Auto Tech: Applied

In the bustling halls of TPHS, amidst a sea of students with different interests and passions, there’s a unique two-part pathway that revs up engines and fuels the dreams of aspiring mechanics and car enthusiasts: Auto Technology and Auto Engineering Performance. Offered through the TPHS CTE program, the hands-on pathway offers a gateway to the world of automotive technology, sparking a love of cars and igniting a passion that drives students toward a life of vehicle competency or even a career in auto technology.  

“Being in the class has helped me understand my car. If I have a flat tire, I can come here and fix it,” Auto Engineering Performance student Qais Karimi (12) said. “Anything I need to fix, I can do myself.”

In the workshop equipped with cutting-edge tools, diagnostic equipment and a fleet of vehicles awaiting restoration, students in the Auto Tech program engage in a rigorous curriculum combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience. Those in Auto Engineering Performance are in the midst of completing the capstone class of the pathway, having taken Auto Technology previously.

“I’ve learned so much in this class, from basic preventative maintenance like oil changes and where to lift the car and how to rotate the wheels, to the importance of filling up your tires with the right amount of air,” Kaisen Umali (12), another Auto Engine Performance student, said. 

Karimi agreed.

“One of our assignments is naming different parts of the car. We get to really take things apart; by taking the wheels off, we can see what kind of suspension and brakes we have,” Karimi said.

In a classroom that’s half car lot and half workspace, students work on actual vehicles — whether they be their own cars or those of  friends — allowing them to apply their classroom knowledge to real-life car issues. 

“I hope to teach kids as much knowledge on a car that they can learn in order to be safe operators and conscientious consumers throughout the rest of their lives,” Auto Tech pathway teacher Eric Neubauer said. 

Beyond cars, students work on projects ranging from dirtbikes to four-wheelers, practicing creativity with Neubauer’s guidance.

“Mr. Neubauer is really good at explaining things slowly, and everyone in the class is really knowledgeable, so you can pick at anyone’s brain and try to learn something you may not know,” Umali said. “It teaches you a lot of essential skills and knowledge about your vehicle so you can take care of it and save yourself a lot of money.” 

Students in the Auto Tech pathway frequently have peers bring their cars to the lot, allowing the amateur mechanics to try out their skills.

“I think it’s amazing that a lot of students don’t know about their vehicles,” Neubauer said. “Little things [about cars] we are finally getting to teach kids around here, not just the traditional ‘grease-monkey’ idea of working on cars, but how to be an overall good car owner.”

Beyond being comfortable around their vehicles, some students in the class are now pursuing careers in the automotive industry. Umali is planning to study Mechanical Engineering in the future. 

“Hopefully, in the future, I can be designing race cars or even be on a motorsports team,” Umali said.

As the automotive industry continues to evolve, the Auto Tech pathway equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field. 

“There is a higher level of technical knowledge now. We are working as technicians, not as mechanics, and that’s the reality of the industry,” Neubauer said. 

By combining technical knowledge with essential life skills, this course provides students with real-life experience, all nestled in a car lot toward the back of campus.

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