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!

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!