What Does a Gas Mechanic Do?

Lori Kilchermann

A gas mechanic works on gasoline-powered vehicles exclusively rather than diesel, electric or hybrid-type vehicles. Typically performing maintenance, engine rebuilding and tuneups, a gas mechanic is commonly on-duty at most auto repair shops worldwide. Educated in the operational aspects of the gasoline-powered engine, the gas mechanic is also trained in the typical mechanics of the average vehicle, such as brakes, transmissions and electrical systems. The average mechanical needs of a vehicle's owner can usually be met by someone trained as a gas mechanic.

Gas mechanics work on various components of gasoline-powered vehicles.
Gas mechanics work on various components of gasoline-powered vehicles.

Unlike the carburetor, the modern, gasoline-fueled vehicle can be fuel-injected, turbocharged or even supercharged. In the past, only diesel mechanics needed to be educated in fuel-injection and forced-induction systems. The modern gasoline engine uses computer ignition timing, variable valve timing and variable piston or cylinder firing, expanding the knowledge base needed to be a gas mechanic. Most repair shops use specific engine diagnostic machines to identify a problem with a vehicle. The gas mechanic must be able to not only repair the vehicle, but also must be able to attach the computer to the diagnostic ports of the vehicle and program the computer to search for a problem.

A carburetor, often seen in older cars, ensures the proper mixture of gasoline and air enters an engine for combustion.
A carburetor, often seen in older cars, ensures the proper mixture of gasoline and air enters an engine for combustion.

With a worldwide, global economy, the average gas mechanic must be able to work on all makes of vehicle, regardless of country of origin. From oil changes and tuneups to engine overhauls, a gas mechanic should be able to complete nearly any repair required to a vehicle short of bodywork. Most mechanics do not perform body repair due to the time intensity of the repair as well as the basic mess and contamination of the work area. The dust and debris caused by sanding and painting are detrimental to any engine maintenance that might be attempted in the direct area.

A gas mechanic may work on-site at a marina offering repair of boat engines.
A gas mechanic may work on-site at a marina offering repair of boat engines.

Many younger and less-experienced mechanics perform tedious work, such as exhaust repair, tire repair and brake service, while the more educated and experienced mechanics are typically reserved for more involved work. Engine component repair and replacement is one of the more involved tasks that might be undertaken by an experienced mechanic. Whether the gas mechanic works for a new vehicle dealership, a marina or an independent repair facility, the level of professionalism and knowledge of the vehicle to be repaired is tantamount to providing quality of service. With technology in the automobile industry advancing with nearly every new model year, many mechanics attend periodical training to stay abreast of new technology, functions and features of gasoline-powered vehicles.

A good gas mechanic should be able to work on any automobile model.
A good gas mechanic should be able to work on any automobile model.

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