The technician shortage is getting worse

Nick M

Black Rifles Matter
Authorized Seller
Contributor
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
8,812
Likes
15
Location
U.S.
#1
I was looking at the Lexus dealer I worked at last summer. They are down to 6 techs and there might be 40 bays. I didn't count. Standard stuff, 20 on each side. I was there 2 months and 7 quit before me. So, ignore the ads you see for Wyotech and UTI, unless you really are interested. And then still consider they are not college level courses. The shortage isn't from not having qualified and educated people, it is because those people are going to different fields or areas in automotive.
 

Bmettie

Member
Authorized Seller
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
200
Likes
2
Location
Florida
#3
This is the kind of stuff that I build/work on now, I used to be an auto tech. Now its just a hobby

[video=youtube;_mFnNDzxKFk]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mFnNDzxKFk[/video]

[video=youtube;CTrsJV9aPg4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTrsJV9aPg4&nohtml5=False[/video]
 

Nick M

Black Rifles Matter
Authorized Seller
Contributor
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
8,812
Likes
15
Location
U.S.
#4
Interesting, what other career paths are they choosing?
I am talking to a nuclear recruiter. Entry level operator (non-licensed). Ford (Dearborn) already offered me to go sit in a cubicle. I might just take it.
 

hvyman

Dang Dude! No Way Man.
Staff member
Super Moderator
Authorized Seller
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
12,748
Likes
30
Location
Orange, CA
#5
I think it's mostly because they don't want to pay you what your worth. As they can hire some fresh guy next to nothing that's straight out of school.
 

suprarx7nut

YotaMD.com author
Authorized Seller
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
4,043
Likes
67
Location
Arizona
#6
I think it's mostly because they don't want to pay you what your worth. As they can hire some fresh guy next to nothing that's straight out of school.
My impression in a couple bullet points:

1. There's more demand for technical-minded individuals in a growing number of fields outside of auto mechanics. Lots of these require similar skills to a mechanic, but may not require 8 hours a day covered in oil and grease. Automation, robotics, satellites, manufacturing, etc...
2. Working on cars has gotten more complex and more simple at the same time. Systems are now very complex, but most big shops (notably dealerships) have operating procedures such that parts and assemblies are simply replaced at a high level wherever possible instead of finding root cause or repairing components. Sticking caliper? Replace the whole thing, forget the rebuild kit. Spongy brake pedal? Replace the entire master cylinder assembly, ignore the rebuild kit. One extreme example is on my 100 series Land Cruiser. There's a common problem with the brake system where the 12V motor inside the accumulator dies. Other things may cause the accumulator to fail, but the motor dying is common. Toyota doesn't want techs looking into any of it to find the cause, they just want to replace the entire $2,000 assembly.. all because a simple 12v motor has worn out brushes/contacts. The repair for the motor is a few hundred $, retail value. For most shops, this sort of operating procedure means the skill of workers may not need to be as great as it once was. Check for codes, offer replacement parts associated with codes. I may be completely off here, but that's my perception as an outsider to the modern auto mechanic world. Back in my college days (~2007) I worked at a Toyota dealer as a lot tech (low class valet). I was amazed how little the techs knew - and I don't mean the lube techs. I mean the guys tearing into engines. They knew their job very well and seemed to do the work Toyota wanted them to do very well. They just didn't have a well rounded, comprehensive understanding of the systems as much as I'd expect. There were a couple car guys, and then the master mechanic who were all a wealth of knowledge, but the other guys just didn't really care. They may as well have been working on laptops at Best Buy. When anything older than OBD2 came in the shop it went to one of a couple guys - the gearhead car guys or the master tech. Nobody else would touch them. "If I can't pull a code on the reader, how do I know what's wrong?"

I may be off base, but that's been my take on it in the last 10 years.
 

hvyman

Dang Dude! No Way Man.
Staff member
Super Moderator
Authorized Seller
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
12,748
Likes
30
Location
Orange, CA
#7
Correct for the most part. Most techs don't know all that much. But there are a number of smart people who know there shit. I've worked with many. There not as common tho.

But the average tech is not usually a car guy or someone wanting to better understand the car. There just there to make a living doing there 8-5 and complaining cause so and so is doing more pdi then they are.
 

lithium14

New Member
Authorized Seller
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
995
Likes
0
Location
Austin
#8
^ I don't think you understand how painful it was to read your post. Three misuses of 'there' and a bonus misuse of 'then'. God help us all. LOL

But yeah, most people who understand the cars etc, are also the ones who know that taking a car to the dealership for work is a very very bad idea. As a result there is a massive increase in home garage mechanics now. I read an article about it on the internet, it must be true! At least it's massive enough that major manufacturers are supposedly taking action to build the cars in such a way that a home mechanic is unable to do squat. By major manufacturers I mean the Germans. Again, shit that I read online, no idea if it holds any weight. Though TBH I never hear good things about BMW from fellow car folks.
 

suprarx7nut

YotaMD.com author
Authorized Seller
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
4,043
Likes
67
Location
Arizona
#9
^ I don't think you understand how painful it was to read your post. Three misuses of 'there' and a bonus misuse of 'then'. God help us all. LOL

But yeah, most people who understand the cars etc, are also the ones who know that taking a car to the dealership for work is a very very bad idea. As a result there is a massive increase in home garage mechanics now. I read an article about it on the internet, it must be true! At least it's massive enough that major manufacturers are supposedly taking action to build the cars in such a way that a home mechanic is unable to do squat. By major manufacturers I mean the Germans. Again, shit that I read online, no idea if it holds any weight. Though TBH I never hear good things about BMW from fellow car folks.
I've never, ever seen any actual evidence of a manufacturer giving a crap about home mechanics, save obvious safety mechanisms (airbags, etc...). I've heard rumors for a decade now, but I don't believe any of it. "Honda installs their engines backwards just to make them harder to work on so you take it to the dealer more often!" When I worked at that Toyota dealership an M3 came in for some basic service. It belonged to a friend of a service writer or something. The techs refused to work on it because they didn't have the tools to remove any of the plastics in the engine bay. The "special" tools? Torx bit screws. Torx bit. That was it. The Toyota dealership techs refused service because of Torx bits. Oh god, something different! That's some stupid German, magic screw/bolt that only Germans can work on! /sarcasm. It shocked me to my core and made me realize the professional automotive world was not what I thought.

Another anecdote, a friend of mine in college worked at a lube shop. He's not a car guy, perse, but not completely ignorant. He had a Mercedes come in for an oil change. He did his normal thing and then went to check the oil level to confirm it was ok. Couldn't find the dipstick. Had another tech come over. Couldn't find it. They checked the owner's manual to find out there is no dipstick in that engine. The oil level was read through an electronic sensor within the on board computer. To me, this is an awesome, super owner friendly, feature. To him, though, this was evidence that Mercedes was the stupidest car company on the planet and how they were just trying to make it harder for regular people to work on their cars. To each his own, I guess.

As an engineer now, I design stuff all the time. With very few exceptions, I don't care if what I make can be easily serviced by someone with regular house hold tools. I'm going to design the best [thing] I can. If it requires a swiveling torx bit on a U-joint socket with an extension to repair a part, so be it. That fucker's going into the design if that's what's best for the function or aesthetics of the product. I think that happens with many non-American cars - more-so today than ever before. I'd be honestly amazed if Mercedes Benz or BMW made considerations for their EFI system based on how hard it would be for a home mechanic to fix it. They're going to choose the best part. If that means special tools are needed to change a normally "basic" sensor, then so be it.

Conversely, American manufacturers, for years, were making cars that were intentionally easy to work on. Tons of space, simple tools, etc... That's fine, but I want a better product more than I want a product I can easily repair. I want one that doesn't need repair as often or that is more capable.
 

Nick M

Black Rifles Matter
Authorized Seller
Contributor
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
8,812
Likes
15
Location
U.S.
#10
Toyota doesn't want techs looking into any of it to find the cause, they just want to replace the entire $2,000 assembly.. all because a simple 12v motor has worn out brushes/contacts. The repair for the motor is a few hundred $, retail value.
This is a big part of it, but Toyota Motor Corp out of Japan is not the cause. This is an American market problem.
 

Nick M

Black Rifles Matter
Authorized Seller
Contributor
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
8,812
Likes
15
Location
U.S.
#11
But yeah, most people who understand the cars etc, are also the ones who know that taking a car to the dealership for work is a very very bad idea. As a result there is a massive increase in home garage mechanics now.
Not so. For example, I don't know anybody professionally that would have had to make your post on over heating and not knowing the cause or where to look. I'm not picking, just pointing. There is a difference.