A Day in the Life of an Auto Mechanic

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Auto mechanics play an important role in our society. It’s their responsibility to ensure that the vehicles we all rely on to get from point A to B work consistently. Without auto mechanics, transportation in this country would be incredibly difficult.

Maybe that’s why you’re interested in becoming an auto mechanic. If so, you’ll likely want to do some research before committing to the career.

We put together this article to help you do that. Below, you’ll learn what an average day in the life of an auto mechanic looks like, along with other important information about the career. Let’s get started!

A day in the life of an auto mechanic

The daily life of an auto mechanic will vary depending on the exact type of garage that they work in. But that being said, most auto mechanics work standard business hours of about 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 

These hours may shift some depending on how busy the mechanic’s garage is on any particular day. For example, an auto mechanic might need to stay late or arrive early if they weren’t able to complete all of their tasks during their normal working hours.

Generally, an auto mechanic’s day will begin with them clocking in and putting on their work clothes. After that, they will typically check in with a supervisor to see what the day looks like and which task they’re going to get started with.

From there, it’s almost impossible to say what an average day for a mechanic looks like because no two days are ever quite the same. 

Some days, a mechanic will spend the entire day working on a single, complicated repair task. On other days, they might complete many different small tasks.

The way that a mechanic spends their time can also be influenced by the specialization they choose. For example, someone who works on electrical systems may need to spend more of their time diagnosing problems than a mechanic who completes general repairs.

Role and responsibilities of auto mechanic

TYPICAL JOB DESCRIPTION

Auto mechanic job descriptions tend to lay out the responsibilities and requirements that the particular garage has for its mechanics. These can be pretty varied.

For example, common responsibilities of an auto mechanic may include:

  • Using manual and computerized diagnostic tools to identify mechanical problems
  • Performing auto maintenance tasks like oil changes and tire rotations
  • Explaining mechanical problems and how they’re going to be resolved to clients
  • Replacing faulty vehicle parts with new, working parts
  • Testing cars after repairs have been made to ensure they’re working properly

EDUCATION AND ASPIRATION

To get hired as an auto mechanic, you would usually need to begin by completing your high school education. You can do this by earning a standard high school diploma or by completing the equivalent of one, such as a GED.

It can be helpful to take specialized courses in high school if you know that you want to be an auto mechanic at that age. These include classes on automotive repair, electronics, computers, and mathematics.

After high school, many auto mechanics choose to pursue post-secondary training. These programs tend to last about 6 months to 1 year and can be found at community colleges, technical schools, and related institutions.

Post-secondary automotive programs provide hands-on training to get prospective auto mechanics ready for the workforce. There are also speciality programs available that help aspiring mechanics gain the skills they need to work in a niche area of this field.

Mechanics may also receive some on-the-job training after getting hired, but this is usually minimal since most mechanics complete post-secondary training before pursuing a job in this field.

Photo credit: @cottonbro via Pexels

Working hours and average salary

WORKING HOURS

Auto mechanics generally work normal business hours. That means roughly 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, though these hours may vary slightly from employer to employer.

A mechanic may also be asked to work overtime from time to time when things get busy. Or, they could be asked to work odd hours, such as late nights or early mornings if they work in a specialty shop. But this is fairly rare.

SALARY 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for an auto mechanic is $44,050. But the exact amount that you make can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Where you’re located
  • Your specialization
  • The specific industry that you work in

For example, the average wage for auto mechanics that work for car dealerships is $47,620. But it’s $38,370 for mechanics who work in stores that sell tires and parts.

Similarly, an auto mechanic in California will earn an average of $54,540 per year. However, one working in Maine will earn an average annual salary of $42,820.

Pros and Cons of being an auto mechanic

SECURE FUTURE

Workers everywhere are worried about things like machine learning and automation coming to take away their jobs––that’s likely not an issue for mechanics. 

Experts agree that future job opportunities for mechanics aren’t going anywhere. That’s because we’re always going to need people who can repair and maintain cars, and these are complicated tasks that robots won’t be able to do on their own any time soon.

POTENTIAL TO WORK FOR YOURSELF ONE DAY

Becoming a mechanic can also be a great move if you’d like to work for yourself one day. When you work in a shop, you can gain the skills and experience that you need to open up your own garage one day.

OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON ENGAGING TECHNICAL PROBLEMS

Becoming an auto mechanic can also be a smart decision if you’re someone who enjoys solving mechanical problems. This job will give you no shortage of opportunities to put that passion to use, as you’ll get to tackle new and engaging mechanical issues each day you go to work.

PHYSICAL LABOR CAN GET TOUGH

One of the downsides of becoming an auto mechanic is the physical strain that the work entails. You will almost always be working with your hands and may need to spend a lot of time in odd positions. This can catch up with you over time.

It’s why people who are currently employed as auto mechanics recommend regular stretching and taking other preventative health precautions. Getting started with these habits early can help you enjoy the profession without having to worry so much about its downsides.

MAY HAVE TO WORK ON WEEKENDS

Many auto mechanics work standard business hours, but busier shops may stay open on the weekends so that they can process more cars in a week. If you end up getting hired by one of these garages, then you may be asked to work on the weekend as well.

COULD HAVE TO PURCHASE EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT

Auto mechanics typically purchase their own tools. These can be expensive and act as a barrier to entry into the profession. But many technical schools have partnerships with tool companies to get their attendees discounts. So you may want to look into something like this to save yourself some money.

Is this the right profession for you?

Being an auto mechanic could be the perfect profession for you. Or it could be one that you should avoid altogether. The key to deciding is understanding who you are and what you’re looking for in a job.

Maybe you’re someone who enjoys working on vehicles. If so, this line of work could be very rewarding for you.

Or, perhaps you’re someone who prefers working with their mind instead of their hands. If this sounds like you, you might want to consider a different career.

Use Rock The Trades to Find Your Next Auto Mechanic Job

If you’re ready to get hired as an auto mechanic, then you have to check out the Rock the Trades app. It will automatically connect you with employers who are hiring auto mechanics with your specific qualifications. 

We can make it much easier for you to find a job in this industry that corresponds to your preferences. So why wait? Experience the RTT difference for yourself and download your app today.

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