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Old 02-05-2013, 11:15 AM   #1
05subaru_94
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So this is just gonna be a thread for anyone who wants to state the training they got and put in age/career/hobby/future plans they have.
Simple?

I myself am a 3rd year student at Bethlehem Vo-tech in PA and am currently 18. After I graduate I plan on going to Northampton community college for my Associates degree. While a student I want a part time job in a local garage and then after those 2 years maybe penntech for more training & business classes for a bachlors (hopefully). In the future I would like to be a professional tuner, anyone know of a good place to get that training?

If you picked up the trade from family/friend that's fine too!

Just state your training and experience

Was it fun/enjoyable/beneficial? YES
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Last edited by 05subaru_94; 03-06-2013 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
HinshawWRX
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2 years Vocational training for Automotive Technology in high school. Included Technical honor society awards and Skills USA contests.
2 years Community college for GM-Automotive Service Education Program (GM-ASEP)
1 year doing tires and oil changes at SEARS.
5 years working for various Chevy, Jeep, Subaru, Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Volvo dealers.

Fun? Classroom work was, working the career was a challenge for me with some medical issues. Informative much more then anything. If I could do it again I wouldn't have tried to make a career out of it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
sc00by4life
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HinshawWRX View Post
Fun? Classroom work was, working the career was a challenge for me with some medical issues. Informative much more then anything. If I could do it again I wouldn't have tried to make a career out of it.
Same. Went through auto tech in high school, 2 years of technical training through a local college, along with years of dealership work as well as a couple high end motorsports facilities.

I found that even working on GT3 cup cars, making a career out of cars ruined working on my own cars for me. I never wanted to put in the work on my own cars because I was just sick of well....turning wrenches all day. As soon as I realized this, I quickly made my exit - and now enjoy a much more enjoyable and (financially) rewarding career.

At the end of the day - no matter how much you love or think you love cars, its still a job.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
daseca07
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started out in high school mainly because i already had most credits to graduate so it was just a time killer but i was really good at it. my dad is auto tech on all makes including trucks/buses. was gonna get into aviation tech in the military but a heart attack stopped that at 17. continued with auto tech training at a community college which also had subaru tech training and thats how i got started with subarus by enrolling in that program. worked for acura/honda went to dealership training for that as well and hyundai and my last stop was chrysler. now work for the government as a diesel tech with benefits set for life and easy work with no pressure. also a shop supervisor now. i still wrench on other cars street, cars race cars whatever. i turned into my dad lol. i have no regrets with it. just how you go about it. use the dealership and independent shop as experience. most former dealer techs that come work on my shift are the most all out productive workers. either you will hate the career or love it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:02 PM   #5
Riz98
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I did two years of automotive classes in highschool and then went to UTI in Chicago. After that I worked at a Nissan dealership until I got laid off due to slow business. After that I did tires, brakes and alignments for a couple years. Even with ASE certifications it was hard to find a good paying job. Got tired of that and moved to California to snowboard and live in the mountains. Overall I obtained alot of automotive knowledge but like HinshawWrx said I wouldnt try and make it a career if I could do it again. After working 8 hours on other peoples cars it was hard to find the motivation to work on my own. Now I work on jets in the Navy as a engine/fuel mechanic.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:17 PM   #6
cal_look_zero
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Hands on. Been at it for 11 years now. Started with a lawnmower engine in 8th grade tech class, VW engines freshman year, worked a few dealerships. Spent a year working on wind turbines. Now I do my own thing on the side, from oil changes to full engine builds and everything in between.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
Jack
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I started out with a curiosity with mechanical things and parents who knew only that when the key in the car was turned, it magically started and moved.

I started fixing my own bicycles. At maybe 14, my uncles (1 and 3 years older than me) had shed bicycles and were getting into cars. I went with my dad in his Vista Cruiser and totally filled the car with bicycle parts. My friends and I built all kinds of crazy bikes. Extended fork choppers, demolition bikes that we'd compete with, etc. My dad bought a new lawn mower and I took the old toro engine, found a minibike frame and bought a clutch from a friend and had transport.

Started working on the parents' cars. Did the oil changes. Once I got my cars, taught myself body work. Eventually started painting and airbrushing. Painted a few cars and vans, made somewhat of a living pinstriping and lettering.

Educated in tech, and kept the auto work all on the fun side. Did van conversions, engine upgrades, got into shows with BMWs, following years running van shows. Eventually autocross and track. Built several racecars and a Factory Five Cobra completely myself.

Always has been non-money activity. The wife suggested at one point that I build kid cars as a business, but I know I'd end up hating it. Future: my Fusion is due for an oil change....I'd like to do a supercharger on the Lotus and my son's getting a car soon. I'm 100 this year. I'll probably be 13 next year. Yes, I am a Highlander.....look it up.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:54 AM   #8
mod maniac
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Well my family owned muffler shops and gas stations. So before I could read I pumped gas, checked oil, checked air presure and cleaned windshields. We built dune buggies in the muffler shop so I learned alot of mechanics then. I was welding by 10 years old. In high school I got kicked out of auto shop because the teacher didn't like me teaching everyone stuff. At 18 my dad bought me a tool box and I went to work in a truck shop. I have been doing mechanics for most of my life but 32 years since high school. I have owned my own business for 11 of those years. I still love it.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:20 AM   #9
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I read that textbook cover to cover and worked in our university's engine lab. I knew how engines worked from a young age, I just wanted to know why they were designed the way they were.

Fun? You bet your ass.
Enjoyable? I chose to take those classes.
Beneficial? My dream job would be designing engines, I need more experience as an engineer. For now that is what I am working towards.

Last edited by JSchell1309; 02-06-2013 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:23 AM   #10
Lrn2Corner
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Votech highschhol automotive class.
Apprentice at a shop during highschool.
Worked at a walmart lube only to get fired for threatening to report them for the idiot they had working there who was damaging cars and operating them without a license (which they knew about).
Attended Universal Tehcnical Institute.
Worked for a couple Toyota Dealers. Boss at the first one was a douche who treated us like crap. Boss at the other shop was an incompetent moron who quit just before he was about to get fired.
Joined the Coast Guard when the last dealer I was at was firing people due to the economy sucking and not enough work coming in.
Keeping cars as a hobby. Making a living working on them kills my love for working on my own car.
Might get back into the field through engineering or sales later.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:40 AM   #11
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I came up the old school way. At age 15 started as a mechanics helper at a vw dealership, worked my way up to a line mechanic in the late 60's. Ihave been pushing wrenches ever since. I have been master certified by vw. subaru, lamborghini, lotus,maserati, audi,mazda, and more. I have always loved it. I learned body and paint along the way, and also metal fabrication. At age 61 I still push wrenches, I still fabricate race cars, and I still drag race vw bugs (pro mod). In my life time I have worked on and driven almost every kind of hot rod, muscle car. and exotic car one can imagine
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:34 AM   #12
scarney1988
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Worked at a independent repair shop during highschool.

Acquired an associates degree in automotive technology with a T-TEN certificate (Camden County College).

Got ASEs and other manufacturer specific awards.

Worked at various Toyota/Lexus/Scion dealers (quitting my way to the top) for about 5 years. I spent the last year of that in community college (Delaware County Community College) taking classes for Electrical Engineering. I'm now in school fulltime aspiring to graduate in spring/15 (Temple University).

If I could offer some advice.... if not just ignore the following.

I made decent money (final pay rate of 21.72/hr), but when I got layed off I was thankful. If you find yourself working in a flatrate environment, which is likely, you will learn to think of your day in tenths of an hour. When its busy you will probably make good money (depends on fairness of work dispatch). When its slow, you may get minimum wage paychecks (or even less if the shop disregards minimum wage laws, which is common). Again, I did well, but you have to accept a variable pay salary as part of the industry. Honestly, there are so many situations that come up with flatrate pay system that its astonishing. You'll either hate it or love, and your coworkers and managers will have a lot to do with it.

As far as schooling. I would only recommend attending classes at accredited institutions. This means community colleges and universities accredited by middle states in our area (both from PA). Pennsylvania College of Technology offers the bachelours programs you may be interested in (Automotive Technology and Business Management or something like that, online courses). I never went there, but I almost did that myself. Met quite a few of their graduates working for TMC.



Im done I could keep going, but planning where you want to end up thoroughly can shortcut you to sucess in the field.

Last edited by scarney1988; 02-06-2013 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:27 PM   #13
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While I'm no expert, I know my way around cars. I have learned over time simply from trying myself. I also worked with a buddy who went to college for a couple years for auto tech. If there is something I don't know how to do, I conduct research and figure it out. I also worked in the auto field as a Service Writer, Salesman, and Parts Counter Person for a combined 4+ years. That alone helped me to learn more about cars from a variety of different manufacturers (Subaru, VW, KIA, Toyota, Ford GMC). I love working on cars as a hobby and it has been a great way to make new friends.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:02 PM   #14
itstony
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Currently in my 3rd year at Benjamin Franklin IT for my bachelors degree. I never have had any Voc. tech background but i did it because of my interest in cars. Going to start finding a job soon in the field whether its an indy shop or dealership. I know everyone says they end up getting too lazy to work on their own cars but if that happens to me..i'll most likely get into management with the bachelor degree and the business classes i'm taking.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:41 PM   #15
RockNRace03
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NACC has a great auto program. i did my first year but never completed

4 years lehigh career & tech. institute during highschool. ~10 months of co-op time
1 year Northampton CC auto program. ~6 months co-op time
10 months and counting working full time for a exotic sports car shop. by far the most educational experience i've had.

northampton was great, i just couldnt pass up the job offer. good luck, the teachers are really good and fun to be around
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:30 AM   #16
575rider
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I know this is a long post, but to those guys starting fresh, you will learn a lot about perseverance and drive to learn!!

No 'official training', worked at a gas station that had 2 repair bays. Watched the mechnincs there and asked lots of questions. First car was a '82 VW Scirocco, ended up modding suspension, brakes, put on a big valve head, cam, and exhaust. I helped the mechanic at the gas station do the work and watched everything he did.

Several years later I had a 84 Rabbit GTI that was stolen and wrecked. I had lots of mods on it so I bought it back, salvage was $150, spent $800 on Craftsman tools and various speciallty tools as I needed them, plus $50 on a Bentley manual, and dove right in. Then bought a theft recovery GTI that'd had the interior striped out and swapped the interior. Within a few weeks my friend, now ex-friend, wrecked it. Bought another GTI with a blown motor. I did a motor swap (built the motor in my bedroom actually...it was a rental home), new clutch, etc. and turned it into a really bad ass car.

That ex-friend is/was a great mechanic and he helped me along the way. We pnp'd the head and throttle body, and some other air flow work. But, truthfully I just read the Bentley manual and worked slowly to make sure I was doing it correctly. I have no idea how many times I've swapped suspension parts between the 4 GTI's I owned, but I got damn good at it.

Then did various work on other vehicles I owned, over the years, until getting a WRX. It ended up getting totaled, but had a lot of mods on it too. So, since it was paid for, I bought another on and came home from work and swapped parts back and forth every night after work. Learned how the turbo went on, got everything hooked up correctly and fired it up. I HAD to get my new one running so I could get to work the next day, so I ran between my computer and the car using Google an awful lot, but I managed to make it all come together.

It was frustrating, stressful, wanted to quit and pay someone at certain points, but I kept plugging away and learned an awful lot. With a lot of patience, trips to the parts and tool store, and many hours of my time, I got my car put together. I paid for it to be tuned, it runs like a champ, and I've put almost 90k miles on it since all that without a hiccup. Outside of regular maintenance and a broken transmission, it's been an awesome car. I drive the crap out of it, rap it out at the track, hammer the backroads, and have taken many road trips in it. It's a pleasure to drive, I can't see myself getting rid of it. I'll rebuild the motor when it's time and keep this one alive for a long long time.

Last edited by 575rider; 02-07-2013 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:20 PM   #17
05subaru_94
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So far everyone has some pretty intersting backgrounds of their training. Alot of these are inspirational as well as informative and we can tell that mechanics is fasinating being able to understand how a complex engine works and eventually becomes simplar in the mind.

Thankyou for all of the stories, keep it up !
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:56 AM   #18
Uncle Scotty
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it is a real bad idea to make your hobby your career

it really kills the hobby end of it.....i promise

if ya got a real passion for cars....make your millions first....then get deep into them

its much more fun that way
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #19
Serkan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
it is a real bad idea to make your hobby your career

it really kills the hobby end of it.....i promise

if ya got a real passion for cars....make your millions first....then get deep into them

its much more fun that way
Wow I can't believe I could agree with what this guy says.

My friends and family always tell me why I don't open up a mechanic and I tell them it is something I like and I don't want to ruin it.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:15 AM   #20
indytruckboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
it is a real bad idea to make your hobby your career

it really kills the hobby end of it.....i promise

if ya got a real passion for cars....make your millions first....then get deep into them

its much more fun that way
200% agree.

And don't go to any schooling unless it's free. Hands on is the only way to learn. Ask questions to competent coworkers. I say competent. Just cause they own a set of tools, don't mean they are a mechanic. I work on for a fleet with 5 other guys, and I wouldn't let any of them work on my lawnmower.

I am double ASE Master Tech in auto and heavy w/14 years in mom&pop shops, race shops, and now a 48-truck fleet of heavy diesel.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:26 AM   #21
Bald_Wrex
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My experience started with my dad and me restoring antique Oldsmobiles when I was 8+. When I was 13 I restored what would eventually be my first car, a 1965 Oldsmobile 442. My senior year of high school I restored a 1966 Chevy II Nova SS custom street rod as a graduation present.

I went on to get my AAS in Automotive Technology then join the army as a wheeled vehicle mechanic and turned into a Stryker mechanic for 4 years. When I got out I started my engineering degree and was a supervisor at a Cummins diesel shop. Now I'm a Quality Engineer for an aftermarket automotive parts distributor.

Just the other day I was presented with two opportunities to be and engine builder for the Patron race team or to manage an automotive detailing distributing warehouse in West Palm, FL. Due to my injuries in the military, I can no longer be a technician but I'm ok with that because it ruined my passion for building and restoring my own cars.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:41 PM   #22
WashWRX
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My experience started at a young age. Helped my Grandpa rebuild his Mustang at age 10 and I was hooked at that point.

Spent 5 years as a tech at Sears while attending school for my Vehicle Engineering degree. Spent most of my time changing tires, oil changes, etc, but did get to do some more advanced jobs every once in a while. When you only work weekends it's tough to take the better paying work from the individuals who solely rely on that paycheck.

Currently am working as an OBD validation engineer for a local company. I enjoyed wrenching, but I knew that wasn't for me forever...it could not provide the lifestyle I was looking for. So I became an engineer with a focus on vehicles.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:52 PM   #23
Blktrax
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I fix cars for a living. It pays the bills and Im not stuck in an office.

Last edited by Blktrax; 02-11-2013 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:38 AM   #24
bushflyr
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I began taking my toys apart at a very early age. I had to put them back together again if I wanted to play with them again.

My toys got bigger and more expensive. I still take them apart and have to put them back together again if I want to play with them.
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