Episode 136: See Me

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we talk about some of the things we have seen as mechanics. From the way that customers treat their cars like rolling dumpster fires to some of the terrible previous “repairs” we have seen literally everything. When it comes to the senses, we can tell a lot about a car by the way it looks. As technicians we have seen cars broken in every which way humanly possible, and it never ceases to amaze! We also talk about some useful tips for finding cars on a crowded lot, some of our favorite trunk and glovebox finds, the rate of decay on cars due to pure neglect, and whether or not clutches and brake pads still have asbestos in them (they do). It’s a well loaded episode, so let us know what you see out there!

Also Uncle Jimmy channels Carlin in a single-sentence destruction of golf.

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 135: Service Managers

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we are going back to our meat and potatoes of doing angry diatribes about service managers. As a disclaimer, if you have a good one thank them because this is a bit like finding a virgin on a maternity ward. Or if you have one that has potential to be good, please help to steer them into doing things the right way. We run through the job description of your service manager in depth and want you to gauge how well your’s does their job. We also go into the technician hiring process from the point of view of someone who has no idea what constitutes a good technician. Either way this is one of the worst chokepoints in the automotive industry where customer service and handling a service department meet their apex, so no wonder why it is so hard to find a good Service Manager.

Also Uncle Jimmy describes the phenomenon where the worst employees never leave and theorizes that some of them could possibly have cost their company more money than they have earned 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 134: Sabotage

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we make you think of the Beastie Boy’s with the title while actively testing the limits on the definition of satire. How would you sabotage where you work without ever causing any physical destruction? You choke off the supply of people who are willing to work there. Breaking stuff, swearing at folks, stealing, and being a nuisance will only get you a bad reputation. However, if you actively dissuade people from going into the field you can do a lot more damage long term. The worst part is, you don’t even have to really exaggerate that much to get people to not want to be auto mechanics, especially when you factor in what we get paid. All kidding aside, the industry has a naturally occurring problem that they have caused simply by not making the job lucrative enough to be attractive to enough people to replace us.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about what would happen if there was no one to fix cars and describes his bike riding abilities.

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 133: Online Used Cars

On this week’s Grease the Wheels, we are talking some used car horror stories so this is a good one. Why do people buy cars online without looking at them first? As mechanics we understand the level of carnage that can be going on with a seemingly normal looking car, but a lot of people don’t. Even worse is when they call you for a used car pre-purchase inspection that is in-fact a post-purchase inspection. We get into detail with this scenario in the case of a person who bought a hybrid version of a problematic platform and could not be dissuaded from thinking that he got a good deal. The repair bills eventually changed his mind when they neared the purchase price of this particularly epic turd.

Some of the most incredibly stupid things we have ever seen have gone on with used cars, and we bet your experience is probably similar. We also talk about the lengths we go to check out our most coveted used cars, classic car prices, and driving away in cars that their former owners thought had catastrophic problems (so satisfying). We also give a fairly market specific example of confirmation bias in purchasing used cars by reading the reviews of that make and model. It really is a good thing that these online car buying places have awesome warranties, because it really wouldn’t work if they didn’t. As the most specifically trained portion of the used car buying market, mechanic’s know a lot more about the products than any other part of the process- so just ask them to take a look for you BEFORE YOU BUY!

Also Uncle Jimmy asks rhetorically “how could it be a good sign when your new car is dropped off on a flatbed”?

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 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!