So now what?

Chris Diagnostician Commack, New York Posted   Latest   Edited  

I have recently jointed the ranks of those who used to work on cars. For 20 years, I've wrenched. I started sweeping floors and built myself up to be, in my opinion, a top notch diagnostician. During the last few years, I saw the writing on the wall. I realized my pay check was directly related to how much I was able to produce. I did some quick math in my head and figured I had maybe another 10 years or so being at the top of my game. My brain was sharp, my body was able to do the things my brain wanted, and I still had the passion to improve. I've seen far too many people wrenching too hard for far too long into the twilight of their career. I needed to plan my exit strategy.

I could own a shop. I've done it before, but I still have nightmares about that. I lost everything in the crash of 2008. I do think I've learned from my mistakes and make it work this time.

I could teach. Passing on my experience and knowledge is a passion of mine. I feel strongly that if we pass on what we've learned, then the next generation will start off a little better. If we continue to do that, we will all grow. I attended training events and made some contacts to try to get the ball rolling.

This is when the opportunity to work at Autologic came through. I am able to work in tech support, which allows be to still use my noggin to research and diagnose. I can also pass along some testing techniques that I've learned the hard way. Along with that, I am able to develop class material and teach. I do love it. I can't seem to get enough.

My question to you is: How many of you have made a similar move? If so, how do you keep your chops up? If needed, do you think you could get right back in and preform? What do you miss (if anything) about shop life?

I'm looking forward to hearing your responses.

+12
Michael Diagnostician
Holt, Michigan
Michael Default
 

I would hope there is something else to go onto when I can make the switch. I have been in this game of do everything way too long and wish to put my efforts torwards diagnostic side 100 percent instead of also having to deal with performing the repair. This is a extremely hard field not only on the body but mentally as having to remember where all the bolts go on one car while diagnosing

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Technician
St. Louis, Missouri
Mike Default
 

Hi Chris. Congrats on the move. I was in a similar situation. Left the industry last year to work at Metrolink on the high voltage trains after 38 years. Bodies starting to hurt but could still keep the pace up, but for how long. Better pay, benefits, vacation, etc. Really miss the drivability and electrical problems. Now. What to do with 5 full tool boxes, 4 scan tools and 4 lab scopes. Would

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Ray Diagnostician
North York, Ontario
Ray Default
 

I had to quit turning wrenches because of too much pain in my shoulders, elbows and my right wrist. I'm at retirement age anyway and I have diagnostic tools in the trunk of my car. I have about a half dozen shops that I help out and it keeps me sharp and in the game. It's a great feeling to be able to successfully diagnose problem vehicles after other techs are not able to figure it out. Ray

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Bruce Technician
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Bruce Default
 

I'm at the point of trying to decide what to prepare for to get out. I've looked at shop owner but I think I've ruled that out. Leaning toward tech school instructor and maybe doing mobile diag to supplement my income, if needed, sometime in the next 10 years

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mario Diagnostician
Weston, Florida
Mario Default
 

I can't say that I've made that move, I've barely begun. But i think it's a great topic not only to see who's done the same. But for us discuss the different exit strategies our industry has to offer. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to exit the wrenching, like teaching, consulting, diagnosing, tech support, owning, etc. Would like to see what else is out there for those in the field that we

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

At age 44 I decided to save my body from the wear and tear. I started to feel the years of lifting, pulling and pushing. I love the industry so I just can't leave it alone. I train when I can along with programming, diagnostics and tool sales. I am finding more and more opportunities to diagnose electrical issues. I hope to develop a business model and develop a mobile diagnostic and programming

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jason Technician
Hawthorne, New Jersey
Jason Default
 

Hey guys I just started the trial today from friends like Mario from supermario diagnostics and the famous Keith defazio. Its a pleasure to join a site with such talented and knowledgable technicians like all u guys. Mario spoke highly of u Chris Martino. I've just started doing diags Nov.2017 joining scannerdanner premium and just buying books from ATG and just reading and soaking everything

+3 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mario Diagnostician
Weston, Florida
Mario Default
 

Good to see you joined Jason. These guys are top notch, and you won't be disappointed. Autologic, trained by techs, and this website are amazing resources. Just dig in brother. And enjoy! These are great guys with tons of knowledge and experience minus the talk down, and nonsense. Enjoy buddy!

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jason Technician
Hawthorne, New Jersey
Jason Default
 

Thank u buddy. I'm really enjoying the site. Guys talk about what they encountered and posting their fixes and captures of labscope waveforms and scan data. My prayers have been answered to where I should've been this whole time. Kinda like when u meet a girl u are very interested in and say WHERE HAVE U BEEN ALL MY LIFE. Lmao. U know what I mean. Nice work on the Miata u posted up today. Ur

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

This is the passion that I always talk about. You see something that you can improve on, and then you do it. This industry will be well served by technicians like yourself. I appreciate your drive, sir. As for your question, the answer is training. You can never learn too much. YouTube and Facebook are great platforms, but will never replace what you will get from a REAL training class. WTI

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jason Technician
Hawthorne, New Jersey
Jason Default
 

Thank u for taking the time out to respond. Mario wasent joking when he said these are a great group of guys who really do wanna help out guys like myself with question. I thought It would be days from now but in minutes i got a respond. Very happy. Yeah the shop that i am at which is …. The boss doesn't send us to training or willing to pay for that. She just wants the money to come in and

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mario Diagnostician
Weston, Florida
Mario Default
 

Two words: Super Saturday. Be there. Look up worldpac training and carquest technical Institute, i believe it's a per class type deal. Your best investment is in yourself, keep your head up. I appreciate the kind remarks Jason! And just remember, if the training is good quality, that's money well spent. But yeah look up Super Saturday in Pennsylvania!

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Bruce Technician
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Bruce Default
 

Yes ASA PA Super Saturday Oct 13 in Warminster, PA. It was a great event last year, you should be there. $150 well spent. Other classes search for Worldpac Training Institute, Carquest Technical Institute, Automotive Training Group, and check with your local Oriellys and Napa for classes

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jason Technician
Hawthorne, New Jersey
Jason Default
 

Thank u sir. Very much appreciated. Will check these classes out

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia
William Default
 

I am shop foreman, IT tech, trainer, information specialist, tool person, and general “keep the shop running” guy for a 3 building independent. I do a lot of diagnostics and hand holding in the shop, quality control test drives, and am the tech of last resort when everyone throws up their hands. i do some night training, which forces you to research and stay stay sharp! you just got to find a

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Congratulations on the move Chris. BTDT, got the scars and "T" shirt too. The path that I took was at 48 years old some 18 years ago while still working in a dealership. I was at the top of my game, but was suffering the long term effects on my body that some of us experience, most notably joint damage. Early in 1998, I'd been offered an instructional role as a part-time deal and had enjoyed

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Sean Diagnostician
Regina, Saskatchewan
Sean Default
   

About to start my 18th year. Dealer for over half my career and now indy. Shop foreman and diag/diesel tech at a multi location business. I feel like I'm a half decent tech. Travel aprox. 5-10 times a year across Canada and the US for leader led training. I do aprox. 3 hours a night on other types of training. So what I'm getting at is that I still have a huge passion for this industry and

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin Default
   

Hi Sean. I too never gave the retirement deal much thought until I found myself in this job with a pension back in 2002! I'm now already a year beyond retirement age, but am still enjoying working productively and adding to the various pensions. We had a gathering of alumni instructors for lunch yesterday and one of my ex-dealership co-workers who jumped ship long before me was there. He just

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Sean Diagnostician
Regina, Saskatchewan
Sean Default
   

Martin, Good to hear from you. I'm sorry to hear about about your daughter. My condolences. Very good points about investing into a retirement. My mother was in the banking system and stressed the importance of money managenent my whole life. I've been investing in RRSPs since I was 19 years old so I have foot in the door in that respect. I agree that we have to look to the future and invest in

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Instructor
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mike Default
 

Chris, you're story is a lot like mine. I went through the same exact thing. I'm just over 3 years removed from the shop... Even after being out of the shop now for 3 years you will still almost always find grease under my fingernails. You can take the tech out of the shop but you can't take the shop out of the tech. The biggest change I saw between the 2 jobs was how much energy I still had

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

Hey Mike!! I to have a driveway with a side job in it that nobody wants to fix. I find the difference is I want to do it. I kinda look forward to wrenching on it when I get home. I also believe that the research aspect of my job would make me a better mechanic if I have to go back to it. I'm still waiting on the energy to come back though. When i first started this job, my brain has never

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Instructor
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mike Default
 

It's funny, I find myself enjoying pulling motors or transmissions at home. I never did that when I was in the shop... You'll get used to the mental workout. Music helps me. Sounds cheesy, but when i'm researching or writing I listen to this playlist called "classical new age piano." Listening to it right now. Helps me stay focused and not stressed.

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

Oh, I go the other way, I have Tech N9ne going on in my headphones. Maybe I should slow down...

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jason Technician
Hawthorne, New Jersey
Jason Default
 

Lol. Tech N9ne. That's cool u have a little edge to u Chris. Didn't expect that one. That made my day

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

The faster the rap, the faster the brain. At least that's how I go about it.

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Instructor
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mike Default
 

Lol that would make my head explode!

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jason Technician
Hawthorne, New Jersey
Jason Default
 

Ohhhhh wow its Mike Becker. I'm new to the site Mike. U are an awesome teacher. Love ur wells tech videos. Is there any new videos coming or did I miss the notification. YouTube be messing up sometimes. Very happy with this site

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Instructor
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mike Default
 

Haha hey Jason, thanks man! New stuff is coming, but it may not be living on that channel. We are working through the logistics right now but there will be training and when it goes live I'll post where to find it on here! This site is amazing for sure!!!

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Adrean Diagnostician
Bakersfield, California
Adrean Default
 

Hahaha this comment though . I too listen to some uplifting music . I feel like wrenching while not full time at work , but at home It’s more relaxing maybe because diagnosisng kicks my ass at times lol and just some music the Right tools and I zone into that engine removal or what not

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Rudy Technician
Montebello, California
Rudy Default
   

Did making the switch cost you money, was about the same or is more? People say they change things up and enjoy less stress etc,but usually at a lower pay rate. I understand that. Unfortunately for me,my financial obligations cannot be met with less stress. So I kinda want to go in that direction later down the line, maybe in my mid 50s or so......

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

Yes, my starting salary is a definite hit in the wallet, but I had to weigh it against the benefit package and advancement opportunities. They also allow me to develop class material and travel and teach. Hopefully soon I will be making more than what I was doing at the shop while not killing myself. I also don't miss the lungs full of brake dust.

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jason Instructor
Nanticoke, Pennsylvania
Jason Default
 

Hey guys, great discussion so far. I grew up like many of us holding the drop light for dad. The parents knew I was going down the same road of working on cars so they made sure I at least went and got an education in it. Worked at a handful of independent shops out of high school while making my way through tech school. Got myself into a dealership and stayed there for about 10 years making my

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded