Auto Mechanic Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Auto Mechanic, or Service Technician, fixes vehicles and replaces their parts for customers. Their duties include inspecting the vehicle’s mechanical components and its engine, diagnosing problems with vehicles and performing maintenance and repair work on cars, trucks and other vehicles.

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Auto Mechanic duties and responsibilities

Auto Mechanics may be assigned different duties and responsibilities depending on their work environment and specialization. For example, Brake Technicians focus more on any issues related to car brakes than the rest of the car, while Transmission Technicians’ area of expertise is in transmission and gear-related issues. However, most Auto Mechanics share some major duties and responsibilities, including:

  • Using manual and computerized diagnostic methods to identify potential problems in a car
  • Explaining mechanical problems and possible solutions to clients
  • Planning work and testing procedures using charts, experience and other organizational methods
  • Testing parts and systems to ensure they work correctly
  • Ensuring all critical parts are checked and tested
  • Performing basic automotive care, including changing oil and rotating tires
  • Repairing or replacing worn, old or defective parts of a car
  • Repairing or modifying a car to a client’s specifications, if possible

What does an Auto Mechanic do?

Auto Mechanics work in a service shop of a dealership or auto repair shops to fix vehicles for drivers. Customers bring their car in with problems and the Auto Mechanic diagnoses and resolves the issue using auto body tools. They also complete routine maintenance on cars like checking fluid levels, changing oil and replacing worn out brake, tail or headlights. 

Auto Mechanics also give advice to drivers on the best ways to care for their vehicles and schedule future maintenance appointments with customers. They also take time to explain to customers what’s wrong with the vehicle and how much it’ll cost to fix it. Auto Mechanics are also responsible for keeping their tools and other equipment cleaned and stored properly.

Auto Mechanic skills and qualifications

A successful Auto Mechanic will be detail-oriented, have extensive mechanical knowledge and display great physical dexterity. A list of full skills that may prove useful to an Auto Mechanic includes:

  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to schedule
  • Dexterity and coordination
  • Mechanical skills and knowledge of mechanical systems
  • Customer service skills 
  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Familiarity with complex electronic control systems
  • Ability to use computerized diagnostic equipment well

Auto Mechanic salary expectations

The average salary of an Auto Mechanic is $20.90 per hour. This exact amount may vary depending on the skill level of the applicant and the geographical location of the business. Some Auto Mechanics can expect bonuses in the form of commissions or overtime pay.

Auto Mechanic education and training requirements

Auto Mechanic positions require a high school diploma, and further specialized training is usually needed in order for an Auto Mechanic to be fully qualified. Vocational programs in automotive service technology, which last from six months to a year, teach students skills needed for repair work through theoretical and hands-on instruction. Though not necessary, an associate degree with classes in math, electronics and auto repair can help set apart some applicants.

Auto Mechanic experience requirements

Practical experience working on vehicles, either within a vocational program or by training with another employer, is always a plus. An ideal Auto Mechanic candidate should require little on-the-job training. Employers like to see evidence, via certification or years of practical experience, that an Auto Mechanic can work independently without much additional instruction.

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Frequently asked questions about Auto Mechanics

 

What makes a good Auto Mechanic?

Great Auto Mechanics are in good physical shape and can handle standing up and bending over to fix and inspect cars for several hours at a time. They regularly work with their hands, so it’s also beneficial for candidates to have good manual dexterity and impressive hand-eye coordination. Since they’re regularly working with tools and fixing cars, Auto Mechanics should have knowledge and experience in different car parts and maintenance tools to ensure they’re repairing a car safely for drivers. 

 

Who do Auto Mechanics report to?

At larger companies, Auto Mechanics may work on large teams, so they may report to an Auto Mechanic Supervisor. They typically oversee the efficiency and productivity of the repair shop and team members. Auto Mechanic Supervisors are often in charge of big picture items like keeping inventory of tools, scheduling shifts and training the Auto Mechanics. If Auto Mechanics are having issues with customers or customers have complaints about employees, they often report to the Auto Mechanic Supervisor who quickly resolves the problem. 

 

What are the different types of Auto Mechanics?

Most Auto Mechanics work on all types of vehicles, while some may work primarily on one type. A Diesel Mechanic is responsible for repairing and providing maintenance to trucks and other heavy machinery that use diesel fuel to run. Most diesel engines run differently than other vehicles, so Diesel Mechanics must be highly knowledgeable and up to date on the operations and functions of these vehicles. 

There are also General Mechanics who diagnose and repair mechanical issues on different types of equipment like mowers, electric saws and tractors. Working as a General Mechanic requires a wide range of knowledge on how many different types of machines run and how to properly fix them. 

 

Do Auto Mechanics have different responsibilities in different industries?

The duties of an Auto Mechanic are usually similar but may vary depending on their work setting. Some may specialize in fixing or replacing specific car parts, while others may complete general maintenance tasks each day. There are Auto Mechanics who work for the state as certified vehicle inspectors to check cars and ensure they’re up to code. Others may work primarily with tires to complete tasks like rotating, replacing or filling up a vehicle’s tires. Some Auto Mechanics may work specifically on repairs, rather than routine maintenance. They may repair a vehicle’s brakes, engine, heating and air condition or suspension and steering.

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