What Does An Automotive Service Technician Do?

If you’re passionate about cars and mechanics, then the idea of becoming an automotive technician has probably crossed your mind.

In this article, we want to help you decide if this is indeed the right career choice for you by presenting this profession and what a typical workday of an automotive technician looks like.

The automotive technician occupation is expected to grow in the future by 4 percent, according to the data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although their job description varies depending on the place of employment, experience, and area of expertise, automotive technicians are usually responsible for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining vehicles.

They may work with electric, gas, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicles.

Some automotive technicians, especially those who work for larger businesses specialize in a particular sub-field, such as transmissions, air conditioning, or brakes.

Those who work for smaller businesses typically perform a full range of repair and maintenance services.

Because this profession also involves discussing with clients and explaining problems and solutions, automotive technicians need good listening and communication skills.

automotive technician

Automotive Technician Job Description

Automotive service technicians usually perform the following tasks:

  • identifying problems- a task which is usually completed by using specialized equipment
  • testing parts to see if they are working properly
  • testing and lubricating engines
  • changing oil, rotating tires, and other maintenance tasks
  • replacing or repairing brake pads and other worn parts
  • disassembling and reassembling vehicle parts
  • talking to clients

Nowadays, braking, transmission, and steering systems are controlled by computers, so knowing how to use electronic systems is very important for any automotive service technician.

Being familiar with accident-avoidance sensors and knowing how to work with vehicles that run on automotive fuels is also important.

In their work, service technicians use many tools including computerized diagnostic tools, pneumatic wrenches, lathes, jacks, and hoists.

Workers in some specialties must follow special rules and regulations.

For example, if you want to work on air-conditioning systems, you much follow strict federal and general regulations when handling, recycling, and disposing of refrigerants.

changing car tires

Automotive Technician Specialties

As we said before, larger shops typically hire several automotive technicians, each specializing in a particular area.

  • Air-conditioning repairers install air conditioners and replace compressors, condensers, and other AC parts.
  • Brake repairers adjust brakes and make other repairs and replacements on brake systems.
  • Front-end mechanics use special equipment to repair steering mechanisms and suspension systems and align and balance wheels.
  • Transmission technicians and rebuilders specialize in gear trains, hydraulic pumps, and other transmission parts and need knowledge of computer controls and the ability to diagnose electrical and hydraulic problems.
  • Tune-up technicians adjust valves and ignition timing, but they also work with spar plugs and other parts to ensure that the engine is performing efficiently.

They also use electronic testing equipment to diagnose and adjust fuel, ignition, or emission control systems malfunctions.

car service

Work Environment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians and mechanics held about 756,600 jobs in the United States in 2019, most of them being employed by automotive dealers or businesses in the automotive mechanical and electrical repair maintenance sector.

They usually work in repair shops and may stand for most of the day.

Although computers are used often as an automotive technician you may also work with greasy parts and tools.

Salary Information

BLS reports that the median annual wage for this profession was $42,090 as of May 2019, which means that half of all workers in this occupation earned more than this while half earned less.

Salaries vary widely depending on experience, expertise, region, and employer.

The lowest 10 percent of all automotive technicians earned less than $24,400 per year, while the top 10 percent made more than $68,880.

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