A car mechanic works on cars and other motor vehicles, repairing or replacing parts as necessary. Mechanics use power tools, hand tools, and specialized automotive equipment to perform their work. They may also test and analyze engine performance and inspect vehicles for safety and quality. Some mechanics specialize in a particular area of the vehicle, such as the engine or brakes. Other mechanics may focus on routine maintenance such as oil changes or tire rotations.
A career as a car mechanic can be an exciting and challenging choice for people who are mechanically inclined. Some mechanics learn their trade on the job, working under more experienced colleagues before becoming fully qualified. Others choose to attend a vocational school program in order to earn a postsecondary certificate or associate degree. Vocational schools often have partnerships with local auto shops, which allows students to gain hands-on experience before entering the workforce.
Most auto mechanic jobs require a good understanding of how the different components in a vehicle work together. Mechanics must be able to identify the source of a problem and make repairs accordingly. This requires a strong knowledge of basic engine theory, as well as electrical and computer systems. The ability to follow written and verbal instructions is important, as is a willingness to learn new skills as the automotive industry evolves.
Mechanics must be able provide excellent customer service to ensure that customers are informed of repair costs and time frames. They must also be able to communicate complex technical issues in an understandable way and make recommendations to customers.
Auto mechanics work closely with other members of the shop team, including store clerks and salespeople. They may also interact with suppliers and manufacturers in order to obtain new parts or research technical problems. Many mechanics are self-employed, which requires a certain level of independence and can be rewarding for those who like to work on their own.
Today’s modern vehicles have become increasingly reliant on computers and electrical systems. Mechanics need to be familiar with all of the modern systems in order to keep up with the industry. In the past, mechanics could choose to specialize in a specific area of the vehicle, such as engines or steering/ suspension, but now it is common for a mechanic to work on every part of an automobile.
If you want to take your mechanic career to the next level, consider getting manufacturer-specific certifications. Many of the major auto makers offer programs that teach you to repair their unique systems. This can give you an edge over competitors who do not have these certifications. For example, the Mopar Career Automotive Program is a nationally recognized training program that teaches mechanics how to work on Fiat Chrysler vehicles. The program is offered at more than 80 vocational schools and community colleges. Students can participate in internships to earn money while completing the program.