Wench with a Wrench!

As most of you probably know by now, 2018 was the year I finally took on a small-engine repair course. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Not sure why it took me so long to take the plunge, but here I am. I completed the course in August, and am now reviewing for the first 3 EETC certification exams.


Current project: engine rebuild on a John Deere garden tractor


What’s the EETC? It’s the Equipment and Engine Training Council, and is the recognized body for certification of small-engine and OPE (outdoor power equipment) technicians. It’s the small-engine equivalent to the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification for auto mechanics: Not technically necessary to get a job, but it adds a lot of credibility as it indicates that you have passed stringent testing that proves your commitment to another level of training.


At the moment I’m not actually sure where I will go with the certification. Probably I will open up a part-time business in small engine maintenance and repair. Whatever I decide, considering the time and effort I’ve put into my training so far, to me it makes sense to continue on with the EETC testing and certification.


Upcoming project: Replace transmission on this Exmark 36″ commercial mower


I’m fortunate to not be in the position of needing the additional income right away. On the other hand, I live in an area where there is a huge need for qualified small engine technicians; it’s amazing how many pieces of equipment we regularly use that have small engines. Since we installed our solar electric system, we rarely use our generator, but it still needs regular maintenance. Our chainsaw is a very important tool, as we heat our house with wood. We have our own water supply so it’s critical that the water pump is kept in good running condition. Lawn mowers, trimmers, tractors, snow blowers, pressure washers… all are powered by small engines.


Our water pump (left), powered by a Honda motor (right)


In addition to repairs, regular maintenance is critical to keeping small engines (and the equipment they power) in good condition. A main area of concern for me is the tendency to buy cheap equipment, and then throw it away and replace it when something goes wrong. Part of the issue is the shortage of qualified repair techs, and part is also the mindset that if I buy cheap equipment, when it breaks down it will be cheaper to replace it that to repair it. But like with cars, the majority of problems with small-engine equipment can be prevented with routine maintenance like oil changes.


So I’m mulling the possibilities of a small-engine-related business. I’m proud of the fact that I’m a woman who loves doing this kind of thing, although engine mechanics is traditionally a male-dominated industry. So I’ve registered the domain “wenchwithawrench.com” and I plan to do all I can to encourage other women and girls to not be afraid to pursue this kind of work. I’ve had a lot of support, and wherever I go with the small-engine repair business, it’s important to me to share, to teach, and to follow my own inspiration. Even when it takes me in an unexpected direction, at an interesting time of my life. Wench with a wrench, baby… bring it on!

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