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Automotive Maintenance Mechanic Jobs

Updated on June 13, 2013
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© 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.

Skills

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.

Responsibilities

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.

Specialties

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.

Background

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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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It is good that we have people available with such knowledge because my husband and I are clueless when it comes to car repairs. Useful and informative hub!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      This is a valuable article for someone considering entering into the automotive maintenance field. While it is hard work, it can be very lucrative for someone who is business savvy and specializes. A family friend was able to move into the most prestigious gated community in our area all because he specialized and offered excellent service. Friends would try to get his service for free, but he was also an excellent business man who charged friends a fair price for his service. A good mechanic is a good friend to have.

      I really enjoyed reading your article. Sharing!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      They do seem to work long hours, including weekends and into the evenings. We had a friend who was a mechanic and being a mechanic, a lot of "friends" would take advantage of such friendship, and our friend would get overloaded as he was also so nice to agree to try to help someone with their vehicles in need of repair. I know it is a back-breaking job too, plus on one's feet for the majority of the time.

      Interesting article here.

      Voted up ++

      God bless, Faith Reaper

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