Over the years of talking with Mechanics, we have been able to pick up a bunch of tips, tricks, and pieces of advice. We wanted to share them with you, we will update this post as we pick up more tips so check back often. Please comment with the best tips you have picked up over the years. We can all learn from each other to become Rockstar Mechanics
If something is too tight, especially bearings, try freezing them to decrease their size and then fit them in. As they warm up they will return to their regular size and fit perfectly.
To avoid having your tools go missing label them or mark them somehow. This is especially useful when lending your tools to techs who routinely forget to return them.
Maintain a Postive Work-Life Balance. This is easier said than done, especially for those of us that love what we do. Taking a passion in your job is important but do not let your job cost you your family and friends. Know when to put the tools down and give the attention to the people in your life who need it.
Be kind to your Parts People and Service Advisors. Obviously you should be kind to everyone but your Parts Tech and/or your Service Writer can make your day so much easier or so much worse. They control which jobs get assigned to you and how quickly you get your parts. Treat them right and they will go the extra mile. If you are jerk to them you can expect they will return the favour. The biggest thing is to not be arrogant. You are all on the same team and have to work together.
Hammering should be done with a Hammer. This is obvious but it is so easy to use your wrench or anything else you have close by. While they can get the job done this is also a sure fire way to break your tools. Good tools are expensive, treat them right and use them for what they were designed for.
The bigger the Equipment/Vehicles, The Bigger the Pay Check. As a General Rule of thumb the size of what you are working on determines how much you are going to get paid to fix it. This may not be fair but it is how it is. Auto Mechanics typically are paid more than Motorcycle Mechanics. Diesel Technicians earn a higher rate than Automotive Service Technicians and Heavy Equipment Mechanics, especially Mining Mechanics are usually the highest earners. There are exceptions to this in every shop but it is a general rule.
Don’t go into debt buying a new tool box. All it does is hold your tools. Any box will do. Especially when you are starting in your career, spend you tool allowance on actual tools. Don’t get me wrong, some of the boxes out there look really cool and if you really want one that is fine but make sure you have the money to buy it as it is really not necessary, it is a luxury.
Make sure the bay (garage) door is all the way open. Every day there are accidents in shops where someone is driving a truck out thinking the bay door is all the way open and they end up clipping it. This can result in pretty serious accidents and is completely avoidable. Always double-check that the door is all the way open.
If a Part is in the way remove it. Mechanics spend so much extra time trying to work around things. Save yourself some headaches, take everything out that is in the way so that you can get at what you need and then put it all back together. It seems like more work but it usually ends up saving you time and resulting in a better job.
Preventative maintenance applies to more than just vehicles. Take care of yourself like you would take care of your car. Get some exercise, eat right, take care of your mental health and get a doctors check up every once and while. Don’t wait until you are sick before you start taking care of yourself.
Protect your ears. Always wear your PPE. Unlike a car, you can’t fix your hearing. When it is gone it is gone and it takes less than you think to damage it. Wear hearing protection in the shop.
Learn how to drive or operate what you are working on. It is hard to fix it if you don’t know how to use it and how it is supposed to be used. You do not have to be an expert equipment operator or a long haul driver but you should know how to use what you are working on.
Always disconnect the battery. Don’t get zapped, even if you think it is not necessary it is easy enough to do. Your goal is not to get through your day as fast as possible, it is to get through it safely.
Mistakes are tolerated so long as they are not repeated. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they are learning. Mistakes are fine but should be treated as an opportunity to learn. Repeating the same mistake over and over again is not go.
Use the right tool for the right job. You do not need every specialty tool out there but make sure you have the right tools for what you work on the most.
When stuck, take a break. When you are getting frustrated with something it can be very helpful to walk away for a minute. Go grab a coffee and come back. Things look different with a fresh perspective.
Total compensation is more important than hourly rate. When you are considering a new job or comparing offers keep in mind the whole picture. Consider benefits package, number of hours you will be working, pension plan etc. Your hourly rate is only part of it.
Take pictures to remember where everything goes. When you are working on a complicated job take pictures on your phone throughout the job. Especially before you start pulling stuff apart. This way you can refer back when you are putting it all back together. Labelling also helps.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t let your ego get in the way. No one know everything, if you are stuck or do not know how to do something, ask someone. On the flip side, offer help to anyone else. We are all in this together and the goal is for us all to get better.
Clean your tools. Take care of your tools and they will last longer. They are an investment not a disposable commodity.
Clean before you do an inspection. It is impossible to perform a proper inspection if the truck or equipment is covered in dirt. A quick clean or at least spray down makes the job a lot easier and produces better results.