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Auto Mechanic: Job Duties of a Professional Auto Mechanic

Auto mechanics normally deal with light vehicles that run on gasoline rather than diesel, and their jobs may be either very general or specialized. Mechanics might work with any of a vehicle's systems, from body work to engines and electrical or computer systems.

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General Job Requirements of an Auto Mechanic

The first task for an auto mechanic professional is to provide the customer with an estimate of the work and cost required to make a vehicle safe and operational without adding unnecessary procedures or inflating costs. Auto mechanics inspect, maintain and repair automobiles, including cars, SUVs and pickups. Generally, auto mechanics limit their work to automobiles that run on gasoline; diesel vehicles and heavy equipment are handled by diesel mechanics.

Auto mechanics may work for a general mechanic shop that deals with a large variety of vehicle problems and systems. Alternatively, specializations are available in areas such as body work, alternator repair and rebuilding engines, electrical systems or brakes.

Normal Job Duties

Routine inspection and maintenance includes such tasks as checking tire pressure, changing engine oil, checking and replacing spark plugs, wires and distributor caps or ensuring the reliability of the vehicle's brakes. Troubleshooting and repairs may include diagnosing and fixing problems with any part of a vehicle, from body work or painting to the vehicle's computer or electronics.

As automobile parts and systems have become increasingly complex, auto mechanics' jobs have begun to change more and more rapidly, and their job title has often been revised to 'automotive service technician.' Professional auto mechanics diagnose problems by using on-board diagnostics in a vehicle's computer or plug-in diagnostic systems, as well as through observation of sounds, smells and the behavior of the vehicle.

Other tools available to an auto mechanic include heavy equipment, such as lifts, air tools, lathes and mill work machines that refinish valve seats, along with special equipment to mount and dismount tires. They also work with hazardous solvents and a great assortment of hand tools.

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    • Idaho (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boise State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
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      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
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    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
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    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
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      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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    • Michigan (1 campus)
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      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
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