It’s good to have youth in the shop
On The Road AgainAugust 1, 2012 | 3,538 views | Post a comment
Every so often, a young person will express an interest in learning to repair cars, and for those who are old enough and mature enough, I often make a spot for them in the shop. At first, most of them don’t know which end of the screwdriver to hold, and they slow you down as you guide them along. There are even times when the lack of experience will cause something to get stripped out or broken off, which is time-consuming to rectify. Eventually, however, they begin picking up the procedures, the best type of tool for every situation, and where in the tool box or shop to locate each tool. Then they become more valuable as their thought process begins to figure out the next step before that step is even needed.
It is a long process, but eventually the shop intern goes from being a liability to an asset, especially when they can work on one project while you work on another. It is a gradual and beautiful thing to watch, and whether the intern decides to be a mechanic for a living or not, it is still great experience for them.
Imagine if your air conditioner went out, and your teenage son or daughter gave you a list of parts to buy so he or she could fix it for you. My current intern, Virgil Romo, has been helping out in the shop since last October. He’s helped with numerous projects, from brakes, oil changes, and shocks to engine swaps, A/C repair, and CV joint replacement, just to name a few. At 16, he already wants to specialize in A/C repair, and is starting to compile his own set of tools.
Working on A/C in South Texas means he will likely never starve, at least not during the 11 months of summer. Since he’ll have to buy his own first car, he is saving a good chunk of his earnings to buy that cherished clunker. He has expressed a desire to find a car with mechanical problems for not much money, and to repair it back into roadworthy condition. Not only will this save him some dough, but he’ll be familiar with the under-hood goings-on before it ever hits the super slab. And one thing is for sure -- this car, whatever he decides to buy -- will have a working A/C unit before he ever stabs it into “D.”