While there are plenty of misconceptions about various professions, it seems that mechanics get some heavy handed ones ascribed to them. Not all lawyers are smart, and not all computer programmers are nerdy, so the same logic will apply to mechanics. We want to point out some of the common misconceptions and stereotypes associated with mechanics, here are 10.
1) They are uneducated - Mechanics typically attend automotive training school before entering the workforce, where the real education takes place. The modern automobile is so complicated to work on that calling a mechanic uneducated would be like calling a computer technician a simpleton. It may not be a traditional education that focuses on writing skills or thesis formulations, but it involves science, math, technology and problem solving, in a combination that many people would find impossible to learn.
2) They are dishonest - This stereotype really drives mechanics crazy and for good reason. How is it possible for most mechanics to be dishonest? Do they teach dishonesty in trade school, or is every dishonest person just predisposed to becoming a mechanic? The truth is that dishonest mechanics, which do exist, have caused situations that are so memorable and unpleasant for people, that they are frequently shared and at the forefront of people's memories and, subsequently, imaginations. Don't let the bad ones spoil it for everyone else.
3) They just don't care - This stereotype couldn't be further from the truth. The idea that mechanics don't care about the work they perform is patently absurd. Quite the opposite, mechanics are some of the most prideful people when it comes to their profession. Think about what they have to endure: heavy manual labor, in any weather, with a steady stream of problematic cars, and customers upset, and very frequently at their worst. If someone puts up with all of that, they take an immense amount of pride in being able to properly perform their craft.
4) They have dirty hands - Even I have been guilty of perpetuating this stereotype, which is wrong. Not all mechanics have worn, dirty hands, although there are many who take great pride in it, as a symbol of their hard work, and battle scars. Many mechanics choose to wear gloves in order to protect their hands from damage and harmful chemicals which they work with on a regular basis. So the next time you meet a mechanic with clean hands, you won't just assume he or she works in the front office.
5) They intentionally break parts in order to get more work - This is another misconception that has been caused by unscrupulous and shady techs. Sting operations on the evening news have shown mechanics purposely damaging parts, or trying to scare the customer into services they don't need. But the truth of the matter is that these are simply outliers. In fact, even putting aside the moral implications, the legal risk of conducting business like this is so dangerous, and exposes the shop to such severe liability, that there is an incredibly small number of mechanics out there who would even think about this, let alone do it.
6) Mechanics make a ton of money - This stereotype comes from the unfortunate high cost of automotive repair. It may seem like your mechanic is rolling in the dough after you see your bill, but it's a misconception. In fact, the average pay for a mechanic is $36,100 per year, not nearly enough to retire on. The high cost of repairs comes from the many expenses associated with performing them, from ordering replacement parts, to the rent on the garage, to the insurance, licensing, taxes, advertising, and all of the normal fees associated with running a business. The mechanic's pay is very far down on that list.
7) They don't care what you think - You may believe that a mechanic doesn't really care whether or not you think they did a good job, or whether you fill out a bad review online, but that's not accurate. In addition to being surprisingly sensitive to criticism for their work, a product of pride, good mechanics care about their reputation. As a site with nearly endless customer reviews, Mechanic Advisor understands the profound effect a negative review can have on a business. And as customer reviews begin playing an even bigger role in the customer's decision making process, there will be an even greater emphasis on customer service and quality work.
8) They are all the same - I suppose that this is the crux of all stereotypes, but this one is as incorrect as ever. Not only do mechanics range in ability, specialty, and competence, but they also can have a wide range of personalities, and interests. Not all mechanics are rough around the edges, and not all are burly and tattooed. The range of personalities that choose to go into the profession is as diverse as ever, with every nationality, age, and even gender represented across the spectrum. The only common thread is a passion for their work, and the desire to ensure that what they do on a daily basis provides meaning and help for their customers, as well as a livelihood for their own families.
MechanicAdvisor.com is one of the largest online mechanic resources in the US. We are the premier website for consumers to research and connect with reputable local mechanics for routine and specialty automotive repair. Our website features instructional videos, articles about maintaining your car, and detailed profiles of over 500,000 mechanics across the country. If you're a shop owner, please claim your shop page for free here.