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Mechanic qualifications

Since Car Talk has allowed mechanic bashing to go on “Unabashed”, whats the solution?

How should mechanics be paid?

What are the minimum qualifications a mechanic should have to be employed?

I’m fine with things as they are. The majority of people who post here do so because they’re trying ot fix the car themselves, they’re frustrated by a problem, or they have been “burned” before and are tryng to prevent getting burned again.

Mechanics should be paid well and by the hour. Commission has caused too much unnecessary work.

Minimum qualifications should be an ASE cerification or a proven track record. There are guys and girls out there who have been helping their dad’s rebuild cars since they could walk, and some of them know far more than a fresh tech-grad. Yeah, I suspect that John Force’s daughters could teach us all a thing or two.

Didn’t you already ask a similar question, or couple of questions?

Once is enough.

Hang whatever you want on a wall.

I need to pay more for quality service. My most recent example is my stabilizer links. They were replaced at 60k with zirk fittings, even though I requested they be greased, they never were, had it back at the premium price guys and had a broken one due to no grease. They will grease them every time it is in, and for ten bucks extra why not have someone who will do the job as requested.

It is a price war for repairs, there is no guarantee a grease monkey cannot do a repair as well as a certified mechanic, only regrets when the repair is not proper. It is like buying an insurance policy so I would guestimate I would pay 33% more for repairs by a mechanic I know would take all the extra steps to conform to standards, otherwise I might take my chances. So in the trickle down effect I would think a 33% increase for a qualified mechanic would be appropriate.

Minimum qualifications have to vary as we have all known the grad that had no clue and a busted knuckles guy who could fix anything.

A S E = Ask Someone Else

If someone was bashing car salesmen, or politicians, would you be so offended? I doubt it. If you didn’t see this as a personal issue, you would realize there is no reason to be alarmed, and there is no magic solution.

Perhaps this is a case where all you can do is do the best you can to change the stereotypes. Perhaps this is something you shouldn’t take personally.

Most of the complaints seem to come from cheapskates who don’t want to pay high repair bills, which you will find in any pricing model. Sometimes you can’t make people like that happy, no matter what you do.

Sorry if I have posted this question before, but I had to access my e-mail to view the responses.For some reason this post does not show up when accessing cartalk.

As far as taking it personally, yes, I guess I do. I have people drive over 100 miles to have me service their vehicles. If it takes me 20 minutes to fix their car, thats what they get charged.

IF they show up with a “check engine” light on and I find a quick fix on a vacuum hose, its “No charge, lets sweat the big stuff”. I’m honest and I won’t let a car go until I’m satisfied that the job was done right.

I just want people to realize that honest hard working mechanics are out there, you just have to find them.

Lets work on a solution to the problem together to eliminate these scams and rip-offs.

I can understand why you take it personally, I have my niche for computer, voip phone system, database, alarm, video survellience, plc and scada, basically anything that gets plugged in or runs by battery problems. People think I am too busy (I am) but I never neglect a request, but because they know all the hats I wear they often times contact an unqualified individual, and it ends up coming back to me anyway.
Car repair is more a hobby for me than a profession, but it is essentially the same boat. You have people that want to take the easy and inexpensive way out, and when there are problems you are the go to guy. It does not matter who did what but it is now on your shoulders to fix it. I don’t think there is a solution, only repair of problems when they are in your court.

Mechanics get bashed because there’s lots of scumbags out there taking advantage of people in a subject the majority of people know nothing about.
True story. I had a '78 Olds Delta 88. Front end is wonky. The people I bought it from said it needed something called an idler arm. Not kmowing what one was at the time I went to the mechanic to have him tell me how much it would cost to fix. $800. You see, he explained as he showed me the underside of my car, your whole front end is shot. See these things here (tie rods)? This thing hanging down from it (grease fitting), is like a turkey timer. It pops out like this when the part goes bad; and they’ve popped out on every part of your suspension. Even though I was completely clueless at the time, I knew this guy was somehow full of BS. Same car needed control arm bushings. Garage wanted to charge me for front ones and back ones. Luckily the guy at the parts store explained that a box comes with 2. One goes at the front of the arm and one goes on the back.
Every non mechanic has stories of encounters just like this with the BS that came out of some mechanics mouth.
I think ASE cert. is the only answer as long as the tests aren’t dummed down so anyone can pass them. They should be real tests that can only be passed by real mechanics so the cert. remains respected. Not sure if they still are though. Then to keep that cert you should be required to get continuing education credits to stay up to date with the latest industry stuff.
After that; how do you distinguish your self from others? Honesty. Don’t get known as the guy who rips people off by charging $1800 to replace their johnson rod. Be known as the guy who can fix your car and never cheats anyone. You’ll be inundated. Everyone I know is attempting to find honest mechanics/ lawyers/ construction people/ etc… and when they do, they tell their freinds and usually remain loyal no matter where your shop is.

I am all for training and certifications of every type. What I am not for is preventing a person from working if he does not have them, that’s where I draw the line. If we are going to move auto repair into the same catagory as a (for instance) Doctor, Lawyer, Beautician, then this will drive the cost of auto repair up and place government another inch (or foot) intruding into our lives.

Could I live with the individual states enacting laws that say a common automechanic must pass annunal certifications? probably yes, but I don’t think it is necessary. Ask youself where will this “have a certification from the State or no work” stops.

I can’t count the number of times I have begun a reply on this thread and cancelled due to my inability to succinctly cover my opinions of the subject. There are far too many crooked mechanics and shop owners taking advantage of the public but efforts to regulate the business would likely lead to fewer, more exclusive shops charging higher prices while paying the mechanics less. ASE certification seems to be the current best indicator to the public that an individual is knowledgeable in a particular area of automobile repair but I know some great mechanics who have never felt the need to take the tests. Some think it demeaning to suggest they must “prove” they are qualified when they have spent most of their adult lives pulling wrenches and have developed a customer following that competing shops fight for. The ASE tests are quite difficult. I took them many years ago on a dare and although I never felt the need to wear the sleeve patches I often wore the collar pin that other mechanics recognized as MASTER AUTOMOBILE TECHNICIAN. It carries some status.