Becoming a Car Mechanic

Becoming a Car Mechanic

A car mechanic repairs and maintains motor vehicles. This career requires strong mechanical skills as well as an ability to read and follow written instructions. Mechanics use their hands to install and remove parts, but they also must be able to operate diagnostic equipment like engine analyzers and compression testers. Other duties include testing a vehicle’s fuel system and determining whether the brakes need replacing. They must also clean, wash and refinish surfaces, including the body of the vehicle. Mechanics must perform all of these tasks while maintaining strict safety procedures and following manufacturer specifications.

The days of the uneducated grease monkey are long gone, as modern cars have become increasingly complex. Consequently, becoming a car mechanic requires formal training, such as completing an automotive program or earning a two-year associate degree in the field. Some vocational schools have partnerships with automakers and provide students with the opportunity to complete factory-approved training. These programs often involve hands-on experience with the latest vehicles. In addition, many mechanics receive on-the-job training with their employer.

Because of the increasing complexity of automobiles, the ASE-accredited National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) tests all auto professionals for certification. This allows shop owners to better gauge the professional’s level of knowledge and expertise. To become certified, an individual must pass a series of exams that cover different aspects of the job.

Repairing and reconditioning a vehicle’s internal components, such as the engine, electrical systems and transmission. Inspecting a vehicle to determine the cause of a malfunction and repairing or replacing parts as needed. Operating a variety of complex test equipment, such as engine analyzers, compression testers and voltmeters. Maintaining accurate records pertaining to the vehicles and parts. Performing requisitions for parts and materials.

Working to ensure the quality of work performed by other technicians in the department. Listening to customer requests and recommending services. Communicating with customers and providing estimates for the cost of repairs. Completing paperwork and communicating with the shop’s management team.

Keeping up with new technology that is added to cars as well as the latest tools and techniques to repair them. Some of this information can be gathered from reading industry publications and attending trade conferences. Other sources of information include watching instructional videos and using the Internet for advice.

The job description for a mechanic can vary significantly, but all positions require the same basic skills. Some mechanics may be able to specialize in certain areas of the business, such as electronics or glass repair. However, all mechanics must have good mechanical aptitude and be able to think critically in order to resolve problems.

Many mechanics work on a full-time basis. Others may choose to work a part-time schedule, such as on weekends. In either case, the job can be very lucrative and satisfying as most people rely on their vehicles to get them from place to place. This makes it a popular career choice for people who enjoy working on cars and have mechanical aptitude.

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