frank's automotive An auto mechanic and his craft

This is Frank Pina, an auto mechanic, educator and immigrant. He came to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 15 and has been working in the automotive industry for over 50 years. He's made his living repairing cars and then teaching despite never having attended college. He's run multiple repair shops, including out of his own home garage in suburban Plainfield, Ill.

On this day, he is working on, as he calls an "antique," 1991 Dodge Stealth which needs a new pipe. Pina keeps the car in his shop and puts it on his car lift which allows him to easily see under the vehicle.

The pipes in the 1991 Dodge Stealth are old and rusty, which makes it harder for him to find the right parts to sufficiently repair the vehicle.

While Pina cannot find the specific piping he needs for the Dodge Stealth, he decides to be resourceful and makes his own pipe for the car. He has to fuse together pieces of different pipes to make sure the pipe can fit perfectly under the car.

Pina's shop is also filled with little tools and parts, some in organized bins that are labeled some in English, some in Spanish. Other parts litter the floor and shelves.

Pina's shop also doubles as a classroom. He's been teaching classes for over a decade in his shops and at community colleges. He currently holds a position as an adjunct instructor at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Ill.

Pina also prides himself in his extensive knowledge of different cars and how to fix them. He constantly studies and reads up on the latest advancements in auto technology. His shop contains shelves and shelves of publications on auto repair.

In his shop, he teaches classes in both English and Spanish. He's educated countless pupils, some of whom are immigrants themselves looking to learn about a profession which provides a stable income and so they can use their knowledge at a chain auto repair shop or open a shop of their own like Pina did.

Pina continues after 50 years of experience in the field and works nearly every day in his shop or teaching. His shop remains at 23552 W. Grinton Dr. in Plainfield, Ill.

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