Episode 120: Department 404 (Parts Not Found)

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are taking a look at your favorite department that doesn’t have any of the stuff you need in stock: parts! No, we kid, we actually do a fairly good dive on why your parts department doesn’t have the parts that you need. The meat of it comes when it comes to the type of personnel that shops are getting to apply for parts jobs in general due to the poverty-inducing wage that they offer for it. As with most automotive jobs, hiring managers are going to get what they pay for. The real rub here comes when you take into account some of the things that parts personnel have to be able to anticipate and know about the market they service when it comes to what parts to stock, and in what quantities. This puts the criminally low starting wage of one Texas Ford dealership of $9/hour into stark contrast with the actual requirements of the job. Finally, we go over the way that some of the best we have seen do the job, and ask if your parts department is good at what they do?

Also, Uncle Jimmy gives the GTW treatment of “how to do your job” to the panhandlers of Austin and puts parts changers on blast.

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 119: The Tech Test

On this week’s interactive episode of Grease the Wheels we are getting into the remote learning racket by creating a test for technicians. No need to study, this is entirely about how you approach and do your job. From being good about helping other techs, to showing up and getting right to work: there are many different ways to be a good technician. In this simple 10 question quiz Uncle Jimmy lays out the spread from a perfect employee to someone who should seriously exit the industry. Realistically, most of us land somewhere in between- but the questions are on-brand, and the board of education definitely did not approve this. The GTW Tech Test- Happy Thanksgiving from Uncle Jimmy and Erik the Producer! Let us know how you did and if you think your score justifies you a bigger paycheck!

Also, Uncle Jimmy teases about 6 upcoming podcasts and gets slightly zen about the question, “would you hire you?”

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 118: Priorities

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we are asking a simple question: what are your priorities? When it comes to work, for most of us in general, it’s to make as much money as possible. Other days it is getting out of the building as fast as possible. We have personal priorities in addition to our career priorities, and often the two can cause conflict. Everyone in the building is going to have different priorities, and this isn’t even getting to the various priorities of the customers. Some of them get it and their priority is to keep their car in good shape by doing recommended maintenance. Some customers don’t make their car as big of a priority as it should be, and we have to fight them to get the repairs their car needs. Either way we end up fixing them, weather they pay for it now, or typically a lot more for it later. We also explore the priorities of service advisors, and how their understanding of customers priorities can make them significantly better at overcoming their objections. Finally, helping people out is really our priority as a whole as mechanics

Also, Uncle Jimmy compares the 7-Series BMW and Tiger Mark IV in terms of maintenance difficulty (and probably cost) and leaves us with this nugget of wisdom: “What you do is important, regardless of how much you’re not getting paid!”

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 117: Five Dollars a Day

On this episode of Grease the Wheels, Uncle Jimmy completely Tarantino’s Henry Ford’s rapid expansion of the middle class by introducing the $5 a day minimum wage to his factory workers. First off, right around half of that was a wage from the work they did in the factory. The other half came from living in accordance with Ford’s own personal standards, in a move that would make the ACLU’s mouth water. Either way the results were profound, and Ford soon had more qualified help than he could reasonably hire. The point here is: because he paid more than everyone else he had the absolute pick of the litter when it came to who worked for him. Finally, Uncle Jimmy postulates the similarities between Ford fixing his HR problems with shops and dealerships fixing the technician shortage; by means of making it so attractive that really everyone would want to come work for you.

Also Uncle Jimmy walks through the Human Resources complexities of hiring morons.

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 116: General Manager Expectations

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we take a look at the job at the top of the shop food chain: the general manager. The Boss. In some cases their name is on the building, in others they are the long arm of a very large corporate entity. Either way, the buck stops and starts with them. In brand new dealerships and shops the learning curve can be seriously steep and finding the right people for the right jobs is a major factor to success. However, we can’t help but notice the trend that most general managers at least at the dealership level come from the sales department. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit the perspective that this individual is going to have on the entirety of dealership operations, and their expectations might clash with the reality of some of the other departments they are now overseeing. What makes a good one? What makes a bad one? Who is the best one you’ve ever worked for? Who chased you out of the building? We want to know so we can help tell the world how it needs to be done! This is the second episode of the “Expectations” series where Uncle Jimmy puts on his Human Resources hat, for the first episode about Service Managers see episode 113.

Also Uncle Jimmy gives some legitimately sound business advice to independent and European shops, mobile mechanics, and individuals looking to start their own shops and theorizes the, “Am I An Asshole? Test” to all prospective business owners!

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 115: Pride

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we talk about one of the unseen factors that keeps us going: pride. Right off the bat, we are proud of every one of you wrench turning guys and gals who is keeping the world moving by fixing what’s broken. We’re also deeply proud that you listen to this podcast and the rate at which you tell your friends about us. No matter what kind of day you are having, you can probably find something to be proud of in what you do just because of the sheer number of people who can’t! Additionally, pride in your shop can be a great gauge for if you should leave your current shop, because if you’re not proud of your shop maybe it’s time to find a better one. We also talk about being proud of your fellow techs when they get it right, your family despite them usually getting it wrong, and when shops that you have previously worked at begin to turn things around. But as with all things, too much of it aimed the wrong way makes you completely insufferable, so make sure to keep it in check and not beat people up with it.

Uncle Jimmy describes the foreman as, “busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest”, develops a COVID test based on whether or not you can still taste coolant, and comes up with a description of Erik the Producer working on cars that was too accurate to cut out.

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!

The Models: The Chevrolet Blazer

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are paying homage and telling a hell of a lot of epic stories about one of our all time favorites: the Blazer. Weather it is ripping through an apple orchard, crawling down ATV trails, or rummaging through pick-and-pulls for extra bits we loved this simple and capable truck for what it was. A truck. The new one is just a Equinox on some muscle milk. However, Erik the Producer lays out a few of the reasons why they did this: mainly that the amount of people who ACTUALLY need a capable off-road SUV is a hell of a lot less than the number of people who THINK they need an off-road capable SUV for when there is a bit of snow. Additionally, there is a huge cash and time investment that Ford has made with the new Bronco (which is so cool even Uncle Jimmy wants one) that GM wouldn’t really be able to beat them to market with something completely new. Besides, Ford beat GM to market with this product once, and GM went on to make and sell a lot more of them over the next 4 decades. Either way, what we want to know, “is General Motors building a Bronco-Buster?”

Some come along as we talk about mayhem, mischief, and mini trucks that are all just some of the great stories we have about Blazers. But of course that’s not where this episode ends, we want to hear your epic Blazer and Jimmy stories!

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 114: Dangers

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we admit this world is kinda f***ing dangerous! As mechanics this is compounded on a daily basis just because of the sheer number of things that you work with that can seriously mess you up. Some of this stuff can mess you up instantly: wires from a wire wheel turning into shrapnel, presses turning things into projectiles, cars falling, and the good ole harbor freight jack stands (which are still better than just a jack, if you have nothing else). Some of these might take a long time to mess you up, like the dusts that come off of brakes and other metal shavings, or the sort of in between silicosis from sandblasting without proper masks and hoods. It’s extra dangerous if you happen to be a bit clumsy. It’s a lot more dangerous for the dumbasses. Also we seamlessly fold in a “Grim Sleeper” reference and let you know that this is really just because we don’t want anyone who listens to this show to get hurt: because it happens- we’ve seen the posts. But we know by starting a conversation about it, we’re making you a little bit more aware of things that might be able to seriously f*** you up!

Also Uncle Jimmy had something in common with Lady Macbeth and reviews the various fluids in your car by taste!

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 113: Service Manager Expectations

On this week’s (slightly delayed, sorry love!) episode of Grease the Wheels, we take a deep dive into the role of the Service Manager. What is their job, what should be their job, and what should you expect out of them are all on the docket in this slightly longer episode. When you don’t get what you expect, this causes friction. This is compounded when you actually take a look at how the job gets done. The problem is that when you have good help and the shop runs fairly smoothly, Service Managers don’t really have a whole hell of a lot to do. However, their importance really can’t be understated because at the end of the day they are the buffer between a potentially irate customer and literally every other part of the business. The buck stops with them, and it usually ends up with people asking for repairs to be comped by the shop! As with all things in the automotive world the bad ones are impossible to get rid of, the good ones are hard to keep. Finally, we give some serious “trench-level analysis” on dealership operations as a whole.

Also Uncle Jimmy quotes the Rolling Stones, goes over the expectations of dogs, and reaffirms his belief that accountants ruin everything!

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 112: UJ-2000

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are talking about some of the untapped potential that lies with the video multi point inspection. Some shops have them, some don’t, but we feel like more shops are going to have it sooner rather than later. This is really a good thing for us, we just wish we would get paid for doing them. First off, Uncle Jimmy goes over his various scripts for situations that come up in MPI’s when he does them, and offers a ton of practical advice that will help you find your groove if you are struggling with them. Another option is to possibly team up with another technician in your shop who is good at selling the work through the Video MPI. Either way, it is a lot easier to sell repairs when you can show the customer what is wrong with the car. Which brings us conveniently to our next point- a kiosk that completely automates the service advisor role and expands the concept of the video MPI, to make it a lot easier on shops that are having issues with their service advisors. Finally, we put it all together in the form of the UJ-2000, we want to know what else it should be able to do!

Also, Uncle Jimmy mixes up the voting age and the age of consent in regard to an air filter that was installed in the Bush Administration.

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!