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Love's Travel Stops continues technician education with mobile training labs

July 6, 2017
Love’s operates five mobile training labs fully outfitted with features for education and hands-on training.

Professional drivers and travelers across the country are familiar with Love’s for operating more than 420 Travel Stops & Country Stores; offering motorists with 24-hour accessibility to fuel, snacks, electronics, travel items, and more.

There are also mechanical services for heavy duty vehicles offered at nearly 240 locations. Love’s says they offer "fast, accurate, and reliable service," in part, because of the training they provide to their technicians with their growing fleet of mobile training labs.

Love’s currently operates five mobile training labs, with a sixth in production. Measuring 48' in length, each training lab is a large mobile trailer fully outfitted with features for education and hands-on training.

Dale Simmons, an area mechanic training manager for Love’s, explains the process:

“Each week we take the mobile training lab to a new location to focus on structured curriculums. We teach classes based on the services that Love’s provides including wheel-end, A/C, brakes, diagnostics, preventive maintenance procedures and more. The first time we visit a city we conduct classes with the lead mechanics from that region for a high-level overview of what training covers, then the second time around we get more in-depth with the apprentices from that region. We keep cycling through each region to ensure our techs receive continual hands-on training, especially as we add new services and capabilities.”

Next Generation of Technicians 

The trailers also make routine appearances at job fairs to generate excitement for the next generation of technicians.

“You can just see these kids’ eyes light up when they come into the training lab at a job fair," Simmons said. "Many have never even considered the career path of a diesel technician, but they see the hands-on nature of the job coupled with the computers and electronics and it really interests them. They seem to realize we’re not offering a job, but instead a career with plenty of advancement opportunities and it opens a lot of new doors for them."

Diagnostic Training Courses

To teach the diagnostics portion of the training courses, Love’s uses the same diagnostic and repair solution used in their service centers; JPRO Professional.

“I was familiar with JPRO from using it in the military, so I was highly supportive when Love’s chose to utilize it in their shops," Dale Simmons said of using JPRO in the shop and training courses

"It is easy to use, which is great for entry-level technicians, but extremely powerful so our master techs really benefit from having it in the shop," Simmons continues. "We service a wide range of vehicles, so having a single tool to use on all makes and models was imperative. The integrated Next Step Service Information is also very important because we don’t just want our technicians to know what’s wrong with the vehicle; we want them to have the necessary information to repair the vehicle.”

Although the mobile training labs are less than a year old, Love’s says they can already justify the investment. Simmons explained that technicians leave the sessions more efficient with a higher level of training and education.

By increasing morale and skillsets, the company recognizes they can implement more service opportunities and their technicians will be highly receptive of the opportunity to learn more skills. In return, Love’s expects that their expertly trained technicians can service their customers’ vehicles quicker, with a higher level of accuracy to decrease vehicle downtime.

“We are excited to continue advancing our partnerships with companies like Noregon to expand our training curriculum," Simmons said. "As long as there are technicians and future technicians willing to learn, I’m happy to drive this trailer around the country to teach them."

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