What is the difference between a mechanic and an auto mechanic?
While the debate about the significance of these positions still rages on, there is a clear difference in the status of the automotive mechanic and an auto technician. The respect and the rate at which expectations have changed is a sign of the growth of this industry from the previous generation to the current one. While a mechanic was seen as someone who would approach the vehicles, wrench in hand, to take everything apart and try and look for the signs of the problem, auto technicians are seen as repair shop wizards who use computers and technology to perform a diagnosis on the car or truck that they are working on, and use high-level equipment to extract data and identify issue areas in these cars or trucks. The diagnostics tool used by an auto technician is more data and systems related than it is about skill and experience. Since the nature of the job and the pressure that comes with it, and the level of money involved in an automotive repairs organization has all changed, the jobs have had to change as well. So while there are similarities in the position of auto mechanics and auto technicians, the way the two approach their work process and thinking are different from the times of their predecessors.
What does an auto mechanic do?
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:
- Identify problems, often by using computerized diagnostic equipment
- Plan work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience
- Test parts and systems to ensure that they work properly
- Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
- Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
- Repair or replace worn parts, such as brake pads, wheel bearings, and sensors
- Perform repairs to manufacturer and customer specifications
- Explain automotive problems and repairs to clients
Although service technicians work on traditional mechanical systems, such as engines, transmissions, and drive belts, they also must 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 use electricity or alternative fuels, such as ethanol. 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.