Day in the life of
Auto Service Technician – Giselle Cortez
A typical day at work includes a variety of different vehicle diagnosis, repairs, and maintenance services. Since our dealership uses an online scheduling appointment system, I am able to know up to two weeks in advance what my schedule will include for a certain day of the week. In regards to the appointments that are scheduled, scheduling is based on the technicians’ availability as well as their experience level. For example, a new tech in training will most likely not be scheduled for diagnosis in engine performance until they have shown that they can successfully complete regular vehicle maintenance and perform safety recall repairs.
With my experience level, my schedule will often include vehicle diagnosis varying from engine performance, electrical system diagnosis, steering and suspension, transmissions, and vehicle entertainment systems.
Once I am able to recommend the repair procedure, the vehicle repair will either be performed by myself or another technician based on availability.
- I do not have to worry about not being able to diagnose every vehicle. If I have followed all the proper diagnostic steps and I am still not able to identify the problem, Ford provides a Technical Assistance Hotline where I am able to connect to a Field Service Engineer who is able to help diagnose the concern and provide a solution.
- Appointment-based systems allow me to plan ahead and to better manage my time.
- Once a technician is successful in making high productivity hours they can move up from hourly pay to flat rate pay (double the minimum wage/or more).
- Opportunity to earn bonus pay based on productivity.
- Tools are expensive but they are what help you earn money. Depending on the dealer, they may pay you more if you bring your own tools to work.
- Micromanaging: the technician is often not given space to flourish and to try new levels of diagnosis/repair. It may take months before they are considered for training.
- Favoritism: Unfortunately this is an issue other technicians and myself have encountered in various dealerships. I have had instances where the appointments that I can efficiently complete in half the scheduled time (good for productivity and earning more hours so I can hit my bonus) are taken off my schedule and given to another technician.
- I have often found myself being given a vehicle repair/diagnosis second hand because the first technician couldn’t figure it out or wasted too much time. These are the same technicians who make more in hourly pay than me yet I am the one regularly fixing their mistakes, oftentimes they are appointments that were originally scheduled for me.
- Long hours, some work may carry on to the weekend, although not a requirement, you are expected to come in on the weekend to finish the job.
- Appointments may be a no call or no show, leaving the technician with nothing to do during that scheduled time which will negatively affect their productivity.
These responses are based on my own personal experience as well as other technicians whom I’ve worked with. I understand that responses will vary by different dealerships. I personally may have not worked at the best dealership there is which is why the cons may outweigh the pros. Either way, it is what helped motivate me to go back to school and by working at the dealer for 3+ years I have gained the experience needed to further advance in the automotive field.
Giselle is an auto service technician at a Ford dealership. She also serves as CNCDA Scholarship Foundation Ambassador. As an Ambassador, she volunteers her time to speak and promote the career value of the auto technician profession while underscoring the benefits of working for a franchise new car dealership in California. She not only represents the next gen of the automotive employee, but as a woman, she contributes to the cultivation of workforce equity in the industry.