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I am planning on being a mechanic


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KyleT
User

May 18, 2010, 7:56 PM

Post #1 of 26 (2211 views)
I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Hey guys I'm Planning on Going to college in about 2 years once i finish paying my house off.
My Dad is a great mechanic but.. he hated people in his shop so i didn't learn very much and i was just wondering if there are any good places to do some Learning Before i go or what type of books to read.
I fix all my own stuff right now and i've been reading on this site but i figured i can ask the pro's.


re-tired
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May 20, 2010, 7:26 AM

Post #2 of 26 (2198 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

The old stigma of the grease monkey, parts changer is slowly dieing . 10 years ago I would have begged you to reconsider. The future or auto repair is rapidly changeing . It's gone from massageing an engine , points, dwell degrees , advance curves, a pandora's box of carburator designs , near bullet proof cast iron blocks and heads . To fuel injection . distributorless ignition. multiple overhead cams , all aluminum engines that warp in a moment. Computers for everything . Coming fast are hybrids , alternative fuels such as hydrogen fuel cells . All electric cars . And in your lifetime who knows, levitation ,anti gravity , fission...Crazy , daydreaming ? In my lifetime we have gone from the DC -3 ( a early plane)to man on the moon and looking at. mars . Bottom line is get as much foundation as you can ,math , science , electrical theory . physics , mechanical engineering . Most JR colleges have some kind of mechanical course .But that is just a primer . When you get to the Ivy league's , look toward places like MIT , that are already leading the nation to tomorrow. Good luck .


LIFE'S SHORT GO FISH


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 20, 2010, 8:51 AM

Post #3 of 26 (2193 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

KyleT:

I've been watching your post since it was new and thinking of just what to say and as "re-tired" said it's a new game now and somewhat has had changes about every 10 years all along. My forecast is the trade will change faster so the skills to do this for a living will be quite dynamic - more than even right now.

Do, do the college and if that is to be a precursor to automotive technologies take up as much of the sciences as you can. What is being used for power sources right now may be near done in new vehicles a decade out. Some stuff will probably not change. Wheels are round. A fuel need work in climate extremes no matter what is popular. In that mankind has settled in the extremes the vehicle will need heat and air conditioning which so far is an obstacle for much more than the fossil fuels and hydrogen which so far takes more energy to make than you get out of it. Mind blowing.

Back to the sciences. As Issac Newton drew up in length before a ball point pen was heard of still stands! Energy cannot be created nor destroyed - so far a proven fact! It can be transformed into motion, heat and I'm doing a brain search for what else but not much more. Today's vehicles are really a marvel of capturing what was once wasted in any given fuel. Friction and temp waste yet to be perfect but better than ever.

It will take high technology to advance small amounts at a time so computer control plain will rule.

More: Think hard about this as a trade. For now and my tenure at this mechanics (better said is technicians) did need to own thier own tools to a point. A shop would provide the larger items but techs are required to have their own hand tools. It's shocking how much plain metal tools cost! 10s of thousands to be a well equipped tech and way over 100k to own the shop and rising!

Think: Can you make a good living at this trade? Yes. Also consider that if you are not interested and motivated by it then it probably isn't for you. If you are money motivated only not many things are going to work out for the long run. It's a passion you either have or don't.

Check with local vocational schools for evening courses now and take just one for a feel or more as you can and see fit. Adult ed after normal working hours is strong where I am and hope available where you are.

Diagnostic skills will prevail. The plain parts that may need repair or replacing in most things isn't the hardest part but knowing which one(s) need attention is.

Best of luck with whatever you choose to do,

Tom



KyleT
User

May 23, 2010, 7:35 PM

Post #4 of 26 (2167 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

I really appreciate the comments guys. i am currently working in a tire store so i see allot of vehicles in and out.
I've helped my coworker who is a Great mechanic but he doesn't do to much anymore he likes it more for hobby.
Most of what i know is just from working on stuff on my own which I'm learning allot especially with this crappy pickup i just bought =D.

The money on tools i don't mind to much every mechanic has to buy tools if they don't then they aren't going to be a mechanic.

Let me know if there is any other hints you guys got I'm looking into a college right now not to far from me still saving some money up.

Thanks,
Kyle


Sidom
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May 23, 2010, 8:06 PM

Post #5 of 26 (2165 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Kick the old man in the butt & tell him to let you help him Wink There is a ton of knowledge you can get there.....

I'm a 1st generation tech and have worked with guys who's fathers, brother or uncles had shops where they worked as kids, I saw the difference.... That kind of experience you can't get at a trade school.....

If he still gives you grieve about it, tell him to post here.... We have a few articulate old techs here that could gently persuade him (that means I have to stay out of it Sly)

Seriously....you need to get into that shop.....


KyleT
User

May 24, 2010, 10:19 AM

Post #6 of 26 (2151 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

well i wish he would of when i was younger but I'm now 20 years old and i live a couple states away with my wife and kids.
When my son is older I know exactly how I'm going to do it. i just hope that i can get this going with the lack of knowledge i got now.
I Love messing with my own stuff and i have passion for it when i do it and always enjoy it, So i hope i can get this going soon.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 24, 2010, 1:01 PM

Post #7 of 26 (2144 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

First generation of it here too. It's too bad as lots gets learned the hard way and some mistakes are expensive. Just the plain stuff of dealing with the feel of how much what fasteners can take, extracting broken bolts, what too do when common ones are stripped and it goes on and on.

Hope you can at least get a leg up on building adequate tools. Stinks but you end up needing several styles for each size as automotives is working in tighter spaces all the time. There are some cool tools that get around corners to a nut or bolt you can barely see let alone touch.

Are you able to get a cheap or free vehicle that has sound fundamentals to fix up and sell? Best to make the mistakes on one that's your own first before you tie up a customer's time.

Certainly pick up what you can with the tire biz. Shoot - even that you need to know how to get out of busted lug nuts and tons more.

Learn jacking points as best you can. It's primal to safety, not just for yourself but not to wreck some important part of a vehicle by hoisting the wrong items!

T



nickwarner
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May 24, 2010, 1:02 PM

Post #8 of 26 (2142 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

I would recommend saving up as much cash as you possibly can for tools before enrolling. Snap-On, Matco and Mac tools all have an excellent student program that allows you to buy tools at half price while a student. This will literally save you thousands in the end. There are limits to this obviously, but it makes a big difference.
Having a good set of ears will help you learn a lot. The old timers that have done it all for years know every little trick in the book and if you are working hard they will teach you . The tech schools will teach you a lot about how these things work, but the most learning is going to be the hands-on you get.


re-tired
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May 24, 2010, 4:24 PM

Post #9 of 26 (2135 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

 Diagnostics is the doorway to repairs . All sucessfull mechanics seem to have a 6th sense , a gut feeling or a hunch about the diagnosis of the tough nut to crack. The car thats been to several muffler/tire emporiums advertising analize your check eng for free estimate in 15 min is the one that the TECHNICAN fixes and he does not give away that knowledge thus the parts changers say he is overpriced , a ripoff. But who do they call for a tip . Most anybody can change an alternator or a water pump . That makes you mechanically inclined. You then must build on that foundation. And having the gained knowledge passed down from generation to generation is pricless. My grandfather was a enginneer at the beginning of the space program . My father was a ship builder AND most importantly a hot rodder , grease monkey a gear head . I grew up on 34 fords , 27 t buckets . dune buggies and Drag raceing . I soaked this in like a sponge .As a result I consider myself smart , however my son has taken the torch and is pulling ahead in leaps and bounds.


LIFE'S SHORT GO FISH


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 24, 2010, 4:35 PM

Post #10 of 26 (2132 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

As most of the guys have pointed out here, there are different levels of people that call themselves technicians. If you want to excel in this business, plan on continuous ongoing spending on tools and attending training on new features and vehicles. As RT pointed out, most anybody can change parts, although i've seen many screw that up too, but the guy that can fix the car that has been everywhere else first, that guy will never want for a job, no matter how bad the economy may get. Any reputable shop will get rid of people to make a place for you if your that guy but you have to keep up with the technology and that's not cheap. Get in with a company that's willing to spend on your education and training. You may not get rich at first but you will advance beyond everyone else.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



chickenhouse
Enthusiast

May 24, 2010, 6:44 PM

Post #11 of 26 (2126 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

I might as well add to the previos posts Kyle. My start was auto shop in high school followed by a community college stint gaining an associates degree. Then went to work in a small tune-up shop in Michigan. I'm 3 times your age so I don't mind telling you that $5.00 / hour wasn't so bad then. More importantly, they provided /paid for classes at the GM Tech Center in Dearborn. Tookj advantage of all I could! Plus we had Chrysler's schooling nearby. Took some classes there too! All that, plus work expeirence led me to my first ASE cert. Oh yeah, before all that, my dad got me started by having me help him restore a 29 Model A coupc w/rumble seat. First frame-off! Dearborn's Model A Joe cast the babbit bearings anbd line bored them for us. That, my friend, is a good starting point. I wish you good luck in your venture and future. Take good care of them kids. Auto teck can help you reach your goals.


KyleT
User

May 25, 2010, 4:16 PM

Post #12 of 26 (2112 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Wow thanks for all the advice everyone Wink

The guy I work for right now is pretty awesome i get 10$ an hour which in my small town area that is good wage average house here is 5-15k cost of living is cheap and within a year my house will be payed off at age 21.

But his best benefit is his end of the year bonus's, my christmas bonus last year was 5,000 and he told me to expect double this year which is all going into saving's for my college discount tools =D

How much should i save up for tools before i go to school since the college discount is so high?

I'm a patient person and im still young so i dont mind waiting a few years before college. so if i have to save 40,000 i will.


I apologize if that was hard to read
so to sum it up how much would you suggest saving for tools before i go to school? i read the discount was around 50-75% off snap-on tools.
How much


Hammer Time
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May 25, 2010, 4:40 PM

Post #13 of 26 (2110 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Wow, your in pretty good shape. That's one hell of a bonus. One piece of advice on the tools. Don't run out and buy a starter box that you are going to outgrow in a couple years. Go for top of the line boxes but buy one piece at a time. Just make sure it's a color or style that they will be making for a while. I would start out buying a very large, high quality bottom roll around. Once you have that full, you can buy the top or side attachments instead of having to trade in a box in a couple years because it's now too small.
Remember, they will also finance you for tool purchases, especially if your putting big money down.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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May 25, 2010, 5:32 PM

Post #14 of 26 (2107 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Kyle: I too wanted just Snap-On, known or thought to be always the best, and they are excellent but have some exceptions too. So over time of constantly adding assorted brands come in.

Sears "Craftsman" can have a good bang for the buck. A fault I find with them is lifetime warranty is wonderful but they don't always have the one thing you broke and needUnsure. Watch out for sets of wrenches, sockets in metric mostly that leave out 5.5mm, 16mm and 18mm! Shocking to get a nice set and then blow the bargain buying just the 16 and 18 to complete and that size is used quite a bit. It a trick because no SAE (English) sizes will do exactly for those except 5.5 is 7/32nds or some fool old English #.

Know that 5/16th = 8mm, 3/4 is 19mm if brain is working today.

Some other names I like are S-K now hard to find where I am, Mac Tools are good, and several others fine. An issue with the lifetime warranty is will the company even be there!? Snap-On of all of them even at their higher prices will no doubt be in the tool biz.

Keep in mind the tool boxes you'll want too. Yikes can the high end stuff cost bucks! Nice if they can stack as the collection grows you can add a couple drawers on what you probably will end up with - the "roll around" box.

Speak for myself - I have my share of cheap Chinese tools too mostly for duplicates. Over the years I've cut or bent some wrenches for a single purpose and don't want to do that to the good stuff.

Even at your age you'll still need both metric and SAE sizes. An example would be when a nut or bolt is rounded or becomes odd sized from corrosion the smidge smaller may hammer on to grab it.

I have several favorite tools. The one for undercarriage stuck/rusted parts that is a must is the "Blue Wrench." Slang for oxy/acetylene torches and I love the name Victor for that. Here the shop/garage would own those for your use but after having them I wouldn't be without,

T



KyleT
User

May 31, 2010, 9:03 PM

Post #15 of 26 (2052 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Frown HT i wish i would of read that post about 2 months ago i bought a 42" blue point top/bottom box used, oh well i'll just have to trade up sometime i guess.


re-tired
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May 31, 2010, 10:34 PM

Post #16 of 26 (2049 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Don't dispair you can use it to store your scanners,testers,adapters and leads.


LIFE'S SHORT GO FISH


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 31, 2010, 11:46 PM

Post #17 of 26 (2047 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Nothing wrong with Blue Point Kyle. In fact some obsolete old names can be great stuff but you can't replace one broken tool of a set with the same. It happens.

There will always be new stuff you will need. Once everything was just SAE measures, then -- oh my, what's with all this metric stuff? What a rip off it seemed as I lived thru that doubling everything to cover that. Must be a scam - then throw in the "star" or first named "Torxs" headed stuff. More again! Long ones, short ones, magnetic ones - yikes! That's just plain hand tools.

Jacks, jack stands - oh yes - jacks for transmissions and you've probably seen the jacks for huge wheels that no man nor beast could plain lift.

All bets and it's been happening right along is to specialize in an area but be informed in general.

Then comes the power tools. Once you get used to air and electric powered tools you get hooked. Hang on to your wallet!

Tom



Hammer Time
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Jun 1, 2010, 2:23 AM

Post #18 of 26 (2040 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In


Quote
i bought a 42" blue point top/bottom box used, oh well i'll just have to trade up sometime i guess.


Same mistake everybody makes but since you bought it used, it's no big deal. When your ready, just look for something bigger next time. Most of the trucks will take it in trade.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 1, 2010, 7:31 AM

Post #19 of 26 (2036 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Interesting - I was thinking there was an "up" in quality vs a bigger unit/set. I'd opt for having two smaller units than one larger. Been ions now since I've moved so portability isn't an issue and have several wall cabinets for specific stuff or seasonal stuff.

Ex: A/C stuff and refrigerants get put away for a few months if heated space is limited,

T



KyleT
User

Jun 1, 2010, 10:24 AM

Post #20 of 26 (2026 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

wow just looked at some prices of the bigger box's... thats insane biggest bottom box i see from snapon is 12,000 OUCH, i know having good tools is essential to mechanic but is having a "Snap-on" box realy necessary if not what are some other good names?


Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 1, 2010, 10:52 AM

Post #21 of 26 (2023 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Check out Craftsmen at Sears. A lot of the quality of a box is how you treat your stuff anyhow. I don't own any from them right now but they were reasonable for the price. Shoot I think they had some huge one with tunes, a fridge and who knows!

Craigslist for location may help. Ebay AYOR - I hear horror stories sometimes??

Other off exact topic: I suggest making sure and getting stuff that locks up even though any turd could get into one. That because I also suggest you first work for a running shop, with others and the best would be one that does a wide variety of work. All the school in the world isn't like having another who's been at it a while for questions to get out of common jams and decide for yourself if you want to go out on your own.

Some shops won't like it but leave a note on a customer's car that YOU were the tech. If happy tell the owners and if not you want to know about it and why. Two seconds (taught this in school) to clean the windshield, wipe off any grease or dirt, dust dashboard, with engine stuff clean off a couple things as it's human nature to go home and stare and if they don't see anything they wonder. Aim to be good at it. The world needs good techs. With the right understanding and customers who know you by name they'll seek you out like anything someone is happy with results of a service.

Stinks but if you come across a lost cause car and it in for something pricey but won't be the answer take the time and advise them of what you found perhaps and what THEY want to do. Folks hate dumping a quick $1500 into something to find the whole damn car/truck really is so bad it isn't worth it.

Renting space may be the right choice over owning if you go out on your own. Lots to think about when in biz,

Tom



re-tired
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Jun 1, 2010, 12:53 PM

Post #22 of 26 (2019 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Hey Tom you forgot the cradle and need for a center post asymmetrical lift to drop the sub frame ala caddy's honda's and others . you can work around the cradle with 4 jackstands but ya gotta have a lift .


LIFE'S SHORT GO FISH


Hammer Time
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Jun 1, 2010, 1:22 PM

Post #23 of 26 (1498 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

I know. Boxes are big bucks. That's why you don't want to keep trading up when you need more space. It doesn't have to be Snap on but I definitely wouldn't go Craftsman. That stuff is fine for the DIYer but not for the professional. Some of their tools are OK but not the boxes. Besides, they don't make anything as big. Other good brands are Mac and Matco, even Cornwell makes a decent one now.. I have a Macsimizer myself. Your still going to spend 7 or 8K unless you can find a used or repo one. I bought mine used from the Mac dealer for $2000. They last forever.Something in the 60 to 70" range is good.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



KyleT
User

Jul 23, 2010, 8:45 PM

Post #24 of 26 (1469 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Cool thank you, just seen a macsimizer on craigslist a few days ago thought about getting it but since i already got the one i will probably wait till it is full.


Loren Champlain Sr
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Jul 26, 2010, 6:43 PM

Post #25 of 26 (1455 views)
Re: I am planning on being a mechanic Sign In

Kyle; Didn't read all of the posts, so forgive me if I'm repeating...Check with Mac, Snap-on, ect. They are always taking in 'trade' boxes. Can get some real good deals on used boxes. As the others said, buy a quality box. Snap-On and Mac boxes will last a lifetime. Litterally! My Snap-On box is nearly 20 yrs. old. I can use the drawers as a ladder. They are that strong.
Loren
SW Washington






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