The Untrained Mechanic

If you have been through the manufacturer-dealership gauntlet with a lemon vehicle, you probably wondered why they didn’t simply fix the problem and let you get on with your life. You didn’t start your day thinking, how can I get the manufacturer, or this %$%^$& dealership to pay. You’d be happy for them to do their thing and let you do yours.

Getting a Lemon Law attorney is pretty low on the list, if you even knew there was such a thing. But it does happen and it is going to continue to happen. This is an unfortunate fact of life, particularly in a society that loves its automobiles.

Automobiles are more than essential to our daily lives; they are at the very heart of our economy. This is big business at its biggest. Even car dealerships are becoming big businesses.
It is an unfortunate axiom in business that when the going gets tough you cut departmental budgets.

Two departments that are always first up on the block are training and quality. Common sense tells us that these are the absolute last places to make cuts. It would make far more sense to go to every department and arbitrarily remove two layers of management. People who are dumping their work on others, creating little kingdoms whose measure of success is number of staff, would be forced to produce with fewer people stumbling all over each other. Streamlining management would speed the flow of work through the organization exponentially. It is sad that common sense is so seldom applied.

Untrained workers are a liability. This is fact. To allow them to continue to be untrained or intentionally withhold training to enhance the dealership’s bottom line, is worse than ignorant, it borders on the criminal.

Out there at the dealership, we are at the mercy of the people who work on our car. In the world of modern auto mechanics – we call them technicians now – lack of training is the source of astonishing inefficiencies, lost and or totally infuriated customers, major warranty costs for manufacturers and occasionally, loss of life.

If you are saying, “it can’t be that bad.” Think again. The need for well-trained auto mechanics, or technicians, if you prefer, is a national problem and it isn’t getting better despite auto mechanic schools springing up in every town and city.

More in the common sense department: Thousands of Lemon vehicles are replaced or refunded every year. Many of these cars had problems so complex that the technicians at the dealership couldn’t correctly diagnose and repair them. You imagine that because it is a large dealership, there must be people trained to repair what they sell. This assumption is as defective as the cars they cannot repair. The manufacturer must shoulder part of the problem to be sure. It is, after all, their responsibility to ensure that their dealerships personnel receive training on each new model car.
T
he need for auto mechanics is so desperate in some parts of the country, dealerships offer auto mechanics who are tech school graduates, substantial signing bonuses, like a high school baseball pitcher phenon from Bakersfield. Admittedly it isn’t in the millions. Large car dealerships will happily pay the tuition of technical school students as long as they can get them when they graduate. It’s a complex problem.