Tech Stuff

People Need Preventive Maintenance, Too

Every vehicle requires periodic maintenance (preventive maintenance) to avoid problems. The same holds true for certain tools and shop equipment. Lifts should be inspected annually, office and shop computers require updates, torque wrenches require periodic calibration, pneumatic tools require in-line lubrication to prevent dry running and lockups. Bay door rollers require cleaning and lube to keep them running smoothly.

The shop roof needs to be inspected on occasion to see if any repairs are needed before you run into a leak situation. Asphalt parking lots need to be re-sealed to avoid age and use damage. Gravel parking lots require periodic filling and leveling. Wall-mount fire extinguishers and plumbed fire extinguisher systems need to be inspected and recharged according to local regulations.

The list goes on. But what about the people who keep everything in motion? Busy shops are, well, busy. From the time you clock in to the time you finally call it a day, chances are everyone in the shop has been bouncing from one vehicle to another or grinding away, both physically and mentally, to address a particularly difficult diagnosis and repair.

Stressful days take their toll. Consider a regularly scheduled mental-relief time such as an annual outing that might involve a picnic, a group visit to an amusement park or zoo, or a monthly get-together at a local restaurant, bowling alley, golf course, etc.

Having a day, or even just a few hours, as a group in a relaxed atmosphere can go a long way to reduce stress and to bolster the bond among the entire staff as an extended family.

The careers that we chose consume a great deal of our time, effort and passion. It may be hard to find the time, but rewarding ourselves as a group can have an enormous effect on unifying everyone in the shop. ■

WE WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR WEIRD ONES

Every technician has run into the “weird” jobs where either the vehicle or the customer (or both) have driven you batty. Examples: the light truck that “makes a tinny, annoying noise.” When raised up on the lift, you find an exhaust system that has been band-aided by an inter-connecting array of tin cans, with the customer noting that “it was cheaper than replacing the pipes.” Or the teenage girl who was tired of adding oil to her leaking engine and decided to fill the crankcase to the point where the oil level reached the dipstick handle “so she wouldn’t have to worry about running low.” Or the “loose” steering where someone had installed a bunch of zip ties to the outer tie rod ends to the steering arms. Or the day that your shop went above and beyond by performing an act of kindness to a driver who was down on their luck to get them back on the road. You get the drift.

We all have funny and/or horrific stories to tell. We’d love to hear about your experiences so that we can share them with all of our readers. Email your most memorable moments to me at [email protected]. Make sure to include your name and your shop’s name.

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