By definition, a mechanic is a person who relies on expert knowledge and the appropriate tools in order to repair and maintain machinery. Mechanics specialize in all manner of machinery, from trucks to aircraft to industrial factory equipment. When most people refer to a mechanic, however, they are talking about an auto mechanic: a professional who keeps your vehicle running smoothly.
What Does an Auto Mechanic Do?
Auto mechanics work in dealer, local, or franchise auto care centers to perform regular maintenance, minor repairs, and major repairs.
Regular Maintenance. Any mechanic will know everything it takes to keep your vehicle running smoothly. From changing the oil to AC and Heater Repair to replacing air filters, regularly scheduled maintenance is the most important aspect of car ownership. And it’s a mechanic’s bread and butter. They do it day in and day out to the point that regular maintenance tasks could be done in their sleep.
Minor Repairs. Most auto mechanics are also very skilled at completing minor vehicle repairs, such as replacing belts, brakes, alternators and starters. These are the sorts of repairs that every car needs to get at some point because as much as we hate to admit it, car parts wear out. Neglecting minor repairs can be dangerous or lead to even more severe and expensive damage, in the long run, so you want to see your mechanic as soon as possible when something isn’t working right with your car.
Major Repairs. Major repairs include jobs like rebuilding the transmission or fixing engine damage. These are the things that you might never need to be done unless you are putting 100,000 miles or more on your vehicle and neglecting your other maintenance. Major repairs can be tricky, so you want to find a mechanic who specializes in the specific work you need in order to avoid wasting your money on someone who botches the job.
How is an Auto Mechanic Trained?
Mechanics often have some form of postsecondary education, such as an associate’s degree from a community college, because it is preferred by employers. But many learn the job from experience alone. Those who wish to stand out among the rest will receive ASE certification, which is provided by a national organization that assures the quality of auto mechanics throughout the United States. A rare few will achieve the designation of Master Technician after completing all eight of the ASE certifications. If you are looking for the best mechanic in town, be sure to ask if they are an ASE certified master.