Episode 110: Listen!

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are taking a look at the industry-wide scourge of a lot of people talking, but not a lot of people listening or doing. Mechanics are really pretty good at listening to other mechanics on a whole, but when it comes to the potentially vast reserve of experience and practical problem solving experience found in the back of the shop, management will try to reinvent the wheel when someone else in the building might already have the answer. Additionally, there is a huge value in having people from all sorts of different backgrounds when it comes to problems that are more regional in nature like rust. We also talk about one of the other unspoken shop rules: “There is a way of doing things that is good, there is a way of doing things that is bad, and there is the way that things actually get done.” Additionally we go over some “dealership math” of how to cram 700 cars into 500 parking spaces (some of this is actually pretty helpful) and Uncle Jimmy gets subliminal on his sales manager. Finally, we want to listen to you: what types of episodes do you want to hear coming up, any topics that you would like us to cover- let us know!”

Also Uncle Jimmy describes one of the elements of his quadrophenia when it comes to the shop being “orderly”, but we all know that the only guarantee when you ask someone not to make a mess is that they will make a bigger one next time.

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 109: Saturday Morning Cartoons

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are taking aim at the idea that “high schools cutting shop class” is the biggest pull factor for why adolescents are avoiding the trades in general and the automotive industry in particular. If this were the truth, why not start informing kids about the trades even younger? With this in mind, Uncle Jimmy creatively co-ops some of the all time great children’s programming to be about being an automotive technician. For instance, it is always a lovely day in Mr. Rogers Dyno-Room or with Clifford, the big red ¾ race cam. Just to sample some of the insanity we have in store, we have: Inspector Gadget as a racetrack tech inspector, reworking The Jetsons to be about jetting carburetors or nitrous set-ups, and the first Ed, Edd, and Eddy reference in a solid decade. This sheer lunacy combined with intelligent conversation about building small-block chevy’s is what you have come to love about GTW!

Also, Uncle Jimmy recommends Schoolhouse Rock! to several congresspeople and then rewrites it to be “Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow”.

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 108: Things That Make You Go “F***!”

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we have been informed by our good buddy Travis that in a recent episode we said the word “F***!” 58 times. That might seem like a lot, but those are some rookie numbers for Uncle Jimmy- so we gotta pump those numbers up. Firstly, “F***!” is used to describe thousands of situations that we as humans collectively and technicians specifically experience every day. Sometimes it is entirely internal, existing only in our inner monologue- yet oftentimes it makes itself known to the material world in especially frustrating situations. Sometimes “F***!” is coming into work and seeing a comeback that was parked by a tow truck driver terribly and it wont start. Regardless, this single syllable expression of all of your frustrations perfectly fits in so many facets of what we do for a living. This is only compounded when the word “intermittent” is on a repair order, a bolt snaps, or a part breaks. So this week, we are going to get into linguistics by painting a picture of why we need that word and why “F***!” needs to be so universally loved and hated at the same time.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about being a DJ once upon a time in the 90s, his scary accurate internal clock, and all of the things that make him say “F***!”

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 107: Lunch With My Boys

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, Uncle Jimmy gives Erik the Producer an aneurysm by sitting down and eating his lunch while recording the podcast in a show of solidarity. That’s right, Uncle Jimmy is now banned by some shops (or at least that’s what the data leads us to believe) but more than likely is if he isn’t banned in your shop yet this will probably be the episode to do it! We talk at length about the first amendment, Multi-Point Inspections, and well as doing videos of these inspections. On the point of videoing the multipoint inspection, we have seen several jobs approved when they were unlikely to because it takes a level of salesmanship out of the equation for the service advisor- which is almost always a good thing. The better we are at explaining the problem and showing the customer the problem and often its magnitude, we are able to really help sell that particular repair. Finally, we provide the entire internet with a convenient soundbite for asking for a raise: but be warned it could also definitely get you fired. Use at your own risk.

Also, Uncle Jimmy revisits the theory (and practice) of what would happen if a single technician came in while advocating and illustrating the shift from passive-aggressive to active-aggressive.

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 106: Genesis

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are getting back to our roots. This podcast was created to rail against people who do not take what we do seriously, and therefore do not pay us seriously. In this episode we take a look at what Uncle Jimmy has been doing in the grip of “corona-madness” by reading articles about the state of the industry. While guidance counselors are pushing kids out of the trades and into 4-year degrees at a blistering pace (DO NOT get the producer started on this) and schools are cutting trades programs, this does not account for the sheer lack of supply coming into the automotive technician market. Because of this dancing around the real issue, there is a serious problem between optics and real market factors. The problem is, has been, and will most likely remain: THE MONEY! However, in his studies Uncle Jimmy did find one guy who went way out on a limb and argued for technicians to make on the order of $60-70/Hour. He probably got laughed out of the country club for that one but we certainly appreciate it as a benchmark. Also we talk about how we all got started fixing cars and some of the practical lessons that come with it- all in the pursuit of getting the hell off of the farm. This episode description could seriously be four pages, so just listen to it and comment with your favorite line from it!

Finally, Uncle Jimmy effortlessly combines H.P. Lovecraft, Adam Smith, and this entire episode in the line: “through the madness a few might just see that the solution is the almighty dollar[…]but most straight-up refuse to see 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 105: Waiters

On this week’s episode we are tackling the issue of waiters. Firstly, we suggest talking to the other technicians and foreman in your shop and coming up with a list of jobs that customers really can’t wait for. After that we suggest talking to the service manager and service advisors because this will make everyone’s job easier. However, not all waiters are created equal, as there are the “no other options” waiters, the “patient up to a point” waiters, and the “people who think they are going to be waiters when they need new connecting rods”. Also we talk about some of the anxiety that comes from having customers waiting and they all over you to get it done. Most importantly, we go over some of the jobs that customers can wait for and really can’t wait for. However, when all else fails the idea that “the customer is always right” is consistently smashed by a chorus coming from the back: “WAITERS GONNA WAIT!”

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about the point of aggravation, the ethical and legal ramifications of assault and battery, and pre air conditioning Texans.

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 104: Corona Update

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we take a look at the state of the industry through the continuing Coronavirus Pandemic. Honestly, we thought it would have blown over by now (more on that later) but it hasn’t and we are still working. We feel that the image of the mechanic as an essential worker was slightly sullied by the fact that Uncle Jimmy’s insurance agent was also an “essential worker”, but that is ok. Business needs to keep on keeping on. As mechanics we are all very much in this together and many of us are in the same boat. However, if you were coming to this episode looking for answers, it seems that the only answer is that no one knows what is really going on, or going to happen. As it sits right now demand for technicians is down, but as things start to open back up and people can start traveling again they are going to need their cars serviced and repaired, often from a lack of being used. Finally, we give voice to a widely held belief about this whole thing: that IF it goes away after November it was manufactured by the media. If it sticks around and gets bad again it probably wasn’t our fault!

Also Uncle Jimmy gives an actual 0-Star review of Progressive Insurance, outlines the job description of an “Automotive Insult-ant” and provides a completely neutral, yet still somehow scathing take on the State of the Union.

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 103: Motivation

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we are talking about the most fragile thing in your shop — the motivation of the people working there. We have all had that internal monologue while sitting in our cars either on the way to, or sitting in the parking lot of work, where we genuinely wonder if today is going to be the day where we grease the wheels, load up the toolbox, and never come back. However every single ounce of motivation must come from within. Sure there are external factors that can motivate you, but at the end of the day the action of following through on your motivations comes solely from the person who looks back at you in the mirror. Also, we take a look at the crazy ebbs and flows of motivation that cause us to do the things we do and some of the ramifications of losing our motivation to work on a particular car by throwing right on our favorite spot in the shop- the back burner!

Also Uncle Jimmy goes over his biggest motivation killer in recent memory- a service advisor saying, “Remember that car from Friday? It’s back and still has the same problem!” at 7:30 AM on a Monday while outlining the similarities between shops and pimps, and mechanics and hoes.

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 102: Flat Rate and the Free Stuff

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are taking a deep dive into the methods by which most of us get paid: flat rate. First off, someone at the manufacturer’s factory does a specific job to a car using hand tools to determine how long that job is going to take, which refers to the “book time” of a job. However, there are often many jobs that we can “make time” on, where the book time is significantly higher than the actual amount of time it takes to do that job. Whether it be because you’ve done that job a million times, or it’s just that much easier with power tools- there are many circumstances where we can turn 20 hours in an 8 hour workday. However, this system hinges on the ability of service advisors to sell the job, because when the shop is busy it is a win-win situation for both shop ownership and the technicians who are turning the hours. When there is a pandemic or there are poor service advisors the shop still wins because they are not out anything- but the tech loses, because they are not turning hours. Also, we take a deep dive into how the manufacturers would like us to get paid because believe it or not, they want to pay you a salary because it keeps their products in better shape.

Also, Uncle Jimmy teases a paradigm shift, weighs the pro’s and cons of the flat rate system, and quotes Fat Boy Slim.

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 101: POS

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are doing a case study of the single worst service advisor that Uncle Jimmy has ever had. A bad service advisor won’t try to sell the customer on the recommended repairs that a technician finds in a multipoint inspection. A worse service advisor will assume that a customer might not have money based on the way they’re dressed or some other prejudicial factor. A terrible service advisor thinks they are brilliant when they are clearly not. A horrendous service advisor would actually take the customers that came to his shop for diag and send them to other shops that have a lower labor rate for the repair. This one guy did all of these things and many, many more! Bonus points, it is all on tape and HE KNEW HE WAS BEING RECORDED! Finally, we go over what makes a good one, how to train them, and how to keep them working in relative harmony with your service department – just make sure they never say that, “the technicians are making too much money” or you might have a crime scene on your hands.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks human resources in the mob, CRM software that helps break down the barrier between customer, service advisor, and technicians, and bounces it off the limiter 81 times before editing (I did my best folks).

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!