Episode 116: General Manager Expectations

On this week’s Grease the Wheels we take a look at the job at the top of the shop food chain: the general manager. The Boss. In some cases their name is on the building, in others they are the long arm of a very large corporate entity. Either way, the buck stops and starts with them. In brand new dealerships and shops the learning curve can be seriously steep and finding the right people for the right jobs is a major factor to success. However, we can’t help but notice the trend that most general managers at least at the dealership level come from the sales department. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit the perspective that this individual is going to have on the entirety of dealership operations, and their expectations might clash with the reality of some of the other departments they are now overseeing. What makes a good one? What makes a bad one? Who is the best one you’ve ever worked for? Who chased you out of the building? We want to know so we can help tell the world how it needs to be done! This is the second episode of the “Expectations” series where Uncle Jimmy puts on his Human Resources hat, for the first episode about Service Managers see episode 113.

Also Uncle Jimmy gives some legitimately sound business advice to independent and European shops, mobile mechanics, and individuals looking to start their own shops and theorizes the, “Am I An Asshole? Test” to all prospective business owners!

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 115: Pride

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we talk about one of the unseen factors that keeps us going: pride. Right off the bat, we are proud of every one of you wrench turning guys and gals who is keeping the world moving by fixing what’s broken. We’re also deeply proud that you listen to this podcast and the rate at which you tell your friends about us. No matter what kind of day you are having, you can probably find something to be proud of in what you do just because of the sheer number of people who can’t! Additionally, pride in your shop can be a great gauge for if you should leave your current shop, because if you’re not proud of your shop maybe it’s time to find a better one. We also talk about being proud of your fellow techs when they get it right, your family despite them usually getting it wrong, and when shops that you have previously worked at begin to turn things around. But as with all things, too much of it aimed the wrong way makes you completely insufferable, so make sure to keep it in check and not beat people up with it.

Uncle Jimmy describes the foreman as, “busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest”, develops a COVID test based on whether or not you can still taste coolant, and comes up with a description of Erik the Producer working on cars that was too accurate to cut out.

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!

The Models: The Chevrolet Blazer

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are paying homage and telling a hell of a lot of epic stories about one of our all time favorites: the Blazer. Weather it is ripping through an apple orchard, crawling down ATV trails, or rummaging through pick-and-pulls for extra bits we loved this simple and capable truck for what it was. A truck. The new one is just a Equinox on some muscle milk. However, Erik the Producer lays out a few of the reasons why they did this: mainly that the amount of people who ACTUALLY need a capable off-road SUV is a hell of a lot less than the number of people who THINK they need an off-road capable SUV for when there is a bit of snow. Additionally, there is a huge cash and time investment that Ford has made with the new Bronco (which is so cool even Uncle Jimmy wants one) that GM wouldn’t really be able to beat them to market with something completely new. Besides, Ford beat GM to market with this product once, and GM went on to make and sell a lot more of them over the next 4 decades. Either way, what we want to know, “is General Motors building a Bronco-Buster?”

Some come along as we talk about mayhem, mischief, and mini trucks that are all just some of the great stories we have about Blazers. But of course that’s not where this episode ends, we want to hear your epic Blazer and Jimmy stories!

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 114: Dangers

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels we admit this world is kinda f***ing dangerous! As mechanics this is compounded on a daily basis just because of the sheer number of things that you work with that can seriously mess you up. Some of this stuff can mess you up instantly: wires from a wire wheel turning into shrapnel, presses turning things into projectiles, cars falling, and the good ole harbor freight jack stands (which are still better than just a jack, if you have nothing else). Some of these might take a long time to mess you up, like the dusts that come off of brakes and other metal shavings, or the sort of in between silicosis from sandblasting without proper masks and hoods. It’s extra dangerous if you happen to be a bit clumsy. It’s a lot more dangerous for the dumbasses. Also we seamlessly fold in a “Grim Sleeper” reference and let you know that this is really just because we don’t want anyone who listens to this show to get hurt: because it happens- we’ve seen the posts. But we know by starting a conversation about it, we’re making you a little bit more aware of things that might be able to seriously f*** you up!

Also Uncle Jimmy had something in common with Lady Macbeth and reviews the various fluids in your car by taste!

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 113: Service Manager Expectations

On this week’s (slightly delayed, sorry love!) episode of Grease the Wheels, we take a deep dive into the role of the Service Manager. What is their job, what should be their job, and what should you expect out of them are all on the docket in this slightly longer episode. When you don’t get what you expect, this causes friction. This is compounded when you actually take a look at how the job gets done. The problem is that when you have good help and the shop runs fairly smoothly, Service Managers don’t really have a whole hell of a lot to do. However, their importance really can’t be understated because at the end of the day they are the buffer between a potentially irate customer and literally every other part of the business. The buck stops with them, and it usually ends up with people asking for repairs to be comped by the shop! As with all things in the automotive world the bad ones are impossible to get rid of, the good ones are hard to keep. Finally, we give some serious “trench-level analysis” on dealership operations as a whole.

Also Uncle Jimmy quotes the Rolling Stones, goes over the expectations of dogs, and reaffirms his belief that accountants ruin everything!

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 112: UJ-2000

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are talking about some of the untapped potential that lies with the video multi point inspection. Some shops have them, some don’t, but we feel like more shops are going to have it sooner rather than later. This is really a good thing for us, we just wish we would get paid for doing them. First off, Uncle Jimmy goes over his various scripts for situations that come up in MPI’s when he does them, and offers a ton of practical advice that will help you find your groove if you are struggling with them. Another option is to possibly team up with another technician in your shop who is good at selling the work through the Video MPI. Either way, it is a lot easier to sell repairs when you can show the customer what is wrong with the car. Which brings us conveniently to our next point- a kiosk that completely automates the service advisor role and expands the concept of the video MPI, to make it a lot easier on shops that are having issues with their service advisors. Finally, we put it all together in the form of the UJ-2000, we want to know what else it should be able to do!

Also, Uncle Jimmy mixes up the voting age and the age of consent in regard to an air filter that was installed in the Bush Administration.

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 111: S4B

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we are talking a little bit of science fiction by specing out our ideal robot toolbox. There is a good shot that this is where we as an are going, so we thought we would throw it out into the universe and see if anyone wanted to build the thing. Give it a shape like R2D2, magnetic bolt trays with voice integration, a jump box, and the voice of H. Jon Benjamin and you have pretty much the perfect assistant. Build it like a tank, give it sensors to read OBDII, and Bluetooth integration for your Curien N2 and it could pay for itself. We just hope the eventual Harbor Freight version of it understands english well enough because we don’t know a lot of techs who are fluent in Mandarin. Either way, a lot of the technologies proposed in this episode already exist, we just have to put them all together with a powerful A.I.- what could go wrong!

Also Uncle Jimmy goes over his Jimmy John’s order and names his robot toolbox!

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 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!