An auto mechanic (or car mechanic in British English and motor mechanic in Australian English) is a mechanic who specializes in automobile maintenance, repair, and sometimes modification. An auto mechanic may be knowledgeable in working on all parts of a variety of car makes or may specialize either in a specific area or in a specific make of car. In repairing cars, their main role is to diagnose the problem accurately and quickly. They often have to quote prices for their customers before commencing work or after partial disassembly for inspection. The mechanic uses both electronic means of gathering data as well as their senses. Their job may involve the repair of a specific part or the replacement of one or more parts as assemblies.
Basic vehicle maintenance is a fundamental part of a mechanic's work in some countries, while in others they are only consulted when a vehicle is already showing signs of malfunction. Preventative maintenance is also a fundamental part of a mechanic's job, but this is not possible in the case of vehicles that are not regularly maintained by a mechanic. One misunderstood aspect of preventative maintenance is scheduled replacement of various parts, which occurs before failure to avoid far more expensive damage. Because this means that parts are replaced before any problem is observed, many vehicle owners will not understand why the expense is necessary. The salary depends on the education.
With the rapid advancement in technology, the mechanic's job has evolved from purely mechanical, to include electronic technology. Because vehicles today possess complex computer and electronic systems, mechanics need to have a broader base of knowledge than in the past. Lately, the term "auto mechanic" is being used less and less frequently and is being replaced by the euphemistic title “automotive service technician”. Fading quickly is the day of the 'shade tree mechanic', who needed little knowledge of today's computerized systems.
Due to the increasingly labyrinthine nature of the technology that is now incorporated into automobiles, most automobile dealerships now provide sophisticated diagnostic computers to each technician, without which they may be unable to diagnose or repair electronic issues in modern vehicles.
In Australia, an apprentice works under one or more qualified mechanics for a period of four years. During that time, they attend a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) college one day per week for three years. In some states, mechanics are required to be trade qualified and hold a tradesman's certificate to work as a mechanic, and the workshop in which they work is required to have a workshop license. In other states, no such licensing is required at this time.
In the United States, several programs and schools that offer training for those interested in pursuing competencies as an automotive mechanic, or as an auto technician already exist (such as UNOH, WyoTech or UTI). A few of the aspects usually taught those studying for this career are: powertrain repair and diagnosis, emissions, and suspension. The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) is responsible for evaluating technician training programs against standards developed by the automotive industry. NATEF certifies programs in four different categories: automotive, auto body, trucks (diesel technology) and alternative fuels.
Some mechanics are ASE certified, which is a standardized method of testing skill level. For most of the country, it is not required by law for a mechanic to be certified, some companies only hire or promote employees who have passed ASE tests. The technology used in automobiles changes very rapidly and the mechanic must be prepared to learn these new technologies and systems. The auto mechanic has a physically demanding job, often exposed to temperature extremes and well as lifting heavy objects and staying in uncomfortable positions for extended periods as well as exposure to gasoline, asbestos, and other toxic chemicals.
In the UK there are different routes for people to become qualified the best route is to serve an apprenticeship with a local garage or franchised dealership while attending a college or a training centre to acquire UPK ( underpinning Knowledge) the apprenticeship is split in to 2 levels
Level 2 this is the starting point under framework 4 of the qualifications set out by the Sector Skills Council and is in operation at the present time, (this is sometimes called a foundation modern apprenticeship) and is made of the following components
NVQ National vocational Qualification – this is achieved by the collection of evidence in the workplace by mentors and other qualified personnel that the apprentices can actually do the job in question i.e. at this level the apprentice has to successfully remove and replace components to manufacturers guidelines and the vehicle be returned to the road for everyday use, this is usually recorded on a “jobcard” which details work done, parts used and time taken so that the appropriate charges can be passed on to the customer.
VRQ Vocational Related Qualification – this is also sometimes called a “Tech cert” and is a series of tests and assignments designed to show that the candidate understands how things work i.e. Engines, Transmission, Chassis etc and is delivered in a variety of ways at a Training Centre (a lot of Major manufacturers have their own training and teaching centres) or at a local college, the VRQ is accredited (like the NVQ) by and awarding body such as City and Guilds or the IMI
Key Skills – The UK Government decided that as well as the skills for any particular profession everyone embarking on an apprenticeship scheme should have the same level of skills in key areas these are Communications ( English), Application of Number ( Maths) and I.T. (use of computers and I.T.), these are required at level 1 for a level 2 apprenticeship
Framework Certificate – When the candidate has achieved the required components listed above, an application is made to the awarding body for an Apprenticeship certificate to show competence at that level.
After completing the Level 2 or FMA the candidate will usually complete the Level 3 or Advanced Modern Apprentice, at this level the candidate collects evidence in the same way as level 2, however they must prove at this level that they have used 2 stage diagnosis of the fault (stage 1 manufacturers systems, stage 2 use of other diagnostic equipment i.e. multimeter) to record actual system/component readings. The level 3 or AMA also requires the VRQ at level 3 and Key skills Communication level 2, Application of Number level 2 and I.T. level 1 when all components are successfully completed the AMA is applied for. Workplace evidence is usually assessed by a work based assessor from the training provider chosen to provide the apprentices training and this person must be Technically qualified and also hold an appropriate NVQ assessors qualification as well.
Some other people who are not lucky enough to secure a work placement can attend local college to achieve a level 3 VRQ, although this will include some work experience it is generally accepted that the standards are lower unless the college operates a RWE (Realistic Working Environment) where customers cars (usually not for profit) are repaired by candidates then returned to the road. UK training Differs from American training and general practice in that a U.K. Mechanic will be expected to be able to repair all areas of the vehicle (apart form Bodywork and Painting) i.e. engines, suspension, brakes, electrical, chassis, transmission etc as these are usually all covered in the same garage or workshop.
This training usually takes 4- 5 years depending on many factors, after this term and apprentice is said to be "qualified" and is working alongside experienced technicians and been given simpler tasks to accomplish on their own, there are at present no compulsory additions to this however a lot of manufacturers run their own course for specific vehicles and new ones. At the moment there is a voluntary registration scheme with 2 levels where technicians can be assessed and have a registration the same as in the UK a gas fitter or installer has to be G.O.R.G.I. registered and this is gaining popularity especially with the HGV repair centres to show that the technicians there have up to date skills.
In the Philippines, for an apprentice to complete the Automotive Servicing course, they are required by T.E.S.D.A. (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) to be assess their competencies such as basic, common and core competencies. Under BASIC COMPETENCIES are Participate in workplace communication, Work in team environment, practice career professionalism, Practice occupational health and safety procedures. Under COMMON COMPETENCIES are Apply appropriate sealant/adhesive, Move and position vehicle, Perform mensuration and calculation, Read, interpret and apply specifications and manuals, Use and apply lubricants/coolants, perform shop maintenance and in CORE COMPETENCIES are Perform Diesel and Gasoline engine tune-up, Service ignition system, Test and repair wiring/lighting system, and perform under chassis preventive maintenance. In a Car Dealership for an apprentice to be qualified, they must be graduate at least 2 year trade/vocational course in Automotive Servicing/Technology, 18 years of age and possessed a valid driver's license regardless professional or non professional. Some of the Mechanics planning to work abroad should perform a trade test or assessment for them to secure a certification for added credentials to there resume. Even small garage auto service shop or "talyer" as we call it the government is requiring the owners that their mechanics or service technician to undergo trade test in order to gauge the individual skills of their manpower. T.E.S.D.A. (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), D.B.T.I. (Don Bosco Technical Institute), M.F.I.(Meralco Foundation, Inc.), Samson College Institute, T.U.P.(Technological University of the Phils.), Dualtech and Electron are the list of institutions that are offering automotive technology course at the same time the primary caterer of automotive apprentice in different car dealership in the philippines.
A mechanic may opt to engage in other careers related to his field. Teaching of automotive trade courses, for example, is almost entirely carried out by qualified mechanics in many countries.
There are several other trade qualifications for working on motor vehicles, including panel beater, spray painter, body builder and motorcycle mechanic. In some countries, these are separate trade courses, but a qualified tradesman from one can change to working as another. This usually requires that they work under another tradesman in much the same way as an apprentice.
Auto body repair involves less work with oily and greasy parts of vehicles, but involves exposure to particulate dust from sanding bodywork and potentially toxic chemical fumes from paint and related products. Salespeople and dealers often also need to acquire an in-depth knowledge of cars, and some mechanics are successful in these roles because of their knowledge.
In a Car Dealership a Mechanic may also be assigned in Parts Department as a Parts Counter Salesman because of their wide knowledge and familiarity of vehicle parts. Parts Counter Salesman Facilitates selling, marketing, inventory and issuance of vehicle parts, accessories and lubricants to over the counter clients and service technicians.
A Mechanic may also be assigned in Tool Room as a Tool Keeper because of their expertise and knowledge about tools, gadgets to be used in overhauling, diagnosing, troubleshooting, testing the vehicles mechanical, electrical and electronic trouble.
A Mechanic may also be promoted as a Service Advisor assigned in service reception entertaining walk-in or by appointment customers who wish their vehicle to be diagnosed, perform quality service check-up and estimate cost of damage.
A Mechanic may also be a consultant of automotive shop owners and engage in Sales as a Technical Sales Representative selling automotive hardware like tools, screw, chemicals and other engineering and industrial product which supplies and caters different 5 star car dealership, service center, auto supply, car wash shop and car accessories shop because of their knowledge about the products where, when, how they are going to used it appropriately in a specific vehicle.
A Mechanic may also venture into business as entrepreneur putting up his own automotive service center/shop or auto supply and accessories since he already have a wide knowledge of day to day operations of a service center and already builds a network of customers and parts supplier.
A Mechanic may also be a sales or service trainer in a car dealership teaching basic automotive fundamentals in sales or service department because of their knowledge about principles and function of every parts, accessories and latest specification of the vehicle.
Pit crews for motor racing are a specialized form of work undertaken by some mechanics. It is sometimes portrayed as glamorous in movies and television and is considered prestigious in some parts of the automotive industry. Working in a pit crew in professional racing circuits is dangerous and very stressful work but usually pays well. This work is sometimes perceived as being difficult to come by because of the skill levels required. Pit crews have to be smart and can fix a car fast and well. Some of the Pit Crew mechanics background are former service technician of a road car in a dealership. Every four years car manufacturers conduct a service technician competition single and double and there are different categories like light, medium repair and general job within a certain time to beat. As a service technician champion they used this credential and experience as a stepping stone in order for them to be qualified as a pit crew mechanic in F1, GP2, Indy500, NASCAR, A1GP, WRC and including other racing competitions.
A mechanic who works on aircraft is called a Aircraft Maintenance Technician (or Aviation mechanic in the United States). The skill set and techniques are very similar, especially for those working with general aviation aircraft.
An auto mechanic is a mechanic that works with cars, car parts, and special car changes that make the car work differently called modifications. Auto mechanics can either know all about all the different parts that let the car work, or they can specialize in one specific kind of part or car. People go to auto mechanics for many reasons: They might need to get a new car part, they might need to find out what is wrong with their car, or they might want to add something new to the car to make it better. Auto mechanics almost always work in places called garages, that are made for the work that auto mechanics do.