Episode 160: The Games We Play

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, Uncle Jimmy reimagines some popular games to be more on brand with technicians and people who fix things for a living. There’s probably a good 2/3rds of you reading this right now who are playing “Trash Jenga” (we want to see who has the tallest!) but what other games are out there? From the classics: “Battleship”, “Operation” and “Monopoly” we get to imagine the ultimate pick and pull and come face to face with some of the harsh realities of the industry.

Thankfully though there are games like Cards Against Humanity, that allow normal people a brief window into normal everyday shop talk! We also come up with some genuine originals that are going to be a massive hit at your next party such as “F*** That Car!” Finally, we wrap it all up with a fairly serious dive into media portrayal/consumption and branding entire occupations, in regards to a possible solution to the massive technician shortage.

Also Uncle Jimmy has very clearly never played Risk.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 159: Can You See the Real Me?

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we get into some of the things that the “people of the chair” don’t see about your average technician working in the automotive industry today. Doctors have a hard job, but typically people don’t evolve as fast as automobiles- otherwise we should really have Bluetooth by now! We also take a deep dive into the way that technicians are paid and explore a particular instance where pooling hours not only worked out fantastically for all of the techs working there, but also improved shop workflow dramatically- by having specialized technicians work on the things that they were good at, while the rest of the shop killed it on maintenances.

We also propose an addendum to the pooling of hours for a service department: taking the lowest guy and highest guy and paying them what they turn, and having the rest of the technicians in the shop paid on all of the other hours turned. This way the high performers are not penalized, and the people who can’t pull their own weight are not taking advantage of a high performing shop. One thing is clear, flat rate is not going anywhere but if it worked a little bit better that could stop the bleeding of technicians industry wide. Or they could go to salary like the manufacturers would prefer, but let’s be real, that’s not going to happen!

Also Uncle Jimmy picks the pile for E65’s and not one person complains about it.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 158: Legal Matter

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we get into some of the laws and legal things to keep in mind when it comes to our occupation, and we don’t even get to OSHA! Uncle Jimmy finds some of the laws and guidelines for the State of Texas when it comes to auto repair from a consumer’s perspective. The too long didn’t read for this entire episode is, “get everything in writing” as well as the helpful tidbit that repair orders are in fact legal documents!

This is the helpful law episode to help make sure everyone is doing their jobs’ the right way and make sure that you can get paid in the eventuality that you have to take a customer to court. Because there is always someone who doesn’t want to pay, and if you have everything in writing it is going to be really hard for them to squirm out of it in a lot of cases.

Also Uncle Jimmy describes the simple joy of beating the life out of a rental car.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 157: Who Are You?

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we get out of self-reflective introspective mode and go straight for the jugular: asking the pointed question “who are you?” to everyone else in the building!

We know what we are there for, but a lot of these other bit part players can have nebulous or extremely vague job duties which lead them to have a variety of motivations (or lack thereof). Obviously, the owner or the board of directors is there to make the place as profitable as possible. What is cool about this is that depending on the scale of the company you work for there are various levels of access. Obviously if you work for a mom and pop and need some TP, you can typically just ask the boss directly. If you work in a company with more levels of management than techs in the shop, that request for TP might have to go through 8 or 9 different departments before you get it.

When you get into the vague mid-upper levels of management is where you run into the job titles where you get less concrete answers to “who are you?” and more specifically the follow up question “what do you do?” When it comes to the sales department, more often than not they only interact with us when they need something from us, so the question “who are you?” all of a sudden hits them a little bit close to the vest and becomes “what do you want?” Looking at you sales department.

At the end of the day, who you are comes down to what problems you solve and the manner in which you solve them.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 156: Go to the Mirror

In this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we get introspective with asking ourselves some questions when it comes to our own happiness. Yea, we’re wading into the murky waters of mental health! We found a site called “Positive Psychology” for self reflective questions to ask yourself, and decided it was perfect fodder for a podcast. When you look in the mirror what do you see?

Many of us see the major roles that we play in our lives in culmination with what we do for a living. You need to give yourself credit for what you do well, and what you are still learning how to do, because the cars are getting harder and harder to fix all of the time. We ask a lot of really big questions and Uncle Jimmy fills in the blanks. After this episode, you might look at your shop a bit differently and if you need to make a change. Grease the wheels.

Also Uncle Jimmy enters the mind of a dog and completely forgets that two specific people hating each other in 1801 literally changed the course of American History.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 155: Amazing Journey

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we detail the amazing journey of being an automotive technician in true Uncle Jimmy fashion. From being a mechanically adept or interested youngster with a POS car, to making the leap into tech school and eventually becoming a skilled journeyman, to eventually exiting the industry either on a gurney or through a rage quit – there is only one constant. Everyone’s occupational journey is different. Sometimes there are different challenges and different levels of skill coming in, but a good attitude and knack for solving problems can improve your trajectory and make you go a long way in this industry.

However, the goal as a technician should always be a higher rate of pay and if you are not being offered regular raises it may be time to leave the building. Of course, this depends on how valuable you are as a technician, because there are some instances where managers are genuinely glad to see you go and the shop actually improves. However, you should strive not to be that guy on the amazing journey and continually make yourself more valuable in the form of better training, knowing more systems, and being able to turn more hours.

Also Uncle Jimmy breaks down the American educational system.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 154: The Seeker

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we talk about the massive technician shortage and some of the brilliant fixed ops plans to fix it. We talk at length about an article we found on LinkedIn where they address all but one of the major causes for why shops are having problems keeping technicians. The one they missed though pretty much invalidates the rest of the article, but there are some fairly good points when it comes to how to keep technicians such as giving them a path of advancement, giving them the tools they need to do the job, and keeping good work coming in the door.

These are things that all shops want, but need to make an operational objective in order to keep the best talent and keep pushing out work that will perpetuate the cycle of success. Most importantly though with the incredible shortage of technicians, as a predominately technician based podcast, ladies and gentlemen- be out there looking! You never know what you are going to find or what someone might pay you to do what you’re doing now.

It might be in a part of the country that you have always wanted to live, or it could just be across town but the need for good help is so dire you could get yourself a massive raise. Change is definitely coming, so get those resumes tuned up and be able to capitalize on it when it comes.

Also Uncle Jimmy gives some tips and tricks for seeing through the occupational smokescreen.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 153: I Can See For Miles

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, Uncle Jimmy puts on his prophecy hat and talks about some of the things that we can see coming down the pike for the automotive industry. It is not a secret that the automotive industry is very slow to adapt with some things, the fact that they still employ salesmen when we have internet sales pretty sorted out is a testament to that. However, we also get into the nitty gritty when it comes to the propulsion systems of the future. Fact is, EV’s are not the the event horizon for personal transportation. Most likely it will be Hydrogen fuel cell or good old internal combustion, just with hydrogen as the fuel. When you burn hydrogen really the only thing you get as a byproduct is water and heat.

We also go into why drinking water from your car might not be such a great idea, because they are still going to need to lubricate the engines with hydrocarbons, they do a really good job. Finally, we tease a future where technicians are in such short supply and need to know so many different things in order for some of these shops to stay open, that the compensation will have to go up in kind to meet the demands of the job. It is only a matter of time until someone figures it out, but the fact that less than 10% of Uncle Jimmy’s brand specific dealerships are not posting want ads for technicians says that they haven’t figured it out quite yet.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about some of the things to do in a self-driving car, and skips the “putting predictions in poems” move.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 152: Bargain

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, Uncle Jimmy falls asleep on the couch and wakes up at 4AM to record a podcast. Most technicians are a straight up bargain. From the amount of things that we have to know to what the shops that employ us charge, we know that there is a real disconnect between the rate at which we receive raises to the rate at which our jobs get more difficult. As a result many shops are stacked up with work weeks in advance, and they are constrained by the ability to get technicians.

All technicians are bargains right out of tech school, they have bills to pay so they often take the first livable offer that they get. Oftentimes this leads to a high level of attrition among new technicians. However, shops that offer a clear path of advancement and opportunity to get more training often see a higher level of retention and technician advancement. They pay needs to keep up though, otherwise that development will go to profit someone else. We also talk about a day where all of the technicians of the world take a day off, because they definitely cant fire us all. Even if they do, there’s still a tech shortage.

Also Uncle Jimmy explains tax and fiscal policy in the most Grease the Wheels way humanly possible.

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!

Episode 151: Don’t be a Dick!

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we see how many times Uncle Jimmy can say the phrase, “don’t be a dick!” This is another one of those infamous, extra-spicy, “weekday night” episodes compounded with the fact that he is fresh off vacation. So When Uncle Jimmy gets back to the shop and it is a s***show, he goes off a bit and threatens corporal punishment for people who leave wheel machines looking like a war-zone! In a solid rant about shop cleanliness, we talk about how the trick to finding a lost tool is to actually be looking for something else. On the “don’t be a dick” hierarchy, few moves are more treacherous than breaking tools and not owning up to it, or even worse, trying to hide it!

Speaking of breaking stuff, we also talk about how not to be a dick in a pick and pull, because that part that you just destroyed might have come in handy in the future. We even go into some semiotic analysis of the language you use causing people to think you’re a dick even if you’re not. Unless of course you’re a serial complainer in which case you probably are in fact a dick. The moral of the episode is, pretty obviously at this point, “don’t be a dick”, help people out when they need it because sometimes an extra set of hands makes a huge difference. So being willing and able to help is a major thing that will make people think that you are not a dick, even if you are to an extent.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks hazmat cocktails and still being salty about the February Ice Storm. Also we ask the really important question: How great would it be if you could tell customers to not be a dick?

This episode is distributed by The Wrenching Network. Whether you’re a technician, a mechanic, or someone who just loves the car scene, The Wrenching Network is a place that you have to check out. They have all sorts of great content, gear, and snacks to keep you turning wrenches in whatever capacity you do it. Also if you see us over there, make sure you say hi and leave a comment with what you think about the episode!