Two years ago, I made the jump from working at independently owned repair shops to working at a dealership. One might think dealership life would be glamorous; working at the cusp of automotive technology and having the resources of a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate at your disposal. And yet, its surprisingly un-fantastic. Sure, the pay is decent and the benefits are something you wont get at many independent shops, but it’s loaded with bureaucracy and, in my case, monotonously boring cars. This isn’t what lead me to want to be a mechanic.
Privately owned repair shops get a far more diverse range of automobiles, and while a lot of them fall into the category of “piece of shit” or “snooze-mobile”, I’ve gotten to work on some really cool stuff in my years at Joe Blows Garage. I miss getting excited to go into work, knowing I was going to get my hands on a classic car or go balls deep into an interesting import. I’ve changed engines, upgraded brake systems, installed aftermarket parts and performed general repairs on a plethora of desirable vehicles, but now I’ve been relegated to replacing CVTs, diagnosing rattles, and aligning frickin sonar waves on CUVs. And recalls. So many recalls. Its just not fun.
Cars have always been my deepest passion, but modern vehicles are more like rolling couches complete with half assed robo-chauffeurs than anything I’d consider exciting, interesting, or fun to work on. If that’s not enough to turn you off, how does a fully commission-based pay scale and cut down warranty times designed specifically to fuck you sound?
While the independent shops are currently still a great place to cut your teeth on stuff you might find yourself passionate about, I honestly couldn’t recommend a career in automotive, dealer or otherwise, to anyone who isn’t excited about the electrification of our roads. Times are changing fast, and between the ever-evolving safety systems and the all-electric horizon, this just isn’t a place for enthusiasts anymore.