Diagnostic tech?

Darren Mechanic Wisconsin Posted   Latest   Edited  

Is there positions in our field for a diagnostic technician that spends his day entirely on diagnostics?

Or is that a mobile tech. I am asking because it appears to me that it is general practice to spread

the work out evenly inside the shop with the technicians so that everything remains fair. Cradle to grave for each

technician for every car. I totally understand the concept. My argument is that I am an average r/r guy at best , but 

feel much more confident troubleshooting. It would seem to me that as far as efficiency is concerned

I would better serve the facility exercising my strengths instead of working on my weaknesses.

I am asking owners to help fill in the blanks, because my line of sight tends to be narrow more often than not.

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Nick Diagnostician
Missouri
Nick
 

90% of my work load is diagnostics and programming. I'm the only one in the shop that does either of those things. I feed everyone else work.

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John Owner
California
John
 

Awfully difficult to ‘balance the workload’ when a diag guy is going from lift to lift. If the shop was set up like a production line with specialties at each work cell, that would be different. I believe at the end of the day it is just an easier workload distribution equation. And given the likely ‘A tech’ employee just doing diag, it would be a waste of talent IMO. And I wouldn’t want a ‘B…

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Philip Educator
California
Philip
 

Darren, It looks like you are the shop owner. In my 32 years as shop owner, I hogged most of the diagnostic work because that's what I enjoyed. Doing another brake job, or another intake manifold was not any longer what I wanted to do. However, when I started spending more and more time away teaching, there was a price to pay because I was not there to help with the diagnosis and I had not…

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Robert Mobile Technician
Michigan
Robert
 

My philosophy has always been to keep a techs edge sharp! Example if you have a diagnostic tech and this is all he does he will make you money. You don't give him ball joints as he has to figure out how to do them and where are the tools to do the job and then read up on it. Just like a suspension tech. Have him do the suspension work and don't ask him to diagnose a wiring problem. I do realize…

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Kenneth Diagnostician
California
Kenneth
   

I handle 90% of the diagnostics in my shop. I also do the dispatching so I know the strengths and weaknesses of our technicians. When we’re slow I hand out more diagnostics to the other techs to help increase their knowledge base. This strategy has bitten me in the backside on multiple occasions due to miss diagnosis. I tend to believe now that it’s best for productivity to hand technicians what…

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Justin Technician
California
Justin
 

How do you like the forum Kenneth ? And the zoom smog class !!

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Jim Mobile Technician
Pennsylvania
Jim
 

Very interesting thread and Great response so far. The piece of puzzle that I don't see mentioned most times when this subject comes up is the diagnostics profitability !!!!!!!! As the former owner of three General repair shops, all separated about 7 to 9 miles, we worked on everything that came in the door, As I became smarter about running the business, we came up with a system to identify on…

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Rex Technical Support Specialist
Ohio
Rex
   

Jim, what you are describing, especially the part about the Friday morning meetings sounds a lot like the way medicine is practiced​. ​At least as I understand it. There are regular meetings where procedures are discussed, what went right, what went wrong, how could this have been done better faster, whats new etc. This is NOT a blame game session. To me the medical equivalent of the diagnostic…

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John Owner
California
John
 

Jim- the offsite meeting is a fabulous idea! Getting out of the foxholes and in an environment where everybody can share their ‘good and others’ without fear of retribution is a time-tested element of making tomorrow better than today. Who wouldn't want a free breakfast (paid and on the clock I presume)? As with most change, we forget about the costs after the benefit of that change is realized.

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Joel Diagnostician
California
Joel
 

I am still working for the same shop , but in 2019 the original owner sold the place, Since 2015 I was doing 90% diag and smog all day long . Very busy shop 2 guys doing diagnóstic my self hardly ever did a alternator or started , mechanical repair. After they sold the shop the new owner has diferent mind set of busines but I still do my self the diagnóstic with the difference that now the…

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Michael Owner/Technician
New Jersey
Michael
 

As an owner if the diagnostic work was sufficient enough to require a full time technician doing diagnostics only, I would have zero problem having a dedicated diagnostic technician. However, at this point in my shop there isn't sufficient diagnostic work to require that. Perhaps in the future that will change.

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Randall Technician
Pennsylvania
Randall
 

Darren, The vehicles of today although they are more sophisticated than ever, they are less problematic especially when compared to the 80’s and 90’s vehicles. To dedicate one person to 100% diagnostics seems to require a high volume of routine service work. Perhaps a 10 bay shop with 7 or likely more techs. Length of time in business as well as size of local market are probably factors as…

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Michael Owner/Technician
New Jersey
Michael
 

“In Monroe county here is northeastern PA, the check engine light does not matter. In fact, unless there is an annoying symptom none of the warning lights seem to matter.” That's the god's honest truth. The same goes for Pike County and the rest of the non emissions counties in PA.

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Randall Technician
Pennsylvania
Randall
 

Michael, The diagnostic business is far different today than it was 20 years ago. Back then one could solve a lot of tough problems with a reasonable amount good equipment. Today one needs a lot of very expensive software based equipment to deal with limited accessibility to systems and information. I suspect that electric vehicles will be much tougher to deal with. Change is constant, we…

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Michael Owner/Technician
New Jersey
Michael
 

I certainly get my share of vehicles from all 3 states. Most of my customers from PA will keep driving their vehicle even with it misfiring and the MIL flashing. As long as it passes safety, they're unconcerned. When I worked for Halterman's in Stroudsburg back in 05, it seemed most weren't that unconcerned. There's no question that BEV's will be harder to deal with merely on obtaining proper…

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Randall Technician
Pennsylvania
Randall
 

Michael, I love the customers that are ACTUALLY concerned about safety, far too many feel that they are ENTITLED to a sticker. Hey if we bump into a hybrid job, we will send it your way! In spite of long distance commuting, there aren’t many around here. At 57, I am hoping to keep at it for 10 more years. My advice for a young person would be to investigate industrial maintenance or HVAC. Those…

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David Owner/Technician
Ontario
David
 

Hi Darren, That is difficult to say. If you have your own shop you might be able to do that. In a larger shop you might be able to do that and some other “gravy jobs” The way it seems to be that people do little or no repairs they only do minimal maintenance if possible and lets face it modern vehicles were able to go for a very long long time this way. I too had my own shop I liked to do…

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John Owner
New York
John
 

Darren and others, In the vast majority of shops diagnostics/programming does not pay the bills. You do the diagnostics and programming to retain the money jobs. This is where a decision has to be made about whether to have a knowledgeable individual on hand or have a mobile diagnostic guy such as myself called in for these situations. Very hard to wear all the “hats” in today's modern shop.

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Benjamin Technician
Florida
Benjamin
 

I do almost all the diag in the shop, programming and anything that has been a “comeback” from other techs in the shop. That being said I usually have an apprentice that's a solid b tech that learns from me ,the thought is that they learn and grow into the diag guy but seems that when they start to get a little knowledge they jump ship and move on to being the diag guy somewhere else. Can't…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hello Darren, “Troubleshooting” is a broad description that you are using. Break it down by systems what you want to be good at troubleshooting. Think of all the systems in a modern vehicle… there are a lot. The hardest thing I see with being a diagnostic person, you are competing with much of what is hurting this trade. Parts stores are doing free scanner reading and many shops are still…

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Momchil Educator
Bulgaria
Momchil
 

Hi Darren, I've been in the automotive industry for 15 years, 12 of which - in a GM dealership. It is essential for you to have specialists in different areas. Back in the days in the dealership, we were 2 diagnosticians (I was one of them), 2 electric guys, 13 mechanics, 2 wheel alignment guys, 3 tires guys, 4 paint and 5 body specialists. It makes no sense to have your diagnostician…

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Jason Technician
Georgia
Jason
 

Starting a new job in the begining of May. I'll be the only master tech there, and my job will be to handle all of the problem vehicles, triage, and quality control. Pays salary/hourly. I guess kind of lie a foreman but I don't have to manage people. A lot on my shoulders and I'm not sure if I can do it but they called me asking me to come to them.

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Justin Technician
California
Justin
   

Feel like this is going to be the norm for dealers now . Dealers have tech reps and they are at max capacity and either very young just out of trade school or instructors that have some experience . I am exactly what you described for a dealer and this dealer is a smart dealer because where I am located there is such a shortage of master techs . step 1- find a master tech with independent and…

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Darren Mechanic
Wisconsin
Darren
 

Closed my business, looking for options …

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Darren, You shut down a shop or working mobile? The world is an open door for people who want to work.

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Darren Mechanic
Wisconsin
Darren
 

shop

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Jason Technician
Georgia
Jason
 

That's awesome Justin. I hope I can stack up. The CEO of the company as well as the SM who I worked with before called me up and swear I am who they want for this position. It's hard leaving a good job because where I am now, it's a nice dealership, not perfect, but a good one. I'm going on a venture because it's not a nice area, not the nicest dealer, but I really want that potential. I'm 42…

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Justin Technician
California
Justin
   

Flat rate died 20 years ago for most highly skilled techs . I attended the funeral and now it’s time to regroup . Note - commission can work for b and c techs but A techs are suffering .I don’t have all the answers but know what I see and observe things . Every shop is different but the one common theme is if the one go to tech ( diagnostic bumper to bumper tech ) decided to move on it will take…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Justin, From what I am seeing, modern day Master Techs need to be on a pay scale commensurate with an electronics engineer and have the required education/ training. The training is lagging way behind reality and that is where the industry (manufacturers) wants to keep it. Very little in training is focused on what we use to term as “whole vehicle concept”. Everything is cut up into small…

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Justin Technician
California
Justin
 

I’m going to barge into a nada meeting and take you with me !

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Rod Diagnostician
California
Rod
 

The market no longer bears qualified diagnostic techs.

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Rex Technical Support Specialist
Ohio
Rex
 

Especially automotive. The value of a 7 to 10 and older old car (current market conditions skew this a bit) simply often isn't worth the cost of true amount of time it takes to diag, let alone repair. I am thankful that I am in MD/HD. The economics are very different. Especially once your away from the generic road tractor. Dumps, bucket trucks, drill rigs, cement mixers, fuel trucks, septic…

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Rod Diagnostician
California
Rod
 

I have worked as a diagnostic tech at several shops part time. I experienced hate from owners and other mechanic coworkers . The coworkers were angry that I did not get my hands dirty and the owners considered me a necessary evil and got angry when I would be waiting for the next assignment , One owner yelled at me one time that he was paying me to drink coffee and sit around, another owner…

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Joel Diagnostician
California
Joel
 

The diag position is not valued by owners , I worked for a shop where I had 1 hour for diag , including full vehicle comprenhensive inspection, Idid measure real time , getting in tha car plave it on the rackck , and parking oUT was 15 minutes, 10 minutes on quick inspection, 10 minutes , now the real diagnostic time was 35 minutes. The owner told me I had to have this diag done in 45 minutes…

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Benjamin Diagnostician
Florida
Benjamin
   

I recently left an independent shop i had been the lead technician for almost 14 years, I did almost 95% of the diag work it didn't start that way it just evolved into it, other techs came and went and the owner didn't like paying me because I had a base plus commission and when it was slow i still made mine. About a year ago I left and went to the dealership and it started all over again. Some…

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Justin Technician
California
Justin
 

They are not being rewarded for the hard jobs . Flat rate is set up for b techs .

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Benjamin, I left the full-time shop ‘rat race’ years ago for similar reasons. It is tough being the only diagnostic A tech with a shop full of B and C types that only sling parts. What's worse is when you have to come behind them and correct their hack jobs. There is one shop I visit here locally to perform (usually difficult) troubleshooting from time to time and I get a kick out of the…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Darren, Being a “Diagnostic Tech” is a pretty broad description. Is there a particular system, or systems you prefer? - Engine 2. Drivability 3. Electrical 4. HVAC 5, Transmission 6. Chassis and alignment 7. NVH (shakes and creaks) 8. Computers and programming 9. Security systems and lock smith The list goes on and on, narrow down your interests and focus on specializing in one…

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Rod Diagnostician
California
Rod
 

Agree on all points. A new term “miracle techs” lol, They also don't talk about the ones they could not come to a conclusion. Imagine shop owners obtaining a false point of reference watching this videos ,the conflict that it creates.

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Rod, Sad point is many customers happen across these same videos and then come in demanding that they only pay 15 minutes because that was how long the video was. One customer that I had years ago comes to mind: He had anxiety issues and he would not talk to anyone but me (I was puzzled by this). He was having a clutch replaced and wanted to dispute the labor. His proclamation to me was: "I…

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Jason Technician
Georgia
Jason
 

I've had experiences more with insurance companies who try to low ball us and its always labor time. They usually don't even say anything about the parts prices or labor rate, just the number of hours. Wanting to pay less hours than manufacturer warranty times. I've talked to some of the off the record. Know one personally. Put yourself in their position. They have to get the price down some to…

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Joel Diagnostician
California
Joel
 

In my opinion I have the capabilities coming to a conclusion , hoe rver what is not giving is the enough time to get to a conclusion, 1 hour diag on. Complex diagnostic , while the guy who did the brake job got paid 1.5 hours and congratulations for doing it in less than 1.5 hours , that is what I see most shop owner jaus say 1 hour, and sometimes just to duplicate an certain conditions where…

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Justin Technician
California
Justin
 

In my opinion it has caused shop dispatcher to give more and more of these diagnostics jobs to the thinker in the shop but he is normally not respected nearly enough and if flat rate Way underpaid . Now if diagnosis is spread to ALL techs so they can get the customer in and out quickly this is what happens . 1- Part is replaced and car is problem free , if intermittent , for a while at best . Or…

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