to other industries such as appliance, HVAC, fiber optics, solar etc..

    Then there is the option of being self-employed, my chosen path. If you are passionate about this idea… educate yourself, plan, prepare financially then go for it. In my book, there is nothing better than working for yourself. It is not always easy, but it is always yours.

  8. mattyvdubtech
    mattyvdubtech says:

    Like many of the other comments this one hit home with me as well. I’m starting to realize we have a lot in common! I too have reached my goal of being a Master VW tech awhile ago and now am becoming burned out with this job. Was just asked today if I wanted to sign up for the diagnostic technician class so I can maintain my Master status and I actually declined because I just don’t see any benefit anymore of being a Master Technician.

    I’m in the same boat as Kenso and Dylan said above, I get a lot of odd/hard jobs or check engine lights where you actually need to think in order to fix the car. More than likely because they know that I will actually take the time to fix the car and fix it right. Its just frustrating when guys in your shop are booking more hours than you because the advisers do not trust them and give them all easy basic maintenance type work. And like Kenso said it seems every job is either warranty or has a aftermarket warranty company that only pays warranty times or my manger decides to goodwill it.

    We also started a quick lube service about a year ago who do a lot of the 10ks and 20ks which can be frustrating too. Sometimes its nice to just have a 10k to do to give your mind a rest even though they don’t pay that well.

    I don’t think I would hesitate to leave if I could find something that I could make the same amount of money without going back to school. Just don’t know what else to do without taking a pay cut which I can’t afford to do at the moment…

    Off topic what powertrain/driveline do you have in the passat? I have a 05 passat wagon as well!

  9. Scott
    Scott says:

    Wow, you seem to have hit a nerve with this topic. As a tech who has been wrenching for 35 years I can attest to the sentiment of these posts. I have felt the ebb and flow of the industry, and have risen the rising tide of dissatisfied technicians, all while asking the same question, ” what’s next?” I worked at a brewery on weekends (nice), and I also worked selling parts at Advance Auto parts. I even taught automotive technology for 10 years at a vocational school, but in the end I came back to the wrench. I fell into a position at a large GM dealership, with great people in it. Good people, large volume of work, and a great facility! My pay is very lucrative, and life is great. Count me as one of the few, the proud to be a dealership technician!


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  1. […] Today’s automotive podcast comes on the heels of a show I did last week called “Thoughts on Techs Moving Away From Dealerships ~ Episode 38“. I realized that I really hit a nerve with a lot of you. To me that was both a good and bad […]

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