An auto mechanic performs maintenance, diagnostic testing, repairs, and inspections of small trucks and cars. They work on engines, drive belts, transmissions, and electronic systems such as steering, brakes, and accident-avoidance systems. Due to a common trend and popularity of alternative energy, some mechanics are beginning to work on vehicles with alternative fuels like electricity or ethanol.
Watch a video and learn what an auto mechanic does:
How to Become an Auto Mechanic
Becoming an auto mechanic typically begins with a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, some students interested in this field may kick-start their journey by taking shop classes in high school. In fact, a shop class in high school can provide you with valuable hands-on experience. After high school, many aspiring auto mechanics opt for postsecondary training programs. These programs offer courses in auto repair, math, electronics, computers, and even English to enhance communication skills.
Once employed in the automotive industry, many mechanics pursue further certifications to stand out in the field. Gaining practical experience is crucial, as employers often prefer applicants who are familiar with auto mechanics and have hands-on training. This combination of education, training, and experience opens up opportunities for a fulfilling career in the world of auto mechanics, where skilled professionals play a vital role in keeping vehicles safe and roadworthy.
Job Description of a Auto Mechanic
Auto mechanics use computerized diagnostic tools to run tests, power tools, and several more common tools to do their job. He or she may choose to specialize in various areas of auto mechanics. Examples include brake repairs, air-conditioning (which requires knowledge of government regulations), transmissions, or front-end mechanics.
In general an auto mechanic changes, rotates or repairs tires, fixes worn brake pads or wheel bearings, changes oil, gives tune-ups and completes inspections. They normally work full-time and often times work weekends plus overtime. They are mostly employed by private businesses or are self-employed. The risk of injury or illness is higher than average in this occupation due to heavy lifting, cuts, burns and other causes.
Auto Mechanic Career Video Transcript
It may be tempting to tinker with your car on your own when it breaks down, but for most people, the only solution is to bring it in to an automotive service technician or mechanic. These technicians troubleshoot automobile problems. They inspect vehicles like a detective seeking clues while they use computers to diagnose some issues, inspecting parts and systems as they run through a long checklist is typical. Mechanics also have a knack for translating car jargon for car owners who need advice on repair decisions.
Service technicians work with a variety of tools and grease-covered auto parts, sometimes in uncomfortable positions. Standing all day, lifting heavy objects, work for mechanics is physically demanding; they must take steps to prevent injuries. Mechanics work in car dealerships, auto repair shops, or may opt for self-employment. It is common for them to work on weekends, holidays, and to put in overtime. Employers prefer to hire technicians who have completed a vocational or post-secondary education program in automotive service technology, and they may also want you to earn industry certification later. It’s just the first step to a career where you can let your passion drive you.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics.
- National Center for O*NET Development. 49-3023.00. O*NET OnLine.
- The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.