Skip to main content

What does an Auto Mechanic do?

When working as an auto mechanic, you will be working in a field that is a backbone to society. Every day, millions of people all over the country use an automobile for work, school, or personal reasons. The ability for society to travel all over the country each and every day is crucial, and it’s the skilled auto mechanics which help to make this happen.

An auto mechanic is trained to inspect, diagnose, and repair a vehicle. They can perform repairs on a vehicle’s body, tires, brakes, engine, exhaust, and more. The difficulty of these repairs can vary from the simplest repairs such as an oil change, to some of the most advanced and complicated repairs like rebuilding an engine. An auto mechanic will have the skills and the capability to perform these services on cars, trucks, buses, and other forms of transportation.

auto mechanic

What sort of training and education will prepare me to become an auto mechanic?

To truly excel as a mechanic, most people will need some form of a postsecondary training. This training can consist of a vocational program which can last up to a year, or even a two-year associates degree. This training will help students to prepare for a career as a mechanic, and the coursework can include information relating to math, computers, and of course, auto repair itself.

In addition to receiving form of training, most mechanics should strive to receive a certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Certification from this institute is offered in eight auto mechanic fields, and mechanics who wish to receive this certification should have at least two years of experience. Upon successfully obtaining this certification, many new auto mechanic jobs will become available for a mechanic, further ensuring their success in the field.

What does an Automotive Technician do?

Transportation is the life-blood of the American economy and Automotive Technicians are an important resource in keeping people moving and able to work, attend school and complete their daily activities. Automotive Technicians may be employed in an independent shop or work for a dealership that also repairs vehicles. Technicians may have interaction with customers on a daily basis and often build relationships with loyal customers that may frequent their shop for years or even decades.

auto technician

Automotive Technicians are responsible for completing general maintenance on vehicles brought in by customers. This may include tire rotation, oil changes, air filter replacement, coolant flushes, and engine tune-ups. Automotive Technicians are also required to troubleshoot a variety of vehicle problems and offer a solution. This may require significant diagnostic work and requires critical thinking skills. Some business specialize in certain repairs, such as transmissions or body work, allowing Automotive Technicians to hone their skills in a specific field, these positions generally offer higher salaries than standard positions.

As automotive technology increases, Automotive Technicians are required to be increasingly tech savvy. The use of computerized diagnostic equipment is now the norm in vehicle repair and many shops utilize electronic record keeping and computerized troubleshooting equipment. Online databases are used to search for and procure replacement parts and standardized computer based billing is common, requiring Automotive Technicians to translate their diagnosis to a written communication.

Automotive Technician careers are a high demand field that tend to have frequent turnover. While this position requires no formal education beyond a high school degree, many states require special licensing as evidence of skills and knowledge. This reduces poor customer impact and allows for the state to better regulate automotive repairs. This position generally does not have irregular or late hours, which also makes it attractive, however Automotive Technicians work substantially with their hands in physical labor positions and expect to get dirty in their line of work. Work related injuries are also a very real possibility in this field, though these are rare and generally minor.

diesel mechanic

What does a Diesel Mechanic do?

Some unfortunate people know how complicated life becomes when a much-needed car breaks down, especially in the peak of rush-hour traffic. Now imagine how difficult things can be when mechanical woes force truckers and their goods to stop trucking, or sideline packed public buses. When these auto disasters strike, it is diesel mechanics that restore order, getting crippled engines humming again, or just preventing failures in the first place.

diesel mechanic

What do diesel mechanics do?

Diesel mechanics maintain and repair diesel engines, a task that requires extensive knowledge of diesel engines, their systems and components. Because these technologies are always progressing, they must remain on the cutting edge of the technical changes that impact their work. Specific duties range from simple oil changes to total engine overhauls. In either case, these mechanics must be equipped to work with a variety of tools and diagnostic equipment, computerized or otherwise. They must also be able to relay sometimes overly-complicated technical information to customers with little to no repair experience.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some diesel mechanics specialize in heavy duty vehicles, like bulldozers and cranes, while others in passenger transports, like light trucks and boats. While most begin working in others’ repair shops, some eventually go into business for themselves, making this a solid career option for mechanically-savvy entrepreneurial types.

How do I become a diesel mechanic?

Chances are you know someone who likes to tinker with cars or trucks in their spare time. Many diesel mechanics begin as hobbyists, but professionally repairing a broad range of engines, particularly heavy diesel engines, requires training.

According to the BLS, most begin with a community or trade college training program ranging from six months to two years in duration. They get a great deal of hands-on training with equipment and become familiar with the newest technologies. Some walk away from their training with employer-sought certifications, but others need to hone on-the-job experience to earn these credentials. The few diesel mechanics who forego formal training must often invest three to four years in a shop before they can become technicians.

What is the career outlook for a diesel mechanic?

The BLS reports that positions among diesel mechanics are expected to grow a bit slower than average. Note, however, that those who receive formal training through a community college or trade school have a significant edge over those who train on the job, making education an important investment in their careers.

The Association of Diesel Specialists, a professional trade organization, provides additional tools that can boost your job prospects, including scholarship and training information.