What is an automotive technician?
Technicians are trained to diagnose and repair diesel and gasoline cars and trucks. They work at a local dealership’s service department, an independent shop, or a shop that specializes in oil changes. You might also find them working for a specialized company, such as a racecar team.
A technician who works in automotive usually has the following responsibilities:
Diagnose vehicle problems by testing driving, using experience and using specialized computers that communicate to vehicle electronics.
Interpreting vehicle diagnostic codes in order to identify errors and cause of vehicle breakdown, and plan how to proceed with repair
They may use specialized equipment and tools to replace or repair damaged parts. A lift may be used to raise the vehicle and work under it. Pneumatic air tools are used to loosen and tighten parts.
Performing required inspections and manufacturer-recommended preventative maintenance, such as oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, fluid level checks and following a service checklist at specified mileage intervals.
Focusing on a single area of expertise, such as brake repair technician, front-end technician, or race car mechanic for a team.
Automotive technicians’ salaries depend on their level of experience, the type of body shop they work in and the responsibilities they have. The salary may vary depending on the employer’s size and geographic location. Click on the link to view the latest salary information from Indeed.
- The average salary in the U.S. is $21.05 an hour
- Salaries can range from $7.25 to $46.05 an hour
Automotive technician requirements
To be qualified to do automotive and mechanical work, these professionals need to have a certain level of education and training.
Employers in the United States require either a high school diploma, or a GED. Vocational or community colleges might offer associate’s degrees for two years that combine classroom education with practical training. This allows you to learn repair and maintenance skills. Some students can transfer to four-year universities to finish a bachelor’s program after completing the two-year program.
Technical high schools and colleges might partner with car manufacturers to offer internships or specialized training at car dealerships. This could result in a job offer right away after graduation. Employers require at least one to five years of experience before a technician is promoted to the position of senior technician. Sometimes, you may be required to perform the same task multiple times under supervision before mastering another skill.
After having some experience in the field you can take certification tests from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. This offers certificates in more than 40 areas of automotive repair expertise.
Many people learn repair and diagnostic skills by working as entry-level mechanics and being mentored by more experienced technicians. These skills and qualities include:
Most automotive labor is charged by the hour. Customers appreciate mechanics who are efficient and return their cars quickly. Your work will be more valuable if you have your vehicles moved quickly. Shop owners can make more money by having their vehicles returned promptly.
Automobile technicians are often involved in hypothesizing and testing the hypothesis to find the root cause of car trouble. While computer equipment is useful for high-level diagnosis and problem solving, it will not help you in your productivity or success.
Diverse manufacturing expertise
Every vehicle may require different service. Your knowledge and experience with all types of vehicles and their systems will help you serve more customers.
To diagnose the problem with a check engine lamp or conduct a government-mandated emissions inspection, you will need to be able to use computer diagnostic equipment. Modern cars have sophisticated electronic equipment and sensors, so you will need to be able to adapt to them.
It is important to be able to repair a variety vehicles, and to have a good understanding of how the mechanical parts fit together.