About The Auto Tech’s Handbook

The Auto Tech’s Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Life in the Repair Business, by David J. Ellingsen

The Auto Tech's Handbook ISBN 978-0-9820097-0-3

A 313-page soft-cover book with ISBN: 978-0-9820097-0-3 published by Auto Tech Works Publishing Group.

Click here to view a PDF of Excerpts from the Handbook.

Filling the Soft-Skills Gap with “The Auto Tech’s Handbook”

 Many of the schools delivering technical skills to students in automotive and other trades have long been concerned about the non-technical, soft-skills side of the business, and they have therefore been incorporating—or even developing—supplementary materials as needed. A new resource devoted entirely to these critical soft skills is now available to instructors and curriculum designers. The book is entitled “The Auto Tech’s Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Life in the Repair Business.”

Features of the book include:

  • Soft-skills training on important subjects impacting a tech’s career
  • Customer service emphasis throughout
  • 33 self-contained chapters
  • Easy-to-read
  • Entertaining anecdotes
  • Historical photos
  • Applicable to any repair-shop type business
  • Separate workbook with questions and role-plays

The author, David Ellingsen, was Infiniti-trained, had more than thirty years’ experience and was a Master ASE (L1 Certified) technician. In November of 2013 David was recognized by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence as the Infiniti/ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year.


Click on a link below to view the article.

David Ellingsen 2013 ASE national award winner

2013 ASE Award Winner David Ellingsen



David Ellingsen ASE Master Automotive Technician Award

David Ellingsen Receiving ASE Master Automotive Technician Award


“The students love the book. They were surprised at how it was written and this is the first time I haven’t heard any complaints about a textbook, either the price or content. We have just started discussing it in class and the stories are very entertaining to the students. I first saw the book at the 2014 NACAT conference, and picked it up to see what was inside. It was interesting so I bought a copy and couldn’t put it down. I am overjoyed that my students like it and I hope that you keep publishing it so that it will always be available for me to use in my class.” —Eric Pruden, Automotive Technology Instructor, Pennsylvania College of Technology.

“If you have ever reached into your tool box and purposely selected one of your father’s old tools over a new one, you’ll love this book! It reads like your dad is talking to you casually about how to make it in the real world of cars, customers, and fellow wrench turners, each page filled with life experiences and solid advice from a guy who lived it and loved it, while taking us on a trip down memory lane of the automobile culture in modern America.” —Michael Otto Baty, Master Chief USN (ret).

“The Auto Tech’s Handbook is a well written, easy read about what the auto repair business is like. After 53 years of being a mechanic, shop foreman, shop owner, and auto shop instructor, I could relate to much of what David experienced/discussed. I enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it.” —Phillip L. Jelinek – MA, Past-President: CAT (California Automotive Teachers), Monrovia High School – Retired.

“My son shared with me how much he admired David. He showed me the book David had written, The Auto Tech’s Handbook. He said he had read and reread it. That’s something for Jeff, as he is not an avid reader. Jeff now works at an auto repair shop in Elkton, Maryland. He told me he tries every day to apply what he took from David’s book to his customers. This isn’t always popular with his boss. But he tries to focus on caring about his customers and doing a good job.” —Jeff’s mom.

“The Auto Tech’s Handbook (An Insider’s Guide to Life in the Repair Business) is truly a unique text – I don’t know if there is anything else out there like it. Dave Ellingsen delivers a global perspective on what it is like to be an Automotive Technician at the basic level. His decades long career has given him an insight into what it really means to be a tech. While this book is written at an easy to read level, it has top notch content on almost every aspect of being an automotive tech. Because of its “readability”, this is an ideal book for a young person, and perhaps a future technician.

What I really like about Dave’s delivery is his ability to write at a technician level, but without losing anything with content. Beyond that, his sense of humor is remarkable – almost every chapter had something in it that made me laugh at the gut level. This made it a joy to read. While his perspective is mostly from a Dealership technician level, it has a great deal of depth with Independent repair shops as well. There are chapters in the book that deal with: beginning in the industry, tools, Independent and Franchise shops, Dealerships, parts houses, customers, pay rates, information, working hard, management perspectives, side work, common sense, meetings, understanding your (business) owner, warranty, greed, health and safety, gossip, smoking, and what really was near and dear to my heart “Glue”.

All through the book, the overriding message was simple – “treat others as you would like to be treated”. This book is so good, that our department is considering adopting it as a required text book for our Automotive Business Course.

The book has a strong and accurate message about the good, and sometimes the bad, with being an auto tech. If, in the future, I have a student that comes to me seeking advice on whether or not to pursue the automotive industry as a career, this is going to be the book I pull off the shelf and force them to read.” —John Stokes – Division Chair – Engineering and Technology, Automotive Technology Instructor, Cuesta College.

I purchased 50 copies of the text about two years ago and our class of about 90 students uses the Handbook weekly as a means to incorporate academic integration into our program. My partner teacher, Jeff Cantrel, and I as well as the students find the book interesting and informative. We plan on using the text in the years to come. It is a testament to the profession and helping technicians become professionals. —Michael Lemke – Automotive Technology Instructor, Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School.


Soft-Skills Materials