How Many Technicians Understand Electricity?

Michael Mobile Technician Clinton, Utah Posted   Latest  

Over the last few months I have had three occasions where I was asked to diagnose no start that ended up being a fuse. These were shops with seasoned technicians. Two of the occasions were due to DIYer's that brought in their vehicles after they would not start when doing their own repairs. When I asked the technicians if they had checked all the powers and grounds they all said "Yes". How is that possible when the fuses are completely gone? I am happy for the work to do. What I am concerned about is the lack of ambition on the part of the technicians assigned to the vehicles.

Today I was called to program keys for a 1998 Ford Explorer. I went through the PATS timeout and attempted to program the keys. At the end there was no joy. I then read the codes and discovered that the key was not being recognized. I cut new keys, tried again, no joy. I unplugged the PATS antenna module and checked the leads coming from the PATS main module. There was no RF voltage coming to the antenna module. After checking continuity in the wires between the two, I condemned the PATS main module. I was called out to program keys. I ended up doing the diagnosis and programming then having to come back after the new part was installed. Do you think the customer wanted to pay for the diagnostic? They figured it was part of the deal.

There are quite a few technicians out there that do not know how to read a schematic or diagnose electrical problems. how can we as an industry improve this? How many parts are installed only to find out it was only a ground or a fuse?

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Oscar Diagnostician
Lorton , Virginia
Oscar Default
 

Hello!! to answer your question, Not the many techs have a clue about electrical work, I also do a mobile diagnostic, and found many things that I just scratch my head about it. when I took classes, my teacher toll me that the auto industry was going to be short on techs, because all the new generation was more inclined to video games, and computers.

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Phil Technician
Las Vegas, Nevada
Phil Default
 

I have worked at Chrysler dealerships for 30 years. There are very few technicians, I have known, that understand electrical. The first thing I tell other techs is to check for power and ground. I have found most of them are afraid of anything to do with wiring on cars. No one seems to want to learn how to work on electrical problems. I would like the answer to this question as well.

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Robby Mobile Technician
New Market, Alabama
Robby Default
 

When I started out as a line tech, one of my first jobs was a 1998 Ford Ranger with a 4x4 issue. Something was missing a power supply (can't remember what now). I concluded there was an open wire somewhere behind the dash, so I started to pull out the dash. One of the older techs inquired what I was doing and I explained. He asked if I checked fuses - "Of course I did". With a smirk, he said

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Mike Instructor
Fresno, California
Mike Default
 

You can't make them attend training if they don't feel they need to, and most of them don't. And their is no regulation requiring licensed automotive electrical techs.

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

I was going to comment similarly, then I saw yours. I believe they most both don't want and don't need to. It should as simple as, incompetent person = no job. But, that is not how our pathetic system works. The worst among us still have jobs, and vehicle owners actually choose to have their vehicle serviced by these hacks. In this area, at least, people who are in … financial condition still

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

My opinion is that the industry needs to start mentoring. I make an effort to pass on critical thinking skills at every opportunity. The effort needs to be put forth "out there". In general there is a culture where testing is frowned upon by customers and owners. The tech that blasts parts is perceived as hard working and profitable. We should allow ourselves and others around us to make

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Bill, You bring up some wounds from the days I worked in the shop. I worked really hard to learn diagnostics. I invested in expensive scopes and diagnostic tools. I thought that the money would come rolling in. What I found is that the shop structure was not tuned to diagnostic but flat rate tasks. So instead of getting brake jobs, front end work and CV axles, which you can double your

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Alan Owner
Hollywood, Florida
Alan Default
   

Do you know any mobile Diag in South Fl. I could use a few till my young techs get upto speed. We have started to on purpose unplug a thing or two and have them diag it .If it takes them more than 15 min to find a fuse or ez plug we give a few clues but dont fix it. So far its working. Ollie G

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Mario Diagnostician
Weston, Florida
Mario Default
 

That's a great idea. I couldn't tell you of any mobile diag I trust, since I do my own diagnosing. There are some guys who take classes to meet the required 16 hours of yearly continuing education, and alot of them are mobile techs. So anywhere they might provide those classes can be great places to find them. I would do mobile diag but only after hours of my day job. Hope this helps.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Mario, Tell me more about the 16 Hours CE requirement. Is this for educators only or for all technicians in Florida?

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Mario Diagnostician
Weston, Florida
Mario Default
 

Actually it's only for Miami Dade County, not all of Florida. It's a requirement for the renewal of your annual mechanics license. 16 hours of classes per year. When completed you are given a certificate that you must show to the county. Shops with no licenses are penalized. And some actually pay off a school to get these certificates believe it or not. I for one attended these classes until I

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Nicholas Technician
Ellisville, Missouri
Nicholas Default
 

I see this with other techs I work with. I think part of it is just laziness and the second part is they get complacent, you always here "It is almost always this that fails" so they don't go any further. One tech in particular relies on Identifix and if he doesn't have a code he is stuck. I'm a new tech and always get told you don't have to test everything it takes up to much time. I

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Brady Owner/Technician
Yakima, Washington
Brady Default
 

In answer to the title, very few.

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Charles Instructor
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Charles Default
 

Good Morning Gentlemen To answer Michaels question.....not enough. If I may say, I was part of an ugly situation awhile back as I was seeking a job position at a Dealership and during my intro to the service manager a tech was in process of blasting a service writer for his time on a vehicle that was a potential buy back. After the smoke cleared and we got back to the situation at hand....I

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Bruce Technician
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Bruce Default
 

Techs need training but they have to want the training. Less than a week after a very good ATG electrical class one of the guys I work with got a truck with the passenger power window not working. He checked it out and sold a window motor, didn't fix it. It was a ground wire that was mostly broken, he had tested power and ground with the connector unplugged with a meter.

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Geoff Diagnostician
Lahaina, Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

Is it really any different than it has always been? Didn't the classic middle America town have ONE guy that rebuilt alternators while every single service station did radiators, brakes, tires, and "lubes"? Electrical as a whole is a rather abstract subject, you can't take it apart and look at it. It's like Math. It's a lot of paperwork. There are a lot more people that just don't get it than

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Maybe part of the problem is the traditional way of teaching electrical. We teach in the classroom put up charts and diagrams. We use electrical trainers (test bench for electrical) and create a bug in a circuit. In the real world you are faced with a ten year old vehicle full of aftermarket devices connected to the loom with scotchlock connectors. Yesterday I was called to program a PCM on a

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Eric Mechanic
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Eric Default
 

I see using a DSO and a GMM as taking electricity apart and looking at it. For me it’s the fun part of the job but it doesn’t pay like the gravy. Maybe shops should have specialists to handle the diagnostic jobs requiring scopes and meters. Maybe school counselors should route students interested in electrical and electronics into auto shop classes.

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Bruce Technician
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Bruce Default
 

It s definitely the fun part of the job. I try to help the guys that I work with but when they don't put in the effort to learn, on their own time, it bugs me. Or when they go in the wrong direction and do open circuit testing right after the ATG electrical testing class, it bugs me. Makes me want to not help them, but I keep trying to help them anyway.

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Geoff Diagnostician
Lahaina, Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

You just described my job here Eric; "specialists to handle the diagnostic jobs requiring scopes and meters". (Scan tools too.). But there isn't near enough to keep me busy, even working half-days, so I still get stuck doing gawd-awful things like brakes once in a while. I'd actually rather go home than do brakes, but when the shop really needs the help, I'll stay and do it.

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Pj Technician
Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania
Pj Default
   

I truly feel like part of the problem is the kruger-dunning effect. Mechanics work on cars every day, so of course they FEEL like they know the systems they're working on inside, and out. Unfortunately that just isn't the case. As a dealership shop foreman myself, I fell victim to it. I was the top guy in the shop for years. What did I need to learn? That was until I got an apprentice who came

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William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia
William Default
 

Very simple fix really: Owners don't require techs to train. Owners won't charge for the time techs spend on diagnostics. Owners won't pay to send techs to training at night, much less in the daytime. Owners will pay techs to "throw parts", so techs do what they get paid for. Since a pattern?? Techs will do what gets them paid by the owners. If owners paid for diagnosis, paid for training…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Today I went to a shop to update a Ford BCM. It was a simple process. It took about 10 minutes for the actual programming. What I did not get was the time paid to the technician listed on the TSB. It was .2 hours. So the tech gets paid 12 minutes to go out to the lot and bring the car into the shop, check the complaint against TSB's, Get the shop IDS from the tech using it, Connect a stable

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Mario Diagnostician
Weston, Florida
Mario Default
   

I believe that we are headed, however slowly, to where parts changing will be far more expensive than training. But until we get there, techs may stay ignorant. Now instead of requiring training by force, by means of requirements, laws so on and so forth. I think training should be of such good quality, that techs will line up to get into them. Cars aren't what they used to be and neither should

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