Kent Miller has worked in a Schneider shop for over 17 years. He started at Schneider as a Senior Technician and then moved into the Master role 10 years ago.
After being a diesel mechanic for so many years, Kent developed a list of top diesel mechanic tips for every mechanic – no matter what level you’re at.
I sat down with Kent to learn more about what these tips are and why they are so important.
6 diesel mechanic tips
1. Put safety first and always
Because you are working in an environment that is very hard on your body, you must be observant of the area you are working in, the area around you and the other mechanics working near you.
Use proper tooling and equipment to complete jobs safely. Keep your area clean to prevent slips and fall hazards. If help is needed, do not be afraid to ask.
2. Be excited about what you do
Come in to work excited and willing to learn. With how fast technology is growing and how often new technology is being implemented, now is a great time to expand your knowledge. This means you must be flexible and willing to learn new technology as it comes out.
Another way to sharpen your everyday technical skills is communicating and learning from other technicians. This is crucial to being successful in today’s diesel mechanic environment. Be open to change. What works today will not be the same tomorrow.
3. Work hard
Be available to the shop. I’m not saying you should be at the shop every day, but be open to work more as the work flow increases. This will help the team and company distribute the work load evenly throughout the shop.
Volunteer for new tasks with technology that has been introduced to the fleet. Once you have a good understanding of what you are working on, share the knowledge with your teammates. This not only helps the shop, but also the company.
And, most importantly, be on time for work!
4. Know the company you work for
Working for Schneider, or any big company, as a mechanic can be intimidating. It’s important to have a good understanding of what makes the company successful and being open and willing to learn all parts of the business.
Volunteer to work in any area in the shop - be it in the trailer shop, service advisor station, helping DBLs answer questions they may have or helping other shops when called upon.
5. Work with the driver
Do everything you can to make it a pleasant experience for the driver. Be willing to talk and understand what it is the driver is trying to communicate with you about his truck.
Remember that, when a driver is in the shop, he/she is not hauling freight. If the driver is not hauling freight, he/she and the company are not making money. We must go the extra mile to get the job done safely and correctly the first time to get the driver back on the road.
6. Be comfortable using a computer
Your computer skills must be equally as sharp, if not sharper, than your technical skills because mechanics work with a computer on a regular basis. Computers are used for diagnostics, communicating though Gmail and Skype, downloading information or writing warranty notes in work orders.
You will need to be able to type out a full story of cause, compliant and correction, as well as attaching pictures if needed.
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Looking for a new company to grow your diesel mechanic skills with? Or looking to make a switch into the diesel field? Read about a typical day at a Schneider shop and consider starting a career with the Big Orange.