Dale Techel
Automotive Technician
Rey's Auto and Tire Center

What is your position in the industry?

Head Auto Technician at Rey's Automotive and Tire in Shelby Township, Michigan.

Tell us about yourself. What made you decide to become a service professional?

I started out at a service station gas attendant back in the mid-80's at a small 2 bay Shell station. I never was a kid who was really into working on cars at home, but from working at the service station and seeing the vehicles being repaired I started to get interested it in. I was drawn more into the electronics side of the industry more than the mechanical side. Computer controlled vehicles were becoming the norm as carburetors were starting to be phased out. Working in a small shop I was able to get a lot of "behind the scene" information that I might not have received had I worked for a bigger shop.

Where/How did you get your training to get the knowledge you have today?

I took 2 years of small engine and automotive classes during high school. After high school, I went to a trade school in Detroit, Michigan- MCI, Michigan Career Institute. During my schooling there, I worked at the service station I was at and was mentored from a technician there who was getting ready to retire. The time spent with him helped me mature and learn so much within the industry. Since those days, I constantly attend classes at the GM Technical center, local colleges, through local parts distributors and most recently, online training courses.

How long have you worked as a service professional?

I've been working with the same company my whole career. As of April 2022, I am now starting my 37th year with the company. I've been blessed to have worked with so many good technicians and a company who's allowed me to give me the materials and equipment it took to become the technician I am today.

What role has being ASE Certified played in your journey?

ASE has pushed me to keep up with current technology. In an ever changing career position, it's very easy to fall behind in skills. I'm proud to display my ASE logo on my uniform.

What ASE Certifications do you currently hold?

ASE Master Automotive Technician A1-A8

Advanced Engine Performance Specialist L1

Undercar Specialist Exhaust Systems X1

Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling

What are some of the top challenges you do/did face as a service professional and how do/did you overcome them?

Keeping up with technology in the aftermarket sector has always been a challenge. Doing a lot of self study along with trying to attend as many courses offered does help.

The biggest challenge lately has been dealing with an aging body with more aches and pains daily. I'd like to stay in the career for a while yet, but daily I struggle doing tasks I once found easy when I was younger, now asking for more help from fellow employees. Vehicles have gotten larger in size and simple tasks like picking up a tire or climbing into a lifted truck makes the job more difficult, especially for older technicians.

Do you have any advice for today’s students who might be thinking about entering the automotive industry or becoming a service professional?

Be patient and ask for help from experienced employees. As the months and years go by, you'll see yourself learning from those older mistakes and becoming better each day.

Also, study and learn as much as you can. Your tool box will have lots of tools, but focus on being able to use a DVOM and how to easily read a wiring diagram. Also, when a vehicle comes in with a complaint, narrow down the possible causes and focus on those things. Don't try to make the complaint bigger than it really is.

What do you like most about being an automotive service professional?

Even though you work for a shop, you are on your own most of the time each day. With that though comes the responsibility of knowing the vehicles you're working on are on your shoulders though. You want to strive to be the best each day, knowing that customer (family) is putting their trust in you and your skills.

Also, knowing the skills I have could take me anyplace in the world and I'd easily be able to find another job quickly if needed.

Auto Repair is a tough career, but from experience of almost 4 decades, it can give you a very rewarding experience and pay if you become good at your job with hard work and dedication. These vehicles will continue to evolve, so stay focused and learn as much as you can.