Few people know the world of automotive service better than Chuck Searles, who joined Evan Hackel for a recent Training Unleashed Podcast.

In 2020, Chuck was named the President of the Automotive Management Institute, a nonprofit trade organization in the automotive sector. Chuck brings an astonishing wealth of knowledge in the automotive industries, where he has been a leader for nearly three decades.

What does it mean to be certified in an automotive service specialty? What does it mean to be accredited? And what impact do certification and accreditation play in a technician’s career and on the profitability of the company where he or she works?

You will want to listen to the entire Podcast. Chuck and Evan delve deeply into these topics, and more. You won’t want to miss a word.

Here are some highlights.

Training Is More Critically Important than Ever Befor

Not too many years ago, painting a car’s front bumper meant little more than . . . painting a bumper. Now that has all changed. Applying paint in the wrong way can interfere with the advanced technology that is found on many cars, such as smart cruise control, brakes that are automatically applied when a car approaches another vehicle too quickly and more.

Chuck explains, “The radars and the instructions behind the bumper that you can’t see, it’ll throw that stuff off of if there’s the wrong kind of paint . . . your intelligent cruise control and your crash avoidance systems don’t operate the way they were designed.”

Experience Can Mislead Technicians

Yes, a technician might have performed a particular service procedure 100 times. And when it is time to do it again, he or she might think that no training is needed.

Yet procedures and protocols and technology might have changed – and the technician can’t coast on past knowledge. If he or she does, the result can be that a customer needs to come back to a service facility several times because repairs were not completed successfully on the first visit.

Chuck explains, “If a company wants to have a warranty honored, they’re saying, `Look, you’ve got to take this 20 minute-training before you can redo this, even though you might have done it 100 times – because we don’t want to take a chance that you’re going to forget something and cause a problem . . . I’m, you know, obviously a huge believer in training.”

Training Can Dramatically Boost Profitability for Service Facilities

Certifications and accreditations mean a lot for customers who are getting their vehicles serviced. Those customers are reassured when those credentials are on display in a service facility because they indicate that work will be performed by technicians who are fully up-to-date on the latest technologies.

Chuck says,You know, in our country, if you get a haircut, guess what? Your barber has a license. The plumber who comes over to fix your plumbing has a license . . . it’s become a requirement.”

Chuck points out that to obtain those licenses and certifications requires passing tests. And in order to pass those tests, those professionals need to have been trained. That training helps assure customers that the experts they are hiring know what they are doing – from using the latest technology to pricing jobs, and more.

We know that the insights that Chuck and Evan discussed in this dynamite new Training Unleashed Podcast will deepen your knowledge and appreciation of training!

About Our Guest

In 2020, Chuck Searles was named the President of the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), a leading trade organization in the automotive sector. Chuck has been an active part of the automotive service and training community for almost 28 years.

Chuck began his career as a dealer service technician in 1992 and over nearly a decade, he was employed by three different dealers in Alaska and Arizona. This diversity helped expand his skill set and knowledge base, which led in 2001 to a technical service support role with Nissan North America. Over the last nineteen years he has served in four different Nissan training roles; Technical Training Instructor, Sales Training Senior Planner, Technical Training Operations Manager, and Technical Training Instructional Design Manager.

AMI is a 501c3 nonprofit organization based in Texas, with a mission to accredit training in the automotive industry. At present, more than 100,000 individuals have received training through AMI.