There are a number of qualities and skills you will need to develop before you can be a successful automotive technician, mechanic, or diesel engine specialist. Luckily, most of those skills can be obtained by spending the time to go to automotive school. In classes, you will gain all the mechanical, technical, and troubleshooting knowledge you need to earn an entry-level position at an auto shop or dealership.
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to mention that in order to be successful after automotive school, you will need to have a strong grasp on mechanical skills and have sound knowledge of automobile mechanics. Hopefully you will learn most, if not all, of this while you are in school. The longer you are in school, the more you will learn about the mechanics behind vehicle operation. You should be familiar will all engine components and systems, as well as understand how they interact with each other. It will be a regular part of your job to take apart different parts of cars and trucks, such as the engine. You need to know enough about how the systems work that you can easily diagnose problems, make improvements, and put the components back together. If you hope to work at a car dealership for a particular make or model of vehicle, you should spend a portion of your schooling learn how to deal with those automobiles or trucks in particular.
Part of your job will include using sophisticated diagnostic tools and equipment to service engines, systems, and other components. You should be familiar with electronic control systems and know which tools or equipment need to be used to make repairs. An overall understanding of electronics and computer systems is important, as well. This is especially pertinent in recent years, as cars and trucks have become increasingly sophisticated. Most vehicles now use electronic and computerized systems to run programs such as automatic braking, parking assist, or route guidance. It is no longer enough to have the mechanical skills necessary to fix an engine. If someone comes into your shop or dealership with a broken GPS, Bluetooth, or entertainment system, they will expect you to know how to fix it. This may be especially important if you work for a dealership, where you will be expected to have intimate knowledge of every aspect of a certain type of car, such as Chrysler, Ford, or Toyota.
In order to be a successful troubleshooter, you will have to build on your mechanical and technical knowledge and skills. It is one thing to know how an engine or GPS system works, but it is another thing altogether to understand how to solve problems. You may be faced with many complex problems that other mechanics have been unable to fix. Although surely you will also deal with simple issues, such as broken taillights, you may also have customers who have no more information than that their car is making a “funny” noise. You should be able to use critical thinking and problem solving skills to run a myriad of tests and isolate one or multiple problems, and then come up with the most efficient and cost-effective way to fix the issue.