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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 $
42,000
Jobs Available
59,150+
Female 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: BAZA Production/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 Technology Certificate of Achievement

Long Beach City College
Long Beach (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Technology

State Fair Community College
Sedalia (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Mechanics Certificate

Bronx Community College - CUNY
Bronx (0.0 Miles)
First Coast Technical College

Automotive Service Technology

First Coast Technical College
St. Augustine (0.0 Miles)

Powertrain Specialist Certificate

Montgomery College
Rockville (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair

Sinclair Community College
Dayton (0.0 Miles)

Manual Drive Train and Axle Certificate

Big Bend Community College
Moses Lake (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Technology, A.A.S.

South Seattle College
Seattle (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Technology, A.A.S.

Casper College
Casper (0.0 Miles)

Automatic Transmission Transaxle Certificate

Santa Fe Community College
Santa Fe (0.0 Miles)

Automotive Technician, A.S.

Reedley College
Reedley (0.0 Miles)

Hybrid & Electric Plug-In Vehicle Technology Certificate

Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
Los Angeles (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Jake Sorensen
Image
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 Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Fox River Grove ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Croft ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Knoxville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Cincinnati ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Riverdale ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Celebration ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Astoria ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

General Service Technician

Auto Plus Pep Boys
Hobe Sound ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago