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An auto mechanic repairs all parts of any make of car although some may specialize either in a specific area or in a specific make of car.
Mechanics also have to do regular maintenance tasks such as MOT checks which ensure that vehicles are still safe and legal to drive on public roads and servicing cars which involves making routine checks according to a list, finding faults or problems, overhauling or replacing worn or faulty parts, and using special equipment and road tests to make sure the vehicle performs as it should.
Mechanics are also responsible for pre-delivery inspections. These are done to make sure a vehicle is working well and performing as it should before it is delivered to the customer. They use specialised equipment to measure things like engine and brake performance, transmission and the accuracy of dashboard indicators.
Because vehicles today possess complex computer and electronic systems, mechanics need to have a broader base of knowledge than in the past. Advancements in technology mean technicians and mechanics are continuously learning and improving on new methods of repair.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As well as having good practical skills and the ability to gain high levels of technical knowledge, mechanics need to be physically fit to cope with bending, lifting and stretching, although ramps and pits, hoists and jacks are used for heavy work.
Good organisational skills are needed as are good communication skills; they need to explain faults and repairs clearly to customers.
Employers include motor vehicle retail dealerships, independent garages, local authorities, gas and electricity companies, and the police.
Employers usually look for people who have at least four GCSEs including English, Maths and Science and are also expected to have full colour vision.
How to Become a Mechanic
Many people choose an apprenticeship scheme, where they earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills together with off the job training, usually on a day-release basis, where they work towards nationally recognised qualifications. Apprenticeships are available for people aged 16-24. Details can be found at your local job centre or connexions office.
Alternatively, you can chose to study a City and Guilds course in vehicle maintenance and repair or a BTEC in vehicle repair and technology. Both of the courses are full time and involve studying units and practical assessments. Contact your local college or connexions office for more details.
A mechanics salary can vary widely depending where you work and live, but they are in the range of £280 - £340 a week, rising to £410 - £490. Higher earners make considerably more.