Quantcast
Jump to content


Andre R

Shop/Technician licensing

Recommended Posts

I just finished reading the post from Gonzo about diagnostics and I was about to respond and then chose to go this route. Let me give you a little background on me ; 57 years old, repairing cars for 42 of them, ase master certified with L1. I've repaired cars in Alaska, Massachusetts , Connecticut, Rhode Island and now in Arizona. I've been self employed for 29 years.

 

The problem of no techs and more importantly unqualified techs were present in the 70s when I started. ASE came along and they were going to fix the problem. All techs were going to have to get certified to be able to work in the automotive field, i'm still waiting for that to happen. Then ASE said that if we certified on our own that we would be more attractive to prospective employers and could command higher wages, still waiting for that to happen.

 

A couple of months ago Mitch Schnieder wrote an article about the tech shortage and that something needs to be done. Donny Sieffert from ASA has been writing articles about the connected car and all the complexities and how we are going to need very talented diagnosticians to figure them out and repair them. These same articles were written in the 80s about the new computer controlled cars and the 90s about the new fuel injected cars and the, well you get the idea.

 

We as an industry need to come together and fix this problem. Instead we complain to each other about how hard it is to find qualified techs while we hire unqualified /barely qualified techs to work in our bays.I include myself in this ,I'm just as guilty.

 

The reason we do this is we have no way of knowing if that person applying for the tech position has any schooling or even knows what he says he knows.

 

I feel shop and tech licensing fixes a lot of these problems. I'm sure there will be a bunch of you that will disagree with me and thats fine. I know you only hire certified people and run the best shops except the three shops down the road or around the corner don't and it says auto repair on the front of their buildings too.

 

If you knew that the person coming through your door had to pass a rigorous licensing requirement and that every shop had to have the same basic equipment and could only hire these licensed techs it levels the playing field for all of us.

 

Think it can't be done? Look at the Right To Repair laws and agreements that have been forged and passed in different states. It can be done but only if we start the discussion on a national level.

 

Using an organization like ASA and bringing together some of the leaders in our industry to work on this with our input I feel would be a start in the right direction.

 

I know it won't be a cure all but it would be a start. We need to start some where .

 

Thoughts, insights??

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To continue reading responses, you must be signed in.

Edited by Jeff
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To continue reading responses, you must be signed in.

Edited by Jeff
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Forum Topics

    • Article: Picture This - - Hard to believe I wrote this 20 years ago.

      Picture This   Years ago my younger brother came to work for me. He didn’t know a thing about cars, but was willing to learn all he could. Teaching new techs is an art that most shop owners have to learn to do, but teaching your little brother can be a chore and can test your patience. I muddled thru it all and taught him what I could. I was sure at some point in time the two of us would butt heads like brothers will do, and he would take his new found skills and move up in the rank and files of the automotive technical world, but in the meantime it was his turn to learn from his older brother.   When he first started I would walk him through each step of how to diagnose a certain system in a car. A lot of times he would have questions, and I’d do my best to answer them. He learned quickly and was really sharp at picking up some of those little details that are harder to teach. You know things like how you held a certain wrench or used a certain tool, to you and me it’s no big deal. But to a novice, it’s a revelation, then you (I) tend to forget to mention those certain traits while you’re teaching. Mainly because you are trying to get to the solution as efficiently as possible, and you neglect to bring it up. Such as: “always test your test light connection before testing what you’re testing, or don’t forget to check for all your tools before you pull the car out of the shop….” Things like that.   One day we had a truck come in with dual fuel tanks on it. The gas gauge wasn’t working and needed some attention. This was a perfect opportunity for Junior to learn a few of my short cuts on these old models. It was an older Ford, in which the tank gauge ran thru the tank switchover button. It was rather easy to pull it out of the dash and connect to the gauge from the back of the switch. Luckily it was the typical problem I’ve seen a hundred times in the past. The switch connections would melt and the tank wouldn’t switch from the front tank to the rear, and of course the gauge wouldn’t move either.   After locating the correct leads to the gauge and to the tanks I decided to show him how the gauge worked. I hooked up the one of the tanks to the crossover lead that would supply the signal from the tank to the gauge.   “Ya see this, that’s the lead to the fuel gauge in the dash, and this is one of the tank wires. I’ll connect these together and we should get a reading on the dash,” I told him. He was watching intently, taking in all the wiring diagram information, the location of the wires, and how I was bypassing the switch. He was fascinated with the flow of the current and the way the gauge would respond. I even went as far as moving the gauge from full to empty by opening and closing it to a ground signal. While I had his attention I filled him in on the two types of gauges that were used back then (bimetallic and magnetic) and how low resistance on a bimetal type gauge would read near a full tank, while a magnetic gauge would read close to empty. Change the resistance and the gauge would/should read accordingly.   “So, if we put gas in the tank the gauge should move right? That way we could check the sending units in the tanks too,” he asked me.   “Great idea, grab a gas can and let’s add a few gallons,” I said, excited that he was so interested in the project.   He grabbed a can of gas and poured a few gallons in the tank. I was watching the gas guage carefully, but there was no movement. I knew I was on the right wires, but nothing was happening. Now what? Are there more problems?   “Crawl under there, and check to be sure the wire color is correct,” I yelled from the cab to him.   “Yep, it’s the right wire on the tank.”   “Well, we might have to pull the tank; it’s not changing the gauge readings up here.”   “Before we do that let’s add some more gas, maybe we didn’t add enough,” Junior tells me.   I thought I better go back and help hold the funnel, while he poured the gas in the tank. Unknowing to me, all this time my wife (who was the office manager) was listening in on the whole thing. She likes to keep tabs on me, and make sure I’m not going into one of my usual rants or having a fit because I had to explain something over and over again to little brother. This time she was standing at the corner of the shop just behind the truck with a camera. “CLICK”, I heard the camera shutter go off and she was back there laughing like there was no tomorrow.   “What’s so funny?” I asked her.   “You two idiots have been putting gas in the wrong tank. You’re on the front tank, and you’re putting gas in the rear tank,” my wife answers, laughing hysterically. About then the camera “clicked” again… this time it was an action shot taken at precisely the exact moment when these two idiots had that dumb struck look on their faces and realized what they just did. The shot had both of us on our knees, one holding a funnel and the other with the half empty gas can, and both of us staring right into the camera lens. Couldn’t have set it up any better if you tried. The picture clearly showed the side of the truck with both fuel tank doors visible and there was no doubt which tank we were putting in the extra gas. I guess it was one of those things I should have mentioned when we were checking the tank senders… make sure we are both on the same tank. For years that picture hung over her desk, and anytime I thought I was so smart she would point at the photo. Usually with that typical smirk, usually shaking her finger at me and of course the laugh… she had to laugh, but it wasn’t all that funny until she had me laughing about it too. Ok, Ok, I’m not perfect... and now my little brother knows it too.   These days he’s a top notch tech at a dealership, and I have to call him on occasions for some help on how to solve things once in a while. Oh the photo… uhmmm… what photo?? Somehow it’s missing… haven’t seen the darn thing in years. But I guess I really don’t need to see the photo … the wife has a pretty good memory... she reminds me just how smart I think I am every chance she gets.           Click here to view the article

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 5 replies
      • 678 views
    • Article: Joe Friday Diagnostics - AGE check--remember Dragnet with Sgt. Joe Friday? Here's my version of the Sarge diagnosing a car

      Joe Friday Diagnostics                                      "How would Sgt. Friday explain auto repair and diagnostics… que the music: "      The story you’re about to read is true; the names have been  changed to protect the innocent.       Monday morning, it was cold that day. I was working day shift out  of the repair division. There’s a suspicious vehicle at the front of the shop.   A customer walks in the door. I’ll take it from here.  I’m a mechanic, the name’s Friday.      It was a 2003 Ford, 5.4 liter, fully loaded and sounded like it was running rough.  The lady came to the counter.      “Good Morning ma’am, what can I do for you,” I said to the complaintant.      “Yes, I’m here about my car,” she answered.     “There’s a problem with the car, I see. What can you tell me about it?” I asked, in my usual non-threatening, but confident monotone voice.      “I was on my way to deliver my recyclables to the east side collection area, because I’m a concerned citizen you know, when my car started to make a coughing and clattering sound.  I thought I would bring it in to have it checked out,” the owner answered.     “Coughing and clattering, hmm, not a problem. I’ll get it investigated, I can interrogate the pursuant this morning, especially for a concerned citizen such as yourself,” I answered while maintaining my professionalism.     “Well, do you need any other information from me?” she asked.     “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts,” I said.     “The check engine light came on,” she reported.     “This could be of some help. Sounds like a possible 0300 (engine misfire).  But I’ll check it out first, I’ll need to finish my investigation in order to give you any proper results,” I said to her, while my pen was busy jotting down the facts onto the always present handy notepad.       She left the car with me for further interrogations.  Using the scanner made the results easy to locate. It wasn’t long before I got an answer.  It was a P0302 in progress… misfire on no#2 cylinder… normally an open and shut case.      09:30 Am, working on the assumption that the perpetrator was somewhere near the 2nd cylinder; I went in for further investigations.  I checked the usual suspects. Pulling the plug didn’t yield any new clues.  The plug was good and answered all the standard questions.  The coil was a more likely suspect; a simple test could answer the problem.        I’ll set up a little sting operation by using a decoy. Taking the nearest coil and replacing it with the suspected faulty coil, and put the known good coil on the other plug.  I was hoping to see the miss move to the other cylinder.  It didn’t. In fact it was gone.       10:05 Am, Now the challenge was on.  I’ll have to go back over my facts and check the crime scene again.  There’s something I must have overlooked that might be the key to this investigation.  Two things come up as good possibles; the connection or terminals at the coil, or the spark plug boot attached to the coil.  The plug boot had a good alibi… it had just been changed, in fact so was the spark plug.  That left the coil connection.        A more in-depth interrogation of the connector is needed.  My years of technical diagnostics work told me to look closer at the wire and the connector.  The guilty party in this case appears to be one of the wires at the connector.  It was barely hanging onto the housing.  Only the plastic sheath was still connected, and the wire itself was not answering to any of the standard questioning or interrogative tactics.       Under the intense glow of the high powered shop light the investigation continued.  Resorting to some strong arm tactics I pulled on the wire while using a few choice investigative words, the plastic sheathing kept getting longer and longer.  Soon, it snapped under the pressure to expose the desperado for the perpetrator it really was.       11:45 Am, The repair was completed, and tested to verify the repairs were effective.  The car in question was back with its rightful owner by the end of the day.  I now can close the file on this one, another job well done.     In conclusion: With the P0302 in question deleted from the computer history, the coil connector was then convicted of failure to cooperate. With her car back on the road she could once again be a productive concerned citizen of this great metropolis.       Case closed and now, back to the front desk waiting for that next problem to come through the door.  This city is full of broken, non-maintained, and poorly running cars.  As a concerned citizen I’ll be on the lookout for these suspicious misfires and other infractions of the auto world.      There are thousands of men and women in this city, who know that being an auto tech is an thankless, grease covered job that's done everyday without any fan fare.   Then again, I'm part of that glamourless, grease covered world... my names Friday, I'm a mechanic.      
      View full article

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 1 reply
      • 239 views
    • Article: Ouija Board Diagnostics - You're doing it wrong if your Ouija board is your go to diagnostic tool

      Ouija Board Diagnostics I’ve often wondered why a lot of the driving public believes auto repair is something for non-thinking Neanderthals that have no ambition to do anything else in life.  For all I know they think we (us mechanics that is) diagnose every problem by breaking out a Ouija board, while humming some ancient automotive chant. It could also be that a good mechanic just makes things look easy to the unaware and uniformed layman. With the right mechanic the whole thing can seem effortless, easy, and somewhat second nature when it comes to diagnosing a problem. To the armchair mechanic sitting at home watching the next new automotive reality show, it’s either – “Repairs are a no-brainer, I can do that”, or it must be some sort of Ouija board magic.  Mind you, the number of individuals who still believe anyone can be a mechanic is dwindling ever so slowly.  Mainly because the car itself has gone past the point of parts swapping and a shade tree mechanic’s ability to repair the modern car.  It’s no secret good old dad with the typical box of tools from a discount chain store can hardly change a spark plug anymore, let alone find them. Oh sure, you can still do a pad slap at home, and you can probably toss on a set of shocks, replace a bulb or two, but diagnosing a problem, especially one that involves some form of electronics… well… that’s a whole new issue to deal with. It could be they need to master the Ouija board diagnostic scenario, or they need another round of You Tube videos.  Every mechanic has undoubtedly heard the same thing from a well-seasoned You Tuber, “Oh I could have done that.” This usually leads to an even longer explanation of how you’ve done the entire repair wrong, but put the tools in their hands, and the results are pretty consistent.  The car is either incorrectly put together, or they’ve lost some parts between point A and point B. Videos are great, but you still need to have some mechanical dexterity. A good example of this scenario is when I was teaching a brake shoe replacement class the other day.  After explaining the type of brake system we were working on, I removed the brake shoes from the car.  Next, I reinstalled the same shoes, slowing down just enough so they could see how to use the brake tools. It probably took all of 20 minutes to explain it in detail and install the shoes. All the heads were bobbing and the usual consensus was they all had this repair procedure down pat, because, as we all know, anybody can do brakes.  Well, as if it was no surprise, when the students got their hands into the job all I heard was one cuss word after another and the occasional student chasing a bouncing spring or clip across the shop floor. So much for easy, aye? So, where do most of these unprofessional type mechanics and couch connoisseurs of the automotive world go for any information?  Where else, the internet. The one place that doesn’t check the credentials of the person making the video, and the one place where anyone with a box of tools can be a superstar with a wrench. In their video they’re the automotive expert, camera man, sound man, director of content, and editor all at the same time.  No need in researching the facts, looking up the proper methods, or any other various procedures, service bulletins, or the latest tools related to that particular job. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a video out there with a couple of guys surrounding one of those Ouija boards asking why the short fuel trim is higher on one of side than the other. Ouija board or not, there are a few draw backs to internet information, but there really are a lot of super fantastic guys and gals putting out some very helpful videos on car repair.  It’s just the few home brewed videos that make me cringe. Some of these back yard magicians seem to consult their Ouija board way too often. As if they conjured up some miracle answer right on the spot. Honestly, some of these videos are about as reliable as fake news. But, then again… that’s what some people think the professional mechanic does every day. As there has always been, and there will always be, a shortage of trained technicians out there able to handle the job of repairing the modern car.  I’m very sure we will never see the day when there is an overabundance of good mechanics who have to change careers because there is no room for them under the hood.  It’s never going to happen. What does need to happen is the one thing consumers don’t want, and that’s cost of repairs most certainly need to rise, as well as the mechanics’ wages to keep up with all of these technical advancements. It’s not a maybe, it’s a must or the technology will run right past you.  Ask any mechanic what they learned on a vehicle from 10 years ago vs. today’s cars, and you’ll find that nearly half of what they did back then isn’t applicable in today’s diagnostic procedures. To be a good technician these days takes a lot of training, a lot of time spent reading, and understanding the latest technologies. New information comes from the manufacturers’ engineering departments just as fast as the cars come off the assembly lines, and to stay on top of things you need to study. I’ve heard people tell me, “Yea, I went to an automotive tech school to be a mechanic, but I didn’t learn anything.”  Seriously?  I’m sure you learned a whole lot.  The problem isn’t the school training, the problem is you.  Training doesn’t stop with your diploma, it stops when you stop wanting to advance your knowledge in the repair industry. School is a starting point, but to be a modern mechanic means you need to stay focused on the technology, take advanced training classes in your field of choice, and not expect answers from a You Tube video or your Ouija board. There’s a lot to learn and retain.  It’s not a trade where you learn one method and expect that skill to last you throughout your career.  It’s an ever changing industry with ever changing technology. Learn the basics, then learn to diagnose the modern car.  You can’t guess at a solution or consult that old Ouija board for the answers.  It takes practice and a lot of hands on from a dedicated individual willing to get their hands dirty and diagnose an automotive problem.  Then solve it correctly. Sorry, no Ouija board diagnostics allowed.   
      View full article

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 4 replies
      • 346 views
    • Corghi Artiglo Master 26

      Does anyone here have a Corghi Master 26? I had to take mine apart to repair it and I should have taken a photo of the air hose routing for the dismount arm. Somehow I can't figure out how the hoses wrap around when it spins without kinking. If you have one think you could snap me a few photos??   Thanks!  

      By Junior, in Automotive Shop Tools & Equipment

      • 2 replies
      • 456 views
    • Article: Diversity Of The Mechanic - - Mechanics knowledge background has evolved just like the cars ... Now if the rest of the population would. . .

      Diversity in Mechanics The days when nearly every driver was aware of what was going on under the hood of their car has faded into the history books. Not only has the driver lost touch with the inner workings of their automobile, the car itself has become more “user-friendly”. There’s no hand crank to twist, no choke lever to pull out, no manual brakes, and anymore, hardly no one rolls a window down by hand or uses a clutch to shift the transmission.   Less and less effort is required by the driver to operate the vehicle.  What was once a series of steps you had to accomplish to start a car has now become automated to the point all you have to do is push a button and the car starts.  Gone are the cold morning starts where you had to pump the gas pedal, crank the engine, then listen to the motor to see if the fast idle had set or not. But, you always had to be careful that you didn’t flood the cold engine, and if you did… that brought on a whole other set of tasks the driver had to accomplish correctly. It’s not just starting the vehicle that needs less driver influence, even parallel parking has become a hands free procedure. Now, with all the cameras and radar systems attached to the car there’s hardly anything to do except be a passenger.  Even then, you’re basked in a climate controlled cocoon with atmospheric controls such as lighting, massage chairs, heated seats, and soothing background music all the while computers and sensors are controlling every movement.           Growing up around car repair shops might have made a difference as to how I look at these complicated thing-a-ma-jigs they refer to as the modern car. They’re not just a ‘car’ anymore.  In my youth it was nothing to see a gang of dads leaning over a hood when something went wrong.  Today, there’s not a whole lot to see.  It’s all plastic covers with various caps and knobs for adding fluids and if you’re lucky there might even still be a dipstick under there too.          Diagnosing and repairing the modern car isn’t quite the same as it was back in the day all the dad’s would gather around the fenders.  Even though the operation of the vehicle has been somewhat automated the repair side of things has gone other way.  Parts swapping, guess until ya get it, and the old ask your uncle Bob what’s wrong with your car is as out of date as the crank start.  But, I still find it rather amazing how the engineers and designers managed to “dummy-down” all the possible problems that possibly could happen to a little check engine light on the dash.  Can you imagine what it would be like if they didn’t? Service lights, warning indicators, and digital messages inform the driver of the severity or condition of the vehicle.  Although, most of the information that appears on the digital screen is more of a generic message or sometimes even displayed as a short message telling the driver of the condition of the vehicle without actually telling them precisely what’s wrong.  Even if it did, who would understand it?  Surely not the driver (in most cases), that’s left up to the service technician.  You know ‘that’ guy.  The one that overcharges you for those repairs you don’t understand or even care to know because you’re far above the educational requirements of a certified mechanic. Of course, anyone who’s been around the business for any length of time will tell you that the days of the grease jockey recharging your air conditioner by slappin’ a can of Freon in your car so you can whiz off to work are about as far gone as 2 ply tires. That’s where diversity between mechanics and the technical advances start to show through.          The technical training for a good mechanic with advanced skill levels can exceed the requirements of most 4 year college degrees. The big difference between the academic degree and the technical school degree is still greatly debated. To me, the requirements of the educational programs differ only in the fact that in an academic setting you’re required a certain level of English, math, and the other various ‘general’ skills for graduation. The trade schools generally don’t have those academic requirements for graduation. The big problem is the non-car aficionados (general public) don’t want to admit that the family car requires a college degree to keep them in tip top shape.  So why would the guy changing the oil need to have a degree?            There’s a very good possibility that a shortage of technicians qualified to work on the modern car is drastically going to increase in the next decade or so.  Of course, ask anyone in the business now and they’ll tell you the average age of the professional mechanic has slowly been increasing to well over 50 years of age.  That might have a lot do with the startup requirements put on the new technicians coming into the field.  To many times a young mechanic gets into the business with those wild eyed ideas that they can fix anything that rolls into their service bay, only to find out their skills sets lack a lot of the required knowledge in understanding the complexities of the modern types of problems their facing.           That brings us back to that college grad again.  They’ve spent a ton of money on their education, and some may never pay those loans off for years, if not decades.  Technical college fees remain low in comparison, and with luck, the average educated technician will have their tuition fees taken care of long before the college grad has theirs paid off.  Here’s something else to think about, while a lot of college grads take on temporary jobs like a waiter while their waiting for their big break into that six figure job they’ve been trained for, most grads of the tech schools are out working in the very field they’ve been trained for.  They might be the college grad on the lube rack, but he’s there, in his field of choice getting his hands dirty and working towards his ultimate goals. Chances are, the mechanic will be at that very restaurant having lunch while wearing their rental uniform covered in the days grease and grime and the waiter…. well, they’re still working for tips.           The real issue for the mechanic’s world is the acceptance of the educational level required and the respect that the mechanic deserves as well as being compensated for said education and skills needed.  I do believe, in time, the shortage of trained-qualified technicians will turn into an increase in wages across the board. Which is just what the industry needs to draw in those new faces to the service bays.  All this can start back in high school.  Somebody needs to tell the school guidance counselors that being an automotive mechanic is a trade with high expectations and compensation, not a last resort job for those undesirable individuals that didn’t pass their SAT’s.               View full article  

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 3 replies
      • 275 views
  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×