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Mechanics are now well respected and in demand . . . ?!

Hey guys, you’ve got to check out this article

We’ve talked about this many times, and all I can say is this . . .


:poop: to all the people who used to think otherwise.

Interesting article. When I left my last employer 3 years ago, they were preparing to open their 20th 12 Bay shop and were staffing up accordingly. We had a policy at our company that all new employees had to undergo a 2 day classroom orientation. I happened to sit in on that one. All I heard from those techs we’re complaints and bad attitudes. I asked the instructor if I could ask a couple questions of the group. I asked if someone could describe the four strokes of a gasoline powered internal combustion engine. Out of 14 techs, silence, except that I heard one mumble “who cares about this theoretical b.s.?”
Finally one guy, after visibly concentrating so hard to thought his head would explode, provided the correct answer. I wouldn’t trust those guys to change a lightbulb in a table lamp. I couldn’t leave this alone, so I went down to HR to talk to the recruiter for our car care division. I told her of my experience in the classroom and asked what her hiring criteria were. She told me, with much frustration, that she had interviewed over 50 candidates for those 14 hires. Most of the ones who didn’t get hired we’re rejected due to either failed drug tests or negative credit reports.

Until we can convince young people with mechanical ability and good reasoning skills that auto service is an acceptable choice as a solid, middle class career, the shortage of techs will only grow more acute.


While I can certainly understand the need for companies to conduct pre-employment drug testing, I fail to see why credit reports would even be checked for this type of work. Other than for individuals working in financial services, or in positions where they would have access to drugs, high-value materials, or classified information, I can’t see a legitimate reason for an employer to care about a prospective hire’s finances. It’s not like a person with unpaid debts or judgments would be less likely to do a good job!

I work in HVAC, and while most employers drug test and check criminal records, I have never once been asked to consent to a pre-employment credit check. I would have assumed that the hiring process for an automotive mechanic works the same way.

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We conducted credit checks on all prospective hires, for any position, and further required, if they were hired, to consent to any future credit checks for the duration of their employment with us. The reasoning was that the manner in which a person conducts their personal financial life can provide some insight into how they might conduct their professional life with us.


Our fleet recently had us . . . the mechanics, I can’t speak for the other tradesmen in our fleet . . . do “Fraud, Waste and Abuse” training.

The reasons given were exactly the ones that @old_mopar_guy listed

I thought it was absolutely hilarious that the article mentioned UTI :laughing:

There are still plenty who think ill of the profession . . . and all those associated with it . . . right now, as we speak

And it’s the same problem as always . . . incompetent and dishonest people bringing the reputation of the entire industry down to their low level


This is complete and utter nonsense. It is also a great way to screen out excellent, hardworking prospective employees! In case you’re not aware, many people get into debt for a variety of reasons, some not their fault. Medical problems, unexpected job loss, or unexpected major expenses could happen to anyone, yourself included!

Also, the idea that individuals with a lot of debt, or with unpaid judgments are more likely to steal from the company/do lousy work/miss work compared to individuals with excellent credit has been repeatedly debunked. I have worked with people who had very poor credit, an even some who served significant time in prison, and they were great employees; similarly I have worked with people with excellent credit and no criminal record who did absolute crap work.


The more work I did on my own cars, the more I learned to respect mechanics. I don’t have good dexterity, so I marvel at people that work with their hands. I was always inquisitive even as a teenager. I have had mechanics not only explain the work they did on my parents’ cars that I brought in with a problem, but would often tell me about a car with an issue brought in by another customer and how they diagnosed the problem. I grew up treating people with respect and it was reflected in how others treated me.
I grew up in an era where cars didn’t have computers. There were no codes. Mechanics back then had to think things through. These old time mechanics who explained how they diagnosed a problem car helped me reason through challenging problems I encountered in my advanced math classes. I would often think “How would old Jesse (a mechanic I knew as a teenager) tackle this problem”? I always looked forward to the latest issue of Popular Science being delivered to our school library. I loved reading the monthly “Tales From the Model Garage” with its proprietor master mechanic Gus Wilson reasoning through a problem with some pesky automobile.


I loved the Model Garage columns. I also eagerly waited for Mechanix Illustrated each month to see what Tom McCahill was testing.


@old_mopar_guy. Tom McCahill was a great automobile writer. He stated his opinions in a very colorful way.
In my opinion, it’s unfortunate that Consumer Reports doesn’t employ a car tester and writer that was as good as Tom McCahill. It would make the automotive test results more fun to read.

You couldn’t publish many of his outrageous similes today. “A ride as smooth as a prom Queen’s thighs” (59 Pontiac), “corners as flat as a bookkeeper’s chest” (58 Chrysler), things like that.


I found it funny to read how there is a stigma associated with working with your hands. I’ve held both white and blue collar careers and secretly I always had a disdain for those who could not work with their hands. Now that’s just me and I’m sure I’m being insensitive to some sort of focus group of sensitive non hand using people somewhere, but, so be it… Working with your hands has far reaching impact on ones life and demeanor…it is not limited to the task at hand. (no pun intended). I find it empowering myself. I’ve always been proud of my MacGuyver skills and in my area I’m well known for them…its a good thing.

I don’t know where exactly this article is referring to, but I haven’t exactly felt the “love” from the general public out there just yet. In the next 10 years we will be marveling at how people used to go to work at all…in any capacity.

The robots are coming… and they don’t have collars of any color. Just wait and see…

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@old_mopar_guy. You are correct. No car today rides as smoothly as a 1959 Pontiac, nor does any car corner as flatly as a 1958 Chrysler.

I agree with you partially, in regards to the credit

I’ve known plenty of mechanics who had/have lousy credit . . . and it was usually their own fault. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who have bad credit through no fault of their own. But I can only talk about the ones I’ve personally known, not strangers

In any case, in the fraud, waste and abuse training session, it was clear that the ones who would be most likely to do these things . . . and be in a position to do them . . . were supervisors, cashiers and others who have direct access to money or are in a position to decide which company gets a business contract, and so forth

They didn’t mention this in the training session, but it just came to mind . . . stealing supplies and parts from the company warehouse(s). I know guys that have done it. I’ve not seem them do it, but they brag about it often enough, and they’re very specific when they say what they stole. I suppose, according to the people that came up with these training videos, people with lousy credit are also more likely to commit theft. I don’t have access to any raw data, as that’s not exactly my area of expertise

I’ve know quite a few very sharp guys who weren’t able to explain things as well as the guys you’re probably thinking of. Sadly, because their communications skills weren’t so sharp, the customer(s) also mistakenly thought their diagnostic skills were weak, as well


Oh yes they certainly are! People in those positions tend to be unhappy, and distracted by their problems.

Say it’s the last day of the pay period. A guy is behind on his rent or into a pawn shop loan, and he’s going to rush through as many flag hours as he can to make a good payday, without any regard to quality or concern that the job will be back next week because it wasn’t done properly the first time.

I once employed a man who was a competent auto technician but had no sense as to how to conduct his personal or financial affairs. None of my business what a guy does with his paycheck, right?

One day the Mac Tools dealer walked in with a crate and started emptying out this mechanic’s toolbox. It seems “Mike” was 4 payments behind on his tool bill and one way or another the tool man was getting what he was owed. A mechanic without wrenches can’t make money for me or for himself, so I figured I had three choices:

1.Lay him off, which would cost me money in the form of unemployment premiums.

2.Keep him on the clock even though he was unable to perform his duties.

3.Pay the tool man $600 to get Mike’s account current and hope I get it back from him.

Whichever course I chose, Mike was able to do damage to my business and take money out of my pocket due to his poor financial management. That’s a risk all business owners take, but it’s prudent for them to minimize risk wherever they can.


I suppose the skills needed for rotating tires, changing oil, stuff like that, folks w/those skills are easily found. If I can do it, anybody can :wink: But for the electronics and computer issues of modern cars, and basic diagnosis of the cause of a stubborn problem, someone with those skills I expect could command a good deal of att’n from the employers.

Aren’t folks in the auto repair line of work thinking their first job is a learning experience, watching how the business is run; then , when they learn how it is done, and have developed specialized skills not easily replaced, wouldn’t they start looking to open a shop of their own? It doesn’t have to be one giant leap. A person could become an expert at body and chassis re-alignment after crashes, gain the confidence of the insurance agents, then open their own body and chassis shop. After that, add transmission work, and when that’s successful then move on to a full-service shop.

As a truck driver I worked for 32 different companies, 31 of which are out of business now mostly because of deregulation. I got to know many drivers, dockmen and mechanics as well as many customers from my days as a city driver.
I can tell you it is the guys that are always “a day late and a dollar short” are the least reliable employees, the ones who think a good excuse is as good as showing up on time and the ones who don’t feel responsible for anything. This is the perspective of someone who spent more than 60 years in the workforce and would still be working today if not for losing most of the vision in one eye/


:see_no_evil:You just did! :grin:
Don’t they call this the world-wide web (invented by Al Gore) or some darn thing?

That is funny stuff and useful, easy to understand information, cuts right to the chase. I enjoy reading clever word-pictures like that.

I’ve always admired folks who could work with their hands as well as their heads. A lot is art combined with science.

I think “mechanic” is a term best used to describe someone who can change oil, brakes, rotate tires, valve cover gaskets, or install an engine. Basically, manual mechanical skills. There is a lot of learning that goes into being a good, efficient mechanic. There is lots of work for folks like this. Diagnosis using modern electronic tools adds another dimension to the modern mechanic.

I’d reserve the title of “technician” for someone who can use those computer tools to identify the actual problem, not just change the first part on the list. These are folks that understand how the systems work with each other and can recognize that PX123 will go away if you fix PY234. Or identify a problem based on NOT getting an error code! In the old days, these were the guys that could identify a failing timing chain on a car by its noise and idle quality. Today, these are the folks that can read the scanner, see the code list and solve the problem the first time.

A 3rd group doesn’t really have a name that fits well. Maybe “engineering technologist.” The guy that can fix things even the manufacturers screwed up. The tech that can re-program the ECU with HP Tuner to fix a problem EVERY owner complains about that the manufacturer can’t or won’t fix! The tech that can figure out a wiring harness was damaged in assembly and is now causing an un-diagnosible problem. A tech that can fix a suspension wander by going a little off-spec on the alignment rack to satisfy the customer. I’ve worked with a number like this at GM. I know a couple that work in the industry at dealers. They are worth their weight in gold both to the engineers designing the cars and customers who need them fixed.


Garbageman = Sanitation Engineer, I don’t mind people redefining the name, maybe it makes it easier to get into the Country Club. I can live with whatever anyone wants to call their job. I am not a mechanic, but if I was I would not be so uppity to worry about being called a grease monkey, as long as I get my pay and I live a good life and provide for my family call me whatever you want.