What Does an Automotive Technician Do?

It is important to know the basic job duties of an auto mechanic before you begin your automotive training. Here we will answer the question, what does an automotive technician do?

What does an auto mechanic do?

As you are searching for the perfect trade school or even the perfect trade, you may find yourself asking, what does an automotive technician do? Well, that is what we are going to set straight! As technology evolves within the automotive industry, the specific tasks of an auto mechanic changes as well. Even though, there are some basic job duties of an automotive technician that do not change. For example, a mechanic 25 years ago would potentially use a trial & error method to diagnose an issue while today a mechanic will connect a computer. Both are diagnostic skills just with different tools.

So, here we will take a deep dive into the following 4 basic job duties of an auto mechanic:


Problem Solving as a Mechanic

No matter what level of mechanic you are, you will need to be a problem solver. Cars are extremely complex and not everything is going to work exactly as it is supposed to all of the time. So, you may need to think on your feet to fix something. Fortunately, today’s mechanics have very useful technology to remove some fog around certain issues. Even though, a mechanic will need to use different problem solving skills to diagnose and fix issues. For example, some issues will be invisible until the car is actually driven. Perhaps the issue only happens in certain driving situations, ask the customer as many questions necessary to identify exactly what the issue is and when it takes place.

Although there are some situations where a customer comes in, tells you the problem, you pop the hood and know with one glance what the issue is, this does not always happen. In fact, that is quite rare. Therefore, one of the most essential basic job duties of an auto mechanic is problem solving and diagnostics. Part of this comes from committing to your education and learning as much as you can about automotive technology and the way cars work in general. Along with that, it will help to familiarize yourself with the diagnostic tools your shop has for you to use. Know your tools and your subject and you will have a great foundation! This is just the start of the answer to the question of the moment, “what does an automotive technician do?”

Customer Service

Communication Skills

A common misconception that people have about working as an auto mechanic is that all you interact with are cars. The first thing you probably think of when you hear auto mechanic is someone with their head buried under the hood of a car. While this does happen, it is only part of the job! Just as discussed above, there are some important things that come from having good communication between you, the mechanic, and the customer. Customers drive the cars you are working on every day, they hold great knowledge about the vehicle! Being able to tap that knowledge can not only make your job easier, it will also make the customer feel heard and acknowledged.

On top of making your job easier and quicker, being able to communicate clearly and efficiently with your customers will keep them coming back to your shop. With almost 250,000 auto shops across the nation (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), competition is high. You need to be doing all that you can to encourage your customers to come back. Treating them with respect and care on top of high quality service can help ensure that. So, as you enter your training don’t forget to practice your personal skills as it plays a big part in our question, “What does an automotive technician do?”

General Repairs

Knowing the Vehicle

Adding on to being able to diagnose a problem in a vehicle, you will need to be able to fix the problem. This will not be an automatic or a natural skill as you will need to first learn what each part of a car does then gain practice fixing them. It can take a long time to fully understand how everything should work. So, do not be discouraged if you cannot fix everything right away. If you are going to trade school, soak in all of your classes. Don’t check out when you are in class rather than in the shop. You will get a much better understanding of how cars work if you are applying yourself in both class work and shop work.

Doing repairs can be complex as there isn’t always a clear answer to a problem. A customer may come in saying they heard a weird rattling or they noticed a liquid leaking from the engine. It will be up to you to first diagnose it, figure out which part needs cleaned or replaced, decide whether there are any other parts contributing to the problem, and put it all together. This takes enormous amounts of work and knowledge, do not be afraid to ask for help! This is probably the step that people think of most when they ask, “What does an automotive technician do?” Even though, this step works best when applied with all the others as well.

Routine Maintenance

Stay Up-To-Date

As you already know, routine maintenance is essential to keep a car running smoothly and for a long time. With the average age of vehicles on the road surpassing 11 years old, maintenance will be essential. Instead of fixing something that is breaking or broken, maintenance prevents things from breaking. Therefore, mechanics have a great opportunity to help their customers stay on top of the routine maintenance necessary to keep their vehicles in top shape.

Whether it is a regular oil change or a transmission fluid flush, each car and product will have different timelines. Although it is ultimately up to the customer to make a decision on these, it is up to the mechanic to educate and encourage a healthy maintenance schedule. If all of your returning customers only come in for maintenance such as new brake pads or tires, they will be much happier. Being able to plan out when you will need maintenance rather than breaking down on the side of the road is essential for a happy customer.

Always Keep Learning

The final thing that we suggest, keep learning new things! Just as people change with time, so does automotive technology. The day you stop learning about new technology in the industry you will start to lag behind other mechanics. So, surround yourself with other motivated mechanics and individuals. This will help you stay motivated to learning and improving your craft. Take pride in what you do, helping people by wrenching autos! If you are just starting your automotive training either in an apprenticeship or trade school, keep these in mind. Throughout your training, you will notice these four skills come up time and time again which will help you when it comes time to get a job.

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