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What Does an Auto Mechanic Do?

More than 90% of American households own a vehicle, so it’s no surprise that the people who keep them running are in high demand. Auto mechanics — also known as automotive service technicians and mechanics — inspect, maintain and repair cars and light trucks. They perform a wide variety of services including computer diagnostics, safety inspections, maintenance tasks like oil changes, and a wide variety of repairs related to brakes, air conditioning, suspension, emission systems and more. Automotive technicians increasingly use highly sophisticated equipment and computer software as cars and trucks evolve.

Most technicians work in repair shops full-time and during normal business hours and may have a lot of interaction with customers.

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Median Salary $
43,000
Jobs Available
22,700+
Auto mechanic uses an advanced computer with diagnostic software to inspect a vehicle
Auto mechanics rely on diagnostic tools and software to service cars and identify problems. (Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Perform diagnostic tests on vehicles via tablet, laptop or mobile device
  • Perform preventative maintenance 
  • Determine issues and which parts need repair
  • Test drive vehicles
  • Effectively communicate to customers about needed repairs
  • Perform repairs 
  • Understand wiring diagrams and system tests
Education + Training

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent for an entry-level or apprentice position. Independent repair shops provide on-the-job training as the employee works toward certification. It usually takes two to three years to become a certified technician.

Community colleges and trade school offer programs. Classes include mathematics, electronics and automotive repair. Dealerships also offer in-house manufacturer training that's specific to a particular brand of vehicle.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is considered the top standard, with additional certification often required for specialty parts such as electronics, air conditioning or diesel engines. Additional certification translates into additional income opportunities. 

YOU MAY BE A GOOD FIT FOR THIS POSITION IF YOU
  • Communicate well
  • Have good attention to detail 
  • Enjoy problem-solving
  • Have a keen sense of hearing
  • Have an aptitude for mechanical work

Auto Mechanic training in your area

Coordinates

Automotive Service Technology, A.A.S

Wichita State University Tech WSU Tech
Wichita (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Electrical/Electronic Systems Certificate

Front Range Community College
Westminster (0.0 Miles)

Engine and Drive Trains Certificate

Antelope Valley College
Lancaster (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Systems Technology: Emphasis in Engine Performance Systems Certificate

Davidson County Community College
Thomasville (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Systems Technology, A.A.S.

Pitt Community College
Winterville (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Medium and Light Repair Certificate

Greenville Technical College
Greenville (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Service Technology, A.A.S.

Tarrant County College District
Fort Worth (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair Technical Diploma

Waukesha County Technical College
Pewaukee (0.0 Miles)

Smog Technician Certificate of Achievement

De Anza College
Cupertino (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Electronics Technology, A.S.

Las Positas College
Livermore (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Engine Performance Specialist Certificate of Completion

Joliet Junior College
Joliet (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Technology CS

St. Louis Community College
Bridgeton (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador Jake Sorensen
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Auto mechanic Jake Sorenson shows two technicians how to fix something on a car
Meet Ambassador Jake Sorensen

Sometimes, the right job finds you. 

“I had given very little to no thought to what I wanted to do prior to starting in this field,” says auto mechanic Jake Sorensen. The 32-year-old started in the field as lube technician when a friend offered him a job. He quickly realized this was the job he was meant to do. 

Now the shop manager and a diagnostic technician at a repair shop in Utah, he explains what everyone gets wrong about his job.

Find Auto Mechanic Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

General Automotive Maintenance Technician - Tustin, CA

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Tustin ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 2 weeks ago

Bike Shop Tech/Maintenance Specialist - Burbank

REI
Burbank ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Willow Grove ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Orange ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Aguadilla ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
North Atlanta ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
La Mirada ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Kissimmee ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago