Introductions: what makes a foreign car repair junkie tick.
I thought I'd start my blog with an introduction. My name is Greg Minnick and I'm passionate about fixing cars. Particularly foreign cars. I've always had an insane desire to take things apart and figure out how and why they work. I also love to learn new things, and when you work on cars every day, there are always new things to learn. I have the ability to read a book or technical manual and learn how to do something from what I read; my wife tells me that's unusual. I also have the confidence that I will be able to tackle a new job and that my past experiences, current skills and insatiable desire to learn will get me through the job successfully.
My path has been fairly unusual, compared to most technicians. I started with small repairs on my parents cars, and then my cars. I've taken a few night classes but never completed an automotive technology program. Then, I held a variety of odd jobs including a few years working as a bike messenger in Washington, D.C.. I worked as an auto glass technician, and really enjoyed the work, as I was very good at. Auto glass was something that required a good bit of skill to make the job look perfect. The greatest compliment in that job was, “I'd never believe my windshield had been replaced if I hadn't just watched you do it”.
Desiring a new challenge, I started working on cars professionally at a Honda dealer in Athens, Georgia. I then landed a position at RBM of Atlanta, a large Mercedes dealer. I started in an in house apprenticeship program, which was a highly competitive program to get into. RBM was a great place to learn. They have high standards for work quality and they would let you try any repair if they were confident in your skills. I received a very well rounded skill set from working there.
My wife and I ended up in Kalamazoo, and I went to work at Foreign Car Services. Here, I gained experience in other car brands. Again, my joy of learning new things served me well, as it can be a bit of an adjustment going from working on one brand of car to multiple brands. I also got to learn about rust, as we didn't see much of that in Atlanta.
I hope to accomplish a few things here. Automotive repair is a field with a lot of technical knowledge needed. The complexity of cars is increasing rapidly, and the days of the less than intelligent mechanic being able to flourish are long gone. The auto repair industry also has a less than stellar reputation. Unless you have a recommendation from a friend or coworker, you have very little to go on but blind faith. You pick a shop at random or by cheapest price, you drop your car off with a problem and hope it comes back fixed and in one piece. It may very well work out just fine. But sometimes hijinks ensue. Or things don't turn out as planned. There are some shops out there with a desire to rip you off, or give you the bait and switch, but in my opinion there is a lot more incompetence, poor communication, bad luck, technicians having bad days, vendors failing to deliver parts, an unexpected rusted and now broken bolt that derails the whole repair process, etc. that conspire to make your auto repair experience far from tolerable.
I hope to be able to educate you a little about how your car works and how the auto repair process works. I hope that you'll have a new respect for automotive technicians, as many of them are very intelligent, hard working individuals, who sometimes have to give up their evenings and weekends to study and stay current with a rapidly changing technology. And I hope maybe I can make you smile or laugh along the way. And I expect that I'll get to learn some new things from the questions and comments you may present me with. I'm always ready to learn something new.