Vehicle technicians inspect, test and maintain vehicles, motorcycles, engine tune-ups and tyre replacements. They repair engine failures, lube replacements. Vehicle technicians replace vehicle components and evaluate warranty options.
Vehicle technicians typically do the following:
- Identify problems, often by using computerized diagnostic equipment
- Plan work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience
- Test parts and systems to ensure that they work properly
- Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
- Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
- Repair or replace worn parts, such as brake pads, wheel bearings, and sensors
- Perform repairs to manufacturer and customer specifications
- Explain automotive problems and repairs to clients.
Vehicle technicians stand for most of the day, and they typically work in well-ventilated and well-lit repair shops. Although technicians often identify and fix automotive problems with computers, they commonly work with greasy parts and tools, sometimes in uncomfortable positions.
Most vehicle technicians work full time, and many work evenings or weekends. Overtime is common.
Injuries and Illnesses
Vehicle technicians and mechanics frequently work with heavy parts and tools. As a result, workplace injuries, such as small cuts, sprains, and bruises, are common.
The following job titles also refer to vehicle technician:
heavy vehicle technician
automotive maintenance technician
motor vehicle mechanic
road vehicle mechanic
senior bus technician
bus and coach technician
light vehicle technician
High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, computers, and mathematics provide a good background for prospective vehicle technicians. However, high school graduates typically need further training to become fully qualified.
Completing a vocational or other postsecondary education program in automotive service technology is considered the best preparation for entry-level positions. Short-term certificate programs in a particular subject, such as brake maintenance or engine performance, are also available.
Some vehicle technicians get an associate’s degree. Courses usually include mathematics, electronics, and automotive repair. Some programs add classes in customer service and other necessary skills.
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.
Vehicle technician is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Vehicle technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to vehicle technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of vehicle technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of vehicle technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of vehicle technician.
- 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.
- Emission standards: Know the legal limitations of the amount of pollutants that can be emitted into the environment.
- 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.
- Mechanical requirements for vehicles in urban areas: Know legal requirements that vehicles must meet in order to operate in urban areas. Inspect and maintain components of vehicle subsystems; ensure safety of vehicle, reliability, and driving comfort.
- Principles of mechanical engineering: Understand principles of mechanical engineering, physics, and materials science.
- Mechanical components of vehicles: Know the mechanical components used in vehicles and identify and resolve potential malfunctions.
- 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.
- Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
- Components of air conditioning systems: Know the different components that constitute air conditioning systems such as condensers, compressors, evaporators and sensors. Identify and repair/replace malfunctioning components.
- 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 vehicle technician.
- Follow control of substances hazardous to health procedures: Adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) procedures for activities that involve hazardous substances, such as bacteria, allergens, waste oil, paint or brake fluids that result in illness or injury.
- 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.
- 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.
- Think analytically: Produce thoughts using logic and reasoning in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Diagnose problems with vehicles: Diagnose issues with vehicles and assess the efforts and costs required to resolve them.
- Maintain work area cleanliness: Keep the working area and equipment clean and orderly.
- Use automotive diagnostic equipment: Use diagnostic equipment to perform test on motor vehicles, components and systems to detect defects.
- Perform technical tasks with great care: Avoiding possible risks and unwanted outcomes by watching carefully over all parts of a machine, device or vehicle and executing processes of production, maintenance or repair with great care.
- Adapt to new technology used in cars: Adapt to new technology integrated in cars; understand systems operation and provide troubleshooting.
- Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
- Carry out repair of vehicles: Provide repair for vehicles and routine level checks, such as engine tune-ups, oil changes, tire rotation and changes, wheel balancing, replacing filters, repair engine failures; repair mechanical and electrical systems malfunctions; replace parts and components; repair body damage.
- 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 road testing: Perform road tests with vehicles; ensure that all functions are working safely and correctly; test vehicle in extreme weather and road conditions.
- Maintain updated professional knowledge: Regularly attend educational workshops, read professional publications, actively participate in professional societies.
- 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.
- Carry out repairs and maintenance of vehicle bodies: Execute repair and maintenance tasks to damaged vehicle bodies; follow customers’ individual requests and instructions.
- 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.
- Perform vehicle tests: Test, inspect and maintain vehicles; refresh oil and change tires; balance wheels and replace filters.
- 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.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of vehicle technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- 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.
- Types of vehicle engines: Types of car engines in road and racing cars, inclusing those with emerging technologies like Hybrids and electric motors, and how they work.
- 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.
- Engine components: Know the different engine components, and their operation and maintenance. Understand when repairs and replacement should be undertaken.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of vehicle technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Ensure customer focus: Attitude that puts customers at the centre of the business in all cases.
- Fix minor vehicle scratches: Fix minor vehicle dents and scratches with touch-up paint.
- 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.
- Replace tyres: Replace worn out or broken tyres of motor vehicles by using hand and power tools. Choose new tyres according to customer requirements and motor vehicle model.
- Order supplies: Command products from relevant suppliers to get convenient and profitable products to purchase.
- 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 approapriate type of driving license according to the type of motor vehicle used.
- Lubricate engines: Apply motor oil to engines to lubricate internal combustion engines in order to reduce wear, to clean and to cool the engine.
- Maintain braking system: Maintain the system that stops motor vehicles and bicycles. Identify problems such as leakages. Make repairs if necessary by using hand and power tools.
- Maintain vehicle appearance: Maintain vehicle appearance by washing, cleaning and performing minor adjustments and repairs.
- Ensure compliance with warranty contracts: Implement and monitor repairs and/or replacements by the supplier in compliance with warranty contracts.
- Perform ICT troubleshooting: Identify problems with servers, desktops, printers, networks, and remote access, and perform actions which solve the problems.
- Maintain professional records: Produce and maintain records of work performed.
- Detect malfunctions in engines: Detect and effectively respond to machinery malfunctions. Take actions in order to prevent material damage; practice damage control.
- Maintain motor vehicle steering system: Maintain the system that allows motor vehicles to be directed towards a desired route through steering wheel linkages by using hand and power tools. Make repairs if necessary.
- Perform minor vehicle repairs: Repair/replace non-essential vehicle parts such as turn signals, lights, fluid hoses, etc.
- Perform annual legal safety checks: Ensure that all legal requirements for annual safety checks are followed; record safety procedures and inform customers.
- Lift heavy weights: Lift heavy weights and apply ergonomic lifting techniques to avoid damaging the body.
- Carry out repair of motorcycles: Carry out repairs and routine maintenance checks for motorcycles such as engine tune-ups, oil changes, tire rotation, tire changes, engine failures and mechanical system malfunctions. Replace parts and components.
- Maintain suspension system: Maintain the system that creates the motion of wheels of motor vehicles such as shock absorbers, springs and linkages. Repair them if necessary by using hand and power tools.
- Maintain customer records: Keep and store structured data and records about customers in accordance with customer data protection and privacy regulations.
- Adjust tightness of engine parts: Tighten or unscrew engine parts using hand and power tools; maintenance of tubing, casing and connecting rods.
- Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
- Disassemble engines: Disassemble internal combustion engines, generators, pumps, transmissions and other components of mechanical equipment.
- Provide customer follow-up services: Register, follow-up, solve and respond to customer requests, complaints and after-sales services.
- 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.
- 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.
ISCO group and title
7231 – Motor vehicle mechanics and repairers
- Vehicle technician – ESCO
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Featured image: Photo by Artem Podrez