A car mechanic is a person that repairs, maintains and inspects automotive vehicles to ensure the safety of passengers and the protection of the vehicle’s value. The role of the mechanic is to diagnose problems, provide estimates and repair or replace the parts as needed. They are often responsible for the maintenance, cleaning and lubrication of automobiles and their systems. This includes the engine, drive train, electrical, suspension, brakes and air conditioning. Some car mechanic specialize in the repair of specific vehicle brands or models.
Mechanics use a variety of tools, equipment and reference material to perform their duties. They are sometimes required to have special tools such as engine analyzers, compression testers or voltmeters. Historically, the role of the car mechanic was primarily mechanical; however, with the rapid advancement of technology and vehicle complexity, mechanics are now required to have more knowledge of computer and electronic systems than in the past.
The minimum requirement to be a mechanic is a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some vocational schools and community colleges offer programs that lead to a certificate or an associate degree in auto mechanics, which can increase the earning potential for this position. These programs are usually hands-on and include internships, which allow the student to gain valuable work experience.
Most automobile manufacturers have partnerships with vocational schools and community colleges to help them train new professionals. The program typically involves an apprenticeship with a dealership or a local auto shop, and the professional receives specialized training on specific vehicle makes from the manufacturer. The programs can lead to certification from the manufacturer, which may open up additional job opportunities or raise a professional’s salary.
Some auto mechanics choose to get certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The tests are designed to be challenging, and passing them increases a professional’s earning potential. Getting certified also gives them access to online resources that can help them stay up-to-date on new technologies and repair techniques.
A typical car mechanic can expect to earn an annual income of about $35,000. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts little or no growth in the future for this field. This is due to a decrease in the number of vehicles on the road, which is being offset by the rising popularity of electric cars.
Despite this, the demand for skilled mechanics remains strong in many areas. New York, for example, has a large population and heavy traffic, which increases the need for quality maintenance and repairs. In addition, environmental factors such as snowfall and rough summers can cause more frequent breakdowns, further driving up the need for qualified mechanics. Mechanics can work their way up to earning an average of $30 per hour. This is a good career choice for those that are willing to commit to long hours and learn the latest skills.