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Ode to the Automotive Technician



I'm a journeyman technician

In an Automotive shop

I'm supposed to know the answers

From the bottom to the top


I should diagnose the problem

With just a single look,

And if I fail to fix it,

You think I'm a crook


When I charge you for my labor

You bitch and scream and moan,

And even call and threaten me

Upon the telephone


But technology in the auto

is advancing every year,

And for the systems I must know

I simply have no peer


I must be more electrician

Than the man who wires your home,

For the wiring system in your car

Outstrips the Astrodome


Then refrigeration systems

That I'm supposed to know

Have more gadgets than your home

To make the d**n thing go


Electronics now have made the scene

And more are coming yet

Some models now will far exceed

Your television set


In hydraulics I have more to learn

Than a specialist in pumps

There's brakes and shock absorbers

to help absorb the bumps


Torque converters and transmissions

With servos, valves and gears,

with models by the hundreds

Introduced in recent years


Fuel systems of a hundred kinds

I must adjust and meter

Each far more complicated

Than your furnace or water heater


The principles of combustion

I must know from A to Z

And gear trains that will far exceed

Most all machinery


I'm in welding, I'm in plumbing

For water, vacuum, oil and fuel

Compared to me, a plumber

Is a kid in grammar school


There's alignment and there's balancing

And God alone knows what

If I fix it, thats expected

If I don't, I'm on the spot


There's models, makes and systems

Some seven hundred strong

And new ones coming up each year

To help the scheme along


Now compare me to the Doctor

Whose prices make mine meager,

Yet folks revere his expertise

Ever more impressed and eager


The human body hasn't changed

In twenty thousand years,

And every model works the same

from the ankles to the ears


There's years of school to learn his field

And almost none in mine

I've learned by practicing my trade

And I read what I can find


There's new equipment and techniques

And medicines for sure

But this is true in my field, too

As much, or even more


There's lots of books he has to read

His procedures to define,

But for every page in his field

There's twenty-five in mine


There's no comebacks and no warranty

You pay for what you get,

And then come back and pay again

If he hasn't fixed it yet


His mistakes are often buried

While mine come back for free

And he plays golf on Wednesday

While my customers hassle me


We spend millions of tax dollars

Sending kids to medical school,

But if you ask for some in my field

You're treated like a fool


Everybody has just one body,

But not one has more

But when it comes to autos

You may have three or four


But you'll go right on complaining

Of the way I run my show

With no appreciation

For the things I have to know


And you'll take your high school dropout

And you'll shove them off to us

And expect them to be experts

While you rant and rave and fuss


And when your car cannot be serviced

I'll not hang my head in shame

So you'd best wake up America

And find out who's to blame

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I tell you what this hits the nail on the head!!! It frustrates me to no end that there is not any kind of school for this type of job. Thank god for tech centers in my area that teach automotive repair. In high school all I did is work at the local garage, but with todays cars and trucks I would not know where to start. :uhoh: to are beloved GMtech!

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Guys, listen to GMTech this ain't no BS. The auto repair industry is in for a world of hurt if we lose good techs who know their stuff because they don't want to deal with the crap that customers give them.


If this keeps up, just pray that you have a hook-up for parts at the dealer or the parts store, so that you can throw parts at the problem and not pay that much. If we lose the good guys like GMTech that's what the future techs will do anyway so just save yourself the time and do it yourself.


I was reading in Car And Driver that GM is going to try and make ESC (Electronic Stability Control) standard on every car in the coming years. Just goes to show just how dang complicated cars are getting nowadays and they are just going to get worse as the manufacturers will try to squeeze every bit of mileage off of less and less fuel by adding more stuff. My 87 Mustang has one computer, my 03 Silverado has 3 if I'm not mistaken, and I think there's a BMW with 5 or more!


I'm glad I got out of the field when I had the chance.

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It's actually ironic that you mention how complicated cars are becoming at the same time as you mention the techs. I remember my dad doing a complete tear down and rebuild of his 1971 Chevrolet K/10 by himself. It wasn't that long ago that he was down to changing the oil and filters on his cars because of how complex they've become. Now I don't think he even does that himself. He figures it's worth ~$20 to just avoid the hassle since the engine compartments are so packed now.

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