Episode 146: Any Way, Any Where, Any How

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we talk about indies, mobile techs, and “rogue techs” who are working out of their home garages. Because we work in a dealership, this podcast often revolves around working for a dealership as a mechanic, but there are many modern alternatives that have been gaining traction as the business has evolved. Indie shops are truly a mixed bag: with some of them being well run, mom and pop shops where the staff genuinely feels like a family and others that are basically chop shops. Either way, do your homework on any shop that you are looking to bring your talents as a mechanic too, because it is your reputation on the line in some cases.

A shop’s bad reputation can follow you even if you are only in a shop-of-ill-repute for a short period of time. Mobile mechanics have seen an interesting rise with the internet and people being less and less able to fix things on their own cars. The Rogues though truly have it figured out, being able to work on their own time, in their own space, and having the choice of what they actually have to work on. No matter where you are in the indie-tech spectrum, be prepared to have to fix whatever rolls, drives, or gets dragged through the door- because you have no idea what they might be bringing in. Either way the indie scene is booming as dealerships struggle to fill their ranks, and there are forthcoming developments from us that will make that whole “rogue tech” thing a lot easier!

Also Uncle Jimmy describes the post-Corona labor market and teases WWIII.

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 145: My Generation

On this week’s Memorial Day episode of Grease the Wheels, we talk about the generations in regard to the conflicts they fought and the cars they had to fix. Fittingly omitting “The Lost Generation”, we examine the incredibly simple nature of early mass produced automobiles when they were being driven by “The Greatest Generation”. This is the generation who honed their skills by keeping things running through a Global Depression leading up to fighting Nazi’s and the Imperial Japanese. “The Silent Generation” that had to fight the Korean War had slightly more complex automobiles with more safety features, more creature comforts, and a lot more power; but they earned it because they were born either shortly before or during the Great Depression. “The Baby Boomers” who fought the Vietnam War were all about horsepower when they first started driving, and that didn’t really tail off until the government started strangling cars in stock form.

With “Gen X”, cars got computers to make them run cleaner and more efficiently, and with the Millennials and “Gen Z” things have become electrified and the amount of things that can go wrong in these cars have increased exponentially. However, the number of people entering the field has decreased exponentially, and as another generation marches towards retirement the ranks are not being reinforced. We think the technician shortage is because of the increasing complexity of the cars with the complete stagnation of wages, but what do we know? The generational composition of every shop is different, so take a look around and maybe figure out what generations are best represented and how well they fit the stereotypes that Uncle Jimmy heaps on them.

Also Uncle Jimmy and I would like to give a very sincere, “thank you” to all of the service members who laid down their lives so we could have the freedom of speech to do this podcast!

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 144: In High Demand

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we are exploring a favorite topic of ours and giving some real world potential fixes for the problem. The problem for this week’s episode is the technician shortage, with new facts and figures indicating that the industry could have up to half a million unfilled job openings in the not-so-distant future of 2024. Again, these suits with business degrees like to point out the lack of shop classes, while failing to account for the working conditions and wage stagnation that have driven people out of the industry and deeply dampened the enthusiasm for the trade. This isn’t even accounting for the absolutely blistering pace of change with the vehicles that we work on, and the rate of technological innovation that aims to make our job more difficult with each passing day.

However, as Machiavelli said, “entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity, and are able to turn both to their advantage.” Meaning: the good technicians out there, with a lot of knowledge and certifications, who are able to work on the hybrid and EV stuff will basically get to name their price. Because we solve problems we would fix the technician shortage with a farm system for people who want to get into the trade to get the fundamentals down and learn the business the way their employer wants them to. This coupled with a clear path of advancement and regular pay increases for regular increases in training and production would keep people in your building and happy for possibly their entire careers. This is a topic we will be exploring more in the future, so let us know how you would fix the technician shortage?

Also Uncle Jimmy goes over what Socrates, Plato, Da Vinci and Michelangelo would drive.

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 143: Magic Bus

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we talk about the bus! The bus we are referring to in this case is the metaphysical bus of the blame game, often between irate customers and uncaring management. We’ve all been hit with it in our careers as mechanics or just people who fix things for a living, and more often than not it is undeserved. When auto repairs do not go as planned or customers have nefarious motives, the first person in the crosshairs to blame is always going to be the mechanic. After being a mechanic for some time, you will be able to see them coming and be able to better sidestep the incoming blame for recurring issues by better documenting your repairs and making sure to thoroughly diagnose the issue.

Folks, there’s really no two ways about it: when customers car’s don’t work the way they are supposed to, they go looking for someone to blame when in most cases they can accomplish this by looking in a mirror. “I didn’t hit anything!” “Yea, I just got a new ______ it can’t be that!” These simple statements are often rendered completely null by the bent rims and split water pump impellers that we then see. Additionally, we go over some of the key words and phrases to look out for when looking for a used BMW. This is a jam packed episode, let us know what you think with a review over on iTunes!

Also Uncle Jimmy does his own version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” except with stuff that is his fault culminating in the incredibly awesome destruction of a Volkswagen Beetle.

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 142: Shop Rescue

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we apply the arc of the extremely popular show “Bar Rescue” to the automotive sector. Folks, this one would get ugly in a hurry. First off, there are a lot of people in management in the automotive sector that think everything is absolutely fine despite their businesses actively falling apart due to either neglect, poor decision making, poor personnel, or all of the above. Therefore, in their heads at least, their shop wouldn’t need to be rescued. However with open job positions drastically outweighing the amount of people actively seeking that employment for one reason or another- the writing is going to be on the wall sooner rather than later for companies that are struggling with staffing. So enter, “Shop Rescue” where we tell them what they need to do to get on track business wise, manufacture some drama, or some days you might not have to because the customers bring enough drama with them for an entire Netflix Series. Because let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to watch Uncle Jimmy scream at your service manager and underperforming service advisors for costing you money, and bad management for making your job more difficult than it has to be!

Also Uncle Jimmy throws Erik the Producer under the bus to set up next week’s episode!

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 141: The Blacklist

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we talk about those people and places that you don’t talk about anymore, because they’re on the blacklist! The blacklist when we are talking about the automotive industry also includes the “do not hire” list, and there are a lot of ways to get on someone’s blacklist. Almost every shop has some form of a blacklist, whether it be related to customers or staff. Additionally, certain shops can become blacklisted by both mechanics and customers because of the quality of the work they provide or the general attitude of the people that work there. There are many recent and historical blacklists as well. In an episode that hilariously meanders the spectrum from Abraham Lincoln to Harvey Weinstein, the blacklist is typically not written down- but that doesn’t mean it does not exist. We also dive into the idea that people are more likely to believe and remember negative stories about people rather than something positive. We just wonder how many shops have this podcast on their blacklist!

Also Uncle Jimmy mounts a Churchillian defense of Arby’s.

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 140: Passive Aggressive

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we take a break from our sustained assault of the senses and take aim at another plague of the world today: passive aggressive attitudes. In the automotive industry being passive aggressive is about as common as breathing with some people. However, in a departure from form we actually give you ways to be more passive aggressive! The opportunities are absolutely endless, from everyday conversation to purposely leaving your annotated resume on your toolbox and literally asking a service advisor for a grease gun for your toolbox. We go into some of the ways to be just that little bit extra passive aggressive to possibly cause a conversation that results in your concerns being heard.

Whether or not they are met is another matter entirely, but if you start the conversation with either your direct managers or the people in charge of the entire operation you never know where it might lead. Spoiler Alert: more often than not it will lead to broken promises and you greasing your wheels to a new shop, that is just where the automotive industry is at right now. Until management fields the concerns of their employees competently and in a timely fashion, they will continue to languish with staffing shortages.

Also Uncle Jimmy discusses the automotive industry’s relationship with the idea of “2-week notice” and channels Nostradamus to see where the industry is going if it stays on its current trajectory.

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 139: Touch Me Baby

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we talk about the sense of touch! We also go into depth on having “the touch” and how to develop your own personal “touch” when working on cars. With the amount of components on modern cars that can’t be readily seen or accessed, having a good sense of touch is extremely important. “The Touch” is almost metaphysical, culminating in perfect harmony between man, tool and component with being able to nearly telepathically diagnose and repair cars. Uncle Jimmy also collectively makes the entire internet wince at once with a story of hitting himself in the eye with a hog ring- and being able to feel the dent it left! Some jobs require a deft touch, while others require levels of force only applicable with pressurized air. One more time and a little louder for the new/lube shop guys, 25nm on the drain plugs! When it comes to developing out your sense of touch as a mechanic, Lt. Aldo Raine said it best, “you know how ya’ get to Carnegie Hall don’t ya? Practice!” This is one of those episodes that is almost too funny to do a write up on, you’re just going to have to listen.

Also Uncle Jimmy describes his foreman fixing a rear window by finding it’s G-spot.

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 138: Smell You Later

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we are talking about the sense of smell. There are a lot of smells that cars make and have in general. Right off the bat, the olfactory system is one of the major triggers for memory, so when you smell something and it makes you think of a very specific moment in time that isn’t a coincidence. We also talk about some of the smells that our customers diffuse into their cars, whether it be body odor, dirty diapers, garbage, rotting food, or any of the other million disgusting things that mechanics all over the world have encountered while working on customers’ vehicles.

We also give a proper explanation for the origin of that “new car smell” and find out that not all of the brands smell the same fresh off the assembly line. We also explain how mold gets into modern cars and how to remediate some of the more unpleasant smells from your car. When it comes to diagnosing problems, your nose typically isn’t going to be the first tool that you are going to use, but just because it’s not the first tool you use doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful, especially in cases where cars aren’t running well because the gasoline that used to be in the tank is now closer to varnish.

Also Uncle Jimmy comes up with 47 different ways to say that something stinks and talks about his most/least favorite automotive smells.

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 137: Now Hear This!

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we talk about the incredible amount of things that we as mechanics can tell about a car by the way it sounds. There are a ton of issues on cars, boats, machines, whatever you work on- where the first sign of trouble is going to be something not quite sounding right. Yet, somehow our customers (and producer) will ignore these sounds to the point where they become a catastrophic and completely avoidable failure. We also talk about one of the absolute keys to assessing the health of used cars- the cold start: there are a ton of things that a trained ear can tell you about a car from it’s cold start. We also go into some of the various musical genres that get played most in our shops while also discussing the futility of listening to AM radio in a car with a top of the line surround sound system.

Also Uncle Jimmy gives a shout out to “Punk-Rock Thursdays”

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!