Diesel engine mechanic

A diesel engine mechanic


Diesel engine mechanics repair and maintain all types of diesel engines. They use hand tools, precision measuring instruments, and machine tools to diagnose trouble, disassemble engines, and to examine and exchange parts of defect and excessive wear.

The duties of a diesel engine mechanic include, but are not limited to:

  • Running diagnostic tests on vehicles.
  • Analyzing diagnostic test results.
  • Replacing vehicle engines, steering mechanisms, transmissions and braking systems.
  • Checking vehicle lighting systems.
  • Test driving vehicles to gauge performance.
  • Performing preventative maintenance on service trucks.
  • Maintaining detailed records of serviced vehicles.
  • Adhering to an inspection procedure checklist.
  • Maintaining a parts inventory.
  • Ensuring the cleanliness of the shop.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to diesel engine mechanic:

mechanical body fitter
mechanic diesel engine
mechanical bogie fitter
diesel mechanic
railway diesel mechanic

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a diesel engine mechanic. On-the-job experience is usually provided by employers. A valid driver’s license is often considered as a necessary requirement.

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.

Diesel engine mechanic is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Diesel engine mechanic career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to diesel engine mechanic.

vehicle technician
aircraft gas turbine engine overhaul technician
automotive brake technician
train preparer
motor vehicle engine assembler

Long term prospects

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

motor vehicle engine tester
motor vehicle engine inspector
rolling stock engine tester
aircraft engine tester
vessel engine tester

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of diesel engine mechanic.

  • Operation of different engines: Know the characteristics, maintenance requirements and operating procedures of various kinds of engines such as gas, diesel, electrical, and engines with steam propulsion plants.
  • Principles of mechanical engineering: Understand principles of mechanical engineering, physics, and materials science.
  • Hydraulics: The power transmission systems that use the force of flowing liquids to transmit power.
  • Physics: The natural science involving the study of matter, motion, energy, force and related notions.
  • Health and safety measures in transportation: The body of rules, procedures and regulations related to health and safety measures intended to prevent accidents or incidents in transportation.
  • Principles of combustion engines: Basic knowledge and understanding of different types of engines and their construction and performance.
  • 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.
  • Engine components: Know the different engine components, and their operation and maintenance. Understand when repairs and replacement should be undertaken.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of diesel engine mechanic.

  • Repair engines: Repair identified problems with internal combustion engines, external combustion engines and electrical motors. Replace and fix faulty parts by using hand and machine tools.
  • Bolt engine parts: Securely bolt together engine components manually or using power tools.
  • Comply with legal regulations: Ensure you are properly informed of the legal regulations that govern a specific activity and adhere to its rules, policies and laws.
  • Maintain work area cleanliness: Keep the working area and equipment clean and orderly.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
  • Diagnose defective engines: Diagnose engine damage or malfunctions by inspecting mechanical equipment; utilise instruments such as chassis charts, pressure gauges, and motor analysers.
  • Re-assemble engines: Re-assemble transport equipment engines after overhaul, inspection, repair, maintenance or cleaning according to blueprints and technical plans.
  • Use traditional toolbox tools: Use tools found in a traditional toolbox, such as hammer, plier, screwdriver, and wrench. Observe safety precautions while operating these instruments.
  • Comply with factory specifications in engine repair: Ensure that all engine components comply with factory standards and specifications.
  • Adjust tightness of engine parts: Tighten or unscrew engine parts using hand and power tools; maintenance of tubing, casing and connecting rods.
  • Disassemble engines: Disassemble internal combustion engines, generators, pumps, transmissions and other components of mechanical equipment.
  • 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.
  • Evaluate engine performance: Read and comprehend engineering manuals and publications; test engines in order to evaluate engine performance.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

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

  • Automotive diagnostic equipment: The equipment used to examine automotive systems and components.
  • Mechanics of vessels: The mechanics involved in boats and ships. Understand the technicalities and participate in discussions over related topics in order to solve problems related to the mechanics.
  • Aircraft mechanics: Technicalities over mechanics in aircrafts and related topics in order to perform a wide range of repairs in aircrafts.
  • 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.
  • Mechanics of trolley buses: Understand the mechanics of trolley buses, so as to be able to report any malfunction to technicians and relevant parties. Know that trolley buses, having electric motors, are more effective than diesel engines in providing torque at start-up, an advantage for climbing steep hills. Unlike combustion engines, electric motors draw power from a central plant and can be overloaded for short periods without damaging them.
  • Mechanics of trains: Possess basic knowledge of the mechanics involved in trains, understand the technicalities and participate in discussions on related topics in order to solve problems related to the mechanics.
  • Rail infrastructure: Thoroughly understand the characteristics of railway infrastructure: rail technologies, track gauges, rail signalling, rail junctions, etc.

Optional skills and competences

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

  • Check train engines: Ensure that train engines comply with regulations before commencing a journey.
  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Install transport equipment engines: Install engines used in transport equipment such as internal combustion engines, external combustion engines and electrical motors according to blueprints and technical plans by using hand and power tools.
  • 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.
  • Lubricate engines: Apply motor oil to engines to lubricate internal combustion engines in order to reduce wear, to clean and to cool the engine.
  • Use automotive diagnostic equipment: Use diagnostic equipment to perform test on motor vehicles, components and systems to detect defects.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Perform maintenance on locomotives: Perform general maintenance of locomotive parts such as wheels, springs and brake rigging traction motors; test and repair safety appliances, air compressors, safety valves, fuel systems, shutters and radiators; install, assemble, disassemble, repair or replace locomotive diesel engine components.
  • Perform routine maintenance on railway engines: Perform routine tasks to maintain railway engines, such as replacing oil and lubricating engines.
  • Follow given instructions: Follow instructions to achieve goals and meet deadlines.
  • Provide customer information related to repairs: Inform customers about necessary repairs or replacements, discuss products, services and costs, include accurate technical information.
  • Clean vehicle engine: Remove grease and dirt from the engine and other mechanical vehicle parts.
  • Maintain vessel engine room: Maintain the engines and engine room equipment of a vessel. Conduct pre-checks prior to departure and ongoing examinations during the voyage.
  • Issue sales invoices: Prepare the invoice of goods sold or services provided, containing individual prices, the total charge, and the terms. Complete order processing for orders received via telephone, fax and internet and calculate the customer’s final bill.

ISCO group and title

7231 – Motor vehicle mechanics and repairers

  1. Diesel engine mechanic – ESCO
  2. Diesel Mechanic Job Description – Betterteam
  3. Featured image: Photo by Sergey Meshkov
Last updated on September 23, 2022

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