What Does an Auto Mechanic Do?

Today's auto mechanic performs standard engine, transmission, drivetrain chassis, and drivetrain repair. Modern technology demands that auto mechanics be computer literate and have the skills to work on complex vehicles. Read this article to learn more about a career as an auto mechanic. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Auto mechanics are professionals that repair and maintain motor vehicles of all types. An auto mechanic may choose to provide general repair services or specialize in a system, such as engines or transmissions. Some auto mechanics work on a specific type of vehicle; those who work for dealerships almost always have training on that particular brand of vehicle. Most auto mechanics go through a specific certification processes to focus their professional work in several areas, including over-the-road trucks, four-wheel-drive vehicles, or chassis and suspension components.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Degrees Some community and technical colleges offer associate's and bachelor's degrees in automotive technology.
Similar Occupations In related careers, mechanics work as diesel and heavy vehicle service technicians. Some pursue careers in automotive body and glass repairs. Other options include repairing the small engines in motorcycles or boats.
Work Environment After computer diagnostics, automotive repair work is likely to require handling greasy parts and tools. Most shops are clean and well-lit, but a repair task may put the technician in uncomfortable positions as parts are removed and replaced.

Job Description

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the type of work auto mechanics do has changed significantly over the years. Mechanics must now be skilled in working on electronic systems and have good computer skills in addition to strong mechanical skills. They must be able to use computer systems to diagnose and analyze the performance of a modern vehicle. Hand dexterity is required by the tools of the trade, such as power and hand tools. Auto mechanics follow a checklist to ensure that every part of an automotive system is performing correctly. They must also have the skills to work on belts, hoses, sparkplugs, and brake and fuel systems.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

Job opportunities are expected to be very good for mechanics that complete a training program and earn certification. The BLS reports that employment for auto mechanics is expected to increase at a rate consistent with the average predicted for all occupations between 2016 and 2026, projecting an increase of job openings of 6% during the decade. Any job openings will occur due to experienced technicians retiring from the field.

According to the BLS, the median salary earned by automotive service technicians and mechanics in May 2018 was $40,710. While mechanics employed by auto repair shops earned a median salary of $38,790, those who worked for car dealerships earned a median income of $44,280 a year.

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