PMM visits the Car Consultant Edd Hunt in Stockbridge to discover what it takes to be crowned winner of Denso’s 2021 League of True Mechanics.
There is, it must be said, a reason that some people always seem to be at the right place at the right time. Some people, Edd Hunt included, work hard to be where they need to be so that when an opportunity arises, they are in a position to grab it. Edd always knew he wanted to fix cars, just like his dad and grandad had done before him. Before that, his great grandad had been a bicycle repairman, but that’s only because cars were considerably lighter on the ground in those days compared to now. In short, car repair is in Edd’s blood.
Fixing cars is a considerably different prospect than it was even in Edd’s dad’s day. While the old, mechanical problems still persist, newer, more complex issues continue to multiply. Accordingly, a gap has opened up for a new breed of vehicle repairer, such as Edd. Edd focuses on pure diagnostics, solving the problems that other workshops are unable to. Unlike previous generations, his working week involves sitting at the computer searching for known problems on a given vehicle, keeping up-to-date with the latest bulletins and training, visiting trade clients at their workshops and members of the general public at their homes, offering specialist advice to drivers and workshops involved in disputes, using a range of innovative techniques (including thermal imaging) to solve problems, poring over documents and literature to ensure that clients receive the best possible service.
As a friend of a friend he bumped into at a garden party pointed out to him a few years ago, drawing a parallel with his own profession in the medical world and giving him his new moniker, Edd is less a mechanic and more a consultant.
Journey to Consultancy
Edd started his automotive career in the same way many of our readers did, by doing an apprenticeship with a main dealer. “I started at VW as a 17 year old, as they were known for offering the best training,” he tells me.
“Through a stroke of luck I was put to work with one of the senior technicians at the local dealership, a man called Adam King. A lot of the work we did was solving the problems that none of the other technicians could. I really do feel I owe a lot of my success and where I am today to the first class tutelage I received from my mentor. Ever since, I have been fascinated by the problem solving aspect of diagnostics; I was never satisfied with simply servicing or doing routine maintenance on cars.”
Edd graduated top of his class at the VW Academy and was even selected as the top apprentice in the South West of England.
After a string of jobs, including working at VW as Senior Technician, Edd decided to go self-employed as a VW group specialist dealing with general servicing, repairs, MOTs and diagnostics. At first, he struggled to gain real success, until he passed his big break literally on the side of the road: “One piece of life advice for mechanics, if you see a Jaguar broken down, it can’t hurt to offer to help! I did and it turned out the owner was a nearby brewery owner. He’d had a recurring intermittent fault that his garage and the dealer hadn’t been able to pinpoint. When I was able to fix it and make his pride and joy reliable again, he offered me the contract to look after the brewery’s whole fleet of vehicles there and then.”
Edd quickly gained a reputation locally as the go-to guy for troubleshooting. If you needed a diagnostics issue sorted, Edd was the person to call. His mix of first class training and a wide range of experience in the world of repair meant that he’d honed a fine skill in detection.
The problem was that he was still spending too much time on problems another mechanic could sort out. Eventually, he decided he’d had enough: “It was a snowy evening and I was lying on my back in two inches of snow working on an Audi TT mk1, when all of a sudden engine oil started leaking down my arm. That was when the seed of consultancy was sown; I knew I wanted to focus on pure diagnostics from then on.”
That’s exactly what Edd did, eventually becoming the Car Consultant. Determined to live up to the image of a consultant, Edd donned a suit to meet clients, traded in his van for an Audi A4 and brought clients through a structured plan of action – including the research he would undertake on their car and a range of communication tools including video calls from his neatly laid out home office.
It’s this combination of mechanical knowhow, diagnostic precision and professional care that enabled Edd to reach the top spot of Denso’s League of True Mechanics. He may have conquered the UK, but he’s not stopping there. His reputation as the Car Consultant has extended even as far as Geneva, where he was called out to (successfully) sort out a VW Golf for an exasperated dealer – it turns out snow isn’t so bad when you’re not lying in it!
We at PMM are delighted to announce that Edd will be contributing troubleshooter articles with us going forward.