An interview with Johnny Harrah, an automotive Technician for Lunt Motor Company. Lunt Motors is Chrysler dealership that offers both mechanical and auto body services.
Q: How long have you been working as an automotive technician?
A: Ten years.
Q: Do you like repairing automatic transmissions?
A: I do, they are perhaps one of the most challenging parts of automotive repair and not everyone can do it. It takes a combination of skill and knowledge that many techs don’t have the patience to learn and it feels good knowing that I am counted on for a very important job.
Q: What kind of previous education or training for the job did you undergo?
A: I apprenticed to my father and worked for another dealership before moving to Lunt Motor Company.
Q: What are your likes and dislikes about the job?
A: I like the work, I truly enjoy working on cars and fixing them. I don’t like the pay rate at the moment and feel I should be paid more given that I am an ASE certified master technician.
Q: What about your work environment?
A: I have to say that I like some of the people I work with. However, there are some people I don’t get along with because they don’t really seem to want to work.
Q: You mention other technicians. Do you have an opinion on what makes a good one?
A: Well, I think that there is a huge difference between a mechanic, or technician if you want to get all fancy, and a parts changer. A true mechanic knows why the part broke and can diagnose the underlying problem with the vehicle. A parts changer on the other hand will just keep putting in new parts hoping that the problem will go away by itself.
Also, a good mechanic is willing to try and solve problems in creative ways if needed. I have had to create special tools to get to problem areas on a car. A lot of other mechanics will give up and say they can’t fix a car without really trying.
Q: Can you provide a description of your typical day?
A: Go to work, check to see if any parts I ordered are in so I can finish any work that was left incomplete the day or days before. Finish pressing jobs and work on whatever comes my way.
Q: What kind of breaks do you have at your job?
A: Well, I really don’t keep track of my breaks. I make sure to eat lunch, but for the most part I only take breaks when there is no work or I am waiting on a parts delivery. When I do take breaks I tend to go home or help another tech out.
Q: What do you think your next career step will be?
A: I am hoping to eventually open my own shop where I feel I will have a little more control over my own destiny.
Q: What previous job history prepared you for becoming a mechanic?
A: I worked for a Ford dealership in the early 90s and before that for myself.
Q: What types of benefits do you receive?
A: I receive medical coverage for myself, my wife, and my children. I also have a retirement fund.
Q: How much do you earn as an auto mechanic?
A: I currently earn around twenty dollars an hour if you include my benefits as part of my earnings.
Q: Do you think this is a fair pay rate?
A: Well, the shop I work at charges seventy-five dollars an hour for labor. I feel that I should be paid more because even after taking insurance into account they make well over half off of my labor. I know they have expenses but it just does not seem fair. I also think they should provide their mechanics with a tool fund. Over time my tools can break, get lost, or in some cases get stolen, and it really hurts my paycheck to have to replace my own tools.
If you’re interested in becoming an automotive technician, take a look at our list of automotive technician schools in Texas.