Mechanic job requirements

The Job of a Mechanic

The job of a mechanic is to diagnose and repair cars. A mechanic must be able to identify problems with a car and then fix them. A mechanic must be able to use tools and machines to repair cars. A mechanic must also be able to communicate with customers.

What they do

Mechanics are responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing vehicles. They work on cars, trucks, and other mechanized equipment. Mechanics typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn their trade through on-the-job training or formal apprenticeship programs. Some colleges offer certificate or associate degree programs in automotive service technology that can reduce the amount of on-the-job training needed to become a mechanic.

Work environment

Most mechanics work in well-ventilated, well-lit areas. Many of them work in repair shops that are usually clean and orderly. Some mechanics work outdoors, and some may be required to do heavy lifting.


The median annual salary for mechanics was $36,600 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $59,590, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $21,440.

Education and Training Requirements

You may be able to enter the occupation without completing formal education and training requirements,

High school

A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum education requirement for entry-level positions as a mechanic. Many community colleges, technical schools, and universities offer certificate and associate degree programs in automotive technology that generally take two to three years to complete. Although not required, completing one of these programs can give mechanics a leg up in the job market and lead to better opportunities for advancement.

Postsecondary training

Most career and technical schools, community and junior colleges, and some trade schools offer programs in automotive mechanic and repair. Many programs take 1 to 2 years to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma. Some community colleges offer programs that lead to an associate degree in automotive technology. A few 4-year colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in this field, but they are not very common.

Employers generally prefer to hire workers who have completed a formal training program in automotive repair. In addition, many employers require their service technicians to complete training on a regular basis to keep up with the latest technology.

Mechanics’ Tools and Equipment

Mechanics use a variety of tools and equipment to do their job. They need to be able to lift heavy objects, use power tools, and work in tight spaces. They also need to be able to read and follow instructions.

Hand tools

Every mechanic needs a comprehensive set of tools to get the job done right. Here is a list of essential hand tools that every mechanic should have:

-1/4 inch and 3/8 inch drive ratchets
-1/4 inch and 3/8 inch drive sockets (metric and standard)
-1/4 inch and 3/8 inch drive extensions
-1/4 inch and 3/8 inch drive universal joints
-3/8 inch drive breaker bar
-3/8 inch drive torque wrench
-1/2 inch drive ratchet
-1/2 inch drive sockets (metric and standard)
-1/2 inch drive extensions
-1/2 inch drive breaker bar
-Adjustable wrenches (metric and standard)
-Pliers (needle nose, slip joint, locking)
-Cutting tools (hacksaw, metal file, diagonal cutting pliers)
-Screwdrivers (flat head and Phillips)
I’m missing a couple but those are the basics

Power tools

Power tools are a staple in any mechanic’s toolkit. Many of the most common maintenance and repair tasks cannot be completed without the use of power tools. In some cases, manual tools simply cannot match the speed, precision, and power of their powered counterparts.

There are many different types of power tools available on the market, each designed for a specific range of tasks. Some of the most common power tools used by mechanics include drills, impact wrenches, ratchets, and saws.

Mechanics must be careful when using power tools, as improper use can lead to serious injuries. Always read the instruction manual before using any power tool, and make sure that you are wearing the appropriate safety gear when operating any type of machinery.

Diagnostic tools

A mechanic must be able to diagnose the issues with a vehicle and then know how to fix them. In order to do this, they need to have access to the proper tools. Many of these diagnostic tools are electronic in nature and are specific to the make of the vehicle being worked on. Some examples include:

-Fuel injector testers

  • ignition system testers
  • compression testers
  • computerized engine analysis tools
    Staying Current with Technology
    A well-rounded mechanic will have not only the traditional skills that have been required for the job for many years, such as the ability to identify and repair engine issues, but will also be comfortable and familiar with the latest in automotive technology.
    Automotive technology

    Automotive technology is constantly evolving, and to be a successful mechanic, you need to be able to keep up. The days of working on cars with only a few hundred parts are gone; today’s vehicles have thousands of complex components. As a result, mechanics need to be able to diagnose and repair increasingly sophisticated problems.

To stay current, it’s important to regularly read trade publications and attend conferences and workshops. Many community colleges offer continuing education courses for mechanics, and some employers will pay for their employees to take these courses. In addition, many manufacturers offer training programs for mechanics who work on their products. These programs often include classroom instruction as well as hands-on training.

Computerized engine control systems

In order to work on today’s vehicles, you need to be able to work with computerized engine control systems. Many of these systems are stand-alone, but others are integrated into the vehicle’s electrical system. You need to be able to diagnose and repair electronic control systems, using specialized diagnostic tools.

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