What does an Auto Mechanic do?

Malcolm Tatum

Automotive mechanics are professionals who are skilled in the repair and maintenance of motor vehicles of all types. An auto mechanic may be called upon to work with cars, trucks, tractors and even lawn care equipment such as a riding lawn mower. Because the skills of the mechanic are required in so many different settings, an individual with an aptitude for mechanics can usually find work with ease.

Training to become an auto mechanic often starts with learning about how to perform basic vehicle maintenance.
Training to become an auto mechanic often starts with learning about how to perform basic vehicle maintenance.

An auto mechanic may choose to provide services in a general setting or focus on a particular aspect of the function of motorized vehicles. For example, the mechanic may pursue the acquisition of knowledge that makes it possible to repair cars and trucks that utilized any type of engine and transmission. Others may choose to focus on a subcategory of auto repair, such as becoming proficient in working on diesel engines or manual transmissions.

Almost all automotive jobs require hands-on training or formal certification.
Almost all automotive jobs require hands-on training or formal certification.

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An auto mechanic may also choose to focus on a specific type of vehicle. Many auto mechanics go through special certification processes to learn how to maintain and repair engines and transmissions on long haul trucks. Others may seek special certification associated with specific makes or brands of vehicles. Specializing in one particular sector of mechanics can provide opportunities to work in environments other than the local garage.

An auto mechanic may be needed to replace a car's battery.
An auto mechanic may be needed to replace a car's battery.

Training to be an auto mechanic usually begins with basic maintenance skills acquired in either the home environment or as part of elective training in a high school shop course. More comprehensive training is sometimes accomplished by working in a repair shop or garage and being involved in a mentoring program. Structured training in auto mechanics is also offered at technical schools, who award degrees upon completion of the course material. Many mechanics continue to pursue educational opportunities after securing a steady position. This is because innovations in technology often impact the function and structure of automobiles. The auto mechanic who stays abreast of the latest technology is very likely to remain in demand for many years to come.

Some mechanics specialize in particular vehicles or commercial work.
Some mechanics specialize in particular vehicles or commercial work.
A mechanic performs regular inspections on brake and steering systems.
A mechanic performs regular inspections on brake and steering systems.
Mechanics may be asked to explain necessary repairs or services to customers.
Mechanics may be asked to explain necessary repairs or services to customers.
Mechanics check and replace a vehicle's fluids.
Mechanics check and replace a vehicle's fluids.
ASE certified mechanics can specialize in specific systems in vehicles, including transmissions, electronics, heating and cooling systems, and more.
ASE certified mechanics can specialize in specific systems in vehicles, including transmissions, electronics, heating and cooling systems, and more.
A mechanic may work for a shop that does tune ups and general maintenance.
A mechanic may work for a shop that does tune ups and general maintenance.

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Discussion Comments

anon344894

Thanks for all the advice. Without my dad around I am doomed with my car. Something happened to it so I need to take it to an auto repair shop and this is really helpful.

anon268760

What certificate do you need to be an auto mechanic?

MrMoody

@Charred - The gold standard is ASE. ASE is part of the name, “National Institutes for Automotive Service Excellence.” Only certain auto mechanic schools offer this certification, so that’s what you should look for in the mechanic—or in the school, if you’re planning to pursue an auto mechanic career. At the shop where I get my car serviced all the technicians wear ASE patches.

Charred

What's the most common certification for qualified auto mechanics?

Mammmood

I’ve recently discovered one of several online auto mechanic services. In these websites you post a question about what problems you’re having with your car, and then you’ll get a listing of mechanics who reply that they have the answer to your specific question.

What makes it worthwhile is that these mechanics are certified in the make and model of the car that you own, so you’ll be getting a specialist right off the bat. If you agree to let them answer your question, you pay a nominal fee--much less than you would pay in a shop.

I think the service is good for general automotive questions (like my car doesn’t start), but for serious issues you’ll probably be better off taking your car to a shop for close inspection.

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