Episode 84: “Complimentary” Multi Point Inspections

On this week’s episode of Grease the Wheels, we take a look at what should be the most profitable thing that we do all day: Multipoint inspections. However, most of the time when a dealership or shop says that they have complimentary multi point inspections, they are really complements of the technicians doing it. Meaning, they do the job for free and the shop doesn’t charge the customer. This is wrong on many levels, but then gets compounded when you have service advisors declining service to the customers vehicle even before the quote gets to your parts department. When the numbers get tallied up and you figure out what your service advisor doesn’t sell, then it becomes quickly apparent how the post quarantine economy runs entirely on toilet paper. Continue reading “Episode 84: “Complimentary” Multi Point Inspections”

Episode 34: ASEs

On this week’s GTW, we dish pretty hard on ASE testing. Realistically someone who has never picked up a wrench could study for the test, pass it, and be an ASE certified technician. We think that it is a bit of a scam- they make money on the test, they make money on the practice tests, they make money on the parts test- and what are they proving? Just because you can pass the test doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what you’re doing! We know that there are ASE certified techs out there that are absolutely brilliant at actually fixing cars, but we know for every one of those there is a technician with their ASE’s that cant fix a sandwich. Also Uncle Jimmy talks about body cavity searches and pat downs, having trouble spelling his name, and asks about some of your ASE horror stories.

This week’s episode is sponsored by our friends at KB Tools. KB Tools is the official tool sponsor of GTW, selling name brands like Snap-on, Mac, Matco, Cornwell and many others. Their fast and easy to use site gets you the high quality tools you need quickly and for a lot less money than than the other guys. Use the code “GTW” for 10% off your first purchase at your new favorite tool dealer. You don’t need your ASE’s to know that KB Tools is our favorite tool dealer.

Episode 28: Jury Rigged

There are a handful of right ways to fix a car, there are a lot of wrong ways to fix a car. But as technicians we know that there are things that happen and get done a certain way that only another technician could understand. Extra nuts and bolts, clips, and all sorts of other things get left off and the car is going to operate exactly as designed. This doesn’t necessarily make a job makeshift or jury rigged: but super glue, epoxy, wire ties, and duct tape usually do! We’ve all been in situations where the car had to go and the repair was not made up to spec.

However, if you truly jury rig it, a customer will eventually find out. When they do it will ruin your shops reputation, and yours by proxy. Brake lines being jury rigged with vacuum line, putting a .22 shell into the fuse box, and drywall screws are just a few of the more common examples. Using coat hangers to wire stuff up works great on the side of the road, but if you do it in a shop you should probably either get it repaired correctly or quit.

Also we talk the heat shrink tubing trick for all of you German car fixing folk, and the economics of spending money on your car versus spending it on beer.

Episode 27: The Ladies

On this week’s GTW we talk about working with the fairer sex, and some of the copious amounts of bullshit they have to put up with in our industry. The automotive industry is tough for women, on top of being tough jobs anyways. Service managers who are women often have a lot of problems with customers, even when they know more about cars than that customer. It’s equally bad for women work in a parts store, as we’ve all seen the old customer hang up when they hear a woman’s voice. All women think that mechanics are ripping them off. We know that is exactly NOT how it works, because we are not getting the money.

Also we talk the four letter words all women hate, Uncle Jimmy gives a short biology lesson, and we lay out one of the cardinal rules for dealing with women in the automotive industry:

“Thou shall deal with the ladies as you would deal with your mom or sister.”

Episode 26: “NHTSA-cheisse”

On this week’s GTW: we talk recalls, an arm of the federal government, and all of the shit that had to be put on cars because the government says so. A lot of the recalls are safety related, and that’s good, but when the government tells us what has to be on/in cars that’s not so great. We also talk in depth about the awesome times when dealership mechanics became EOD techs (and almost as badly paid). The laws of physics haven’t changed, but holy shit the rules around stuff in your car that keeps you from dying have, thats for sure. The idea of getting killed by something that is supposed to save your life is the very definition of irony- but cars are a hell of a lot safer than when Uncle Jimmy was a wee lad. We also learn that not all Takata Claymores are created equal, and that the Japanese government had to bail them out so they could replace all of the airbags that they messed up in the first place.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about wrecking cars in spectacular fashion, NOT setting off a shotgun shell with a hammer, and makes copious references to various explosives.

Episode 25: Vacation

As a whole, we are bad at taking time off. We work a lot of holidays, we often take vacation payoffs instead of the time off (you know, if we are even offered it). And as a whole, this isn’t always the best idea. For one This job is extremely physically and mentally demanding sometimes, so time off just to heal is a good call. The other major point of contention here is that people who make way more money than you, and do way less than you take the time off that they are given. When we get paid for time off, we are getting paid less for that, so really the question becomes, what is your time actually worth. The other major point for taking time off is actually enjoying your life, taking time to spend time with the people who are important to you, and do the things that make you happy.

At the end of the day no ones car is worth your health, so take time to fix yourself.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about child rearing and fishing.

Episode 24: Work Flow

If there is one universal truth about life and working in a repair shop, it is that things are not fair. Often times this is due to different levels of ability, favoritism, or just outstanding debts- but we cant help but see the fact that in a lot of cases a select few are getting all of the gravy. This entire situation gets magnified because of the fact that your manager or dispatcher knows that there are differences in skill or knowledge on specific systems. For example, transmission specialists are getting more rare by the day, so when your the transmission guy, you’re getting the cars that have transmission problems. Lets face it, if you have skill, ability, and intelligence, you probably won’t be getting the easy jobs because of the economics behind handing the easy work off to the cheapest option- that and it’s easy and they won’t fuck it up (most of the time). Management wants to optimize the amount of work coming in and out of the shop, and this usually means handing off the easy stuff to the cheapest help, much to the dismay of the people who break their backs and rack their brains with the tough ones.

Also Uncle Jimmy goes over why murder is bad.

Episode 23: Pranks

If technicians were guided by a major deity, there’s really not a lot of doubt in our minds that it would be the Norse Trickster god Loki. From constantly spouting off movie quotes and hazing the new guys, to squirreling away extra parts in people’s toolboxes and personal space, the pranks and humor that we use to keep ourselves entertained are literally endless. In today’s GTW, we are going to talk about them. Also, we’re going to talk slightly less about choosing your moments and knowing when not to fuck with people. Most importantly we are going to talk backup camera photobombing, using stuff in customers cars as props, and a short movie review of Inglorious Bastards.

GTW is a weekly podcast for mechanics, technicians, and DIY’ers that can be heard every Thursday on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. We are also on Stitcher and the Tune In app, as well as Patreon for bonus content, swag, and all sorts of other goodies from our sponsors.

Episode 22: Inglorious Service Managers

In this week’s GTW we take a break from running Service Managers and Advisors into the ground to describe the type that we all would want. Basically what it comes down to is that if we are respected, appreciated, and paid: we’ll do ANYTHING that person asks us to do. Service manager’s should be in the building- not hiding from problems in their bunker while you go over the top. Service managers should be able to do everything in the building- were not saying that he should do all of that stuff, but they should at the very least be able to. They need to be able to do what the people they delegate tasks to do. Writing r/o’s, talking to customers, even washing cars or grabbing parts in a real pinch. We also talk the sad fact that empathy and common sense isn’t so goddamn common anymore. But most importantly, they should ultimately be on your side, because stuff goes wrong and a lot of the time it’s not your fault. We also talk interviewing technicians, and the idea of bringing in a technician or foreman to snuff out the bad candidates.

Also Uncle Jimmy talks about dogs.

GTW is a weekly podcast for mechanics, technicians, and DIY’ers that can be heard every Thursday on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. We are also on Stitcher and the Tune In app, as well as Patreon for bonus content, swag, and all sorts of other goodies from our sponsors.

Episode 21: Post Tech Options

If you’ve been a technician for more than a few years you have probably thought about not doing it anymore: either through winning the lottery or just getting a better paying job. After all, this is one of the only careers on planet earth that if you ask, “should someone go into this industry?” it gets met with a resounding and often times overwhelming “NO!” We love you guys, but at the same time we think that EVERYONE should have a plan for their post-technician career. Maybe it’s somewhere else in the building, maybe it’s selling cars instead of fixing them, maybe it’s a different industry altogether that requires different skills and training. The brass tacks of this conversation is, there might come a day when you CAN’T be a technician anymore, and let’s face it, life’s too short to turn wrenches until you’re an invalid.

GTW is a weekly podcast for mechanics, technicians, and DIY’ers that can be heard every Thursday on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. We are also on Stitcher and the Tune In app, as well as Patreon for bonus content, swag, and all sorts of other goodies from our sponsors.