what is an automotive mechanic?

Automotive mechanics go by several names, including service techs and automotive technicians. Whatever job title you have, your job focuses on repairing and maintaining vehicles. You help customers ensure their cars and trucks are functioning properly. This job requires you to be highly skilled and comfortable working with all sorts of tools and machinery.

As an automotive mechanic, you get to fully explore all the inner workings of motor vehicles. You are often responsible for things like identifying problems and suggesting repairs. At some jobs, you'll also perform maintenance such as changing oil or rotating tires. Automotive mechanics work with almost every part of a car, including the engine, electrical components, and transmission.

Many automotive mechanics work at car repair or auto body shops where they fix customers' cars. Some may also work with dealerships or car manufacturers to ensure cars run properly before being purchased. Other potential employers include construction businesses and manufacturing industries that need help with their vehicles.

Would working as an automotive mechanic suit your passion for vehicles? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an automotive mechanic role.

automotive mechanic jobs

average automotive mechanic salary

The salary of an automotive mechanic in Canada can vary based on several factors including experience, location, the employer, and the specific skill set of the mechanic. On average, automotive mechanics in Canada can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 per year. More experienced and skilled mechanics, especially those in specialized areas or working in high-demand regions, may earn higher salaries.

factors that affect pay

If you're interested in a higher-paying job, make sure you're working in the right industry. Mechanics working for dealers make the highest salary while those working for automotive part stores make the lowest salaries. In this job, having more experience and working longer hours is a plus. Since you often get paid on an hourly basis, you could pick up more hours or work overtime to increase your wages. Having more experience also ensures a higher salary because it means you are able to work on more complex projects or work independently.

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types of automotive mechanic

This job comes in several shapes and sizes. Here are some common examples of the types of positions automotive mechanics fill:

  • lube and tire technician: these automotive mechanics focus on performing a lot of routine maintenance at an express service store.
  • auto glass technician: if you're a glass technician, you primarily replace and install auto glass.
  • mechanic assistant: this entry-level position involves simple tasks like moving cars around, fetching parts, and cleaning vehicles.
  • general automotive mechanic: being a general mechanic means you work on a variety of vehicles and perform a variety of tasks depending on what your workday is like.
  • senior automotive technician: a senior position involves more responsibility. You'll work on more complex vehicles and may manage other service techs or assistants
man smiling, standing in front of van
man smiling, standing in front of van

working as an automotive mechanic

Being an automotive mechanic is never boring. You'll get to perform a lot of interesting jobs that require both intelligence and physical dexterity. Keep reading to see what your typical workday will look like.


automotive mechanic skills and education

So how do you become an automotive mechanic? If you're interested in this career path, you'll be happy to hear that it's fairly easy to become a mechanic. You don't have to spend years in school or have decades of experience beforehand. Instead, you just need to have some basic education, commonsense skills, and the willingness to learn.

educational requirements

If you're interested in becoming an auto mechanic in Canada, the minimum requirement is a high school diploma. However, most employers prefer to hire mechanics with formal apprenticeships. Many colleges in Canada offer a specialization in auto mechanics that will provide you with the knowledge you need for a long and successful career in automotive mechanics. During your apprenticeship, you'll attend technical training including classroom instruction and hands-on experience, covering various aspects of automotive repair and maintenance.

experience and certification requirements

Many companies are happy to provide training on the job for entry-level positions, but higher-level jobs would require you to have some experience. Two to four years of experience shows that you already know a lot about how cars work, so you can start performing diagnostics and repairs right away. 

Once you have completed your apprenticeship and gained the necessary work experience, you can write the Interprovincial Red Seal examination. Successful completion of this exam allows you to obtain the Red Seal endorsement, a nationally recognized certification.

skills and competencies

No matter what level of education and training you have, it's important to have these essential skills:

  • physical strength: typically, mechanics need to be able to lift at least 50 pounds. Though the entire job isn't heavy lifting, you need to be able to hold things like body panels or engine components while you install them.
  • mechanical skills: it's important to understand various engine components and vehicle systems. You need to be able to look at vehicles and know how each part affects the others.
  • manual dexterity: mechanics need steady hands, the ability to precisely place small parts, and excellent coordination. You'll need to be comfortable doing things like installing screws or mounting components at odd angles.
  • troubleshooting skills: a lot of your job will rely on your ability to find and resolve problems. Good mechanics can work independently and use creative thinking to solve problems.
  • communication skills: not all of your job is done by yourself. You'll need to talk with customers to understand the car's problems and talk with coworkers to get the right parts and tools. It's important to be able to communicate clearly and speak in a polite, professional manner.


Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about automotive mechanics.


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