Auto mechanics are also called auto technicians. They are a key part of the automotive industry as they work to keep new and used vehicles functioning at top performance levels. Their job description includes inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, maintenance, and servicing of vehicles to ensure safety and performance.
Over the years, the auto mechanic’s job has changed drastically, especially with the introduction of new diagnostic technologies. Gateway Auto – Service Center notes that auto mechanics can now pinpoint vehicle problems with a simple scan instead of the traditional guess or trial and error process.
With new technologies and newer vehicles on the roads, mechanics are presented with a huge task of increasingly delivering quality services to keep their customers satisfied and vehicles safe and high performing.
Whether you’re interested in becoming an auto mechanic or curious about the job, this article offers everything you need to know.
What Do Auto Mechanics Do?
Auto mechanics are trained technicians who diagnose and test vehicles for issues. These mechanics can either specialize or be generalized in addressing issues affecting small vehicles, vans, and small trucks.
Some auto mechanics are also specialized in repairing and maintaining heavy-duty vehicles like trucks, tractors, off-road vehicles, recreational vehicles, etc.
A trained auto mechanic can perform a wide range of tasks, including;
- Oil changes, parts lubrication, and other fluid changes as part of the vehicle’s maintenance requirement
- Vehicle inspection, diagnosis, and problem troubleshooting using electronic systems
- Vehicle updates, upgrades, and tune-ups to improve performance and safety
- Tire changes and tire rotations
- Record keeping for vehicle repairs, servicing, and maintenance solutions
- Provision of accurate service, parts, and repair quotes to customers
- Supervision of vehicle repair tools to ensure they are in good condition and working order
- Repair, replacement, and diagnosis of the vehicle’s computer system to ensure compliance with manufacturing and operating standards
- Ordering new parts and replacement parts for vehicle repairs.
Becoming an Auto Mechanic
Auto mechanics are trained at different stages to ensure the delivery of high-quality services to customers. While there are various roles within the auto repair shop, the auto mechanic’s role is one of the most essential ones.
There are many paths to becoming an auto mechanic. Some of the commonest and easily accessible pathways include;
1. High School Diploma
Becoming an auto mechanic requires the would-be apprentice to have passed through the basic form of education. This ensures that they can read, write, and provide reasonable services to customers during the lifespan of their profession.
An average auto mechanic is expected to have the literacy skills to provide quotes, communicate with customers, identify important specifications, and make informed decisions. This is the bedrock or foundation required.
2. Vocational Education
With a high school diploma secured, the would-be auto mechanic can proceed to a vocational school where they can learn everything they need to know about becoming an auto mechanic. This school also sets the path for licensing and certification.
Please be informed that working without a license is regarded as illegal in most states across the United States. Also, having the right educational background helps you stand tall and can improve your chances of securing an apprenticeship or someday starting your own auto repair shop.
Vocational schools prepare you for the real world by impacting you with theoretical knowledge and some practical understanding of the job. However, you become better at the trade when you enroll in an apprenticeship where you interface daily with vehicle problems.
During the apprenticeship, you get a chance to put your theoretical knowledge to good use while also learning more about the trade, the various tools, and more. An average auto mechanic apprenticeship can last up to two years or more.
Some companies hire auto mechanics straight out of vocational school for their apprenticeship program. Such programs offer a clear career development pathway, as graduates from the apprenticeship program are often offered permanent employment opportunities.
4. Become Certified
Certification is just as important as the wealth of knowledge and experience acquired in the previous stages of growth and learning. There are a range of certifications to enroll for, however, the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is the most common option for many.
The certification exam tests the different levels of training and knowledge acquired by the technician. The certification has up to 58 different test groups, including transit bus certification test, Automobile and light truck certification, auto repairs, and more.
Technicians can choose whichever of the certifications most applies to them, complete the series of study and preparation, then take the certification test.
5. Get Hired
Once certified, technicians can start applying to jobs where they will receive further on-the-job training relating to how the employer’s business operates. The training will also help them to understand many more practical aspects of the job while applying their experience and expertise to deliver expected outcomes.