Automotive Mechanic Job Description, Salary, and Skills

auto mechanic
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Interested in working as an auto mechanic? Here’s information on what auto mechanics do, the types of jobs mechanics hold, skills required, employment outlook, and average earnings.

Auto Mechanic Job Responsibilities

Auto Mechanics interact with customers to obtain information about the problems that they are experiencing with their cars. Mechanics examine various systems within cars to diagnose problems.

They run computerized diagnostic tests to help them identify components that might be malfunctioning.

Mechanics remove parts that are worn or not operating properly and replace them with new or used parts. They perform routine maintenance like oil, filter and belt changes according to the schedules established by various car manufacturers. Auto Mechanics also explain repairs to customers and provide estimates in advance for unanticipated repairs.

In some settings, mechanics are encouraged to pitch optional repairs or preventative maintenance to customers to generate additional revenue for the shop.

Education and Training Requirements

Educational options for mechanics include an associate's degree in automotive technology or a related field, a high school or vocational training program, an apprenticeship or on the job training. Mechanics must be willing to engage in ongoing learning to keep pace with changing technology as new models of cars are released.

Where Mechanics Work

Mechanics work in a variety of automotive service settings including car dealers, tire stores, oil change operations, gas stations, and full-service repair shops. Some mechanics operate their own business and take on management functions such as setting prices, advertising, training, and supervising staff.

Auto Mechanic Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an average of $38,470 in 2016.

The bottom 10% of automotive service technicians earned less than $21,470 while the top 10% earned at least $64,070.

Some service technicians earn a commission based on the amount of work performed while others receive an hourly wage. Some mechanics who work for garages or dealers also take on some private customers outside of their work hours and location. Others look for cars with significant mechanical problems that they can purchase, fix, and sell privately at a profit to supplement their income.

Highest Paid Jobs

Mechanics working for government agencies and automotive dealers or owning a business earn higher than average salaries. Mechanics working for gasoline stations and private service outlets often earn less than the average wage.

Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for automotive service technicians and mechanics are expected to grow by 6% between 2016 and 2026, about as fast as average for all occupations. The number of vehicles on the road is expected to rise on one hand while advances in technology and design will enhance the reliability of vehicles and minimize the need for repairs.

Automotive Skills

Workers in the automotive industry need a number of skills to help them maintain and repair cars, trucks and other vehicles, and to work with customers, managers, employees, and team members. Employers seek these skills in the candidates they hire for automotive jobs.

  • Auto Body Repair
  • Brake Repair
  • Brake Resurfacing
  • Car Tune-Up
  • Change and Repair Tires
  • Conduct tests and inspections
  • Customer Relations
  • Customer Service
  • Diagnostic Abilities
  • Diesel Engine Repair
  • Direction
  • Engine Repair
  • General Auto Repair
  • HVAC Service
  • Inventory
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Mechanical
  • Minor Auto Repair
  • Monetary Exchange
  • Repair vehicles, machines. parts and systems
  • Networking
  • Oil Change
  • Perform routine and scheduled maintenance
  • Pumping Gas
  • Rebuild Parts
  • Recordkeeping
  • Sales
  • Service Advising
  • Service Writing
  • Stocking
  • Supervising
  • Teaching
  • Towing
  • Troubleshooting Abilities
  • Truck Driving

Auto Mechanic Interview Questions

  • Why do you want to work for our garage?
  • What training have you have had in the auto mechanic industry?
  • What is the most difficult issue you've had to fix in a car?
  • Do you have experience fixing dents?
  • What experience do you have with alignment work on various vehicle types?
  • In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of steering and suspension work? Why?
  • What do you find most challenging when repairing or installing A/C? Why?
  • What is your current mode of transportation?
  • How do you ensure each vehicle inspection you complete is thorough?
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult client. How did you handle the situation? What would you have done differently?