The 2017 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards: Daniel Garnica

The 2017 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards: Daniel Garnica

The proper Diagnosis

Category: Shop Worker

Master Technician and Shop Training Manager / Ayers Automotive Repairs / Santa Barbara, Calif.

September 1, 2017

And along with that decimated Super Nintendo sat Daniel Garnica, absolutely puzzled.

“It had stopped working, and in my mind, I thought, ‘I’ll take it apart and fix it,’” he says of that day from over 20 years ago. “I never got the thing to work again. I didn’t understand.”

For most 6-year-old children in the early 1990s, gutting the most popular and cherished video game system on the market was a bit counterintuitive. But in this moment of bewilderment, Garnica wasn’t concerned about not being able to play his games—it was driving him nuts not being able to diagnose what exactly went wrong.

It’s a mindset he has carried with him all the way to Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“I think that started putting in my mind, ‘If I can’t figure out the problem before I take it apart, there’s no point,’” Garnica says. “That’s something I think about all the time. If I’m not confident this car needs a PCM (powertrain control module), taking that apart won’t prove anything to me. Then it’s just a bunch of circuits and I don’t know what I’m looking for.”

As a master technician, that attitude embodies Garnica’s approach to repairing vehicles; his ideas for crafting a training program for his shop; his constant communication with management; his ever-growing knowledge of advancing vehicle technology.

And, at its very core, his mission to identify the problem “before I take it apart” rests in his goal to completely reshape how the public perceives the automotive repair industry.

From almost every angle, his work ethic and commitment to the industry is nearly unparalleled, says Ayers Automotive owner Nikki Ayers, making Garnica the winner of the 2017 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Award.