What kind of qualities do we look for when we hire new mechanics to work in our repair shop? Mentality, Vision, Hearing, Smell, Touch, and Taste: basic senses for all people, but they are especially important for a mechanic to be trained to use them to work on cars.
Self respect for the work that you complete is an essential trait for our mechanics. We have a sign hanging from the garage door, "Do this job as if it is the one that defines your career." It takes a strong mentality to put your best into the mundane repairs, to stay focused on the long jobs, and to concentrate on getting through the challenging ones.
Especially with cars, things are not always as they appear (see our post about bizarre car problems here) and it's necessary for a mechanic to see beyond the surface of things. This is especially true since there are a lot of things that might be broken that can't be physically seen without tearing apart the vehicle.
A mechanic must be able to listen to the various noises that vehicles can make - humming, grinding, squeaking, clunking, etc. Our trusty mechanics need to be able to distinguish a knock from a thump (and decipher the many sounds our customers use to describe the sounds a car is making). It's also essential to listen to the customer and hear their needs and wishes.
A lot of problems in a vehicle don't give off any scent, but odors can alert a mechanic to some problems. The type of fluid leaking from a vehicle may be identified by smell. Other odors a mechanic will encounter include hot metal, burning oil, and exhaust. Smells make a mechanic aware.
There are a lot of diagnoses that require a distinguishing touch. Hot or cold, damp or dry, vibrations, viscosity - these are all indicators that a mechanic can use to determine an issue in a vehicle. Their touch is obviously essential to being able to repair vehicles and use all of the different tools in their toolboxes. Fine tuning the gap in spark plugs, torquing bolts correctly - it all requires a mechanic's touch.
It's probably not the safest, smartest, or tastiest thing to tongue most things that come out of a car (though someone must have done it to know that antifreeze tastes sweet) but it's still a very important skill for our mechanics! They MUST be able to appreciate all of the delicious foods that our customers bring us, and all of the cake and ice cream that we have for every shop birthday!