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Best system for a Mechanic to specialize in

I was doing some Internet searching,looking for the kind of money to expect to make as a Service Advisor (that info was not good,my area $32,000 average) but I came across many comments that automatic transmissions was the area to go for if the goal was best pay.This was Internet info and I am learning not to accept it without question. Any comments

I’m a consumer so just my view from the outside. In Minnesota, pretty much a two year vo tec program is a way to start plus then factory certification. I have been told that these folks working as electronic diagnosticians for dealers are making upwards of $70K.

Also, heavy duty pickup such as one ton diesel etc. Fleets are full of h/d pickups…phone, cable, gas, mines, railroads etc.


Almost every system in todays’ cars have some type of computor or module. If you want to make the big bucks learn how to diagnose electrical problems.

I have been triing to stress to my students how important basic electrical knowledge is. They think they can go out and be a parts installer and make 70 to 100 grand a year. Frankly anyone who thinks that will be in for a rude awakening.

My area is Electrical/Electronics we were required to do bumper to bumper my employer was Concours Motors in Milwaukee Wi. My best year 2001 $46,000 gross. Make of vehicle BMW. No one even approached 100k.I just did a 2hr pay scale search found no evidence to back up your 70K claim.Hour many hours are you telling your students they will have to flag?What are you telling them to expect as a base rate?How much are you telling them to expect to spend in tools per year?

Here’s Minnesota anyway. Median is about $18-20 an hour ranging up to about $28 an hour that would cover 90%, without any OT. You have to remember that median means as many making more and as many making less. Tire changers are at $12 and highly skilled technicians at $28.

I know the type of data I want might be impossible to get. But I want to know how many hours are guys flagging.I did quite well doing low-tech work PDI’s (Pre Delivery Inspections) BMW paid 1.2hrs. (BMW called them fru’s (flat rate units) took 20min. just bang them out till you cant stand it any more. My rate was $15.50.Never once used my component level electronic repair skills (mounting a set of tires over 17 inches paid 3hrs.)low tech but we fought over it.

I think electrical/electronics and automatic transmissions are the areas that are pretty narrow in scope when it comes to expertise.
My opinion would be that of those 2 that automatic transmissions would be much easier as far as headaches and a paycheck are concerned.
Competent automatic transmission guys who really know their stuff are not that common as compared to other areas.

Just from my experience, I don’t know of any mechanics who have ever made anywhere near 60 grand a year. In OK the standard of living is generally much lower than other areas but a mechanic who makes 50-60 grand a year here would be in hog heaven.

The problem with electrical, and especially at the dealer level, is that the dreaded “warranty” word is always present. Considering the magnitude of electrics on modern cars and the fact that car makers are not going to hand a mechanic a blank time sheet for diagnosis I don’t see a tech making money on electrical at all; on the dealer level anyway.

My favorite example of this is Subaru. They allow a flat .5 an hour to diagnose and repair ANY electrical problem no matter how complicated or confusing it is. Even getting paid that measly .5 an hour can be a wrestling match.
You can see what kind of attitude a tech is going to develop when they’re about halfway through hour No. 2 with no clue in sight and the pay clock has quit running an hour before.
The norm for Subaru is .2 of an hour; a paltry 12 minutes. Guy has to work pretty fast to break even on that one!

Lots and lots of techs post at I think you should ask your question there.

OK I went there.Brought back terrible memories about working flat-rate at the dealership.Do I even want to get involved with dealerships again? You could feel the tension and anger thru the posts.Even one site Hate Auto Nation.Stuff is sure getting bad.This site was like a horror movie to me

Automatic transmissions seem to have a pretty healthy pay rate. A GOOD tranny man can gut and rebuild one in much shorter order than the flat rate shows. I once helped a guy R&R his RWD tranny so a specialist could rebuild it. Once the tranny guy had it on his bench, he had it done in just under an hour. Another time (32 years ago) the dealer I was working for needed a new tranny man. They advertised in the paper, and had ONE applicant show up. He didn’t look like he could do the job, being very crippled from a childhood bout with polio. The boss decided to give him a trial shot. The next morning the guy came to work. The boss had a job ready to go for him. The tech put the car on the lift, pulled the tranny, R&Rd the innards and had it back together before lunch. He was hired, and stayed for several years. After he left, the dealership was pulling trannys and sending them to a transmission shop for rebuilding. Today they’d probably just install a “factory rebuilt” unit shipped in overnight.

Now PULLING a FWD tranny is a more laborious matter, but the rebuild is essentially the same.

The other thing about autmatic transmissions is that they are MYSTERIOUS, not difficult. I have no idea how many have “needed an overhaul” when only a cheap, often electronic, part was truly needed. It seems to be an area that is loaded with unscrupulous technicians. Remember AAMCO means All Automatics Must Come Out. DON’T be one of those. You can make enough money be honest.

all areas.

Its the dealerships that are getting away from bumper to bumper techs,not a tech decision.This is the reports from the techs at that flatrate tech site.Not only getting away have gotten away.Lots of talk about UTI and the 100K Techs ,most dont believe it.Same “water for gas” questions,I was suprised I thought Techs would be smarter.

UTI,met a few of those people. nuff said.

why send a car down the road ,when you can fix it yourself. eg; remote start systems,a/c issues,stereos,amps .a real tech can do all of that stuff.(NO LIMITS).what do you need and yes ,itll get done. AUTOMATIC TRANNYS GOOD CASH. overhaul,or just what you need,not ATOM splitting magic.its a pump.then again TRAINING.engine repair,nice money,ooopps,training again.(have you gotten the MORAL of the story?

not everybody is created equal.(and thats a FACT.)


say the word TRAINING.(forgot to MENTION FULL UNDERSTANDING,OF SAID SYSTEMS)which most people claim but are clueless)

work with COOTER all day long.too stupid to check a fuse.learn your field well and take it seriously,and itll TREAT you very well.

suffer the fools,and gladly.(very HARD to do)LMFAO!

Rather than looking at the monetary aspect, I think one should assess one’s aptitude and interest. IMHO, the best job is one that provides a living and job satisfaction. I do think that there is a real aptitude difference between mechanical ability and electronic talent. My brother has great mechanical ability. He has rebuilt 4 barrel carbuetors, does his own brake work, done engine swaps, replaced clutches on his manual transmission cars, etc. Yet, when he has an electrical problem, I get a telephone call. When he added to his house, I drew electrical diagrams for the wiring for his new kitchen addition. After numerous telephone calls, I drove 3 1/2 hours to his place and did the job. On the other hand, I have limited mechanical ability. I once set about to rebuild a 1 barrel carburetor with a manual choke on a 1950 Chevrolet pick-up truck that I owned. It took me a whole afternoon and it took me two teardowns to make it right. On the other hand, I can follow a wiring diagram and do electrical repairs.

The same differences spill over into music. My brother is a jazz and blues keyboard player. He doesn’t read music very well, but can improvise and modulate keys effortlessly. On the other hand, as a horn player in bands and orchestras, I have to have the notes in front of me, just as I needed the diagram to trace a television circuit.

I knew a great transmission mechanic that was very good and very fast at rebuilding an automatic transmission. On the other hand, he spent a couple hours trying to run down an open circuit for a tail light problem. In my town we have a wonderful garage that specializes in electrical problems. I’m not certain that a couple of their technicians would even tackle a brake pad replacement.

As I said earlier, there are different aptitudes. Go with your strength.

“In OK the standard of living is generally much lower than other areas…”

I think you mean the cost of living. I’m sure that Oklahoma is a great place to live.