Automotive technicians are responsible for maintaining, inspecting and repairing light trucks and cars. These individuals have a number of different duties, depending upon where it is that they work. Some of the common duties are outlined below, as well as what one might expect to get paid when working as an automotive technician.
Automotive technicians generally do the following:
• Identify any mechanical problems, often from using computerized equipment to diagnose the problem
• Testing systems and parts to make sure they are in proper working order
• Following a checklist to make sure any critical parts are inspected
• Performing basic maintenance and care, such as oil changes, tune-ups, rotating tires and checking all of the different fluid levels
• Replacing or repairing any worn parts, such as wheel bearings or brake pads
• Disassembling and reassembling parts
• Using testing equipment to make sure any repairs and maintenance are done properly
• Explaining to the customer what the problem is with their vehicle and what needs to be done to fix it
Technicians work on standard vehicle components, such as transmissions, engines and drive trains. These individuals also have to be familiar with a number of different electronic systems. Steering systems, transmissions and braking are controlled mainly by electronic components and computers. Other types of integrated electronic systems, like an accident-avoidance sensor, are becoming more prevalent also. Plus, a number of technicians are also required to work on a vehicle that doesn’t run on traditional fuels, but rather, those of electricity and ethanol.
Automotive technicians will have to use a number of different tools, such as pneumatic wrenches, welding torches, lathes, hoists and jacks. These tools are often owned by the employer. Common hand tools like ratchets, sockets, pliers and wrenches are often owned by the technician. Experienced workers will generally have thousands invested in their tools.
How Much Can I Expect to Earn?
The average annual wage for those working as an automotive technician was $36,610 as of 2012. Average wage means that half of all individuals working in the field are going to earn more than that, while the other half will earn less. Those who were in the lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,000, while those in the top 10 percent were earning more than $60,000 annually. There are different industries for these professionals to work, which can also play a role in how much money one can expect to make every year. For example:
• Government – $47,000
• Automobile dealerships – $41,000
• Automotive accessories, parts and tire stores – $31,000
• Gas stations – $31,000
Depending upon where you work and the amount of experience you have in the field, your pay is going to vary accordingly. On average, you can expect to earn around $17 per hour working in the field.