What does an auto mechanic do? An auto mechanic‘s job is to diagnose and fix cars, light trucks, and other types of vehicles. Most places you’ll work will have the same type of job requirements:

  • You’ll use computerized diagnostics to identify issues.
  • You’ll perform typical routine maintenance such as rotating tires, changing the oil, and checking fluid levels of the vehicle.
  • You’ll put the vehicle through tests to make sure everything is working up to par.
  • You’ll use a checklist to ensure you didn’t miss anything crucial.
  • If there are broken or worn vehicle parts, you’ll repair or replace them.
  • You’ll discuss what type of repairs are needed with your customer and further explain anything once you are done.
  • Manufacturer or customer requests on repairs are strongly followed.
  • You may specialize in tires, brakes, on-board computerized equipment, or engines.

Become an auto mechanic

Since most employers want their auto mechanics to have some sort of serious mechanic training behind them, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Get your high school diploma or GED.
  • To heighten your chances of getting a job, you’ll need some postsecondary education and training.
  • You can choose to go to a trade school; programs last around 6 months.
  • Or you can go to community college and get your associate’s degree; programs last two years if you attend full time.
  • If you graduate from a program, you’ll need minimal amounts of hands-on training.
  • If you started as a trainee, working alongside an experienced mechanic, then you probably have already picked up some serious tricks of the trade.
  • If your job includes working with refrigerants, then you’ll be required to get a license through the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • It’s pretty standard for auto mechanics to get a certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and some employers require it prior to hiring.
  • If you want to become certified, you will need two years of experience, or completion of schooling plus one year of experience, and then you must pass the exam.

To become a master mechanic, you need to be certified in all of the following areas:

  • automatic transmission/transaxle, brakes
  • light vehicle diesel engines
  • electrical/electronic systems
  • engine performance
  • engine repair
  • heating and air-conditioning
  • manual drivetrain and axles
  • suspension and steering

Find an auto mechanic training program.

How much is an auto mechanic’s salary?

You have mad customer service skills, you’re known for being organized, and you troubleshoot like no one else can. For such a physically strong person, you find joy in the little details. You’re an auto mechanic by nature. And, for your skills, you will earn a median salary of $38K, with the top ten percent of your profession earning an average of $64K. If you’re working at a dealership or for the manufacturer, you’ll earn a commission instead of a salary. This is called a “flat rate” or “flag hour” structure where you get paid based on the work you’ve completed. Some shops will pay hourly as opposed to salary. You’ll be familiar with overtime, though. And, most likely, you’ll be working weekends and evenings, as well.

Are there jobs available for an auto mechanic?

Job growth for auto mechanics is expected to remain steady at 6 percent, with close to 46,000 available positions opening through 2026. If you’re certified and qualified through experience, then finding a job shouldn’t be too strenuous. However, as the technology behind cars evolves, they become more reliable. This means that in the near future, you’ll really only be performing routine maintenance as the bulk of your job.