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!

Episode 122: Better Fed than Red

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, Uncle Jimmy completely destroys communism faster than the apprentice who forgot to put the drain plug back in his waiter oil change. While our notion that workers should get paid more does smack of some of Marx’s more heavily Sparknoted works, we know the simple market fact that all workers are NOT created equal. We all know different things, we have different levels of experience, and we have different levels of education- so the idea of paying us all two potatoes a week is pretty laughable. We also know how communism ACTUALLY works, being that the “classless society” workers utopia is actually a split tiered system with party members not really being a part of the “classless society”. We’re not claiming to have class, we just want a little bit bigger slice of the pie that has been kept from us by anti-capitalistic practices and failing to see the increasing level of complexity of the things that we work on: and thus the need for more tools, training, knowledge, and MONEY.

Also, Uncle Jimmy talks about some of the changes coming in the market due to the US’s regime change and volunteers to be NASA’s next Lunar Rover mobile mechanic!

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 121: Action Job Story

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we are actually dispensing useful information when it comes to getting you paid: we are talking about how to write a job story. For the purpose of this episode we are mostly talking about how to get paid the absolute most when it comes to warranty repairs. Now obviously you are going to want to document everything you do to the car in order to get paid for everything you did, but there are also ways to make time in this scenario. We also go into why documenting everything you do to a car can be useful in the case of a comeback or covering your ass with an unscrupulous customer. At the end of the day we suggest that you try to write your job stories like an action movie, with all of the gory details. Also we have a callback to Episode 115: Pride and ask you to tell us some of your stories about fixing the things that others couldn’t!

Also Uncle Jimmy talks his favorite authors: Hemingway, Stephen King, and Tom Clancy and quite possibly is the first person to ever say the word “Unclejimmyville.”

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 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!