Quantcast
Jump to content


Lost and Found -- The game of hide and seek with tools


Gonzo

Recommended Posts

Lost and Found

How many times have you finished a job, watched the car drive off, and then started cleaning up your tools only to realize you’ve misplaced something? You’re pretty sure, but not completely sure the missing tool is under the hood or in the interior of the car that just drove off. If you’re lucky, you can call the customer and ask if they’ve found your missing tool. But, there are those occasions when a phone call or a complete search of the shop doesn’t yield any sign of the wandering tool. For the most part you can put that tool down as gone for good, lost to that place where wayward nuts, bolts, tools, and my arrant golf ball shots always end up. Yea, we all know that place, the “Lost and never to be found again!” place.

It’s not the only way I’ve lost tools in cars. There’s been many times some tool has gotten lodged in a hopeless retrieval area of the car. Like down between the fender and body line, or in some obscure area that would take hours just to get close enough to even see it again, let alone get it back. Once, while I was working under an old car the socket I was using popped off of the extension, and I watched it rattle around while banging off of one thing after another. It was spinning like a top by the time it made it to the flat surface of the center cross member where it then stood straight up, spun some more, and then like some cartoon character it vanished into a hole. The hole was not more than a thousandth of an inch bigger than the socket, but somehow it managed to fall so perfectly that it dropped straight in. And, of course, there was absolutely no way to get a magnet back down the hole because the oil pan was in the way, and no way to use an air nozzle to blow it to either end of the cross member, because both ends were welded shut. I never did get that socket back. So much for using a good socket on a cheap extension.

I’ve lost track of how much time I’ve wasted chasing down these elusive tools that like to play hide and seek. Not to mention the spattering of profanity that I’m sure to mutter while I’m trying to get an eyeball on some of these tools I’ve dropped down into unknown cavities of irretrievability. But, if you do get a glimpse of the stupid little gadget you dropped then it’s like playing the old “Operation” game to get the thing back out. I’ll use just about anything, including the extendable magnet wand or my long mechanic’s finger tool to slowly draw that &*$!* runaway tool back through the maze of hoses, wires, and other assorted engine parts.

Sometimes, it’s just a sound the nut, bolt, or tool makes while it’s playing pinball and falls through the engine bay or behind the dash that gets you rolling your eyeballs in dismay. Now, everything else about the job has to come to a complete halt, while you go on the old tool safari to find it. Tools are too expensive to leave them to fend for themselves behind the dash or tucked in a corner of the engine bay. At the end of the day, they need to be with their other brothers and sisters in the tool box. Besides, the tool truck won’t be back until next week and that particular socket might have been the only one that would fit into the area of the car you were working on.

On the other hand, how many times have you found a tool that some other poor soul couldn’t find after dropping it down in the engine? I’ve found wrenches stuck between the exhaust manifold and the engine block and assorted sockets laying in the intake valley. Sometimes I wonder how some of these misplaced tools end up in such bizarre places. I mean seriously, what did ya need with a 4 foot pry bar behind the dash? And, how did you get it there? I’ve found everything from cheap sockets to expensive micrometers buried in the depths of a car before. The thing is, if it wasn’t for doing some service work in that area of the car you’d probably never know there was a brand new socket hiding.

Flashlights are a commonly misplaced tool. Many years ago, when my dad helped out at the shop, he would use a flashlight for practically everything. This particular afternoon he was installing a new window motor. Being Dad, he was very meticulous as always. Every snap, clip, and screw had to be put back in its exact spot. Every tool was carefully laid out on a towel on his work table and accounted for after the job was done. He was also one who took great pride in keeping track of every tool; he never lost a tool. Well, at least that’s what he used to tell me. But, that day the one thing he forgot to account for was his flashlight. The car was long gone and all his hand tools were back in place in his tool box before he realized he couldn’t find his flashlight. Since he had this reputation for surviving the loss of any type of tool, he wasn’t about to mention a thing to me about it.

A year later the same customer came back for some other repair work, and while he was there he asked my dad, “Oh, and if ya got a minute could ya look at that driver’s door for me? Every now and then I hear a rattle in there.” Of course, good old Dad was more than happy to oblige his friend and customer. And, of course, after all this time he had totally forgotten about his missing flashlight... which he still hadn’t mentioned to me. After removing the door panel, he found the rattle alright. It was his flashlight and the switch was still on. Needless to say, his reputation for not losing a tool was still intact. Lucky guy.

I seldom get that lucky; usually when I lose a tool it’s gone for good. Sometimes I will occasionally find a tool that somebody else will lose under the hood. It kinda-sorta evens things out a bit. Ya never know where a lost tool will show up. For instance, every once in a while I’ll be on a road call to rescue a stranded customer, and as I walk up to their car I’ll keep my eye out on the side of the road for anything shiny, such as a wrench or screwdriver. Occasionally I’ll find one. Hey, I know how they got there. It didn’t fall off of a tool truck, nope... it’s a lost tool from someone else’s repair. I’ll accept that in exchange for the last tool that I lost. Maybe one of these days I’ll get ahead of the curve and collect more than I lose. Just wish more people would lose the good stuff rather than those cheap overseas tools I seem to find most often.

 

Lose one-find one, it happens.


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bough a high intensity LED flash light for about $85 bucks, just to lose it in about two days. I was ticked, I am sure the customer that finds it will be please with it.

 

On another note, you left out the tools that for some reason tend to grow legs and leave the tool box on their own... Talking about that, an old oil rig guy told me to paint my tools pink and that problem would be solved, as that is how he was able to stop losing his tools out in the field. :)

 

pnkflslgt.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other day I handed one of my techs a wheel hub assembly for a car. He took it and went to work. Pretty soon I hear all this commotion in the shop of the two techs looking all over for something. They lost it. Still in the box and hunting all over the shop for the hub. 20 minutes wasted because when I handed the tech the box, he grabbed some tool from the bottom drawer of his tool box and set the box down in the drawer, closed the drawer and went about his work. He was absolutely positive the other tech took it just to mess with him or something.

 

Situations like this make me think it would be a worthwhile investment to install a 16 camera security system in my shop. Not really to worried about security, but it would be nice to be able to hit rewind and find where we lost tools and parts.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ha! This is my world. 8 am I make a fresh coffee, grab my cordless, and start in on a job. 8:05 I'm looking for my coffee. 8:07 I'm looking for my phone. 8:10 looking for my coffee again. 8:30 my tech finished my job I started (meaning I pulled the car inside) 8:45 I can't find my flashlight, phone or coffee. 9 am customer throws away a cup he found in the parking lot and hands me a cordless handset. 5pm i see a dim light on under a car outside. Lol.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a guy that lost a socket, and like most, he figured it out at the end of the day. This tech was so cheap, he would not buy a replacement. About a year later, the car came back for repair. The socket was still on the car just where it was left...... on the bolt; it never came off during a year's worth of driving. The tech joked he didn't need to buy new tools, he just needed to wait for the car to come back.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Available Subscriptions

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
  • Similar Topics

    • By mikezat
      Hi! I got a bunch of engine and cabin filters - leftovers from my store. What's the best way to get rid off the inventory? eBay sales are slow and not an option due to the time it takes to list a filter and due to expensive cost of shipping.
      Many thanks in advance,
      Mike

    • By nptrb

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By carmcapriotto
      The Weekly Blitz is brought to you by our friends over at Shop Marketing Pros. If you want to take your shop to the next level, you need great marketing. Shop Marketing Pros does top-tier marketing for top-tier shops.
      Click here to learn more about Top Tier Marketing by Shop Marketing Pros and schedule a demo:https://shopmarketingpros.com/chris/
      Check out their podcast here: https://autorepairmarketing.captivate.fm/
      If you would like to join their private Facebook group go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/autorepairmarketingmastermind
      In this podcast episode, Chris Cotton from Auto Fix Auto Shop Coaching underscores the significance of professional attire in the auto repair industry. He connects dressing well with increased confidence, employee morale, and customer trust. Cotton shares personal anecdotes and cites studies on "enclothed cognition," reinforcing the idea that appearance can influence performance. He offers practical advice for shop owners to elevate their business's professionalism through attire, leadership, and delegation. Cotton concludes by advocating for a standard of respect and dedication in the industry, supported by the episode's sponsor, Shop Marketing Pros.
      The importance of dressing professionally (00:01:15) Chris discusses the impact of dressing professionally on business perception, employee morale, and customer confidence.
      The psychological impact of dressing well (00:03:22) Chris explores the psychological connection between dressing well and feeling better, projecting confidence, and improving performance.
      Supporting data on the importance of dressing well (00:05:33) Chris presents data on perception and trust, employee morale, and customer confidence related to professional appearance.
      Setting a new standard (00:06:45) Chris provides practical tips for setting a standard of professionalism, including investing in quality uniforms and leading by example.
      The role of the owner in dressing professionally (00:07:49) Chris emphasizes the role of the owner in creating a culture of professionalism and setting boundaries through professional attire.
      The pledge to elevate industry standards (00:11:15) Chris encourages listeners to join him in pledging to dress professionally, reflecting respect for themselves, employees, and customers.
      Connect with Chris:
      [email protected]
      Phone: 940.400.1008
      www.autoshopcoaching.com
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
      AutoFixAutoShopCoachingYoutube: https://bit.ly/3ClX0ae
       
      #autofixautoshopcoaching #autofixbeautofixing #autoshopprofits #autoshopprofit #autoshopprofitsfirst #autoshopleadership #autoshopmanagement #autorepairshopcoaching #autorepairshopconsulting #autorepairshoptraining #autorepairshop #autorepair #serviceadvisor #serviceadvisorefficiency #autorepairshopmarketing #theweeklyblitz #autofix #shopmarketingpros #autofixautoshopcoachingbook
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      In this episode, Hunt tackles the pressing issues facing the housing market in 2024, discussing the impact of interest rates and the real affordability of homes.
      • Interest Rates Surge: Exploring how doubled interest rates are drastically affecting monthly payments.
      • Affordability Crisis: Delving into how rising home prices are outpacing income growth, making home ownership a distant dream for many.
      • Economic Insights: Analyzing the mismatch between the growth in home prices and stagnant wage increases.
      • Future Risks: Assessing potential market corrections and their consequences on homeowners and the economy.
      Thanks to our partners, NAPA TRACS and Promotive
      Did you know that NAPA TRACS has onsite training plus six days a week support?
      It all starts when a local representative meets with you to learn about your business and how you run it.  After all, it's your shop, so it's your choice.
      Let us prove to you that Tracs is the single best shop management system in the business.  Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at NAPATRACS.com
       
      It’s time to hire a superstar for your business; what a grind you have in front of you. Great news, you don’t have to go it alone. Introducing Promotive, a full-service staffing solution for your shop. Promotive has over 40 years of recruiting and automotive experience. If you need qualified technicians and service advisors and want to offload the heavy lifting, visit www.gopromotive.com.
       
      Paar Melis and Associates – Accountants Specializing in Automotive Repair
      Visit us Online: www.paarmelis.com
      Email Hunt: [email protected]
      Get a copy of my Book: Download Here
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      The Weekly Blitz is brought to you by our friends over at Shop Marketing Pros. If you want to take your shop to the next level, you need great marketing. Shop Marketing Pros does top-tier marketing for top-tier shops.
      Click here to learn more about Top Tier Marketing by Shop Marketing Pros and schedule a demo:https://shopmarketingpros.com/chris/
      Check out their podcast here: https://autorepairmarketing.captivate.fm/
      If you would like to join their private Facebook group go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/autorepairmarketingmastermind
      In this episode of "The Weekly Blitz," Coach Chris Cotton explores Ray Lewis's "Pissed Off for Greatness" speech, applying its principles to auto repair business growth. He dissects the speech's themes of urgency, sacrifice, and excellence, urging listeners to pinpoint their motivation and seriously pursue their objectives. Cotton stresses the necessity of focus, consistency, and self-belief for true greatness, inspiring his audience to reject mediocrity and strive for their best.
       
      Introduction (00:00:01) Coach Chris Cotton introduces the podcast, emphasizing industry expertise and business innovation.
      Chasing Greatness (00:01:07) Coach Chris Cotton discusses the importance of chasing greatness and introduces Ray Lewis's speech "Pissed Off for Greatness."
      Key Takeaways from Ray Lewis's Speech (00:02:18) Coach Chris Cotton highlights key takeaways from Ray Lewis's speech, including urgency, sacrifice, and rejecting mediocrity.
      Defining Football and Rejecting Mediocrity (00:03:27) Coach Chris Cotton shares a personal anecdote related to rejecting mediocrity and emphasizes the importance of not settling in life.
      Pissed Off for Greatness Mindset (00:05:28) Coach Chris Cotton encourages listeners to embrace the "pissed off for greatness" mindset and take their goals seriously.
      Intensity and Lasting Greatness (00:07:47) Coach Chris Cotton discusses how lasting greatness requires focus, consistency, and self-belief, beyond just anger and intensity.
      Conclusion and Call to Action (00:08:48) Coach Chris Cotton concludes the episode, urging listeners to maintain a positive mindset and stay "pissed off for greatness."
       
      Connect with Chris:
       
      [email protected]
      Phone: 940.400.1008
      www.autoshopcoaching.com
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
      AutoFixAutoShopCoachingYoutube: https://bit.ly/3ClX0ae
       
      #autofixautoshopcoaching #autofixbeautofixing #autoshopprofits #autoshopprofit #autoshopprofitsfirst #autoshopleadership #autoshopmanagement #autorepairshopcoaching #autorepairshopconsulting #autorepairshoptraining #autorepairshop #autorepair #serviceadvisor #serviceadvisorefficiency #autorepairshopmarketing #theweeklyblitz #autofix #shopmarketingpros #autofixautoshopcoachingbook
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...