Automotive Service Technician
Anyone whose car or light truck has broken down knows the importance of the service technician’s job. Continued advancements in technology have created and redefined the role of the automotive technician. Although hand skills remain important, physical work is no longer the major aspect of automotive servicing. Today, the emphasis is on diagnostics, a process that requires an ability to think through problems in the abstract. The ability to diagnose the source of the problem quickly and accurately, one of the mechanic’s most valuable skills, requires good reasoning ability and a thorough knowledge of automobiles. In fact, many mechanics consider diagnosing “hard to find” troubles one of their most challenging and satisfying duties.
Automotive technicians in larger shops have increasingly become specialized in the following areas:
- Tune-up Technicians
- Front-end Technicians
- Automotive Air Conditioning Technicians
- Electrical Repair Technician
- Automatic Transmission Technicians
- Brake Repair Technicians
Tune-up and Diagnostics
Adjust the ignition timing and valves, and adjust or replace spark plugs and other parts to ensure efficient engine performance. Technicians often use electronic test equipment to help them adjust and locate malfunctions in fuel, ignition, and emission control systems.
Front-end and Steering
Align and balance wheels and repair steering mechanisms and suspension systems. Technicians frequently use special alignment equipment and wheel-balancing machines.
Install and repair air conditioners and service components such as compressors and condensers.
Clean radiators with caustic solutions, locate and solder leaks, and install new radiator cores or complete replacement radiators. Technicians also may repair heaters and air conditioners, and solder leads in gasoline tanks.
Work on gear trains, couplings, hydraulic pumps, and other parts of automatic transmission. Because these are complex mechanisms and include electronic parts, their repair requires considerable experience and training, including a knowledge of hydraulics.
Adjust brakes, replace brake linings and pads, repair hydraulic cylinders, turn discs and drums, and make other repairs on brake systems. Some mechanics specialize in both brake and front-end work.