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New year, new column!

"Tech Corner" is focused on you—the professional automotive technician
Friday, January 1, 2016 - 09:00
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"Tech Corner" is focused on you—the professional automotive technician

It has been my great pleasure to travel across our country to a variety of trade and association events over the last several years, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet techs from all over the world in the process. There are many common bonds among us, not the least of which is the desire to stay educated and on top of the technology that is changing so fast around us.

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Many of you that I’ve met are also highly skilled – probably the top 10 percent of our industry when it comes to efficiently and effectively diagnosing the root cause of failure in these complex systems. You’ve developed effective troubleshooting strategies, invented new ways of using old diagnostic equipment, and have even come up with brand new methods of your own!

Back in the old days, we willingly shared our own experiences and expertise with others in our shop and we all became the better for it. With the advent of the Internet, that sharing now takes place on a global stage but sadly, not all of what you find when you “Google” a problem is in keeping with standard industry practices and guidelines and some results could even cause more harm than good.

In this column, I intend to bring you new testing techniques, new repair procedures, a few war stories or just sage advice I learn from the collective whole as I continue my travels and interactions with you – our faithful readers. I am also inviting any one of you that have an interesting diagnostic story to share to submit it for inclusion in this column. If you think you have a good tale to tell and the talent to tell it, send me an email ( with your submission!

Let’s start with a war story

I’ll be the first one to say that I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world. I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when I was given the opportunity to join Motor Age fulltime. Up to that point, I was working in a shop as a technician and had been for nearly 35 years. Had it not been for the magazine, I’d still be sweating over a wrench until the day I couldn’t do it anymore.

Because I’ve “been there, done that,” I understand how tough this business is and how tough it can be to make a living doing what we do. We stay in it because, God help us, we love the challenges of fixing what is broken! And I can personally say that this business always supplied me with a steady living, if not always a lucrative one.

Training was always an issue. Most of the shops I worked for didn’t supply training, and if there was training available from a third-party source, I didn’t know about it or I couldn’t afford it. I’m sure many of you reading this are shaking your heads in agreement with me. That’s why it is my primary objective each and every month to provide you with as many resources as I can, in as many ways as I can, all with the idea of trying to make your life in the shop a bit easier and to put a little more coin in your pocket each pay day.

Vehicle systems on the market today require precise diagnosis and repair in order to function as designed. Anything less could result in injury to you or your customer.

Are you availing yourself of all these resources we’ve started for you? Do you get the Certified Technician newsletter? Have you attended one of our free technical webinars (hosted at least four times a year)? Are you subscribed to our YouTube channel? If you said “no” to any of the above, what are you waiting for?

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