Automotive electrician

An automotive electrician


Automotive electricians install, maintain and repair electrical and electronic systems in motor vehicles such as air conditioning systems, lamps, radios, heating systems, batteries, electrical wiring and alternators. They use diagnostic testing equipment to inspect vehicles and find faults. To do repair work, they use hand tools and specialised electrical instruments and machines.

The duties of an automotive electrician include, but are not limited to:

  • Installing wiring, light fixtures, switches, and other electrical components in cars, trucks, or other vehicles
  • Inspecting electrical systems in vehicles to identify problems with wiring, switches, fuses, and other components
  • Diagnosing malfunctions in electrical systems by testing components with a multimeter or other diagnostic tools
  • Making repairs to electrical systems using tools such as soldering irons, crimping tools, wire strippers, and pliers
  • Installing alarms and security systems, such as CCTV cameras, motion detectors, and window break detectors
  • Troubleshooting problems with electrical systems and making repairs or replacements as necessary
  • Installing electrical components in new vehicles during manufacturing or assembly
  • Installing electrical components in boats, RVs, trailers, and other non-automotive vehicles
  • Performing electrical work in residential settings such as installing light fixtures, ceiling fans, thermostats, smoke detectors, and security systems

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to automotive electrician:

automotive electrician
auto electrical technician
autoelectrical technician
motor vehicle electrical technician
vehicle body electrician
truck electrician
van electrician
electrical installation technician
auto electrician
motor vehicle electrician
motor vehicle technician, auto electrics
car electrician
auto technician

Working conditions

Automotive electricians work in well-lit, ventilated areas, either indoors in auto shops or outdoors at construction sites or auto dealerships. They use a variety of hand, power, and diagnostic tools to do their work, which can be physically demanding. They may be required to lift heavy parts, work in awkward positions, or stand for long periods of time.

Automotive electricians work closely with other automotive technicians and often must work as part of a team to diagnose and repair complex electrical problems. They may also work with customers to explain the repairs that are needed.

Many automotive electricians work a standard 40-hour week, although some may work evenings or weekends to meet the needs of their customers. Some automotive electricians may be on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies.

Minimum qualifications

Most automotive electricians need only a high school diploma. However, some employers prefer candidates who have completed an associate’s degree in automotive technology or a related field.

Most automotive electricians receive on-the-job training from their employers. This training can last for a few weeks to a few months and may include shadowing an experienced auto electrician or performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Automotive electrician is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Automotive electrician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to automotive electrician.

marine electrician
rolling stock electrician
automotive battery technician
automotive brake technician
vehicle electronics installer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of automotive electrician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of automotive electrician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

aircraft maintenance engineer
motor vehicle engine tester
rolling stock engine tester
avionics inspector
gas processing plant control room operator

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of automotive electrician.

  • Automotive diagnostic equipment: The equipment used to examine automotive systems and components.
  • Car controls: The functioning of specific car equipment such as how to operate and handle the clutch, throttle, lighting, instrumentation, transmission and the brakes.
  • Vehicle electrical systems: Know vehicle electrical systems, including components such as the battery, starter, and alternator. The battery provides energy to the starter. The alternator provides the battery the energy it requires to power the vehicle. Understand the interplay of these components to resolve malfunctions.
  • Types of vehicles: Field of information which distinguishes rental agency classification systems, containing types and classes of vehicles and their functioning and components.
  • Mechanics of motor vehicles: The way energy forces interact and affect components in motor vehicles such as cars, buses, invalid carriages and other motorised vehicles.
  • Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
  • Electrical wiring plans: Pictorial representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components of the circuit as simplified shapes, and the power and signal connections between the devices. It gives information about the relative position and arrangement of devices and terminals on the devices, to help in building or servicing the device. A wiring diagram is often used to troubleshoot problems and to make sure that all the connections have been made and that everything is present.
  • Mechanics: Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of automotive electrician.

  • Repair vehicle’s electrical equipment: Repair and replace electrical equipment inside vehicles, such as lighting and air conditioning systems.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
  • Use automotive diagnostic equipment: Use diagnostic equipment to perform test on motor vehicles, components and systems to detect defects.
  • Use specialised tools in electric repairs: Use of a variety of specialised tools, instruments and machines, such as presses, drills and grinders; employ them to carry out repairs in a safety manner.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
  • Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
  • Install automotive electrical equipment: Place electrical circuits and wiring in vehicles such as lighting and voltage gauges. These distribute and regulate electrical power and supply it to meters and other devices in the car.
  • Install car electronics: Place electrically operated accessories in vehicles such as batteries which power heating systems, radios and anti-theft systems.
  • Perform vehicle diagnostic procedures: Perform diagnostic procedures on vehicle systems; determine and perform all required repair and maintenance operations.
  • Fasten components: Fasten components together according to blueprints and technical plans in order to create subassemblies or finished products.
  • Use technical documentation: Understand and use technical documentation in the overall technical process.
  • Apply health and safety standards: Adhere to standards of hygiene and safety established by respective authorities.
  • Perform manual work autonomously: Show the ability to pursue basic manual tasks without the help or assistance of others, not needing supervision or guidance, and taking responsibility for one’s actions.
  • Inspect for faults in the vehicle’s electric system: Search for flaws in a vehicle’s electric system; understand manufacturer’s circuit diagrams and specification manuals.
  • Carry out improvised vehicle repairs: Identify mechanical/technical car problems; perform improvised or intermediate repairs on vehicles; take into account individual customer requests.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of automotive electrician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Battery fluids: The characteristics and properties of battery fluids.
  • Battery chemistry: The different battery types according to the representative chemical components used in the anode or the cathode such as zinc-carbon, nickel-metal hydride, lead-acid, or lithium-ion.
  • Battery components: The physical components, such as wiring, electronics and voltaic cells that can be found in batteries. The components vary according to size and type of battery.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of automotive electrician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Execute vehicle maintenance: Execute vehicle maintenance based on supplier or manufacturer instructions. This might include cleaning vehicle engine, cleaning vehicle interior and exterior, maintaining mileage and fuel records, performing non-mechanical maintenance tasks. Service small engines including hydraulic equipment. Check the oil and fluid levels on all equipment. Check vehicles and equipment to ensure that they are in smooth and safe working order.
  • Apply soldering techniques: Apply and work with a variety of techniques in the process of soldering, such as soft soldering, silver soldering, induction soldering, resistance soldering, pipe soldering, mechanical and aluminium soldering.
  • Ensure customer focus: Attitude that puts customers at the centre of the business in all cases.
  • Maintain vehicle records: Maintain vehicle records by accurately recording service operations and repairs.
  • Position vehicles for maintenance and repair: Place vehicles in the right position (such as on top of a pneumatic lift) for repair and maintenance tasks. Follow safety procedures.
  • Maintain electrical engines: Understanding of electrical circuits and being able to repair. Test and replace electrical components and wiring, using test meters, soldering equipment, and hand tools.
  • Drive vehicles: Be able to drive vehicles; have the appropriate type of driving license according to the type of motor vehicle used.
  • Install transport equipment batteries: Install batteries in transport equipment by using hand and power tools. Make sure the battery fits the model of the transport equipment.
  • Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
  • Repair vehicle electrical systems: Use appropriate tools, machinery, and equipment to solve problems related to components of the electrical system of vehicles, such as the battery, alternator, or starter.
  • Create technical plans: Create detailed technical plans of machinery, equipment, tools and other products.
  • Clean vehicle exterior: Wash, clean, polish and wax vehicle’s exterior glass and chrome parts.
  • Diagnose defective engines: Diagnose engine damage or malfunctions by inspecting mechanical equipment; utilise instruments such as chassis charts, pressure gauges, and motor analysers.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Repair battery components: Repair battery components through replacing cells, repairing wiring, or spot-welding cells.
  • Operate battery test equipment: Operate equipment used for battery testing, such as a soldering iron, a battery tester, or a multimeter. Detect flaws affecting the battery’s performance, test the battery’s capacity for accumulating charge, or test its voltage output.
  • Perform road testing: Perform road tests with vehicles; ensure that all functions are working safely and correctly; test vehicle in extreme weather and road conditions.
  • Test electronic units: Test electronic units using appropriate equipment. Gather and analyse data. Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
  • Conduct performance tests: Conduct experimental, environmental and operational tests on models, prototypes or on the systems and equipment itself in order to test their strength and capabilities under normal and extreme conditions.
  • Provide customer follow-up services: Register, follow-up, solve and respond to customer requests, complaints and after-sales services.
  • Operate soldering equipment: Use soldering equipment, such as a soldering gun, a soldering torch or a gas-powered iron, to melt and join together pieces of metal or steel.
  • Keep stock records: Keep written records of the amount of stock in storage, incoming and outgoing products required for the proper operation of services, repairs and maintenance tasks.
  • Write records for repairs: Write records of the repairs and maintenance interventions undertaken, of parts and materials used, and other repair facts.
  • Install transport equipment lighting: Install lighting elements in transport equipment according to blueprints and other technical plans.

ISCO group and title

7412 – Electrical mechanics and fitters

  1. Automotive electrician – ESCO
  2. Automotive Electrician Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Auto Electrician Job Description – Betterteam
  4. Featured image: By, Public Domain
Last updated on October 9, 2022

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