What does a Auto Mechanic do?

Median Pay $39,550
Growth Rate 6%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

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.

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How to Become an Auto Mechanic

An auto mechanic usually needs a high school diploma or equivalent to gain employment in the automotive industry. However because of the increasing sophistication of automotive technology some auto mechanics attend postsecondary training programs. Auto mechanic courses include auto repair, math, electronics, computers, and english. After establishing employment, a certificate is usually obtained. Most employers prefer an applicant to have experience and be familiar with auto mechanics.

Job Description of a Auto Mechanic

auto mechanics working

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 Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of the Air Force. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Inspects general condition of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles to determine overall vehicle condition, cause of malfunction or need for repair. Diagnoses malfunctions by visual or auditory examination methods. Uses complex test equipment such as engine analyzers, compression testers, voltmeters, ohmmeters and pressure gauges to determine exact nature or extent of repairs or adjustments necessary.
  • Performs required repair of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles as assigned, using independent judgment and own initiative on the repair work. Performs Time Compliance Technical Orders (TCTOs) including scheduled and special inspections. Determines when and how far major components should be torn down; what parts and mechanisms can be reworked, refitted, or replaced with new parts and the type, extent and alignment required, using technical orders, commercial manuals or local directives.
  • Performs body repair and corrosion control; repaints and refinishes surfaces as required. Repairs and/or replaces body parts, locks, glass, etc., and determines if additional repairs are required. Uses welding equipment, power tools, hand tools and other specialized equipment. Cleans, tests and repairs radiators/oil coolers and associated parts. Incumbent replaces or repairs tires and tubes and balances wheels.
  • Assists in review and maintenance of technical orders, operating instructions, commercial publications, Major Command (MAJCOM) and local publications, as well as other pertinent directives. Assists in establishing and maintaining adequate bench and special stock support levels and appropriate tools and equipment. Uses and maintains shop equipment. Researches or assists in requisitioning materials, parts and equipment necessary to perform the vehicle maintenance/management mission.
  • Participates as On-the-Job Training (OJT) instructor in the vehicle maintenance area. Conducts instructional classes on methods and procedures of operation and maintenance concerning all aspects of vehicles and assigned shop maintenance support equipment.
  • Operates general and special purpose vehicles, base maintenance and materials handling equipment, as required to support the unit mission. Plans and schedules tasks and training activities for drill status guard members. Trains assigned drill status guardsmen on the maintenance, repair, and modification of various types of motor vehicles, both gasoline and diesel powered.

This position was posted to run 01/03/2019 until 01/21/2019 with a salary range of $24.41 to $28.56 per hour on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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.

Article Citations

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.