Interview with an Automotive Technician
An interview with Johnny Harrah, an automotive Technician for Lunt Motor Company. Lunt Motors is Chrysler dealership that offers both mechanical and auto body services.
Q: How long have you been working as an automotive technician?
A: Ten years.
Q: Do you like repairing automatic transmissions?
A: I do, they are perhaps one of the most challenging parts of automotive repair and not everyone can do it. It takes a combination of skill and knowledge that many techs don’t have the patience to learn and it feels good knowing that I am counted on for a very important job.
Q: What kind of previous education or training for the job did you undergo?
A: I apprenticed to my father and worked for another dealership before moving to Lunt Motor Company.
Q: What are your likes and dislikes about the job?
A: I like the work, I truly enjoy working on cars and fixing them. I don’t like the pay rate at the moment and feel I should be paid more given that I am an ASE certified master technician.
Q: What about your work environment?
A: I have to say that I like some of the people I work with. However, there are some people I don’t get along with because they don’t really seem to want to work.
Q: You mention other technicians. Do you have an opinion on what makes a good one?
A: Well, I think that there is a huge difference between a mechanic, or technician if you want to get all fancy, and a parts changer. A true mechanic knows why the part broke and can diagnose the underlying problem with the vehicle. A parts changer on the other hand will just keep putting in new parts hoping that the problem will go away by itself.
Also, a good mechanic is willing to try and solve problems in creative ways if needed. I have had to create special tools to get to problem areas on a car. A lot of other mechanics will give up and say they can’t fix a car without really trying.
Q: Can you provide a description of your typical day?
A: Go to work, check to see if any parts I ordered are in so I can finish any work that was left incomplete the day or days before. Finish pressing jobs and work on whatever comes my way.
Q: What kind of breaks do you have at your job?
A: Well, I really don’t keep track of my breaks. I make sure to eat lunch, but for the most part I only take breaks when there is no work or I am waiting on a parts delivery. When I do take breaks I tend to go home or help another tech out.
Q: What do you think your next career step will be?
A: I am hoping to eventually open my own shop where I feel I will have a little more control over my own destiny.
Q: What previous job history prepared you for becoming a mechanic?
A: I worked for a Ford dealership in the early 90s and before that for myself.
Q: What types of benefits do you receive?
A: I receive medical coverage for myself, my wife, and my children. I also have a retirement fund.
Q: How much do you earn as an auto mechanic?
A: I currently earn around twenty dollars an hour if you include my benefits as part of my earnings.
Q: Do you think this is a fair pay rate?
A: Well, the shop I work at charges seventy-five dollars an hour for labor. I feel that I should be paid more because even after taking insurance into account they make well over half off of my labor. I know they have expenses but it just does not seem fair. I also think they should provide their mechanics with a tool fund. Over time my tools can break, get lost, or in some cases get stolen, and it really hurts my paycheck to have to replace my own tools.