Automotive Maintenance Mechanic Jobs
© 2013 by Aurelio Locsin.
Automobile engines and systems may seem mysterious and unfathomable to the average consumers so when car problems develop, they rely on the expertise of automotive maintenance mechanics. Sometimes called service technicians, or simply, mechanics, these vehicle professionals maintain and repair cars and light trucks. They typically work full-time hours, although their schedules may span evenings and weekends for the convenience of working customers.
The primary quality needed for automotive maintenance mechanics is mechanical aptitude, which eases their familiarity with car components, including how to disassemble and put parts back together.
- Troubleshooting skills are necessary for identifying problems in complicated mechanical and electronic systems, while dexterity allows the skillful use of power and manual tools.
- Good orientation to detail ensures that mechanics follow precise procedures to effect repairs.
- Finally, excellent customer service is required for interacting with customers, and explaining both problems and potential solutions.
Mechanics first listen to a customer’s description of the problem before using diagnostic tools and visual inspection to determine its cause. They then recommend options for repair and their costs. Once the customer gives the go-ahead, mechanics repair or replace parts, and use testing equipment to make sure everything is working correctly. Mechanics also perform regular maintenance on cars, such as oil changes and tire rotations. Among the tools in their arsenal are pneumatic wrenches, jacks, welding torches, wrenches and screwdrivers. Employers generally provide power tools. Mechanics typically own their hand tools.
Large shops offer mechanics the opportunity to specialize.
- Air-conditioning repairers focus on installing and fixing climate control systems, and must follow government regulations when disposing of refrigerants.
- Brake repairers concentrate on brakes, linings and pads, while front-end specialists handle wheel alignment, steering and suspension.
- Transmissions, hydraulic pumps and gear trains require the expertise of transmission techs, who must be familiar with complex and often-computerized controls.
- Tune-up technicians improve engine performance by adjusting or replacing parts such as spark plugs.
Many mechanics hone their skills while still in high school by taking courses in auto repair, electronics and computers, and by tinkering with the family car. While a few employers still train mechanics on the job, many demand some post-secondary education due to the growing complexity of automobile systems. Such programs usually last from six months to a year and offer a certificate. Two-year associate degrees are also available and many auto manufacturers offer short-term training on specific systems. Certification is available from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which can improve job prospects and increase pay.
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