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iATN Review: Newsletter for Members
Second Quarter 2013 EditionWorld's First & Largest Network of Automotive Professionals
Table of Contents
Introduction
GM Fuse and Relay Centers
Catalytic Converter Oxygen Storage Capacity
Vehicle Bill of Rights
Understand How the System Works!
The Effect of a Misfire
Top Priority = Happy Techs
2008 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins 6.7 O2 sensors?
Ford Connector Catalog
Toyota Evap Codes
New Customers and the Internet
05 Corolla Used PCM Install
Where Are All The Good Technicians?

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Every day, iATN members work towards keeping their customers' vehicles operating properly. Today's technicians are challenged by the constant evolution of technology deployed on these vehicles which requires continuous dedication in order to stay up with not only the technology, but best practices, tools and techniques, industry issues and more. This is what iATN is all about, providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge and the promotion of education, professionalism and integrity.

Tapping into this knowledge and revisiting past discussions is extremely useful, so it should be no surprise that one of the most widely used features on iATN is the Knowledge Base, comprising three three separate search engines for our primary resources: Web Forums, TechHelp, and the Waveform & File Library. At the end of last year, we announced that we were about to launch an entirely new search interface into beta, providing a modern way to search across all of the Knowledge Base areas simultaneously. We appreciate all of the great feedback we've received from the private beta testers, and are working hard to prepare for the next stage.

Soon we will be releasing the search engine into an open beta, allowing all premium subscribers to access it. I have personally been using it for several months, and find many of its features to be a tremendous time saver. For instance, the Smart Vehicle Builder built in to the search engine will allow you to perform a vehicle-based search very quickly. Simply enter a two digit year and a model name, and the system will provide you with a short list of vehicles to choose from. Type or paste a VIN in, and you'll be searching all of iATN with that vehicle in seconds. If you want to catch a glimpse of the search engine before it enters the open beta, please watch this short, one-minute video highlighting several of its features.

While the new search engine will be a great way to find great discussions and solutions on iATN, sometimes you just want them to come to you... and that's why we created the iATN Review. As I read through the articles in this edition, I'm astounded by the tremendous amount of knowledge, skill and experience being shared here on iATN. There's a little bit of something for everyone: tech tips covering everything from fuse and relay center repairs to locating wiring connectors and analyzing evaporative emission system codes, tips on how owners can keep their techs happy, and even something you might share with your customers regarding vehicle maintenance.

We hope you enjoy this edition. Please feel free to share a copy with a colleague.

Regards,



Scott Brown
iATN President

Full Article


GM Fuse and Relay Centers
Technical Tips Forum
Robert from Florida

2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo2007 Pontiac G6, N/A Photo
I thought the group might be interested in seeing how a typical Underhood Bussed Electrical Center is constructed.

This is a recent thread where the PCM would not turn on fuel pump due to poor contact at a relay terminal.

PCM Will Not Turn On Fuel Pump? [iatn.net]

And this one: Bitten By a Fusebox [iatn.net]

bottom view-assembled, removed from connectors

top view of assembled fusebox

(This is a random picture of an assembled Envoy fusebox, I think from an 03, not an 06)

So your first step is identifying which terminals are loose. Then take a picture of the layout so you can get all the fuses and relays back correctly. Tap out the bolts and drill the rivets from the bottom side of the UBEC. Just drill enough so the rivets can be pushed through. Separate the top and bottom layers from the fusebox.

[2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo]

[2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo]

[2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo]

[2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo]

[2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo]

[2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo]

[2006 GMC Envoy SLT, BATT/Charging/Starting Photo]

G6 BCM with same style terminals

You'll notice the terminals go straight through the board, directly connecting the vehicle harness to a fuse or relay. The fuse side is easily damaged by probing with oversize tools. You can imagine how much grief a slightly loose fuse or relay can cause. Copper buss wires serve as internal jumpers. Also the copper buss wires are not soldered or crimped, they are mechanically "punched" into a slot at the side of each terminal, similar to a scotchlok or phone wiring. We usually don't take these apart or repair them, but the ones we've repaired work fine. When you're done, snap it back together, push rivets back in place and tap bolts through. Bolts will tighten to the connectors below UBEC and hold the whole mess together.

Full Article


Catalytic Converter Oxygen Storage Capacity
Emissions Forum
Danny from California

2010 Toyota Corolla LE, ECM/Inputs/Outputs Scan Data
I am currently attending my Update 2013 class. Apparently BAR is allowing another CAT test for OBDII vehicles. The Oxygen Storage Capacity test involves driving the fuel mixture rich and depleting the cat of oxygen. The rear O2 goes high, and you then drive the mixture lean, and measure the time the rear O2 signal goes low. The rule of thumb is a measurement of 2 seconds or more indicates a good cat.

Here is a test done on a 2010 Toyota Corolla, and apparently it has a kickasss catalytic converter by BAR standards.

[2010 Toyota Corolla LE, ECM/Inputs/Outputs Scan Data]

I have been taught that an oxygen sensor will not go high unless there are combustibles present in the gas stream. If that is the case why does it take such a long time for the post oxygen sensor to go low after the mixture is driven lean?

Full Article


Vehicle Bill of Rights
Open Discussion Forum
Don from Florida

My service writer Matt surprised me with this treasure this week! This is a long but worthy read.

Vehicle Bill of Rights:

--A vehicle has the right to the proper fluids. All vehicles are not created equal and, as such, are built with certain fluid specifications in mind. Several modern car-makes require fluids that are engineered specifically for that brand alone, and using something in place of that can actually cause damage. Engine Oil, Transmission Fluid, Brake Fluid, Power Steering Fluid, Differential Fluid all vary depending on the make and model of the car or truck. Some fluids can even vary depending on the different options on the same model and year! There is no such thing as standard.

--A vehicle has the right to maintenance. The manufacturers of your vehicle built it with maintenance in mind, meaning that the lifetime of your car or truck is wholly dependent upon what you put into it. The factory has set certain maintenance items to be performed at specific intervals throughout the vehicle's life. These include fluid services, tune-up parts, replacing timing components and so on. These components are put under tremendous stress on a daily basis from normal commuter-type driving, as well as environmental factors such as heat or cold, weather, and the surface on which your vehicle is driving. Because of this stress, these parts and fluids become worn over time and so require replacement. When they are not replaced, your car or truck doesn't perform as it should. Ignoring these maintenance items for extended periods of time can cause major problems throughout the vehicle's systems and severely shorten its life. Many drivers eschew maintenance items, seeing them as a unnecessary, or simply as a ploy by car-makers to separate unknowledgeable car-owners from their money. This is simply not the case. Maintenance is an integral part of your car or truck's longevity, and the better you maintain it, the longer it will stay on the road.

--A vehicle has the right to diagnostics and testing. When you're sick, your doctor doesn't guess. She doesn't just take a cursory glance at you then write a prescription, or recommend replacing a limb. And you wouldn't expect that for the amount of money you pay to have the appointment. The same goes for your car and your mechanic. A modern vehicle has several systems, with sometimes dozens of components in those systems, all running at the same time. When something goes wrong, it's up to the mechanic to search among those systems to find the cause. This takes time, expertise, and experience to do at all, let alone do well, and this is exactly what it takes to keep your vehicle running correctly. Some customers will balk at the thought of testing fees. But just as your doctor can't give a diagnosis over the phone, she wants you to make an appointment; the same goes with your mechanic: to find out what's going on with your car or truck can take testing, research and, most of all, time. Your physician expects to be paid for her time in order to make you well. An automotive technician can only expect the same.

--A vehicle has the right to quality parts. The automotive industry is one--among others--ruled by price. Parts stores, Corporate Chain Repair Garages, and Independent Repair Facilities are all competing for your business, and for most their biggest weapon is price. Parts stores offer sales and rebates on package deals and repair facilities offer incredibly cheap offers for repair work. A car-owner can expect on any given day to be offered a $19.95 oil change, or a $79 brake job, free check engine diagnostic, or even sizable discounts on large enough purchases. But the responsible vehicle owner must do some work to find out what they are getting for those prices. Is that $19.95 oil change at a garage using bulk oil in only one viscosity? Is that the correct viscosity for your car or truck? Is that $79 brake job offering quality brake pads, or an entry-level set? Does it include machining or replacing the rotors? Knowledge of these things is what makes the difference between repairing your vehicle and fixing it. Sure a $99 brake job will fix it. But a quality repair can and should make it as good as new (or as close to good as new as is possible). When drivers are given an estimate at a repair facility, a common question is if the price can be lowered by getting cheaper parts. Often times it's doable. However, the best repair to a vehicle is one where the parts put on it are of a quality at least comparable if not equal to those put on by the factory. There are times and places where corners can be cut. But parts quality should not be one of them.

--A vehicle has the right to be driven responsibly. Cars and trucks are machines, and as such they require input by an operator in order to function. The kind of input by the operator depends on the output of the machine--and also the wear on the machine and its parts. The more responsibly a vehicle is driven, the longer it is more is likely to last. Taking corners at high speeds, incessant slamming of brakes, constant hard acceleration all add to the wear of a vehicle, and take away from its longevity.

--A vehicle has the right to care by its owner/driver. The primary driver is the person that handles a specific vehicle the most often. This person is responsible for the regular upkeep of their car or truck. Simple items like checking tire pressure, having the tires rotated, oil changes every 3000 to 5000 miles (depending on oil type) and checking fluids before long trips are all the responsibility of the driver/owner, and a schedule for these items should be made and adhered to. A well-cared-for vehicle is one that takes care of its owner, so a service done for it is, ultimately, a service done for oneself.

Full Article


Understand How the System Works!
Technical Discussion Forum
Byron from Texas

2003 Mercedes-Benz E320, Photo
As promised in a reply to another thread last week (2002 Taurus Multiple Electrical Items Don't Work) here is a writeup that I think illustrates the necessity of understanding exactly how the system you are dealing with works:

This client called stating that he was driving back from San Antonio when the "Coolant Low, Visit Workshop" warning popped up on the instrument cluster just before he got to Katy, where he lives. He pulled over and shut the car off and looked at the coolant level but it seemed okay. The car didn't seem to be overheating, so he got back in the car to limp it home and he was going to bring it in to have it checked out the following day, but it wouldn't start so he had it towed.

Furthermore, we got a call from the wrecker driver asking how to get the car out of park, as it would not do so. Apparently, the car eventually came out of park because nothing was disconnected.

When the car was dropped off, it naturally started right up. However, it hunted for idle, banged into gear and generally acted like it was possessed by a legion of very angry demons. This short video displays some of the symptoms. [2003 Mercedes-Benz E320, Video]

Scanning the car, I found that essentially nothing on CAN B was talking. However everything seemed to be working in some fashion: A/C worked, windows rolled up and down, seats moved, etc. (This is actually an important clue, as we find out later.) Looking at this print, notice all the exclamation points. [2003 Mercedes-Benz E320, Photo]

For those of you not familiar with SDS, a check mark means everything is okay, an "f" means a stored fault, an "F" means a current fault and a ! means no communication with that module.

Strange.

So, where do I go from here? Do I start chucking control modules around? Do I "check all the fuses" (my all-time favorite diagnostic time waster found frequently in the TechHelp)? Do I get out the test light and start ripping the car apart and "checking for power" at every control module?

No. I'm going to start with the base electrical system. My rationale is that nothing electrical is going to work right unless the base electrical system is functioning properly. So I hook up my Midtronics to the battery and get started. It gives me the "System Noise. Check Consumers" message. No big deal, I think, I just shut the car off.

I go do something else and when I come back, I still get the same message. Hmmmm.... CAN buss is not going to sleep. (This is another clue.)

Alright, now I'm ready to start tearing stuff apart, right?

Wait, not so fast!

What I am looking for is where any points of commonality among all those control modules are. What I discover is that what is called a Central Gateway is the hub that ties all the various communications busses together: CAN C, CAN B, MOST and CAN D. CAN D is the diagnostic buss through which the various networks communicate with each other and with X11/4 (the OBD II connector.)

Now, I was actually able to skip that step, because I already knew that information, but I included it for illustrative purposes. There are training documents from MBUSA out on Networking and it can also be pieced together out of AllData or WIS.

Mercedes-Benz W211 Networking [mercedestechstore.com]

So I drop the under dash panel and go straight to the CGW. [2003 Mercedes-Benz E320, Photo] I unplug it and look what I find. Corrosion on one of the connectors. [2003 Mercedes-Benz E320, Photo] Lo and behold, the CAN buss goes to sleep as well. I think I've found the culprit.

So, with our client's approval we order up a new CGW and some stuff to make a new connector.

I make the new connector, put the new CGW in, get it programmed, and everything comes back up and everyone is talking now. I clean up all the fault memories and take the car for a drive. Beautiful. Everything works.

In the meantime, MB has a bulletin out concerning water intrusion through seams in the fenders near the A pillars that required 8 - 10 hours worth of work. Since the slight bit of corrosion on the CGW is the only real evidence of water intrusion -- no damp carpets or anything -- and it has taken 11 years for it to happen, (There's a surprise right there, an 11-year-old W211 that still has it's original CGW!) I elect instead to relocate it up off of the under dash panel and put a service loop in the wiring for any moisture to drip off of. [2003 Mercedes-Benz E320, Photo] That move is inspired by a bulletin for repairing water-damaged PSEs on the 170-body SLKs.

The whole diagnosis took less time than it did for me to write all this up.

How long would it have taken If I jumped right in and started tearing stuff apart without first studying and learning how the networking on this car functions?

Days?

Weeks?

And at what cost?

Full Article


The Effect of a Misfire
Technical Theory Forum
Mac from Michigan

exhaust pulse waveform6 cylinder - No misfire
Back in the old days when I was in charge of the Tech Center at Allen Test Products, we did a lot of things to make the engine fail in order to collect data. I had a budget to hire Automotive students of Western Michigan University to assist, and we had a ball. Besides measuring Torque and HP on the dynamometer, we could measure fuel consumption. One of the test we did was to determine the effect of one cylinder misfire and found a 30 % waste in energy. This was before OBD-2.

[exhaust pulse waveform]

[6 cylinder - No misfire]

Ironically we can proof the same without all that equipment by looking at the pulse waveform of the exhaust. [66548] Here is an illustration of all the 6 cylinders normally firing after the fix. [66547] This illustration shows the misfire, where we can see the repeat of all cylinders. The condition is 850 RPM in drive. Notice that the misfire caused a stumble but it took all the 5 contributing cylinders to restore to normal, and the cycle starts all over again.

This is extremely valuable when you can print the evidence out (on your letterhead of course) and the owner shows everyone at the water cooler. It is a silent promotion of your shops expertise. The point is: that it is not the loss of one contributing cylinder, but it is affecting all contributors. When driving at 60 MPH it takes a little deeper foot peddle and a more fuel to maintain the desired road speed.

Prolonged driving with a bad plug wire or dripping injector or any absence of a spark can have nasty consequences.. Misfire can damage a converter very quickly, especially the manifold mounted or "close coupled" converter. Unburned fuel, high temperatures and literal flame introduced to the ceramic can actually crack the brick causing a blockage and melt-down

Full Article


Top Priority = Happy Techs
Shop Management Forum
Kevin from California

I know I read in the past a discussion about this but could not find it. This how to create a successful Business I feel. I want to see what everyone thinks.

Top priority is to have happy techs, this creates a great work atmosphere, Better productivity, More business as jobs get done on time and accurately, everything done with care as the techs feel they are taken care of. This leads to More customers as they will notice great service, a great work atmosphere and accurate repairs. And I see the Service Managers, and Business managers being last for the following reason; If the techs do a Good job, diagnosis accurate, quality work performed the customers will produce the word of mouth advertizing that will bring in the customers. This makes it easier for the Service writers/ managers make sales as they are already coming in the doors with a positive point of view about the business. Car count will continue as long as the techs perform at the highest level due to being happy. All in all the business turns into a great work atmosphere for all.

What do you think?

Click here for the entire article and 24 replies.

Full Article


2008 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins 6.7 O2 sensors?
Technical Theory Forum
Rusty from Massachusetts

I have been made aware (by Dustin P.) that in 2008 Cummins used two O2 sensors on the 3/4 ton 6.7L common rail diesel in Dodges. These have no urea system as that was introduced in 2011. They also have EGR, a TWC, and a diesel particulate trap. Yeah, according to the emission application that I looked up, a TWC ...

Given that a diesel nearly always runs with plenty of extra O2 (I assume a HEGO will always show near zero volts) what could these sensors be doing? I assume that they are placed fore and aft of the TWC (efficiency test?) but don't know for sure.

Click here for the entire article and 72 replies.

Full Article


Ford Connector Catalog
Technical Tips Forum
Dean from Iowa

Ran across this today when calling the dealer about a pigtail, might have been posted before but it is handy:

Ford Connector Catalog [dealerconnection.com]

Full Article


Toyota Evap Codes
Technical Tips Forum
Tom from Illinois

Worked on a 1999 Camry today (early evap system) with the very common P0441 - P0446 codes. When de-energized the vapor pressure VSV connects the canister side of the system to the vapor pressure sensor. When energized it connects the tank side to the pressure sensor. With the VSV de-energized monitor the vapor pressure sensor voltage, now remove the gas cap, if the voltage changes the VSV is faulty.

Full Article


New Customers and the Internet
Shop Management Forum
Nathan from Pennsylvania

For the past several months I have been tracking where all of my new customers come from. This is something that I definitely should've done a long time ago, and really, all businesses should do this.

Our top two sources for new customers are personal recomendations (friends, coworkers) and internet searches (mainly google reviews). These were almost evenly split, at about 43-45% each. The distant third source was from people who drove by and saw our sign. In the last 3 months we didn't get a single new customer from any print advertising or radio advertising.

This has led me to several conclusions.

1. Physical appearance of the building/lot/signs are very important. Fresh paint, power washing, picking up the trash all makes a big difference.

2. The days of yellow page ads, magazine ads, are pretty much over.

3. THE INTERNET IS IMPORTANT. I wish I could say that I feel like we are doing an excellent job with our internet marketing, but the truth is that we've struggled with it. We keep trying things, but we don't understand as much as we need to, so it's kind of a patched together strategy. It's working fairly well, but it could be better.

What we've learned about internet marketing:

1. Your website is the foundation of your internet presence. Everything else that you do is to drive people to your website, and your website needs to drive them to your parking lot. Your website has to have the following:

a. A way to make appointment

b. A description of who you are (pictures, staff, etc. the personal touch)

c. A list of your services (what do you do)

d. Contact information and directions to your facility

e. Customer reviews/testimonials

People who are at your website are already leaning towards using your facility ... make it easy for them to get to your front door.

2. Claim your business on google places, yelp, etc. This will give you the ability to describe yourself, post pictures of your business, and reply to any reviews.

3. You need to be on the first page of a google search. (This is where a professional Search Engine Optimization company can help)

4. Stay away from anybody who is going to "send you more customers" and then charge you for every phone call. These people do not send you the customers that you want, they are interested in generating phone calls, not customers.

5. Stay away from a national company that is going to provide content for your website, facebook page, etc. They tend to put out one size fits all generic material that does not capture the personality of your shop.

If I had things to do over again I would've paid more attention to the whole picture and looked for a company that could deliver a whole package.

Full Article


05 Corolla Used PCM Install
Technical Tips Forum
Rusty from Massachusetts

We were asked to "program" a used PCM for this 05 Corolla 1ZZ-FE by a local shop. He had been fighting a P0353 (?) and was sure that the issue was related to a faulty PCM. The car had 195K miles on it so it was not covered under the emissions warranty. He had already plugged in the used box and found the typical start/stall when a car is immobilized. I asked him to leave me all the keys in case I had to relearn them all.

After reading about the procedure to erase and relearn keys and not having an LSID, I figured I was gunna reach a dead end as I wouldn't be able to get a seed number in a timely fashion.

After some head-scratching and failed attempts at writing the car's VIN to the used PCM, I was about to give up when iATN member Harv C. sent me this:

"You don't need to learn the keys to the PCM. This vehicle should have a Transponder ECU that has learned the keys. All you need to do is the handshake between the PCM and the Transponder Key ECU. Jump DLC pins #13 to #4 for over 30 minutes. Be sure to cycle the key afterwards.

You don't need to re-seed for a used PCM on this model.

You were also told correctly about programming the VIN into the PCM. You can do this with Techstream or any Snap On tool with a recent version installed. Having the right VIN is necessary for IM testing."


The failed VIN write turned out to be an issue with TechStream when using a Cardaq+ interface. Using a Mastertech with Toyota card made that possible. Once the VIN was correct and the 30+ minute procedure was complete, I shut the ignition off, removed the jumper from the DLC, and it started up on all 3 keys. I had tried the 30+ min thing before correcting the VIN and was unsuccessful.

BTW, this is the same procedure as Toyota shows for a new PCM replacement. Go figure.

Full Article


Where Are All The Good Technicians?
Shop Management Forum
Jeff from Wisconsin

I once worked as a technician at an independent shop after 11 years at a dealership and laughed at the idea that my employee number was 65, the shop was only open for 5 years. How could a shop so young have gone through so many employees? It's not that they were not busy, doing over 1 million in sales a year and had 5 technicians and two writers, but I was the 65th person to work there? My stint there was for a year and a half and before I left they were up to 72.

I've owned my own shop for 15 years now. We have grown and expanded and we do ok. But after all this time my biggest issue is finding good employees, and I don't think that number is all that funny anymore. I haven't had quite that turnover rate but we have gone through quite a few employees.

Our service writers have been solid, only having 3 over the years, but it's the technicians we struggle with. At first we thought is was our location. A small shop tucked away somewhere, I mean what good qualified tech wants to work in a cramped building with low ceilings. Business was good so we built our own shop. 7800 square feet, 8 bays, 20 foot ceilings in an affluent area of town...beautiful. Same problem. My wife and I have put some serious thought into this, looking at all aspects including us as owners, as to why we cannot find quality employees. Here's my findings.

First of all the technician workforce is depleted. Automotive technicians are in high demand and there is a serious shortage of qualified people today. Young people don't think automotive technician is a viable career. This has in part to do with the public perception of what we do. Were grease monkeys right? Sitting under a car all day slopping around in the grease and oil, dirty and unkempt with a rag hanging out of our back pocket. Who want's that for a career? Also we see people who use it as a easy out, or backup career. "Well that didn't work out, I guess I can always work on cars". In this situation they don't take the job seriously and fail out of frustration on all levels.

They don't teach kids in school that this is a viable option. You learn automotive in "shop class" were you work on staff cars and small engines. They get there first taste of automotive working on neglected cars, or their own car that they bought for $1000 that need $3000 worth of work. This is not a true representation of what the industry is about, or where it's going. They teach basic concepts of the mechanical portion of it (hanging parts) but don't concentrate on the electrical portion (diagnostics) and were that can lead you. Half of what we do in our shop is diagnose problems, I can be out in the shop all day helping my guys in a dress shirt and jeans and never get dirty (well, maybe a little), because I spend most of my time on the computer researching and planning my next step. This industry is changing, and fast. It's not a mechanical game anymore, it's electronic.

Dealer politics, can I get an Amen! You get a kid out of school with a degree all ready to set the world on fire and throw him to the lions at a dealership. Service fights with parts, parts fight with sales, sales fights with service, service fights with sales, parts fight with service. Your relationship with your service writer is critical, make him mad and you don't get any work, your neighbor does. But he's under his own pressure to fight for customers. There can be a lot of tension in the shop, especially if its flat rate, on who gets what work. There's always that one guy who's not very good but keeps score of who's getting what job. "That's the third timing belt he had this week, I want more timing belts". And my personal favorite is when they take the most talented technician in the shop and give him all the tough nut jobs. He's working on an abstract electrical problem that doesn't pay very good because that's what he can do, while your neighbor is working on brakes and suspension because that's ALL he can do. This is really not an issue, and in reality is how it should be, but the better tech should be making double the pay, not being punished because he's that good. I have seen so many "dealer" techs interview with me that are so burned out on politics, want nothing to do with flat rate, or just get out all together.

Todays work ethic stinks. People come in late, don't show up at all, don't take pride in there work and always look for the easy way out. One time we went through three techs in three weeks. One went to OTI (Ohio technical institute, one of the best schools in the country for automotive), he just graduated with diploma in hand and a $10,000 scholarship. After 4 days he screwed up almost every car he worked on and when diagnosing a burnt out tail light he couldn't tell me how many volts he was support to have at the bulb (battery voltage in case you didn't know). As a matter of fact I had to show him how to use his DVO meter...he didn't have a clue. How can this happen after 2 years of schooling? On day five he asked to talk to me and said it was hard on his confidence and made him feel bad when I corrected his errors, I said I can fix that...your fired. The next guy didn't come back after the first paycheck and the third showed up 4 days out of 10 with every excuse in the book, got multiple voicemails to prove it.

Not all are like this but many. I talk to quite a few HR people in all types of business and they all have the same problem when it comes to staffing. We live in a microwave society, people don't want to work for something, they want it all now! They say give me the money and I'll show you what I can do...how about show me what you can do and THEN I'll give you the money. They don't want to work to achieve success, they want it handed to them. Most of the technicians that have worked for us are no longer there because of their attitude. We've forked out some pretty good pay to get people in only to find out they don't know what their doing, are lazy or they develop such an attitude that they become a cancer in the shop.

My last observation I'll make is about looking for the easy way out, or not wanting to work that hard. When my customers bring there car in and are willing to plop several hundred dollars down to get their car fixed I make sure it's done right. When I have a technician come to me with a diagnosis and say "I think this is wrong", my first response is will it fix the problem. If they say maybe, probably, should, might, then we need to get a more positive diagnosis. Usually when I question them they came to that conclusion by researching iatn, google, or some other avenue. This is good but you still need to confirm that this is your problem, you still need to diagnose the car yourself. Maybe the job is over his head and we need to get him some help, which is fine, but we still need confirmation. Or doing a brake inspection and they never pulled the wheels, how can you do that? "but I can see right through the rims!". So now I sell the job and he comes back to me and says a caliper pin is frozen and he can't get it out, now it needs a caliper. Not a good conversation with my customer, and it makes me look like I don't know what I'm doing.

There are some really talented automotive technicians out there, but not enough.Our industry is changing so fast but the workforce is not keeping up. We need to get the word out that this is a viable career to get involved in, we need to change the way we treat technicians and respect them for the knowledge they have and the investment they make in tools, and about the work ethic I don't know. This is the toughest one of all because it's a reflection on how people are raised. I guess I'll do my part and keep looking for the diamond in the rough.

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