Question of the Day: What Was Your First Automotive Job?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Obviously, not everyone reading this site has worked in the automotive industry. That said, common sense suggests that at least some percentage of car enthusiasts reading an automotive-focused Web site have worked in the industry in one way or another.

Anecdotal evidence from the comments I read also shows that some of you have turned a wrench or sold whitewalls.

So, for those of you who work or have worked in the industry, what was your first automotive job? Intern for an OEM? Apprentice mechanic? Greenhorn service writer? Auto-parts driver or counterperson? Valet? Shop janitor?

Some of you may know my history already, but I will remind you that I started out as a dealership porter. I helped prep sold cars for delivery, washed cars that were in for service, and valeted vehicles when customers came to pick them up -- and there were other duties in there.

I also delivered auto parts off and on -- I even, on rare occasions, worked the counter. I also worked as a service advisor for a bit.

Now it's your turn.

Sound off below.

[Image: fizkes/]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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5 of 25 comments
  • Bob Bob on Mar 07, 2024

    I landed a gig with DeLorean at one of the two east coast distribution centers as a prep guy. "Never drive your heroes" is absolutely true. They were terrible. Everyone I worked with felt the same to a man. Slow, poor build quality, a French V6, crappy ergonomics and every time I got out of one I bumped my head on the door. All for $25K in 1981 dollars. The only way to get a DeLorean to reach 88 MPH is to push it out the back of an airplane. If it wasn't for a movie, that car would've been forgotten. And it should've been.

    A few months later, a friend offered me a job at a Ford dealer right at the introduction of the Fox body Mustang GT. Tee top, Recaros and 4-speed. Faster, a better handler, comfortable, better visibility. It was twice the car for half the price.

    I ended up owning five Fox bodies. A Thunderbird, XR-7, and three Mustangs.

  • Sobhuza Trooper Sobhuza Trooper on Mar 07, 2024

    Montgomery Ward tire buster and checker of electrical systems. Followed by time on the sales floor selling tires and services.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 07, 2024

    My son is now in the auto industry. He knew a mechanic through offroading and this tech was also a friend of a friend. He got in at a local Kia dealership.

    The owner was an alcoholic azz-hole. Both mechanics quit and went to the Ford shop. My son toughed it out for 6 months until the owner fooked him over on his apprenticeship.

    He gave his notice and 2 weeks later the Ford dealer sent a truck over with a lift gate to get his tools. I wish I was there to see the look on the guy's face.

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 08, 2024

      @Lou, my son worked briefly at the auto plant here (doing parts kitting, paid by a temp agency that they use). Also worked at an Amazon warehouse for awhile (I never did that when I was a kid, not sure why).

      Back when he was a youngster, I went halves with him on a push mower and trimmer for his 'lawn mowing business' but he never got serious about it (I think his favorite part was the "President" business cards he had printed). The first time his investment account showed a $200 gain I looked at him and said, "Easier than cutting grass, isn't it?" Light bulb moment.

      Sold the mower a few years ago to an acquantaince who was looking for a little push mower to use on his fenceline, so I got my half back lol.

  • CEastwood CEastwood on Mar 08, 2024

    Got a job as a high school senior at a tire shop in the 70s and on my first day there it snowed with cars lining up down the road to get their snow tires installed - talk about a busy first day on the job ! Early 80s I hung out at a friend's body shop and for doing some prep work he let me use the facilities and materials for my project cars which were usually air cooled VWs .