Federal-Mogul and Garage Gurus keep technicians ahead of the curve
Maryland Heights, Mo.—The one-year-old Garage Gurus program, dedicated to keeping today’s technicians ahead of the curve, is housed in Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ St. Louis Training Facility, which program instructor Mark Ingram describes as “a Fantasyland for technicians.”
“The facility is really a must-see,” Ingram said. “We encourage shop owners to come and tour our facility. Usually when they see it in person and understand what it is that we can offer to their technicians, it is a no-brainer.”
Training at the facility is a mixture of classroom work and hands-on curriculum. Class sizes are limited to 10 students to allow for more-personalized instruction, and classrooms are spacious and equipped with flat-screen TVs and whiteboards. The program offers 29 hands-on classes, 10 evening workshops, and 27 online courses, three of them in Spanish.
Federal-Mogul Motorparts supplies the program with a small fleet of late-model cars that are used in the shop training sessions, Ingram said, but it is not unusual to also have an employee’s vehicle to work on.
Because Garage Gurus is sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, one might think that most of the training would be focused on brakes, suspension, and steering, but Ingram said that is not the case. “Brakes and suspension are obviously our bread and butter, but we want people to be aware of our full range of programs,” he said. “We offer high-tech diagnostics classes focusing on diagnostic charts and digital meters. We have classes on lab scopes, vacuum waveform diagnostics, and other new technologies. We want to get this information into the hands of not only new technicians coming out of tech school, but also technicians who have been in the field for years. We can take an experienced tech who knows nothing about electronics and teach them how to use today’s tools and equipment to properly diagnose late model vehicles.”
Aside from classes on new technology, Garage Gurus is one of the only training facilities that still offers courses on engine building and machining. “The shift in young technicians is leaning toward more engine diagnostic work but someone still has to work on them as well,” Ingram said.
Asked how Garage Gurus training differs from tech school programs, Ingram said, “From what we see, some tech schools are teaching basic technology but do not have the time or resources to cover advanced diagnostics in their program. We provide training with the best tools and equipment on the market and focus on how to stay current.”
Just because Garage Gurus training is provided by Federal-Mogul Motorparts does not make it all about the products that the company sells, Ingram said. “When technicians walk in they can see a display case featuring Federal-Mogul products, and there is also a product list in the back of our training booklet,” he said. “But when it comes to the training,that is our focus. We don’t lure people into our programs and switch to infomercial mode halfway through. Training is training and that is what we do here, and we think technicians really appreciate that.”
Federal-Mogul Motorparts is getting set to debut its latest Gurus mobile training van, which will provide on-site demonstrations and training mini-sessions at St. Louis-area repair shops. “We have 34 other Gurus-on-the Go vans around the country right now doing great in their respective markets, so we are obviously excited to get it rolling in St. Louis,” Ingram said.
For information on classes and Gurus-on-the-Go, visit the program’s website at fmgaragegurus.com.