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Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.
Duties: Automotive service technicians and mechanics typically do the following:
- Test parts and systems to ensure that they are working properly
- Identify mechanical problems, often by using computerized diagnostic equipment
- Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
- Test and lubricate the vehicle’s engine and other major components
- Perform basic care and maintenance, including oil changes, tuneups, and tire rotations
- Repair or replace worn parts, such as brake pads and wheel bearings
- Disassemble and reassemble parts
- Use testing equipment to ensure that repairs and maintenance are effective
- Explain to clients their automotive problems and the repairs done on their vehicles
Service technicians work on traditional mechanical components, such as engines, transmissions, belts, and hoses. However, they must also be familiar with a growing number of electronic systems. Braking, transmission, and steering systems, for example, are controlled primarily by computers and electronic components.
Other integrated electronic systems, such as accident-avoidance sensors, are becoming common as well. In addition, a growing number of technicians are required to work on vehicles that run on alternative fuels, such as ethanol and electricity.
Service technicians use many different tools, including computerized diagnostic tools and power tools such as pneumatic wrenches, lathes, welding torches, and jacks and hoists. These tools usually are owned by their employers.
Service technicians also use many common hand tools, such as pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers, which generally are their own. In fact, experienced workers often have thousands of dollars invested in their personal tool collection.
Service technicians sometimes specialize in a particular type of repair that may be subject to specific regulations or procedures. For instance, those focused on air-conditioning system repairs must follow federal and state regulations governing the handling, recycling, and disposal of refrigerants.