Episode 132: Exploitation

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, you get to hear a podcast from a host who hasn’t had power or running water for 7 days prior to recording! We’re not going to get into it this week (it’ll probably have to be a two parter), but these few upcoming episode’s are going to be a special brand of insane that only your beloved Uncle Jimmy can provide. This week’s dive is on the definition of exploitation and its prevalence in the automotive industry. We crunch some numbers and figure out what a good team of technicians can actually make a shop, and what percentage of that gets paid out to the technicians of that shop just in the labor that they produce. We aren’t knocking capitalism, we love it (it’s listed as Erik the Producer’s religion on his marriage certificate). We are just pitching a more Adam Smith minded version of it where profits are a little bit better distributed and the market rates are competitive with the level of knowledge that we need to function in this occupation. This isn’t even factoring in the actual investment that is needed to do the job. So no wonder why shops can’t find anyone to work for them and why fixed ops managers whine about the tech shortage on LinkedIn all day long. In the automotive field exploitation often comes down to a simple question: “Are you being paid what you are worth?”

Also Uncle Jimmy gives some fairly decent accounting advice to anyone looking to start a shop.

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 131: Happy

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we are talking about some of the things that make us happy as automotive technicians. We come up with several metrics to figure out if you should stay with your current shop based on how happy it makes you. There are a million things working in any shop that can make you unhappy, so it really is surprising when places get it mostly right! We also talk about hoarder cars that would shame a petri dish, compost in cowls, and other general disgustingness that might come our way. Also we do a deep dive into family run shops versus corporate shops when it comes to the happiness of their technicians. So if you are looking for a job where the boss will probably get to know you personally, you’ll want to go to a family run shop or dealership. When the bottom line is the top of mind, the happiness quotient is going to be grim for technicians. At the end of the day a respect for what we do, getting paid for what we are worth, and having a clear path of advancement are the core elements of keeping a technician happy long term, and we want to know what makes you happy!

Also Uncle Jimmy comes up with a novel solution (mid-rant) for how to get aftermarket warranty telemarketers to stop calling 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 130: Is It Just Me?

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are going over some of the general things that happen to mechanics and technicians all over the world. Spells where you can’t fix anything, coming in to a mess you didn’t make, and having to put up with incompetence like missing labor hours; we want to know, is it just me? We go over some practical suggestions when it comes to going over repair orders in regards to getting paid for the work you did! Also, is it just me, or do the job postings for dealerships for the most part suck? They have a huge list of things they want you to know, when you know that they will hire someone with half the skills they need if it is going to be cheaper. Also, we ponder the fact that more often than not the job postings don’t say anything about what we want to know from them- the rate of pay! So it is just us? Let us know over on speakpipe!

Also Uncle Jimmy has you quote him in a profanity laced tirade about the state of entropy when it comes to car repair.

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 129: MoFo Input

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we talk about some format changes that we are going to try with the podcast: where you guys send us in clips and we turn them into a show! We’re using an app called Speakpipe where you guys send us voicemails and we can download, edit and respond to you on the show.

Erik the Producer’s Notes for Callers:

  • The time limit on the voicemails is 5 minutes
  • If the link doesn’t work or it won’t let you send it, we’ve gone over our limit for the month (let us know, we’ll send you the link early next month)
  • When in doubt, write it down
  • If you screw something up or want to do it again, just pause for 5 seconds, think about it and repeat yourself (Uncle Jimmy does this at least twice an episode)
  • I’ll clean them up if you have a lot of verbal filler
  • Try to keep it fairly anonymous (you’ll hear about that in the episode)
  • No Hate Speech
  • See the Facebook Page for the link 2/4/21 @ 8:00pm EST

Topics We’re Looking For:

Your First Car: Maybe an awesome story about it, maybe something that it taught you, etc. It was YOUR first car, so make these stories your own!

Something You Fixed That Another Shop Couldn’t: This one went nuclear on facebook and we had some AWESOME submissions in writing. We’d love to hear them here!

Pitch Me Your Episode: Want to hear something on GTW, let us know. Want to not hear something on the show, also let us know!

Shoutouts: As only a bunch of wrench twisting MoFo’s can

Also Uncle Jimmy thinly veils working for Disney.

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 128: Flat Rate for the Masses

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we expand the idea of the flat rate system and ask, “what would happen if other occupations were paid flat rate?” In order to make flat rate work for you as a mechanic, you need to do the repairs well, and then do them fast. This is mostly because of the fact that you aren’t going to get paid for doing it the second time, and that learning curve isn’t fun when it’s coming out of your paycheck. If this same system were applied to occupations ranging from cashiers at Walmart to the police, what you’re going to get is more efficient service because there is a financial incentive to do it efficiently. Obviously there need to be checks and balances to the “Flat Rate for the Masses” system as well to prevent massive fraud and rampant corruption. We also get a little bit more down to earth and theorize how you could pay management and service advisors flat rate as a way of making sure that things actually get done.

Also, Uncle Jimmy gets downright draconian on people who text and drive and formulates the labor time for catching burglars as roughly the equivalent to a 4-wheel brake job, tire, alignment, and valve cover gasket.

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 127: Video Killed the Service Advisor

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we are diving head first into the deep end of video multi-point inspections. Right off the bat a lot of places are not paying for this service that they are expecting of their technicians, so they are going to get what they pay for a lot of the time. However, we can’t ignore the massive upside that this newfound “techs-eye-view” tool has given us in regards to the value of showing customer’s what is going on with their car. If everything on their car is good, let them know! If something is broken, you can point it out often by contrasting it with a good matching component just by moving your camera and showing the customer the differences. We don’t think you have to sell repairs in your video MPI’s, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t. Additionally having a technician talk directly to a customer about their car can do everything from build brand loyalty to passing on useful consumer information about upcoming repair concerns and maintenance items. If you do video MPI’s give this episode a listen and it might give you some useful tools and tips to help do them better. If you’re not getting paid for them, your bosses really shouldn’t be able to complain about the quality, but we think the benefits of doing them well are there. Also, if you have some useful tips or tricks, let us know over on our Facebook page!

Also Uncle Jimmy coins the term, “acceptable level of jackassery” in regards to his Video MPI’s and is starting to get requested by name by customers to do theirs!

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 126: Evolution

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we are talking about evolution: both as technicians individually and in regards to the cars we work on. When it comes to the cars, the amount of technological change from the first cars Uncle Jimmy was working on as a lad to where we are now is staggering and because of this, we have all had to learn a lot of things and hone some extra skills to be able to stay effective at what we do. We also talk about the incredible strides that cars have made in terms of safety, unfortunately you can’t engineer better drivers. Finally, Uncle Jimmy buys a 335 with 24 bent valves from a dude who tried fixing it with his PhD in Philosophy and Cam Position Sensors!

Erik the Producer’s sidenote: I witnessed this transaction, he 100% said he could fix this thing with reasoning… It was hilarious.

Also Uncle Jimmy hits on one of the interesting cross-shop touchstones that we can all relate to: “what car got you into working on cars, and what did it teach 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 125: A Can’t Do Attitude!

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we are talking about one of the things that can single you out the fastest in a shop: the can’t do attitude. As we have stated before, trying to have a good attitude in your shop is always a good thing, but we also implore you to have a “can do” attitude over a “can’t do” attitude. This will open a lot of doors professionally and will prevent your bosses from pigeon-holing you as the “the guy who only does this one thing.” We also talk about an extreme example of this in one of Uncle Jimmy’s former shops, with a person working in a BMW dealership with so few skill and training sets that it might be possible for him to misspell the brand they both work for. We also want to know, what jobs give you the “can’t do” attitude? For Uncle Jimmy it’s tire rotations on cars with 50-50 weight distributions and the entire Jaguar brand!

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about some of his early repair endeavors and the vast collection of unwritten knowledge that exists amongst auto mechanics that we’re going to try to turn into a YouTube series!

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 124: X-Mas & New Year’s

On this week’s GTW we are a week late to the Christmas party, but that’s ok because we kinda can’t stand the music- at least the poppy remakes! We take a look at some of the craziness of 2020 and use that to set our sights on 2021, by taking a look at some of the most common new years resolutions through the eyes of an Automotive Technician. We also talk about that lovely Hallmark Christmas Movie motif of “christmas wishes” and talk about some of the wishes we have. Again, it is a week late so that’s probably why Uncle Jimmy isn’t in his time machine buying up old cars and killing Hitler. We genuinely think that 2021 is going to be better for all of us, because 2020 didn’t really set a high bar except when it comes to “Most Plans Cancelled”

Also Uncle Jimmy makes two completely separate Nazi references in a Christmas Episode and is still getting used to his new laptop so this might be kinda loud.

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 123: Tech Expectations

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we take a deep dive into what you should expect from your employers, the job, and your fellow technicians. We take a look at new guys, and how attitude can sometimes take you further in this industry than skill alone when getting over being “the new guy.” One of the things that is expected out of all of us is that when the cars we work on get more advanced that our skill-set keeps up. This is a rare example in the free market of getting paid the same amount of money despite the job getting significantly more complicated on a regular basis. Also we talk about expecting to get paid flat rate, and some of the pitfalls and good points of the flat rate system. Regardless, this is the final chapter of the “Expectations” series and we have had a lot of fun outlining some of the roles of the people who work with you at your dealership. See also Service Manager Expectations and General Manager Expectations for more on the roles of people in your dealership.

Also Uncle Jimmy channels the Dalai Lama on the cosmic force of car-repair-karma and talks about the jobs that are currently kicking his ass.

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!