Cars are a ubiquitous part of our world. We use them for short and long work commutes, shuttling the kids to various sporting events, and during vacation road trips.
So when something goes wrong, auto mechanics are the heroes in coveralls who return us to our busy on-the-go lives.
All types of auto repair are in demand, with slow and continual growth expected for job opportunities in the upcoming decade.
There are myriad benefits to working in the automotive repair industry, especially if you enjoy working with your hands and have a passion for automobiles.
To start, there is little or no schooling required to get started in the field.
Although attending a trade school is a great way to gain the skills you need, you can also learn through an apprenticeship at a local shop.
Whether you’re just starting out in the working world or are looking for a career change, there are countless different specialties within the field of auto repair.
While general mechanical repairs will always be needed, consider obtaining training in the newest technologies so you can be knowledgeable about whatever new vehicle rolls into the shop.
In addition to traditional training, understanding modern materials and components will give you the edge over other job candidates and may even make you a specialist people seek out.
1. Electric Vehicles
While EVs don’t have traditional combustion engines with spark plugs and oil changes to worry about, they do have some specialized systems to learn about.
Most often, though, electric cars will need basic maintenance related to the battery, tires, fluids, and brakes.
2. EV Batteries
Understanding how EV batteries work is different from the knowledge of traditional vehicle batteries.
With comprehensive knowledge about them, you will be able to advise customers on the most efficient ways to use and care for the battery in order to maximize its life.
This is valuable advice since the cost of replacing an EV battery ranges from $5,000 to $20,000.
3. Self-Driving and Driving Assistance Components
Cars are getting smarter by the day. As a mechanic or auto technician, you’ll need to be smarter than the smart devices, meaning being able to decipher where a malfunction is happening.
To be in the know, you’ll need to understand the diagnostic tools that help identify the problem, followed by the ability to make the needed repair.
These systems include sensors that protect against blind spots, cameras, notification systems, and the electronics behind it all.
Customers may bring the car in because of problems with backup cameras, lane change alerts, forward collision warnings, cruise control, and brake assist, among others.
4. Regenerative Braking Systems
Regenerative braking systems aren’t new, but they have become increasingly more common in the automotive realm.
When a customer comes in with concerns about the braking in a newer model car, you’ll be the go-to person if you know what to look for and how to repair it.
5. Specific Makes/Models, Foreign and Domestic
As cars become less standardized, becoming a specialist for a particular brand, or make, is a way to stand out against a sea of other auto repair technicians.
New car companies are rising to the surface nearly every year, so you can follow your passion when deciding where to specialize.
With a comprehensive understanding of vehicle repair, digging deep into the intricate details of a few specific makes and models can become the foundation of your business.
This is true for both foreign and domestic models, where it’s common for general mechanics to recommend specialists much in the way family doctors refer patients to specialists.
6. Body Repair
The engine isn’t the only part of a car. The body often needs attention too.
Especially with the price of cars these days, people are investing more in repairing them rather than sending them to the scrapyard.
Make a name for yourself in the industry by keeping up with the newest materials used in fabrication, as well as the best products and processes to use during repairs.
7. Update Business Ownership Practices
If you’re the owner of the business in addition to being a mechanic, you’re wearing many different hats.
Just as today’s vehicles are undergoing changes, the world of employment is too.
Make sure your accounting is up to date by keeping up with ever-changing tax laws. Get familiar with the marketing possibilities of social media and other online platforms. Learn about the legalities of hiring practices and invest in new forms of employee retention based on what modern-day workers are looking for in their jobs.
The key to staying relevant in any industry is staying current in your knowledge and continually investing in yourself and your skills.
If you're not a mechanic, you might be able to turn your online skills into a valuable career by marketing yourself to businesses as a digital consultant.