Automotive mechanics make mechanical repairs and carry out scheduled maintenance on cars, trucks and other motor vehicles using a variety of testing equipment and tools. This process customarily involves the use of computerized diagnostic equipment, such as infrared engine analyzers, spark plug testers and compression guages. An even greater variety of tools is used to complete the work, including pneumatic wrenches, lathes and grinding machines, jacks and hoists, and electronic service equipment. Besides repairing damaged and defective vehicles, mechanics also conduct routine and scheduled maintenance: balancing and rotating tires, replacing filters, performing oil changes, lubrications and tune-ups, and installing parts such as mufflers, shock absorbers, exhaust pipes, radiators and springs. These repairs and maintenance must be completed to exacting safety standards.
With all of the complex repair and maintenance machinery used and the new technology built into modern automotive components, knowledge of electronics is increasingly desirable in a mechanic. In fact, the new developments in engines, transmissions and suspension systems, and the increased use of electronic components are changing the mechanic's job into that of a technician, with more emphasis on vehicle diagnosis.
Traits & Talents
For a career in automotive service, you should have a genuine interest in cars and mechanics, mechanical aptitude and a knowledge of how automobiles work. You must be able to communicate effectively and politely with customers to advise them on their vehicle's condition and repair requirements. As a mechanic, you also need analytical abilities and problem-solving skills to understand and diagnose malfunctions quickly and accurately. With improving technology, a knowledge of computers and electronics is essential.
Mechanics are employed in a number of sectors of the economy. The majority work in repair shops, at car dealer-ships and in the service departments of industrial, manufacturing and resource-based companies that have large motor vehicle fleets. Most of the work is done indoors, and any harmful materials and odours are controlled by stringent safety regulations. Shift and weekend work is sometimes required, as many repair shops are now open late to better serve their clients. Though much of the work is dirty and strenuous and often performed in awkward or cramped positions, it is always challenging as each vehicle presents a unique and distinct set of problems.
- Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic
- Motor Vehicle Assembler
- Air Conditioning Mechanic