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What is an Automotive Technician

What is an Automotive Technician?

What is an Automotive Technician?

You may have ended up here because you are thinking about a career choice of becoming an automotive technician. Or, you may be doing some recon on your local repair center before trusting them with your vehicle. Or maybe you’re just here for some general automotive information, in any case, you have come to the right place.

In this article, I am going to break down the ins, outs, ups, and downs of the life of an automotive technician. If you are a technician and have something you would like to add, please do so in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

Duties of an Automotive Technician:


The roles of the automotive technician start from the front of the vehicle and cover all the way back. A fully trained technician should be able to take on any repair unless of course, they lack a proper lift or specialty tools, etc. A fully trained technician will often have more training under their belt by the end of their career than a lot of doctors out there, simply due to the constant change in automotive technology and design. The human body has remained very similar for thousands of years, while automotive technology and design can change every three or four years, and with every new bit of technology comes more required knowledge and understanding. I am not comparing the two titles, just putting that into perspective.

Along with the added education and required training, you also have to factor in the cost of tools. A technician is responsible for providing all their own tools, and this is not a cheap thing. The base tool investment of most master technicians I have met has been in the $70-80k range including a toolbox. Not cheap at all.

What is an Automotive Technician

 

As a technician we follow the three C’s:

  • Complaint
  • Cause
  • Correction

We always need to verify the original complaint, find the root causeย and correct the concern with a proper repair.

Always make sure you verify the issue that the client is having before you perform any repairs on a vehicle. Never guess, as that can burn both you and the client later down the road.

Your main focus as a technician should always be making sure your client’s vehicle is safe to drive on the road.

The Difference Between a Good Technician and a Great Technician:


A great automotive technician needs to be as efficient and accurate as possible. They must do this while taking care of both the vehicle and the client. The clients come to us in hopes that we know what we are doing, and it is up to us to make sure their expectations are met above and beyond. Working efficient and fast can be tricky, but most technicians have to be clever about it since we get paid by commission and billable and not by the clock hour. In my experience, the challenge has always been one of the most fun parts of being a technician.

The rewarding feeling after diagnosing and fixing a headache-inducing vehicle is such a satisfying result!

If you want to make good money as a technician, then I suggest you follow these tips and tricks Iย have learned:

  • Learn to efficiently multi-task
  • Build a good relationship with your service advisors if you are in a shop
  • Do very thorough inspections and advise your clients of all safety and maintenance concerns
  • Strive to do your best on every vehicle you touch
  • Get more training and learn to do more
  • Invest in Tools and Diagnostic equipment to be able to perform any job you encounter

Being an automotive technician can be an awesome career if you like the satisfaction of taking broken things and fixing the problem, or if you like to tear things apart and get dirty. If you do not have the patience for diagnosis, or if you get stressed in rushed environments that can be under pressure, then the career of an automotive technician is most likely not the one for you, unless you can find an hourly position in a shop that does not require as much pressure.

Pros and Cons


Pros:

As stated above, the rewards of fixing something that is broken are awesome and a great way to spend your work time. Being able to help people get back on the road is also an awesome feeling. The choice of being a technician can be beneficial because you have the option to make a great income once you get some experience in and show some motivation. The pay will depend where you are located. I have seen a median pay of around $40k per year. Mid-level technicians seem to be able to do about $60k a year, and some of us heavy hitters do upwards of $100k per year. Remember it takes work to get to that point, and it will depend on your location and shop type.

If you learn how to work the flat rate system you can really start to make a killing. I will be covering the flat rate hustle in another post, but check out the photo below. In one month, I had about 200hrs clocked in but was flagged and paid for 323hrs.

 

Flat Rate Pay

 

Cons:

As with everything else, it does have it’s own cons as well. The working hours can be long and the environment can be harsh. It also takes a toll on your body after a while. When I first started out some of the guys around 45 would complain about how bad their bodies felt and I never took them that serious. But after twelve years of being a full-time technician, I definitely learned how it can chisel away at your health. I am only 29 and already experience knee/elbow/shoulder problems. Certain tasks can also be quite dangerous to perform, so make sure you never take short cuts and always think of your health before doing something that seems like it could end up getting sketchy.

Shop environments can be very harsh at times and can be a definite culture shock. A lot of the shops I have worked in always just had a very negative vibe, but that is understandable because most were dealerships that were run by really bad management, and the attitude of the employees mirrored that. If you end up in a shop that has a negative vibe, remain happy and keep doing what you love. If things get bad enough, remember that toolboxes have wheels for a reason ๐Ÿ™‚

Honesty. Accuracy. Integrity.


As an automotive technician, these should always be the top qualities that you strive to integrate into your life and your work.

If you are honest with your customers, accurate with your repairs, and show integrity through yourself and your work, then you will create lifelong customers who know they can rely on the skills which you provide.

Over the years it seems technicians have received a bad rep as disloyal workers. After 12 years of working with some of the best technicians around, I can assure you that the good far outweighs the bad. But, as with all professions and walks of life, there will always be crooks out there. So be sure you stay educated, and get to know the people who you trust to work with your vehicle.

Outcome


This career is a test to determine if you really love working on cars or love working on your own car as a hobby. Many people quit once they find out what it is like to be a technician for a full time living. The technicians that stay are the ones that actually enjoy working on vehicles and can make it through the nitty-gritty, or they are the ones that are miserable but refuse to make a change, therefore they stay stuck and tell people how horrible it is. It is currently a very in-demand skill, so there are jobs available all over. Once you become trained and develop your skill, REMEMBER YOUR WORTH! A lot of shops act like technicians are easy to replace, but if you are skilled, then that is truly hard to come by.

It is a hard, but fulfilling career and most of us gearheads would have it no other way!

 

If you have any questions about what it takes to become an automotive technician please comment below. If you are a student who is curious about your options, let me know, I have been there before and would be happy to answer any questions ๐Ÿ™‚

Make sure to check out the Adept Merch Shop for some awesome technician related gear!

15 Comments

  • Louise says:

    I do enjoy fixing things and getting people unstuck and moving forwards again.  I don’t work in this field though, and do not really plan on becoming an automotive technician. However, in general I enjoyed your article.  I have a question.  If you wanted to set-up a little workshop at your home would that be practically possible?  Or is it a case of some things could be done at your place and other things at a garage?  You could set your own work pace then as you get older.

    • Gabriel G. says:

      Hello Louise.

      To answer your question, yes you could totally do that, and it is actually a great way to learn! Doing smaller jobs on your own car is a nice way to determine if it is something you would be good at or have fun with. I do most of my work from my home garage, and at my client’s homes.

  • Eric says:

    A ton of respect out to all of the technicians that work on cars and other types of heavy material.  They have to have the brains and braun.  I have had some really good car technicians and a couple very questionable to probably just not good technicians.  One thing I will say is that I overlooked the physical demand of how this profession has on the body.  I learned something new and will need to think about showing my automotive care takers some more respect.  I would highly suggest they see a chirorpractor or do yoga.  That should help with a lot of the aches and pains.

    • Gabriel G. says:

      Thanks for stopping by Eric! That is actually great advice. Chiropractors always do me a lot of good when I go to see them. Another thing I have found to help is going to do float therapy once or twice a month, it is so relaxing on the body and always helps feel more rested afterward.

  • Brian Perisho - Fireman Marketing says:

    Great article about what is an automotive technician… As we look at the shortage we have in trade type jobs.  It is more and more apparent that kids with technical skills need to look into the trades.  Not all kids are made to go to college for 4 years.  I myself am a career firefighter.  As with automotive technicians, we have jobs that will always be in demand.

    • Gabriel G. says:

      That is so true Brian, there is a massive shortage amongst trade workers in the country, so hopefully, the youth will start to see the need and fill the gap. 

      That is so cool ๐Ÿ™‚ Firefighter was always my dream job as a kid haha thanks for all you do out there!

  • Paolo says:

    Hi! I have always liked cars and I had for a long time (since a kid) said I wanted to become an automotive technician. But now as a grown-up, I realize that there is so much more involved in this career than I thought, and I wanted to do my whole research on it. Your post has greatly encouraged me and also helped me understand the reach of this career and all of the pros and cons.

    • Gabriel G. says:

      Awesome Paolo, I am glad it helped you out some! Let me know if you have any questions that I did not cover here and I would be happy to answer them for you.

  • Russ says:

    Gabriel, This is a great article about what is an automotive technician. I would like to say that I wish some people were more grateful for automotive technicians. If those people read this article it would certainly help. Some automotive technicians, as you know have a huge bill every month to pay for their tools. 

    Thank you. 

  • Kingsking says:

    This post on Automotive Technician is very great and clearly reviewed. Trying to go through the short course to make money is one of the reasons why many Automotive Technicians aren’t doing well and quit thereafter. I agreed with you that Being able to help people get back on the road gives an awesome feeling and that helps to eliminate redundancy. Students and Apprentice should be given enough orientations to make them stay in the Profession. Thanks for this amazing Article.

  • Paul says:

    I enjoyed your article what is an automotive technician? My father was a mechanic his whole life until he went off to Vietnam , where he became a helicopter crew chief and was responsible for the functionality of the helicopter as well as the safety and well being of his men. I think that a lot of people over look the responsibility that come with being a technician period. Whether it is a automotive technician for big industrial equipment, you have a big responsibility and people are relying on you to correct a problem that they don’t have the slightest  idea how to figure out. Along with being relied on , you take on this eight of responsibility for the safety of the people who will be operating or joining and riding along whether it is for work or if it is family, their safety is in your hands. I give you thanks for your expertise and appreciate your ability to maintain safe operating vehicles that we use to transport our families day to day. 

    • Gabriel G. says:

      Hey Paul, that is an awesome story about your father. I bet he had some wild repair experiences and stories in Vietnam. My respect goes out to those mechanics that had to work under immense pressure in the midst of a warzone! 

      It is true, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with repairing any sort of automotive or industrial machinery, so I advise that all technicians be sure to take pride in performing quality work.

      Take care Paul, thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Marthagirl says:

    Hi, Thank you so very much for your amazing eye-opening Article on Automotive Technician. Before now I actually have no clue of what this is really all about but after reading your Article I am even set to educate my friends and family on this by encouraging anyone that is technically inclined to go into this. Thanks.

  • Perryline says:

    I learned a lot about what it takes and the requirements to be an automotive technician after reading this. An article having this quality takes time and energy to develop. most especially when it has to help out people with useful information. i also commend the beautiful website that you have created with nice templates. this is a great, well researched and detailed article. thank you very much for this post

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