What is an Auto Repair Technician?

Do you love tinkering with cars and fixing them? Working as an auto repair technician may be a great career choice for you!

An auto repair technician inspects, maintains, and repairs gas, electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles. In smaller businesses, their duties may include a full range of repair and maintenance services. In larger businesses, they may specialize in certain areas, such as brakes, transmissions, or air conditioning systems.

What does an Auto Repair Technician do?

An auto repair technician looking under a car.

Auto repair technicians perform routine checks and service to vehicles. They examine and diagnose malfunctioning vehicles, identify issues, discuss various options with their customers, and find ways to fix them.

Duties include:

  • Testing parts and systems to ensure they are working properly
  • Identifying mechanical problems, often by using computerized diagnostic equipment
  • Following checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Testing and lubricating the vehicle’s engine and other major components
  • Performing basic care and maintenance, including oil changes, tune-ups, and tire rotations
  • Repairing or replacing worn parts, such as brake pads and wheel bearings
  • Disassembling and reassembling parts
  • Using testing equipment to ensure that repairs and maintenance are effective
  • Explaining to clients their automotive problems and the repairs done on their vehicles

Auto repair technicians work on traditional mechanical components, such as engines, transmissions, belts, and hoses. However, they must also be familiar with a growing number of electronic systems.

Braking, transmission, and steering systems, for example, are controlled primarily by computers and electronic components. Other integrated electronic systems, such as accident-avoidance sensors, are becoming common as well. In addition, a growing number of technicians are required to work on vehicles that run on alternative fuels, such as ethanol and electricity. Recreational vehicle service technicians specifically work on RV's.

Auto repair technicians use many different tools, including computerized diagnostic tools and power tools such as pneumatic wrenches, lathes, welding torches, jacks, and hoists, which are typically owned by employers. Common hand tools are used as well, such as pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers, which are usually owned by the technician. Experienced technicians often have thousands of dollars invested in their personal tool collection.

Auto repair technicians can specialize in a particular type of repair that may be subject to specific regulations or procedures. For example, air-conditioning system repairs must follow federal and state regulations governing the handling, recycling, and disposal of refrigerants.

The following are types of specialized auto repair technicians:

Automotive Air-Conditioning Repairers - install and repair air conditioners and service parts, such as compressors, condensers, and controls. They are trained in any government regulations that are related to their work.

Brake Repairers - adjust brakes, replace brake linings and pads, and make other repairs on brake systems. Some technicians specialize in both brake and front-end work.

Front-End Mechanics - align and balance wheels and repair steering mechanisms and suspension systems. They frequently use special alignment equipment and wheel-balancing machines.

Transmission Technicians and Rebuilders - work on gear trains, couplings, hydraulic pumps, and other parts of transmissions. Extensive knowledge of computer controls, the ability to diagnose electrical and hydraulic problems, and other specialized skills are needed to work on these complex components.

Tune-Up Technicians - adjust ignition timing and valves and adjust or replace spark plugs and other parts to ensure efficient engine performance. They often use electronic testing equipment to isolate and adjust malfunctions in fuel, ignition, and emissions control systems.

Are you suited to be an auto repair technician?

Auto repair technicians have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if auto repair technician is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of an Auto Repair Technician like?

Most auto repair technicians work full time for private companies, and some are self-employed. Most work in well-ventilated and well-lit repair shops.

Although many problems can be identified and fixed with computers, technicians frequently work with greasy parts and tools, sometimes in uncomfortable positions.

Automotive businesses depend on repeat clients, therefore technicians must be courteous, good listeners, and willing to answer any customer questions.

Auto Repair Technicians are also known as:
Automotive Technician Motor Vehicle Mechanic Auto Technician Automobile Technician Certified Automotive Service Technician Automobile Service Technician Vehicle Service Technician Automobile Mechanic Auto Mechanic Automotive Service Technician