In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
In The Shop: "It Belonged To One Of Our Mechanics..."
Apr 22, 2012
Occasionally a pickup, car, motorcycle, garden tractor or other piece of machinery is touted by a dealership salesman as, "It belonged to one of our mechanics." Being one of those mechanics, I'm never sure whether the salesman is bragging or complaining.
That's because most mechanics know how to care for a machine. They understand what neglect and abuse does to machinery. They know how to do proper maintenance, they know the symptoms of potential problems, and they know how to fix things "right." In theory, a machine owned by a mechanic should be better than a machine owned by a non-mechanic.
But. As a mechanic, I also know how to cobble, patch, jury-rig and improvise when it comes to working on machinery. Sometimes I enjoy working on my own equipment and take pride and make extreme efforts to keep it perfect. And sometimes I'm so tired of fixing busted equipment that I use every shortcut and trick I know to simply keep my stuff running long enough to do the afterhours work I need to get done.
Have I ever fretted and honed and polished and perfected a motorcycle or lawn mower I owned? You bet. It's part of my nature as a mechanic. Have I ever used duct tape, JB Weld and zip ties to patch together a machine in order to get my work done at home--or possibly get it sold? You bet--it's part of my nature as a mechanic.
I'm not bragging or confessing. There are motorcycles and vehicles I've sold that I'd buy back in an instant, given a chance. But not all of them. If I sold something "cheap," it was priced appropriately.