Auto Repair Business True Story

Pontiac Bonneville Tri Power V81964 Pontiac Bonneville 389 CID

This auto repair business story is what happened to me and should not be considered a reflection on other auto shops that may run a customer focused operation.

The views on this page are my opinions. When I was 16 1/2 years old I started working at a gas station in New Jersey. The state of New Jersey only has full service gas pumps.

In fact, you're not allowed to pump your own gas. For my first job in the auto repair business, I was a petroleum transfer engineer or better known as a gas pumper. It sounds like a simple enough job, but it wasn't.

After about an hour into my first day the auto shop owner came over to me and said you must ask everyone that comes in for gas if they want there engine oil checked.

If they say no talk them into it and don't take no for an answer. When they cave in pull the stick and tell them it’s a quart low even if its not. Then you tell them a quart of oil is $2.50 and add the money to the fuel charges.

His instructions were to walk up to vehicle proudly displaying the oil bottle and fake pour the oil in. Don't actually put oil in the vehicle.

Take the top off and do a good job of faking it. Then recheck the dipstick and tell them they're in good shape, because now it is filled to its proper level. It being my first day in the auto repair business and only being 16 years old I complied with the intimidating owners wishes.

Retail Auto Repair Shop Businesses

I will never forget how my view of the world changed that day. I went from being a good kid leading a sheltered life to aiding and assisting a thief.

This was also the first time anybody used intimidation tactics on me. The owner of the auto repair business was a real big guy About 6’4 300lbs and was a master at the art of intimidation.

He would get real close to you and stare right in your eyes looking right into your soul with a very stern look and would speak loud and angry.

He used this technique on his employees, customers and even his wife that worked in the office.

Very few people had the courage to say no to him. He made a lot of money from the auto repair business and retired at age 50 from this small gas station and 3 bay shop using these techniques.

car repair equipmentPlymouth Roadrunner Raised on Lift

One day my own father came into the auto repair business for gas and as I pumped it the owner came up and started yelling at me.

My dad got out of his car and used the same techniques of intimidation right back on the owner. He was shocked and backed down real fast.

Few people stood up to this guy and if you did he would instantly back down for a variety of reason I would later come to understand and I will explain in detail in my book. Well after a few days of pumping gas at the auto repair shop and not pulling the oil scam I was fired.

The owner counted on making this extra 2.50 per vehicle and would not tolerate any gas pumper that refused to apply his technique. The owner of this auto repair shop and gas station had 3 mechanics working for him.

They had no problem using scams on their lifeblood, the customers. I remember hearing them talk about it with no remorse. The whole bunch of them would say things like she has plenty of money or her father is loaded with cash.

When someone got ripped off they justified it to themselves so they could sleep at night. The shop owner would support and encourage the thievery that was going on.

He awarded under the table cash bonuses to the crew. I was determined to be a mechanic and I was hoping that my first experience with this gas station was an isolated incident.

Not All Car Shops are Evil

I spent a lot of money in auto repair training and tools and became a Certified Master Mechanic. As I progressed through the years as a mechanic, service adviser, service manager and now having gone full circle back to being a mechanic working for local government.

I found that most, but not all, auto repair shops were like the first one I had seen. I don’t want to scare you or make you think there's no hope of finding a trust worthy repair center.

Some very reliable honest people are in the car business. And that is what my book is about. You will learn how to find the good shops. In most cases a dishonest shop is also lacking in other areas besides truth and honesty.

You'll find that if a shop doesn’t care about customer satisfaction and fair business practices they'll make other big mistakes. As an example, the same car repair shop might not care about EPA regulations and shop safety requirements.

These violations go against (OSHA) mandates plus local and state regulations. These deficiencies can easily lead to a shop closing its doors and also a possibility of heavy fines or even jail time for the owner.

This next link takes you to more of my stories about the automotive repair business and a funny video to keep things in perspective. Go to the auto repair book page.

Learn more about the aging car mechanic that built this automotive website by going back to the homepage. Find some answers to pressing car questions.

Avoid your auto repair shop all together by fixing your own car! More about this subject on the online auto repair manuals page that includes a how to video.

This next link takes you to more of my stories about the automotive repair business and a funny video to keep things in perspective. Go to the auto repair book page.

Learn more about the aging car mechanic that built this automotive website by going back to the homepage. Find some answers to pressing car questions.

Avoid your auto repair shop all together by fixing your own car! More about this subject on the online auto repair manuals page that includes a how to video.