What Is a Mechanic?

A mechanic is someone who repairs, services, and maintains motor vehicles and machinery. Some mechanics specialize in specific areas of repair such as brakes, air conditioning, or transmissions. Most mechanics work for automotive shops, but some are self-employed. They usually spend long periods of time on their feet, and are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals, oil, dust, dirt, noise, and vibration. Mechanics often use computerized diagnostic tools to run tests, as well as power tools and several common hand tools including wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, pliers, an air compressor, various hammers and mallets, wire cutters, and multimeters.

A chassis Mechanic performs preventive and corrective maintenance and makes major repairs on gasoline or diesel powered light or heavy duty trucks, construction equipment, and trailers in the field or garage environment. Tests and diagnoses malfunctions with visual or audible examination methods; uses complex testing equipment such as engine analyzers, compression testers, voltmeters, and ohmmeters to determine the exact nature or extent of needed repairs. Prepares and maintains records, documentation, and specifications.

Automotive mechanics specialize in fixing and maintaining passenger cars and trucks. They are normally trained in all aspects of automotive service and repair, but may choose to further their education by obtaining specialized certificates or licenses in one or more areas such as electrical diagnosis, auto body repair, or automatic transmission. Some mechanics also choose to take advanced courses in order to increase their salary potential and advance within the industry.

Many mechanics choose to obtain certification from a national organization called the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). This certification shows that they have passed an independent test designed to evaluate their mastery of automobile repair and service. Mechanics that have ASE certificates are generally considered to be more qualified than those who do not. Some shops only hire mechanics with ASE certificates, and those with multiple certifications can earn more money.

Industrial mechanics maintain and repair machinery and mechanical equipment in factories and manufacturing plants. They sometimes specialize in certain types of machinery such as bulldozers or cranes. They are also responsible for repairing and maintaining pumps, conveyors, and other mechanical systems. Industrial mechanics typically work on large, expensive machines and must be able to troubleshoot problems quickly.

Most mechanics will spend the majority of their career in the shop, working under a lead mechanic or an experienced journeyman. Occasionally they will be required to travel to customers’ homes or businesses to service their vehicles. They must be able to communicate with the customer in a friendly and courteous manner, explaining what needs to be done and answering any questions they might have. Some mechanics will choose to specialize in certain parts of a vehicle such as the transmission, front-end, or brakes in order to make more money. They may also choose to be generalists and work on a wide range of different vehicles. Regardless of their specialization, all mechanics must have a strong knowledge of automobile anatomy and how each part works together in order to make the right repairs.