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Hello all, I stumbled across this forum while doing some research on starting a shop. I had some questions to assist in guiding me in the right direction. For starts, what is the general thought on being some what specialized? I’m master certified with Kia and Hyundai as well as hybrid certified. So I was wanting to try and stay toward those three as my main focus. Or has this been proven to not be a solid business model? Also for my shop, we are going to be building it from scratch, so was curious about some input. We are wanting to start with three bays. What would be the minimum building size? We were thinking a 30x60. Which would give us an office/waiting rooms and a little storage. Or would this be to small?
On another note, if anyone on here is in the Charlotte-greensboro area that would like to grab some coffee, I would love to pick you brain for a bit.
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By Voltek H/EV
Hello everyone, first post here,
I'm in the process of opening an actual shop, i've been a mobile mechanic for 10 years. I specialize in hybrid and electric vehicles. I've been searching prices on fluid exchanger machines, lifts and other pricey equipment. I've been looking at some really cheap Chinese equipment on ebay, i'm just wondering if anyone here has successfully used any of this equipment. It's tempting but I know the old "you get what you pay for" mantra. They got lifts for $1,600 and ATF fluid exchangers for $335. Might be worth trying the fluid exchanger on some of my own vehicles for that price. I appreciate any input, thank you!
Article: Mechanic For Life -- Ya start on the lube rack, then top mechanic, then your own shop... yep... You're a Mechanic For LifeBy Gonzo
Mechanic for Life
A lot of us mechanics may not have started out with the ambitions of being one. It’s just how things worked out. You might have started out with a college education or military background, and it turned out to be something that didn’t suit you at all. Others might have grown up in the business and were handling wrenches long before they were out of diapers. Still others started by fixing their own car, because they couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it, and found it was something that suited them more than an office cubicle. Whatever the method that got you into the business, you’re probably hooked. Most likely, just like me, you’re a mechanic for life now.
I’ve been turning wrenches for as long as I can remember. Maybe not always for a paycheck, but no matter what I was doing there always seemed to be a wrench close by. Eventually, all that tinkering led to a chance to be a mechanic at a real shop. Actual diagnostics took a lot longer to learn, but it’s fair to say most all of us started off doing minor repairs or on the lube rack. Back when I started, my diagnostic skills and tools weren’t all that special. Usually nothing more more than a rubber hose held up to my ear to listen for knocks or taps, or whatever pieces of equipment the repair shop had on hand. It took time to learn how to diagnose a problem correctly, but even then, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of those mechanical marvels that travel up and down the highway.
Tools and techniques have changed over the years, and every mechanic has had to change with each new technical innovation. These days, the new technology seems to change even faster than a person can imagine. It used to be the hand tools that changed as rapidly as the new models were introduced, now it’s the laptop requirements and the software that are constantly changing more than the hand tools.
I’m seeing components such as the power steering pump, water pump and even the air conditioning compressors slowly being replaced by electronics. I’ve got a lifetime of tools and techniques I’ve learned to take care of all those fluids, belts, and hoses, as well as how to replace all those components. But, being a mechanic for life you have to expect changes like that. I’ve got drawers full of specialty sockets for timing gears, distributors and that odd looking soup bowl for removing those Northstar water pumps. Now, they’re just another one of those tools that will end up in a lower corner of the tool box along with an ever increasing pile of outdated scanners that are gathering dust.
For me, I’m still amazed at how many tools and techniques for repairing cars I’ve used for so many years are now just a lifetime of memories. The computers and data lines have taken over the automotive world, and the state-of-the-art electronics can be overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar with the modern car. Making a lifelong career as a mechanic means you’ll experience a lot of these changes in your tools, as well as the cars.
It is a new and different automotive world than ever before, but even with all these changes, and the years that I’ve been at this, I’m still amazed and in awe of the mechanical wonders we drive down the road. It’s that fascination of searching for a problem, the latest technology, and the mechanical nature of the modern automobile that gets to a person whose life revolves around maintaining them.
With all these changes it takes years to get familiar with the systems and to actually get good at this job. You’ll make a few mistakes, a few discoveries, but all in all, you’ll learn from them both. This learning process goes along with my favorite saying, “Experience comes from yesterday’s mistakes. Knowledge comes from not making the same mistake tomorrow.” That says it all. Then, you might branch out of the service bay into other forms of mechanic work. Maybe as a service writer, working in the parts department, maybe owning and running your own shop, or perhaps as an instructor bringing up the next generation of mechanics. Deep down we’re all still a mechanic just in a different way.
No matter what direction your future holds, you’re still a mechanic for life, and that’s just the way we like it.
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