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Automotive issues.

The article deal with some issues about the lack of training and some solutions.
We are in big trouble By Pedro Talavera.

I am writing this article and sending it to all people concerned with our industry, hopefully l will reach the ones who really care. The article started as a single page commentary, it's bigger now.

I've been working in the business for about 28 years as an auto technician, and I finally decided it was time to write about this business of ours after experiencing a lot of different events in my professional life.

There is a new trend in our profession, one that should have been started long ago. The trend is to desperately train people young and old to be "technicians". Why this need to train people to learn how to work on the cars of today? Because plain and simply there are not enough qualified techs out there to fill the demand. Some people tell me, Pedro if you get out, five will come in. Really? I don't think so.
The other day when investigating about paint suppliers I came to know that Benjamin Moore, the leading supplier of professional paints was offering free seminars to people that wanted to learn about the business of painting. Then l thought to my self, here is this company that on its own has put together 3 seminars with competent trainers and dinner included and they don't charge you a penny. (Compared to the auto repair industry the paint manufacturing industry makes pennies). I couldn't help but to get so mad at our industry for being so disorganized, (especially in the past) and so cheap. If you compare how cheap and easy it is to set a painting company compared to setting a car repair shop you can't help but to ask yourself why aren't more people going over to that business (or other ones for that matter) and just leaving the auto repair industry alltogheter. And on top of how easy it is to get into the painting business, they also get lots of help from their suppliers. Well, in our industry that's not the story, we techs hardly get any help from our bosses or part manufacturers to get training. We have to spend very large amounts of money for tools and equipment, and we are usually treated with out respect not only by our employers but also the public.
I can't talk for the dealers since I only worked for one once or twice, and only stayed there for 3 weeks. The reason? Not enough work and very low pay. To name the least. There were many positive things there but money was not # 1.

I have suggested many times in the past that as a gesture of thanks to us the techs who are the ones who actually sell most of the parts that go on cars, they should give us training completely free, yes free (automotive counter people are trained free). Sounds crazy? Well if it does, you might be part of those that think that on top of all we do for our industry we also need to pay for our training, the training that benefits not only us but mostly this multi billion dollar companies that build parts and tools. Companies like Bosch, TRW, Delco, Hollie, Champion, Fomoco, Matco, Mac, Mopar, Fram, Snap On, Mac, Matco, etc etc, just to name a few. Is not enough (although is a good start) just to give a scholarship here and there. We need organization (a union) and the coming together of all interested to finally give back to us the techs. A trained tech is better prepared to diagnose a car quickly and accurately; improving sales and diminishing the all dreaded come back.

We love what we do (well, most of us... )

Then they wonder why we are getting out. Why are we getting out? Why do you think? We must like what we do a lot in order to stay in this crazy business of ours. And that's why most of us have stayed for so long, because we love what we do, but the time to make a drastic decision is long overdue, I myself am thinking about going onto different pastures.
The thing is most of us techs have dedicated our lives to this industry, we breath, eat gasoline... is in our blood (literally, hahahaha). If we were to to go to other industries to work, we will have a hard time adapting because all of our training is related to automotive. This is the reason many have left. Not me I can do many different things besides working on cars.

If technician prospects will have a chance to really see what this industry is all about and what it has to offer I am pretty sure not many will come in, and in fact it seems to be like that.

Only the ones that are meant to be real techs (The best ones) will be the ones that will think about getting on this wild ride that is the automotive repair industry.

Many argue (shop owners) that they don't want to train their techs because then when they leave (the techs) the cost of the training is lost; I think this is so pitiful! So selfish too, I mean if you are fixing cars and want them fixed right then the best thing is to have techs that know what they are doing no? Or will you prefer to have someone changing many parts that are not needed and making you look like a fool? Any way, if the tech leaves and you paid for the training, chances are that if all shops do the same thing you did, the next tech you get will be trained too, at least on the basics. The only thing you will need to do is to offer them up dated training to keep them sharp. Well it has to start somewhere, remember you put a lot of seeds out and some will sprout and give fruit.
One of the reasons many shops are closing is related to the untrained techs problem, (few people mention this) no one wants to take their car to a shop that can't fix cars right, period. Eventually that shop will find it self with no repeat customers and in turn many repeat repairs (comebacks). There are many companies that know the value of having competent trained workers. These companies are usually very successful.
Now if the industry refuses to train techs at all, then the techs that did pay for the training them selves and are competent to work on today's cars will have to be compensated to the maximum.

When talking to a relative she mentioned her company was sending her for some training she needed. The company paid for the whole thing ($50000 worth). She is a computer programmer for a well-established company. When se moved from Washington is was because she got transferred here to Miami with a well paying job. Talk about taking care of your workers...

The companies that form the automotive industry are very diverse. There are tire companies, engine companies, glass, electronics etc. All of these companies have the duty to contribute to the effort to educate actual and future techs.

A shop in Miami?

Nowadays to properly set an auto repair shop takes quite a lot of money, if you want to really stay in business. The goal really is to be able to compete with the dealers and the franchised shops like tire dealers, Sears etc. So to compete with those you can't expect to just open a little shop with a few thousand dollars and have people flock to your place. You need to be able to stay on the same level as the competition if you expect people to even notice you.
Well here in Miami that's the biggest problem facing the shops already in business and the future shops.
Here in Miami is very difficult to find a suitable local that you can buy. I have seen in trade publications that in other states most shops are owned by the people who run them, and the place where the shop is, is also their property. In Miami if you want to open a small shop you need to succumb to the so-called "Warehouses". These are places built on the borders of residential areas, places where "commercial" businesses can be accepted and built. These places usually are pretty expensive and carry contracts of two or more years. I have heard many stories of people leasing these places for an "acceptable" monthly rent and when later doing pretty well on their business and the landlord finding this out, then the rent is raised to unbearable levels when the lease is renewed.

These places usually are located in areas that are hidden away from main roads, a lot of them look pretty bad, most of them don't have enough parking places for the business they plan or do have. A lot of them have poor security, they aren't well planed, usually when a company has to unload a delivery, the shops don't have a back door to do it so they have to park on the front where all the customers go by, blocking the way.

You see the trick is to open your shop, have fun while making money for a number of years and then when you decide to retire you sell the whole thing, not just the name the tools and the customer list (something that I have seen very difficult to do). That's what l noticed most people are aiming at in most other states, sell the shop after some years, then with the money made selling it, you can relax for a while. When you lease this is obviously not possible.

Troubled industry

Well as you can see our industry is in trouble, big trouble actually. Here I just mentioned some of the problems that we are facing right now. There are many other problems that have been lingering for a long time and I am pretty sure we will have to face new problems.
The thing is most of the problems that we have, have been caused by the people in our own industry. The main problem of training should have been tackled many years ago, not wait until most of the good techs are either going out or thinking about it. And this thing of enticing new people to come to our industry is kind of childish. Until we don't really change the image and workings of the whole industry from inside out, from the bottom up, no one with a brain will really think about getting into this crazy world and stay to the end. Some might get into it but then get out when seeing their friends making better money working under better conditions.

Technology is changing at a fast pace not only in our industry but all industries. Our profession is one that has neglected to create a plan for the people that decided to get into it. Even now l see many sketches being tossed out at the vocational schools but no one has taking upon themselves to standardize a real effective system for training future technicians. We need that system to be implemented now and updated when necessary. We need high school counselors to have the right information to be able to recommend accordingly to the prospects that want to get in. When a bright individual wants to get in don't discourage them just because they are intelligent. Again l stress, in order for us to attract young people to our industry we need to profesionalize it.
There's one thing we as techs can do to help, we need to get along among ourselves, this is the time to share what we know, the cut throat attitude that has reigned in our industry and many others wont win any followers or help us in any way.

Most of the other professions train their people for free, l can't understand why we can't. I have seen some people say that if they give the training for free techs won't be interested... well may be the techs that won't be interested are the ones that shouldn't be techs at all. I myself was always on the look out for free training and when l was able to afford the ones that charged also went and got it
I mean, l love the auto repair business but l don't want my kids to be in it. Does that tell you something? At least for now. If they do decide to get into it I will try to make them reason and really think about what they are doing.
I will tell them that our industry has let us down in the past and is trying to patch things down now, how good of a job they will do nobody knows, but hopefully they will recognize the mistakes done in the past and prevent making them again. I will tell them that the only way to really succeed at something is giving your all, that's what l did, and also when l noticed that I was being deceived l decided to make a change.

The mighty dollar.

Yes l know that the people that invest in companies want a good return on their investment, but perhaps there is a small detail that has eluded them. Don't you think that by having happy and intelligent trained and well paid techs the industry will inevitably be in better shape? Hence be more productive? Or is that the way money is made? By keeping the subjects stupid? l guess it all has to do on which side of the river you stand doesn't it? The cost of designing and implementing training is so small taking in consideration the returns, especially if the cost are divided between the many companies that benefit from us selling and installing parts. Also taking in consideration all the money made every year in the after market business. So l can't help it but to think that we techs are not important to this people upstairs and the ones making their investments and decisions in our industry. It seems to me that the only important thing to them is what amount of money they get in return. When the directors of these companies sit down on their big tables at the conference room, to talk about the company situation and the industry in general, do they even mention us? Is the word "technician" mentioned other than to exploit them? Yes money is very important but it shouldn't be the most important part.
I think there are many professions that we underapreciate, but the one that l know for sure that does not get any appreciation or very little is us. We have teachers that have to buy things for the children that the school should provide, police officers risking their life for a not so well paying job, secretaries and assistants that do what their bosses should be doing, etc, but us techs really get screwed up big.

There is a local radio station that gives away one million dollars daily, yes the money for these prices come from advertisers. That this money reaches a winner a day for a fact is to be proved. I will find out as much as l can and update this article. The reason l mention this is, if a lonely Miami company with money just from advertising can do this, it really boggles me how cheap the auto industry has been to us.
It doesn't take a genius or an "expert" to notice the unfairness in the technician's pay.
When you compare what other jobs pay and what they do, what they have to invest to work, you can't help but wonder why we have allowed our employers to exploit us as they have done lately. Nurses, plumbers, taxi drivers, pizza delivery people, the list goes on and on. They all make more money than us. I am not saying they shouldn't. I am saying we too deserve to be paid well.

Suggestions to the heads of industry.

These are some things I think will benefit us all (not in order of importance).

Create a union (nation wide) or use an association like Flatratetech or ASA etc. (Become a member). Auto techs, appliance techs and body/paint people will benefit.
Yearly or bimonthly bonuses to techs.
Implement an apprentice system where techs coming out of school (vocational tech, college or university) with a "master" from ASE or the like will have to work as an apprentice or helper for at least a year (or more is better) to get the feeling of things. When you come out of school you have some (or a lot, depends on many things) knowledge but usually very low experience.
The dealers and independent shops should raise the hourly rate to at least $100 an hour, and pay techs at least 30%.
Free training, at least the training after you finish school, like clinics etc to stay updated.
Above all give the respect to techs you will any one at any level of the company. We all are humans and deserve this.
Have people from the management departments be in contact with the techs directly, this will give them a feel of what's going on in our (the labor part) world.
Trade publications should be kept free. (Motor Age, Motor, Etc) We read them; we buy the stuff advertised there (at least I do), period. We even send back the info you ask us for. So we are doing our part. Also these magazines will be of great help if all people could read them (not just techs). I suggest that they where displayed at all USA libraries.
Pay techs salary and, if you still think commission is better for both, then give a percentage of the profit of the parts sold by the tech.
When approached, contribute to the cause. Things are happening and you will get the opportunity to make a change, don't let it pass by. Do your part.
For all those who can, make it possible for techs etc, to be able to voice out their opinions and concerns. There are some publications that allow this, but the space is very limited. Allow for full expression. Not all of us can edit that well.
Shop owners that are tired or have physical limitations and are thinking of leaving the business can be of great help by working as technical support for the shop. Instead of making the tech waste time looking for info for a problem car, the owner/manager can volunteer their time for this. As we know there are lots of resources out there. The tech will have more time to work on more cars with the assistance of a veteran that knows where to find help quick.
One thing that has been suggested by others and me is a technician's library where techs can borrow or rent training videos etc. The tech leaves a deposit and when the video is returned, the deposit is returned.
Create an incentive program with real prizes. This will be to compliment the existing techs and allure new prospects. Prizes like brand new cars, good quality toolboxes and tools, complete scholarships, trip to conventions, etc. All the above things are tax deductible, as you all should know.
Recognize the labor contributed by the people in our industry. Use the publications that are meant to be our advocates to honor the techs., mechanics, writers, shop owners, service writers, trainers part counter people, etc. They all deserve to be recognized for the labor they provide.
For shop owners and managers, take management training. Believe me this will help you especially when you take it from the good companies out there.

What can we do?

The answer to that is very obvious, it is all over this article, train now, create a system that is effective, standardize the training procedure nationwide so it will be cost effective and easy to implement. The government has had some very good programs in the past but there was a key part missing, good teachers/mentors. I suggest a partnership between the government, the automakers and the after market industry to resolve this situation. They have the economical means to do so. All needed is will and good intention.

I have heard that in Germany technicians are respected professionals, that repair shops are a good place to work, and the pay is fair. Well ladies and gentleman sorry to disappoint you but here in good old USA the number one country we don't have that (yet). The kind of cars they make there reflects a lot on their philosophy doesn't it? There must be a reason why the Japanese copied the German cars and not the American cars, and in the process probably ended up improving them in some aspects. I think they make some of the best cars out there (Germany). And don't try to fool yourselves; we don't make the best cars in the world yet. We have the means to make the best cars in the world, we have the materials, the people power so why don't we? Why don't we treat with respect our technicians and workers? Why don't we allow them to make a decent living? May be that is part of the problem.
I wanted to mention that when recently working on some American cars, l have seen some very good improvement on some models.
Perhaps one thing that will help could be allowing a union to help set things, I know that a lot of people don't like unions, but l have noticed that the industries that have one have an over all better situation than ours. If we had a union we could demand for our rights and be heard. Right now with the organization that we have (which is almost none) we can't expect to be heard at all, they only hear us when they want, like when they need to see what tools we need so they can get reach selling them to us. Why do we have to wait for us to get a union and then go on strike to be heard? Why can't they be fair with us and let us make some money too? After all, we do a big part of the job don't we? We diagnose, sell the job to the customer then do the job. We are important and we are treated like we are not. They often call us "part installers". (By the way when a part fails we techs have to do the job again for free).
Well if that is what it will take, I guess we should become union members.
They tell me that me being just one guy it will be impossible to change things, that they will never listen to me. I wonder, are there more techs like me? (Or any one that will hear) Are they willing to do something about it? If you are one please let me know. I love what l do, I enjoy Working on cars but l need to live well too. Is time we do something about it, we either change things or get out so they can feel the need for good techs. They probably think many people are getting in this field, but l really doubt it.
These are questions that l pose to any one that can answer. Feel free to e-mail me with an intelligent comment.
For all those of you who have done something for our industry out of your heart, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

About professionalism.

I have been thinking about how we could profesionalize our trade. I see that most professionals expend some years getting prepared for when they graduate. In our trade there is many people that are working on cars with very little preparation (some have almost none). I will like to suggest to the existing schools to extend the time of the courses so they can give more information to the students. I have noticed that a lot of "Techs" are pretty good at solving problems in their own way, (be it parts swapping, etc) but when confronted with a real problem, one that requires you to really think and have knowledge of the systems you are working on, they get stumped. Why? Because of lack of basic knowledge. The other day when studying for an ASE test, l was reading the term's glossary on my preparation book, and believe me, there where some terms there that I didn't know. I know that l should have known by now those terms, but I was honest with myself and practiced some more.
I think we should be honest with ourselves and see what is it that we need to learn and hit those books hard.

The situation our industry is in is not perfect. There are many things to be done. I have seen some improvements made in the last year. We can't fix it all at once. We have to plant the seed.

Are we being fair?

As many of us know, mechanics used to be paid 50% of what the dealer or shop charged customers an hour some 30/40 years ago in some states in some shops. Now days dealers and most independent shops charge more per hour but the percentage to the tech has lowered. I have read many articles about techs and how they could make a decent living being a mechanic 30 years ago. They could own a nice late model car, a house and the wife (l know that today some man stay home with the kids) could stay home to take care of the kids. Now days most techs have used cars, rent not own a house or apartment, and the spouse could have more than one job. I don't know but I think progress is not what l will call this situation. Are we going backwards? Who's responsible for this? The government or the over ambitious companies and people who own these companies? (Are we techs liable in part too).
The other day l saw an article that said that there are just a few people in the world that are the richest people. Maybe about 300 of them. When you add all of the monies this few people have, the total will surprise you. The total is much bigger than the sum of the assets of the rest of the other people in the world. Imagine that, just a group of people with banks accounts so big that they couldn't expend it all in their lifetime. What is so much money needed by just one or a group of people? There used to be millionaires now days you have "billionaires".
Well that's my point exactly. There is many people that make so much money and get so much praise for doing regular things, that's the way we humans are. We are stupid. Take in consideration sport players, politicians, they make lots, golf players, tennis players, boxers, etc. Show people too, they can make a million dollars in just one show, in which they could make may be 20 to 50 or more shows. For a regular person a million dollars will last their whole life and also they will have to work their whole life to make that much if ever. My point is, maybe they made their money honestly. And so are we, we mechanics want to make our money that way.

Mechanics are the first resort for shop cut backs, whenever there has to be a cut back, the mechanic is the one they look at. Instead of organizing the place to be productive they make the mechanic who is one of the key parts, to take the punishment and get salary cuts.
This has to end, shops need to pay accordingly to techs. We are a very important part of society, just like any other profession. One way we techs can demand respect (because they are not giving it to us yet) is to get to be the best techs we can be. We need to be like doctors, study hard and be almost with out error. And l strongly recommend all good techs out there, be tough, and just be patient for a little while more so the people upstairs have the time to reflect on this. But don't wait too long your families need to be supported.

Have we given up?

While talking to other techs on the Internet chat rooms etc, l saw something that bothered me. Complacence with how things are. Is like they think there's nothing that can be done. This from the good techs. The ones that don't want to train couldn't care less. But it did surprise me to see this. Have we given up? Because I think that's what they will like, for us to give up and accept what ever they give as better than nothing. Well is up to you, if you want to let them dictate what quality of life you should have I can't do anything, but will do something about it. They will respect me and pay me accordingly, because I am one of the best. You have to strive for this, to do your best, not just good enough.

A little about car dealers.

I don't know why car manufacturers knowing the complexity of their products don't implement a training program and back up the dealers that sell their products. The way they are working now leaves a lot to be desired. I have heard many complaints from dealer techs about the quality and lack of training. They probably won't care if more people start using the Internet to buy the car directly from them. Do they think this is an intelligent move? Because if you don't play fair to the dealers, who's going to fix the cars? The independents? I think they will be more than happy to do so.
Car manufacturers and car dealers need to get their act strait, or face the consequences.

More about $$

Does the number 222 ($222 billion) ring any bells? Well this figure is the amount of dollars expected to be made in the aftermarket industry this year (2003). I don't have the figures for last year, but I am pretty sure there's not too much difference. The OEM'S make about the same if not more. Does this number impress you? It sure does me, taking in consideration how difficult it has been for them to share that wealth with the people who are the key part in the moneymaking equation. (Us techs).
In an industry so powerful and wealthy, it is incredible to see how some techs live. Yes, only a few do live well. Those are the ones that work for the very few good shops around.

People need us

People come to us techs for advice when deciding which brand of car to buy. They trust us to install the parts that will last and work better on their cars.
When doctors make a prescription, what determines which brand they recommend? Well we know that the drug business is huge (billions a year), and we also know that the drug manufacturers are always doing their job to make hospitals, universities and doctors happy. How? By giving them things they really need for free, things like very expensive equipment and training about the equipment etc.
So drug manufacturers know that the doctors and teachers have a great power, the power to decide which company will sell more products.
We as technicians and so-called "part installers" have the same power. We have been making part manufacturers etc rich for many years with very little appreciation from them. Yes l know you have sent us a cap, some chewing tobacco or maybe a belt buck for selling a lot of brake pads, but honestly, l think its just a slap on the face. Show us you really think we are important.

Remember the story where the kid exchanged some "magic" beans for a big fat cow... ? We the techs are still waiting for the beans to sprout and give fruit... .
We are getting tired and, the new people (most) coming in know very little of what this business is really all about.
I suggest, either make it good or face the consequences, (is not a treat, just the result of some actions made)

There's another author that wrote a book called "Who's gonna to fix your car now" (Tom Fennell) if you haven't read it yet please do so.
When buying a new or used car, which will be the best person to ask about which cars are best? Us again. I get a lot of people asking me that. I know at least 3 companies that are getting a lot of recommendations from us techs.
When they want to buy a used car and want to make sure the car is a good buy, again us.
I was thinking the other day, if we techs stopped working for a undetermined amount of time, what will happen. Then l thought, what if police did or school bus drivers, or secretaries... get the point? We all are important. We all make a part of the society puzzle.
I have been sending this article to many people, at the moment only a few people have shown interest in sharing with me and reply. I just hope that this article reach the right people one day so they can see what we are thinking. And the ones that didn't make the time to comment on it or do something about our industry will regret it. Why? Because you will run out of good techs.

Damage from within

I have been reading some articles that really baffle me (for quite some years). According to some of these writers, we techs don't really want to be paid more. They say that the results from their studies have made them see that what we really want is things like better working conditions, respect, benefits etc. Really? The way they put it is like they are talking to shop owners only (by the way I am also a shop owner). Yes, we want those things, but believe me, no one is going to say no to more money (specially when is needed). Take a look at the way most techs live. Do they drive luxury cars? Do they live in the best neighborhoods? Do they have money, period? The answer to that people is a big no. So please stop trying to make bosses and shop owners think we don't deserve to be paid. They already don't need help there.
As l said before damage sometimes comes from within. The people who are supposed to be our advocates are the ones actually doing the damage by helping with the exploiting. They do this very sneakily. They know who they are.

There are a couple of companies around selling management courses that promise you to increase your profits considerably after taking their course. I talked to some one that went to one of these "boss/ shop owner only" seminars, and he said, "Pedro this people are terrible, they want to teach shop owners to take advantage not only of the customers but also the techs". Some time ago I called one of them to get an appointment (I was in the process of writing an article related to this), the lady asked me: are you a shop owner? I said no. She said that they only teach shop owners, to call her when l opened my shop. At the moment I was working for some one.
Not all management-training companies are like that, just as all business, you have to look to find the good ones. You know bad apples are everywhere.

No surprise
Actually you will be surprised to learn what we techs have to say. When talking on the Internet with other techs l came to learn a lot of very interesting things that l agree with myself. Techs need places where they can open up and vent.
There aren't many places where techs, management and the public can interact to discuss points of interest and things about our industry.
This can be fixed very easily. The benefits are immense.
Again, the publications that are meant for us are not doing enough in this area.

A small note for my fellow tech readers.

I don't know who was the genius that invented lying to the customer (some one tell me it was the people who invented economical techniques and are actually the ones who run things, hence have the money). There are tune-ups offered for $50 dollars, brake jobs for $60. And they know there is a percentage of the consumers who for some reason will take the hook. I mean, do people (customers) really believe these prices are possible? Is it possible to pay the tech and make a profit for the shop charging these prices, and on top of that use good quality parts and get quality work? Any one believing these prices will likely believe you can become a master technician by reading Popular Mechanics. That is why customers refuse to pay for diagnostic time etc, we by not charging accordingly have made the consumer think we don't deserve to be compensated for our efforts.
Now a day, customers are getting very savvy and is getting difficult for those companies that lie, to keep lying.
I suggest to you, if you are one of these companies that lie to hook customers then hit them with the real price, to stop. This doesn't help any one, not even you. You might get the competition out, but with out competition you are nothing. Why do we need competition? Do you really think that a few shops can handle all the cars that brake, on time? That's just one reason, I am sure you will see other reasons as you mature.
I say, charge fairly and with no fear. I know a lot of you don't want to cheat your customers, but why should you cheat yourself?

Let's get a union involved!!

I have been thinking about what unions can do to help.
There's plenty they can do to help we just need to let them. I have a brother that works for a very well known appliance company. They repair the products under guarantee and after. Well I found out that we techs are not the only ones getting shafted by our companies. If you knew what they do to this people you will be infuriated. The same thing to body/paint man. When I was a body and paint man I also did get treated very badly and unfairly. My point is that I think the more members in a union the more power. So I suggest techs from not just auto repair but also from appliances and body and paint to unionize. Believe me the benefits will be huge and at the same time that might help to keep the dues to the union lower. Remember there's strength in numbers. There are a lot of us techs in USA. And they also have numbers on their side, we not only need to get a union involved, but also we have to be united among ourselves as techs. Of course we all think our different ways, but we need a guideline that will help us be organized. The government needs to update their laws concerning unions. The workers are the base of society, and the constitution should provide ways to protect the most important part of society. People that are criminals go to jail because they don't want to work; they want to live the easy life. We chose to work hard for our earnings, and we need to be appreciated, respected and above all, paid for our efforts and our contributions to society.

More on training

There's one thing that has been told to be, they say that when offering training paid by the shop, that not many techs showed interest. And the ones enrolled didn't show up completely. Like I said before, those that don't want to train even if they are getting it for free should not be techs at all.

I wish some one will do a survey about this subject and ask techs if they will be interested on free training.
Just because there are those that don't care about advancing on their careers, it doesn't mean all the rest are like that.

There was a reader that told me that he didn't think there was a shortage of techs. Well yes there's no shortage of people wanting to work "as" techs. Now that these people are qualified is another story. Any one can apply for a technician's position and there are shops that will hire these people even if they are not competent. They (the shops) usually don't care about your credentials. Why? You ask. I just don't know.

Living the life.

I have always noticed when going out to work in my mobile repair, that even tough it was regular business hours there were quite a lot of people in the streets. Riding their Harleys and just cruising on the rental cars etc. A lot of these people looked like tourists. They didn't look like they were going to work. So I thought to myself, they must be either retired people or business owners that can afford to be out when everyone is working hard even on weekdays.
You see, I have nothing against that. What I don't like is that many of these people are living that nice life thanks to us all that are busting our Asses for them mainly. The worst part is that they don't recognize that. That they can afford to live in a luxury way because of us. The other thing is that if we at least had a medium economical situation may be that will be bearable. But as we all know that's not the case. Many people tell me: " You have what you fight for". Really? So this life is supposed to be a struggle, a war? Well then when they hire me they should tell me that, that I am not being hired as a mechanic but as a soldier, as a warrior. But I remember something I heard one time. They say that all is fair when at war or in love...

Please cooperate with me.

I have a favor to ask you all. If there was one thing you could do to better our industry, what will it be? Email me with a suggestion.

I am very happy to see that unions are getting involved and helping techs get their rights respected. As we all know not only the dealers have unfair job practices.

I wanted to commend a company here in my hometown that has been doing a good effort to make training more accessible and affordable to techs. It is Tropical International. Thumbs up to them. Hopefully one day they will find a way to provide training for free. And hopefully other companies in other states are doing similar things
Also a big thumbs up for iATN. They need to be recognized and awarded properly for what they are doing for the industry. They are the one and only organization in the USA that has done what it takes to assist us in the quest of diagnosing cars. Exellent organization.

We need to get involved. Keep an open eye for what's going on. Let's do what it takes to change this industry for the better. Let me know what l can do to help. And if you think you have some thing to offer, by all means let us know.

I am in no way suggesting that trainers giving the classes or the companies designing and providing training should give them for free. They as anyone else have to be paid.

Did I hit the nail dead on? (I was aiming at that) Did it hurt? Sorry. Was l too non-politically correct? Did l ruffle more feathers than l should have? Am I an undesirable? Am I still considered a conformist? Is freedom of expression real? Or should l start worrying about having a sudden "accident"...

Did you like this article? You didn't? Was it informative? Please let me know and, if you did like it, feel free to forward it to as many friends and companies as you like. Also some feedback is welcomed. Peace.

Pedro Talavera ASE certified. STS member. IATN member

Owner of Certified Mobile tech. www.1mobilerepair.com

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 Poeavor@stis.net Miami Florida. 786 573 0563.

786 3449571 (cell)

Last updated: 2/3/06.

homepage: homepage: http://www.1mobilerepair.com
phone: phone: 786 3449571

wtf? 16.Sep.2006 09:45


is this spam? radical? tame? it is so complex technically, that i become confused.

aviation 16.Sep.2006 17:43


Its sorta the same but worse in aviation, benefits and pay structured from the top down with way more of the corporate customer is #1 BS. Imagine dealing with really rich f---s who screw people for their millions instead of ordinary working consumers. Visit aviation service center websites if your imagination fails ya. Imagine having to act like a flight attendant while maintaining complex systems for the almighty customer who expects a discount if it isn't done by yesterday. Oh by the way, most of the aircraft we service are over 20 years old as well. You might count your blessings Mr auto tech, you have it pretty good.

About the intention of the article 16.Sep.2006 17:44

Pedro Talavera

This article was meant mainly for the automotive workers, but the consumers may also get some benefit out of it.

thanks, Pedro 16.Sep.2006 20:39


I appreciate you taking the time to write this and post it here, and I found it very informative.

Ford Honda and Good Dealers Already Do What You are Speakng of. 17.Sep.2006 09:05

Work In Auto Buz

I have read most of your article and also enjoyed your concerns. Clearly Ford Honda and BMW all have programs with work on improving Tech Training and get feeback for Customers on each and every trips to the dealership.

On Tech Training Car and Trucks are not easy to repair and Tech that I know that are doing well are making about 40 bucks and hour if they work a busy shop that has invested in good customers service and direct markerting software.

Just a Quick Note on Unions in a Shop there is one area that I have noticed we need to better which is having a safe workplace. I notice guys were sport showes over riding safety systems not wearing eye protection all the time. That is up to the tech to do thing and I find rather funny that the safety tools that needed to keep a tech safe on the job cost less the 4 bucks a day but most techs will not step up to buy them and expect the shop to pick up the tab.

The same tech run as fast they can when the Snap on Sales Drives up in little truck and wil spend 200 bucks for the latess and greatest tool

Three Tip for people to look for when they have there vehicle serviced

One look at the shop if it clean that is a good sign (It costs Money to Keep A Shop Clean)

2. Go to the Shop and have something simple done and see how it goes. (Say away from oil change places they cost more and they very basic work and make too many mistakes that they dont know how to fix.

3. Look in your owners manaual to what service is needed on your vehicles bases on miles drive or time in use to not accept what the service writer or shop owner says is needed work at that time. Many Many Shops will a bit more work then is needed because they round up or down tasks into a owner visit.

Happy Driving and dont forget to use a bike when you can it fun and saves the earth.

Thanks, Pedro 18.Sep.2006 07:10

Indy Fan

This is just the kind of thing that makes me love indymedia. I learned a lot from this article. I'm no auto mechanic or anything, but I found it really interesting. I have been wondering about the trend to make cars so technologically complicated (withOUT improving performance) that no one can work on them without tons of really expensive machinery and specs. I think that's one part of many that has been designed to keep us chained to the corporate beast. If we can't figure out how to do things for ourselves, or if we need equipment that we can't afford to do it, then they keep us coming back to them. I worry about that.

Thanks to all 09.Oct.2006 19:14

Pedro Talavera

I wanted to thank all that took the time to read my article.
All the comments are considered.