Becoming a Car Mechanic

A car mechanic is a person who repairs and maintains vehicles. He or she must have an aptitude for mathematics, strong problem-solving skills and good manual dexterity. The ability to learn and retain new information is also a must. The job outlook for this career is solid, as cars are likely to remain a popular form of transportation. Some auto mechanics have their own garages, and others work for dealerships or at repair shops. Some also sell or buy parts on the side to supplement their incomes. Some even go to great lengths to find and repair rare or exotic automobiles.

High school and vocational school programs that teach automotive technology can be excellent stepping stones for those interested in becoming an auto mechanic. Those who want to increase their earning potential should consider seeking certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). This will demonstrate their mastery of basic skills and help them advance in the field.

Many people who are interested in becoming an auto mechanic begin their careers as apprentices. This allows them to work under the supervision of a more experienced mechanic and learn the ropes. It is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience in the industry and build up a portfolio of work.

Some of the duties that an auto mechanic performs include oil and filter changes, repairing damaged body parts, replacing and adjusting tires, and diagnosing engine problems. Mechanics must also be able to read wiring diagrams and use electronic testing equipment. Many shops and car manufacturers offer special certifications to mechanics who wish to gain in-depth knowledge of specific systems.

Depending on the size of the shop and the type of repairs performed, a car mechanic’s salary can vary greatly. Those who own their own garage or are employed by a dealer usually earn the highest salaries. Those who work for gas stations or private service outlets may be paid on a commission basis and therefore receive lower wages.

In addition to traditional repair and maintenance tasks, some mechanics also pitch optional repairs or preventative maintenance services to their customers. Often this is done to increase revenue for the shop and can be quite lucrative for those who are skilled at selling. Keeping detailed records is another important aspect of the job for a mechanic.

As cars have become more complex, mechanics must continue to upgrade their skill sets to keep up with changing technologies. For example, a mechanic may need to know how to install and work with air conditioning units, alternators and fuel injection systems. Additionally, mechanics must stay current with all the latest vehicle models.

People considering becoming an auto mechanic should be aware that the work can be physically demanding. It can involve the handling of hot engines, greasy tools and potentially hazardous materials. If a person works on the body of cars, he or she will be exposed to particulate dust from sanding and potentially toxic chemical fumes from paint and related products.

Posted on