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Unread 03-10-2015, 11:25 PM   #1
Muddeprived
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Do you have to be.....

...certified or have a degree to work in an automotive shop (of any kind)? I been working at "ok" jobs all my life but I've always wanted to work on vehicles cuz I love fixing things. I do all the work on my jeeps and my family's vehicles along with vehicles of friends so I'm pretty good at it. I was thinking it's time for a change in my life (now 35) and want to do something I enjoy rather than just doing something I HAVE TO DO to earn income so I was going to start applying at auto shops around town but wondering what to expect. Will they hire an unknown?
Last year I went into Monroe Muffler shop with my wrangler for some tire balancing. They couldn't get my tired balanced correctly (retreads) so I tossed some tips their way and it worked out perfectly. Tires balanced great. Then they noticed all my tools in the back of the jeep and asked if I was a mechanic. I told em I knew my way around vehicles and they said they needed help and I should apply. I didn't think much of it then but wish I did.

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Unread 03-11-2015, 06:59 AM   #2
98muddyjeep
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You should be able to walk in with a bit of experience and get a job I was a mechanic for 14 years with no ase certs and never had a problem getting a job, if you go to a dealership they may require them to start off as a mechanic but you may get in to a dealership as an oil change/ tire monkey starting off at a lower wage and work your way up. Don't forget half your paycheck will go to snap on for tools for the strange bolts New car companys keep creating.
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Unread 03-11-2015, 10:33 AM   #3
vadslram
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It depends on the shop but most that I know of have at least a couple of "apprentices". Being certified will get you more money and make it much easier to get hired. You should be able to work on the certification while you are working. My brother got Volvo, Cummins and Detroit marine certs while he was working for a shop in FL, they even sent him to the training because they could charge the customer more if their mech was X certified and some of the diagnostic tools specific to manufacturers are only available through the certification process.
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Unread 03-11-2015, 10:52 AM   #4
XJaySC
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I would recommend against it. Not sure what you're life situation is but, around here, no professional experience puts you below the lowest guy on the totem pole. You won't be making much for a while. Also I felt much like you. I enjoy fixing things, but making a career out of it has taken some of the joy out of it.

Just my experience, YMMV.
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Unread 03-11-2015, 12:03 PM   #5
spacecoyote15
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If you love working on cars and want that attitude to change then yes take up this career. Been at a dealer 17 years. May be different if shops do hourly but book time will turn you into a raging maniac\ alcoholic. Just kidding on the last part sorta. Never worked at an outside shop so really have no opinion there. I have all my certs ase and manufacturer. Does provide a decent living for my family. But I'm also at a large busy dealer my .02
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Unread 03-12-2015, 10:53 AM   #6
Chris98TJ
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The plumber has leaky pipes.
The mechanic has an oil leak.
The electrician has a burnt light.
You can go on for days but when you turn your hobby into your career it stops being a hobby, therefore losing its fun value.
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Unread 03-12-2015, 11:05 AM   #7
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^Could not have said it better myself. In fact I didn't.
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Unread 03-13-2015, 02:35 PM   #8
rubiconrich
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When I was young, I fixed my own cars because I was poor. I enjoyed it. When I got to be around 30, a friend of mine was a "A" mechanic and we talked shop every weekend. One day he told me that I was good enough to work as a mechanic and that I should walk into any dealer and apply as a "B" mechanic. He said the worst that could happen is that I would be fired in two weeks but I'd gain experience and some knowledge. He said that if you kept getting fired every two weeks, you'd be getting better and better. Sooner or later, you'd keep your job but during the time you'd be collecting a better pay check. Well, I finally listened to his advice and I was good enough to stay at the first dealer I applied to.
I loved working on cars. It was a pleasure for me. When I got hired as a mechanic, it stayed a pleasure as the years went on.It never felt like I was working. I was on commission and that was great. It made you earn more money. All you had to do was beat the time it said for each job. In 1985, I was making $1500 a week. Dealerships send you to school. Independent shops sent me to school. I was always advancing in skill and money. Got to talk my favorite subject: cars. One drawback was the wife got tired of me always talking shop with my friends! Got to be a head wrench which gave me the option of choosing my work orders. I wised up and chose "gravy" work that paid good. Even got the keys to the Service Department and on days off, I worked on my vehicles. Another side perk were the salesmen. When they sold a new car, you'd have to sign paperwork that said you inspected the car. Then they could deliver it to the customer and that was when the sales guys would receive they cut of the sales. Then and only then. So, I told them that if they wanted to get in the front of the line, buy me lunch, etc.
One thing I didn't like about it. One day, I found that I didn't need to think anymore. I could easily tell what was wrong and easily fix it in a robotic way.
I'd be double-timing around the car with tools in both hands. I was able to look at an R.O. and know what tools I needed. Would have them all laid out on my cart before the vehicle entered the bay. I was happy to know I was that good but unhappy to see that I was becoming more of a robot each day. So I quit.
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Unread 03-18-2015, 09:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubiconrich View Post
...
One thing I didn't like about it. One day, I found that I didn't need to think anymore. I could easily tell what was wrong and easily fix it in a robotic way.
I'd be double-timing around the car with tools in both hands. I was able to look at an R.O. and know what tools I needed. Would have them all laid out on my cart before the vehicle entered the bay. I was happy to know I was that good but unhappy to see that I was becoming more of a robot each day. So I quit.
That's when you do the same thing but differently; teach.
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Unread 03-18-2015, 10:06 AM   #10
rubiconrich
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Jeepster83 As a Head Mechanic in a Dealership, it's my job to teach everyone that is under me. I enjoy teaching people auto mechanics. Wrenching is a passion to me! I, also, used to teach in a private auto school. Plus I taught at a Honda Training School in Jersey years ago. Now-a-days, my daughter belongs to a car club and I explain things to them when needed. Tho there are people that don't listen to an old man!! LOL I let kids use my driveway and tools to fix their cars.
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Unread 03-18-2015, 10:20 AM   #11
Jeepster83
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Originally Posted by rubiconrich View Post
Jeepster83 As a Head Mechanic in a Dealership, it's my job to teach everyone that is under me. I enjoy teaching people auto mechanics. Wrenching is a passion to me! I, also, used to teach in a private auto school. Plus I taught at a Honda Training School in Jersey years ago. Now-a-days, my daughter belongs to a car club and I explain things to them when needed. Tho there are people that don't listen to an old man!! LOL I let kids use my driveway and tools to fix their cars.
Totally understand but from the other end.

I used to be (and this was my official title) the Vehicle Registration Expert at a CA DMV... at 22. when I spouted off excerpts from the Registration Manual to customers they refused to believe me on accound of my apparent age and demanded to see my supervisor and proceeded to make complaints about how a 17 year old kid is telling them they have to pay late fees or multiple years of fees including penalty when "they know better". I'd get a bit peeved by it but it always ended exactly as I had originally explained in the first place.

I finally got tired enough of it that I grew a goatee and I 'looked' my age. If I shaved my goatee I'd be shaving 10 years off the way I look.
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Being right has nothing to do with arrogance. It's only perceived that way by those that are wrong.
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Unread 03-19-2015, 05:58 PM   #12
jeepdaddy2000
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Originally Posted by Chris98TJ View Post
The plumber has leaky pipes.
The mechanic has an oil leak.
The electrician has a burnt light.
You can go on for days but when you turn your hobby into your career it stops being a hobby, therefore losing its fun value.
Total disagreement on this one.
Loved bending wrenches. Walked into a local 4X4 shop and asked for a job. Didn't leave for almost ten years. If I could have gotten health insurance, I would still be working there today
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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:38 PM   #13
pentastarguy
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any night schools available to you? some community colleges have an auto program.
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Unread 03-20-2015, 01:18 PM   #14
Marauder_Pilot
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Not a mechanic, but someone who knows a lot of mechanics and also bailed out of 'OK' jobs to become an electrician instead, so my two cents.

It's hard to maintain your passion for something once it becomes a job. I used to love computers in high school, so I took a co-op course that eventually got me a job as a computer technician, and worked that all through university. Now I can barely stand to work on computers. Used to love building them, now it's an absolute chore. My younger brother is a hobby mechanic, and he got into carpentry instead because he didn't want his hobby to be a job, same reason I went electrical instead of mechanics as well. The short form is that when you spend 40 hours a week fixing other people's stuff, most people burn out, and you'll lose a lot of the passion for working on your own stuff.

That being said, that definitely isn't the story for everyone, and you can still get exited and passionate about your big projects. Lots of people still love their hobbies-turned-jobs. But burnout is a very real thing.

The other problem with being a mechanic is that it's kind of a **** trade to get into. Once you've got your journeyman papers, you'll make good money, but apprentices start out at, depending on where you work, 50% of the cheapest journeyman's wage, and that generally isn't much above the average wage for someone working at Wal-Mart or something. And you also have $10,000 worth of tools to collect right off the bat too. And you'll spend your first year or two doing the ****tiest of the ****ty jobs-balancing tires, changing oil, replacing batteries, sweeping floors...the bottom of the ladder.

It's also hard on your body. You'll smash your hands to pieces and you'll get strain injuries in your upper body just from working.

If you can make it through all of that, then absolutely go for it. Any trade is a good trade to have, and we're going to have a serious tradesman shortage in the next 10 years-you'll never want for work again if you're good at it. However, almost any trade is a better choice-go to school and look into the pre-employment classes there-plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, carpenters, we all make more than mechanics, spend less on tools, generally work in better conditions and have more job opportunities, even if they might not be as stable (Depending on the kind of company you work for)

So, tl;dr: Trades good, mechanics meh. It's definitely not the worst option in the world, but it's not the golden ticket to the high life.
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Unread 03-21-2015, 09:25 PM   #15
jeepdaddy2000
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I find it kinda funny reading all the "if you love it, don't do it or you will hate it" posts.
Personally, I believe if someone can take something they love and make a living at it, they are far ahead of the rest of us.
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