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some get it, some don't?


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I am complexed about how many "Mechanics" just don't get it... I work with two guys older than myself, I am no spring chicken but not old either.. One of the guys had a car with a p0171 as most know a very common code lean bank 1.

He had replaced the o2 sensors two weeks ago on a Saturday a day I don't work.. The customer came back with the same code IMAGINE THAT ! So they asked me to take a look at it with the other mechanic, I had shown this guy about fuel trims a few weeks ago. I hooked my scanner up looked at 02 data , maf , long and short term fuel trims.. at idle the LTFT was high 19 not high enough to set the code, and the O2 showing what you would think low voltage (lean). 

I raised the rpms and noticed the maf readings still low and the LTFT rising. At which point I put the car in drive and the LTFT really started to rise at idle and maf stayed low, I raised the rpms the car hesitated and the LTFT kept climbing.. 

I asked the guy what he thought he had no Idea.. So I told him pop the hood the air induction hose is broken between the maf and the throttle body.. He thought I was joking, He opened the hood and was in shock "how did you know that"? I told him simple I know what I am looking at and how things work, but my question to him was how come he did not know that. He looked like a deer in headlights.. 

He replaced the induction tube, at which point I hooked the scanner back up to show him that now we can prove our repair was good.. I asked him what he would think would happen he had no Idea. so I pulled up all the same items and told him to watch the LTFT and that it will fall quickly and the O2 would come to life.. Sure enough it did in fact the LTFT went a little negative -5 I asked him why he thought that happened he had no Idea, I explained it had been adding fuel for so long it is probably saturated and there is probably a lot of fuel still in the engine and exhaust manifold.. it would clean out as time goes by but that proves the repair is good. At which point I unplugged the scanner and that was that..

now today same lean code on a different car the guy looked at me I said remember what we did ? He said yea, I went over after about half an hour and he had not figured anything out.. in fact he had all kinds of not needed data up on the scanner.. I shook my head pulled up the fuel trims did a few easy checks noticed that the fuel trims went back in the good range with the rpms raised told him to look for a vac leak . HE found one I showed him the fuel trims again and how it verified the repair was good... 

He still has no Idea of what we went over! is it me or is there a need for a lot of learning to be done .. do some people just have the knack and others are just destined to be guessers and parts changers? 

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1 hour ago, dennisg2 said:

Some people don't get it as easy others. Next time hand the guy the scanner and let him drive. Then coach him by asking questions not giving him the answers. It takes a little more time and can be a little challenging in coming up with the right questions but I have found this approach a better way of training techs.

I see your point and agree to a certain extent.. The thing is I am not trying to train these guys. I have even found problems and scrolled the problem to the top of the scanner on the data or just added in a couple other data reading to the problem and they still can't figure it out. They are older than me and been at it longer than myself.. I have been doing this for 26+ years, but was very young when I got into the business just 17 (kicked out of high school went to LTI) . It seems to be a very common thing that these guys just throw parts at cars hoping to fix them and not doing any testing after the repair to make sure they fixed the problem.  Sure back 20+ years ago there wasn't much in the way of diagnostics that needed to be done.. but that is a very very different story now a days.. These are the guys that continue to give good mechanics a bad name, not to mention I have over heard them talking about just plugging their scanner in and they would know the problem.. Well if you can find a scanner like that I would love to have one.. This is part of the reason i think that mechanics are underpaid for what they do.. you get the guys throwing parts guessing etc.. sure why pay a diagnostic for that.  But the ones that do it correctly are the ones that suffer.. 

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  • 4 months later...

In my automotive education program, I learned how to take an excessive number of daily breaks - that was about it.  I was in a Toyota accredited program at a community college.  ASE exams are so easy to pass (under 70% correct is passing)  and the dealerships will hire anyone who knows how to change oil - the industry as a whole has low standards of qualification.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      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.
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