Story by Derek Shiekhi, Reporter
Photos by Gordon Murray, Photographer
Mike Shoebroek, chair of the ACC’s Automotive Technology Department since fall 2001, said an associate degree in automotive technology will not only get students into the workforce, but will open doors for their future that they may not have known existed.
Shoebroek said most students can expect to make $20,000 to $30,000 in their first year of work and $40,000 to $60,000 after three to five years. He knows of technicians with around 10 years of experience who make over $100,000 a year.
“You get about 10 years, you’re going to hit your stride, and make the most you’re ever going to make in your life once you hit about the 10 year mark,” he said.
Shoebroek gave Accent a tour of the college’s 14-bay automotive training facility at Riverside Campus. During the visit, he provided the following tips on car care.
Tools: Home mechanics should have the same hand tools they would use for home repair — screwdrivers, wrenches, a ratchet and drives (¼”, 3/8”, and ½”), sockets, a pair of pliers, and a couple of hammers.
Procedure: Make sure auto technicians are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Still, it’s a good idea to take the following safeguards:
Google the shop you have in mind and check for bad reviews.
Clean out the car before having it serviced. The work order filled out at the shop has your home address and other telling information on it. The contents of the car also reveals a lot about an owner. Keep personal items at home.
When handing over the car keys, hold on to your house key.
Maintenance: To keep a car running smoothly and safely:
Change oil regularly according to the manufacturer’s suggested schedule.
Rotate tires about every other oil change.
Maintain correct tire pressure to maximize gas milage and minimize wear. Check pressure as temperatures fluctuate. When temperatures go from warm to cold, tires will be under-inflated. When temperatures go from cold back to warm, tires will be over-inflated.
Philosophy — If It’s Not Broken, Fix It: People either fix their cars only when they break or before they break. “If you repair a car based on the preventative maintenance schedule,” Shoebroek said, “you’ll have a vehicle that you can trust more often, that won’t break down on you. If you have a vehicle where the only time you’re ever replacing anything or bringing it in for service is when it breaks, it’s going to break more often.”