Auto Mechanic Career Information

Auto mechanics work with the mechanical systems of vehicles. Their work includes often difficult manual work, dealing with a wide variety of types of vehicles and situations.

The work environment

Auto mechanics work in the auto manufacturing, vehicle repair and servicing areas of the industry.

Their work includes:

  • Installation of mechanical components and systems
  • Repair of damaged mechanical systems, and components
  • Servicing
  • Maintenance

Auto mechanics are employed across the industry, usually in the private sector for commercial services, but in some cases in the armed forces, and major transport firms which operate their own in house servicing and mechanical workshops. The work environment can vary from excellent modern facilities to the stereotypical grimy job under a vehicle, although the old style of car mechanic job is slowly disappearing as new technology takes over.

The auto mechanic's job is critically important in vehicle safety. It also impacts directly on vehicle performance and reliability. Auto mechanics work in a very demanding field, both from their employers and their employer's customers.

The auto mechanic's role includes several fundamental situations:

  • Problem solving: Whatever the issue, the auto mechanic is expected to know how to deal with it. That can be a tough call in some situations, with old or defective vehicles which require intensive work to be made roadworthy.

  • Knowledge base: Working with a large range of mechanical systems comes with its own set of issues. Auto mechanics undergo ongoing education on the job, in many cases, working with new technology and old on a regular basis. Some mechanics will specialize in particular types of vehicle, gaining valuable expertise.

  • Responsibility for the work done: All work done by auto mechanics is done under warranty, which includes liabilities. This is the most demanding area of an auto mechanic's role. The employer's expectations are based on a good standards of work, and the auto mechanic is required to perform to these standards.

  • Quality of service: Quality of service is a commercial consideration which follows on from the responsibilities of the auto mechanic. It applies to workmanship, particularly in the area of repairs and reliability. The quality of service is very important for auto mechanics who operate their own businesses.

Wages: Basic salary $16-22 per hour. May be considerably higher for auto mechanics who own their own businesses.

Hours: Can be extremely variable, with a lot of overtime.

The career environment

This is a profession in which employment opportunities and job mobility are very high. There's a universal employment market for auto mechanics, and in the US employment in this field is expected to grow by 14% in the coming decade. 

Career progression for auto mechanics is often based on promotion within organizations. This can be a very stable career environment, and allows auto mechanics to take advantage of organizational training operations. Many auto mechanics advance to specialist roles in this way.

However, many experienced auto mechanics operate their own businesses, sometimes franchises or independent services, which are very good business with strong turnover and good commercial viability. Most auto mechanics with their own businesses also acquire business knowledge through years in the industry and formal training.