Auto mechanic

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An auto mechanic (automotive technician in most of North America, light vehicle technician in British English, and motor mechanic in Australian English) is a mechanic who services and repairs automobiles, sometimes specializing in one or more automobile brands or sometimes working with any brand. In fixing cars, their main role is to diagnose and repair the problem accurately and quickly. They often have to quote prices for their customers before commencing work or after partial disassembly for inspection. Their job may involve the repair of a specific part or the replacement of one or more parts as assemblies. Basic vehicle maintenance is a fundamental part of a mechanic's work in modern industrialized countries, while in others they are only consulted when a vehicle is already showing signs of malfunction.

Auto mechanic
Auto Mechanic.jpg
An auto mechanic working on a rally car.
Occupation
NamesMechanic, technician, auto repairman
Occupation type
Vocational
Activity sectors
Automobile
Description
Education required
Apprenticeship, in addition to training once hired; some mechanics may take vocational or community college or university courses in certain areas such as heating and air conditioning, engine and transmission maintenance, and collision repair; further education and training could lead to becoming a supervisor or manager, or with a baccalaureate or graduate degree, an automotive engineer or design specialist.
Related jobs
Motorcycle mechanic, Diesel mechanic
A mobile auto mechanic in Iran
An auto mechanic at a garage in Kenya.

EducationEdit

Automotive repair knowledge can be derived from on-the-job training, an apprenticeship program, vocational school, or university.

ApprenticeshipEdit

Apprentice technicians work under master technicians for a specified number of years before they work on their own. Some areas have formal apprenticeship programs, however many automotive repair shops utilize an informal apprenticeship system within their facilities. A master technician is often incentivised to train an apprentice by earning additional wages from the work produced by the apprentice.[1]

Secondary educationEdit

In the United States, many programs and schools offer training for those interested in pursuing competencies as automotive mechanics or technicians. Areas of training include automobile repair and maintenance, collision repair, painting and restoring, electronics, air-conditioning and heating systems, and truck and diesel mechanics. The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) is responsible for evaluating technician training programs against standards developed by the automotive industry. NATEF accredits programs in four different categories: automotive, collision, trucks (diesel technology) and alternative fuels. Diesel mechanics have developed into a trade somewhat distinctive from gasoline-engine mechanics. NATEF lists secondary and post secondary schools with accredited programs on their website.

Skill level and certificationsEdit

It is common for automotive repair companies to assign skill levels to their employed technicians so that each repair can be appropriately matched to a qualified professional. Some use an alphabetical ranking system whereby an upper-level technician is referred to as an "A tech" and a lower-level technician as a "C tech." Diagnosis and driveability concerns tend to be upper-level jobs while maintenance and component replacement are lower-level jobs. A technician's skill level is usually determined by years of experience and certifications:

ASEEdit

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies automotive professionals so that the shop owners and service customers can better gauge a technician's level of expertise before contracting the technician's services. In addition to passing an ASE certification test, automotive technicians must have two years of on-the-job-training or one year of on-the-job-training and a two-year degree in automotive repair to qualify for certification.[2] ASE Master technician status is earned when an individual achieves certification in all required testing areas for that series. Certification credentials are only valid for five years. Each certification in the series must be kept current in order to maintain ASE Master Technician status.[3] While it's not required by law for a mechanic to be certified, some companies only hire or promote employees who have passed ASE tests.

OEMEdit

A vehicle's Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) often provides and requires additional training as part of the dealership franchise agreement. In doing so, technicians become specialized and certified for that particular vehicle make.[1] Some automotive vocational schools such as Universal Technical Institute (UTI) offer manufacturer training programs with certain vehicle brands including BMW, Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Mopar, Porsche, Toyota and Volvo which can provide a technician with OEM training before entering the dealership environment. These types of programs may be paid for by a student with no obligation, or by the manufacturer with a contract that requires a technician to work for the OEM for a designated amount of time upon graduating.[4] An OEM usually has multiple technician skill levels that can be achieved, but the Master status is typically one of them.

EPAEdit

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires any person who repairs or services a motor vehicle air conditioning system for payment or bartering to be properly trained and certified under section 609 of the Clear Air Act. To be certified, technicians must be trained by an EPA-approved program and pass a test demonstrating their knowledge in these areas. This certification does not expire.[5]

Types and specialtiesEdit

Auto bodyEdit

An auto body technician repairs the exterior of a vehicle, primarily bodywork and paintwork. This includes repairing minor damages such as scratches, scuffs and dents, as well as major damage caused by vehicle collisions.[1] Some specialized auto body technicians may also offer paintless dent repair, glass replacement and chassis straightening.

Auto glassEdit

An auto glass technician repairs chips, cracks and shattered glass in windshields, quarter glass, side windows and rear glass. Glass damage is often caused by hail, stones, wild animals, fallen trees, automobile theft and vandalism. Depending on the type and severity of the damage, an auto glass technician may either repair or replace the affected glass.[6]

DieselEdit

A diesel mechanic repairs diesel engines, often found in trucks and heavy equipment.[7]

Exhaust specialistEdit

An exhaust system specialist performs repairs to the engine exhaust system. These mechanics utilize large tubing benders and welders to fabricate a new exhaust system out of otherwise straight lengths of pipe.[1]

FleetEdit

A fleet mechanic maintains a particular group of vehicles called a fleet. Common examples of a fleet include taxi cabs, police cars, mail trucks and rental vehicles. Similar to a lubrication technician, a fleet mechanic focuses primarily on preventative maintenance and safety inspections, and will often outsource larger or more complex repairs to another repair facility.[1]

General repairEdit

A general repair technician diagnoses and repairs electrical and mechanical vehicle systems including (but not limited to) brakes, driveline, starting, charging, lighting, engine, HVAC, supplemental restraints, suspension and transmission systems. Some general repair technicians are only capable or certified for select systems, while master technicians (generally speaking) are capable or certified across all vehicle systems.

Heavy lineEdit

A heavy line mechanic performs major mechanical repairs such as engine or transmission replacement. Some heavy line mechanics also perform overhaul procedures for these components.

LubricationEdit

A lubrication technician, often shortened to lube tech, is an entry-level position that focuses on basic preventive maintenance services rather than repairs. The tasks that can be performed are typically limited to automotive fluid, filter, belt and hose replacement.[1] Lube techs are employed by nearly every type of automotive repair shop, however, they are most prevalent in quick lube or express service shops because they lower business overhead resulting in a less expensive service as compared to traditional automotive workshops.[8]

MobileEdit

A mobile technician performs most of the same repairs as a general repair technician, except does so at the customer's location rather than inside a brick and mortar facility. In the United States, companies such as Wrench and YourMechanic leverage the lower business overhead of not having a physical automobile repair shop to offer consumers more competitive pricing.[9]

Pit crewEdit

A pit crew mechanic performs an assigned maintenance or repair task to a racecar during a pit stop along a racetrack. Pit crew jobs include raising and lowering the vehicle with a jack, filling the car with gasoline, changing the tires, and cleaning the windshield.[10] Although these are basic tasks, they must be performed in an extremely quick and accurate fashion.

ChallengesEdit

PhysicalEdit

The auto mechanic has a physically demanding job, often exposed to extreme temperatures, lifting heavy objects and staying in uncomfortable positions for extended periods. They also may deal with exposure to toxic chemicals.

TechnologicalEdit

With the rapid advancement in technology, the mechanic's job has evolved from purely mechanical, to include electronic technology. Because vehicles today possess complex computer and electronic systems, mechanics need to have a broader base of knowledge than in the past and must be prepared to learn these new technologies and systems.

FinancialEdit

Automotive technicians utilize many tools, equipment and reference material to perform their duties. While equipment and reference materials are typically provided by the employer, all other tools are purchased, owned, and provided by the technician.

ResourcesEdit

Scan toolEdit

Due to the increasingly labyrinthine nature of the technology that is now incorporated into automobiles, most automobile dealerships and independent workshops now provide sophisticated diagnostic computers to each technician, without which they would be unable to diagnose or repair a vehicle.

Reference materialEdit

The internet is being applied to the field increasingly often, with mechanics providing advice on-line. Mechanics themselves now regularly use the internet for information to help them in diagnosing and/or repairing vehicles. Paper based service manuals for vehicles have become significantly less prevalent with computers that are connected to the Internet taking their position, giving quick access to a plethora of technical manuals and information.

Online schedulingEdit

Online appointment platforms have surged allowing customers to schedule vehicle repairs by making appointments. A newer method of mobile mechanic services has emerged where the online appointment made by a person seeking repairs turns into a dispatch call and the mechanics travel to the customers location to perform the services.[11]

Related careersEdit

A mechanic usually works from the workshop in which the (well equipped) mechanic has access to a vehicle lift to access areas that are difficult to reach when the car is on the ground. Beside the workshop bound mechanic, there are mobile mechanics like those of the UK Automobile Association (the AA) which allow the car owner to receive assistance without the car necessarily having to be brought to a garage.[12]

A mechanic may opt to engage in other careers related to his or her field. Teaching of automotive trade courses, for example, is almost entirely carried out by qualified mechanics in many countries.

There are several other trade qualifications for working on motor vehicles, including panel beater, spray painter, body builder and motorcycle mechanic. In most developed countries, these are separate trade courses, but a qualified tradesperson from one sphere can change to working as another. This usually requires that they work under another tradesperson in much the same way as an apprentice.

Auto body repair involves less work with oily and greasy parts of vehicles, but involves exposure to particulate dust from sanding bodywork and potentially toxic chemical fumes from paint and related products. Salespeople and dealers often also need to acquire an in-depth knowledge of cars, and some mechanics are successful in these roles because of their knowledge. Auto mechanics also need to stay updated with all the leading car companies as well as newly launched cars. Mechanics have to study continuously on new technology engines and their work systems.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Gilles, Tim (2004). Automotive Service: Inspection, Maintenance, Repair (Custom ed.). United States of America: Delmar Learning. pp. 16–23. ISBN 1-40181-234-1.
  2. ^ "About ASE". ASE. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  3. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". ASE. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  4. ^ "A Complete Guide to UTI's MSAT Programs". www.uti.edu. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  5. ^ US EPA, OAR (2015-08-08). "Section 609 Technician Training and Certification Programs". www.epa.gov. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  6. ^ "Windshield Repair | Auto Glass Repair | Safelite". www.safelite.com. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  7. ^ "Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics". bls.gov. United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  8. ^ Witt, Pharaba. "Cheapest Places to Get Oil Changes". It Still Runs.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Mechanics Who Come to You | YourMechanic Advice". www.yourmechanic.com. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  10. ^ "NASCAR Pit Crew Person Salary and Career Advice". Chegg Careermatch. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  11. ^ Gallagher, Billy (2012-09-11). "YourMechanic, The "Uber Of Car Maintenance"". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  12. ^ www.theaa.com/about The AA. Retrieved 21 September 2015.