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Latest from Australian Car Mechanic

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There’s a lot of discussion among purists about the loss of ‘institutional memory’ in technical trades. It’s usually a pompous way of whining about the reduced focus on good ol’ wisdom and experience, and the discussion usually kicks off with, ‘Back in my day…’

I can totally sympathise with the emotions and regrets of people who think that way. There’s plenty of times I’ve been guilty of leading that kind of discussion myself, relating misty memories – probably not too reliable and becoming less factual as I age – of how a really good mechanic, tuner or tech would listen to a motor run, makes some mechanical adjustments, listen again, and arrive at either a solution to the problem, better performance or perhaps even something as basic as tracking down an annoying noise.

But the people who sit around doing all that talking usually don’t have to maintain the profitability of a busy workshop. Like it or not, the environment of a workshop tech has changed so much over the last 20 or 30 years that the service-station lube bay with its grease-covered jack-of-all-trades mechanic would struggle to make it through a single day. In fact, although that lube-bay mechanic carried a huge wealth of institutional knowledge gained over decades of hands-on repair work, he’d probably struggle to start a car with keyless ignition, let alone the complex electronics of a current model passenger car. He’d have a fit if he was told the number of hours he had to bill in every working day just to justify opening the lube-bay door.

Like it or not, efficiency in workflow and administration is paramount to the survival of any automotive business now, and with the reliance on electronics, fast and accurate diagnostic tools are the backbone of efficiency. This issue we take a look at two of the best Autel from Interequip. When the pace is frantic on the workshop floor – and it will need to be all day, every day to show a profit – these two show the kind of equipment needed to hack that pace.

We also get the hoist working to have our annual look at drivelines and underneath the car in general, and, tying in with the diagnostic equipment, engine management and fuel injection.

If you need a break from the fast pace and high-tech world we live and work in, sit back and revel in the institutional memory of Jeff McClintock’s car, truck and tractor collection.

No matter how fast and far our industries go, I hope we’re never so pressured we can’t take a moment to tip our hats to the generations of old-school lovers of machinery, like Jeff, who make the time to share their passion.

Tom Foster