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Career profile Automotive Service Technician

Also known as Automobile Mechanic (Auto Mechanic), Automotive Drivability Technician (Auto Drivability Tech), Automotive Mechanic (Auto Mechanic), Automotive Service Technician (Auto Service Tech), Heavy Line Technician, Lube Technician, Master Automotive Technician (Master Auto Tech), Mechanic, Quick Service Technician (Quick Service Tech), Service Technician (Service Tech)

Automotive Service Technician

Also known as Automobile Mechanic (Auto Mechanic), Automotive Drivability Technician (Auto Drivability Tech), Automotive Mechanic (Auto Mechanic)

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$25,790 - $71,940 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Repairing
  • Troubleshooting
  • Operations Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Retrofit vehicle fuel systems with aftermarket products, such as vapor transfer devices, evaporation control devices, swirlers, lean burn devices, and friction reduction devices, to enhance combustion and fuel efficiency.
  • Repair or rebuild transmissions.
  • Test drive vehicles and test components and systems, using equipment such as infrared engine analyzers, compression gauges, and computerized diagnostic devices.
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What does an Automotive Service Technician do?

Automotive Service Technicians diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul automotive vehicles.

What kind of tasks does an Automotive Service Technician perform regularly?

Automotive Service Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Test drive vehicles and test components and systems, using equipment such as infrared engine analyzers, compression gauges, and computerized diagnostic devices.
  • Inspect vehicles for damage and record findings so that necessary repairs can be made.
  • Test and adjust repaired systems to meet manufacturers' performance specifications.
  • Estimate costs of vehicle repair.
  • Repair, reline, replace, and adjust brakes.
  • Review work orders and discuss work with supervisors.
  • Troubleshoot fuel, ignition, and emissions control systems, using electronic testing equipment.
  • Confer with customers to obtain descriptions of vehicle problems and to discuss work to be performed and future repair requirements.
  • Align vehicles' front ends.
  • Tear down, repair, and rebuild faulty assemblies, such as power systems, steering systems, and linkages.
  • Test electronic computer components in automobiles to ensure proper operation.
  • Perform routine and scheduled maintenance services, such as oil changes, lubrications, and tune-ups.
  • Plan work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience.
  • Follow checklists to ensure all important parts are examined, including belts, hoses, steering systems, spark plugs, brake and fuel systems, wheel bearings, and other potentially troublesome areas.
  • Maintain cleanliness of work area.
  • Align wheels, axles, frames, torsion bars, and steering mechanisms of automobiles, using special alignment equipment and wheel-balancing machines.
  • Tune automobile engines to ensure proper and efficient functioning.
  • Disassemble units and inspect parts for wear, using micrometers, calipers, and gauges.
  • Repair and service air conditioning, heating, engine cooling, and electrical systems.
  • Repair, replace, or adjust defective fuel injectors, carburetor parts, and gasoline filters.
  • Change spark plugs, fuel filters, air filters, and batteries in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Overhaul or replace carburetors, blowers, generators, distributors, starters, and pumps.
  • Repair or replace parts such as pistons, rods, gears, valves, and bearings.
  • Rewire ignition systems, lights, and instrument panels.
  • Install, adjust, or repair hydraulic or electromagnetic automatic lift mechanisms used to raise and lower automobile windows, seats, and tops.

The above responsibilities are specific to Automotive Service Technicians. More generally, Automotive Service Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is an Automotive Service Technician salary?

The median salary for an Automotive Service Technician is $44,050, and the average salary is $46,760. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Automotive Service Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Automotive Service Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Automotive Service Technicians earn less than $25,790 per year, 25% earn less than $32,570, 75% earn less than $58,330, and 90% earn less than $71,940.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Automotive Service Technicians is expected to change by 0.3%, and there should be roughly 69,000 open positions for Automotive Service Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$44,050
Typical salary range
$25,790 - $71,940
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
0.3%

What personality traits are common among Automotive Service Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Automotive Service Technician are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Automotive Service Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Automotive Service Technician tend to value Independence, Support, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Automotive Service Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Automotive Service Technicians moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Automotive Service Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Automotive Service Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Automotive Service Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Automotive Service Technicians need?

Automotive Service Technicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Automotive Service Technicians usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Automotive Service Technicians

  • 16.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 43.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 23.2% completed some college coursework
  • 12.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 4.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Automotive Service Technicians

Automotive Service Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, customer and personal service, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Automotive Service Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Automotive Service Technicians

Automotive Service Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Automotive Service Technicians need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, manual dexterity, and finger dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Automotive Service Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Automotive Service Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Automotive Service Technicians frequently use skills like repairing, troubleshooting, and operations monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Automotive Service Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Troubleshooting
Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.