As the number of cars on the road grows, so will the need for car mechanics. Garages are required to perform yearly MOTs on every car over three years old, and repair on any vehicles that have issues. They will also perform services on cars which are advised to take place yearly.
As a car mechanic you may work for independently owned garages or those owned by manufacturers or dealers. There may also be opportunities for this kind of work in freight and transport companies, looking after their vehicles. You may need general mechanical expertise to deal with a wide range of vehicles, or specialist knowledge to work with a particular type or make of vehicle.
If you are good at problem solving, enjoy hands-on work and have an interest in the automotive industry, a career as a car mechanic might be for you.
What does a car mechanic do?
Day-to-day responsibilities might include:
- Carrying out checks on vehicles to find out if repairs are necessary and how urgent they are.
- Estimating the time and cost required for carrying out the repair work.
- Testing vehicles to check that the repairs have been successful. Sometimes this will require a road test.
- Carrying out annual MOTs on all vehicles older than three years.
- Carrying out standard servicing of vehicles.
- Updating maintenance records of vehicles.
- Working with databases of stock and ordering necessary parts.
What qualifications do you need to become a car mechanic?
To work as a car mechanic, you’ll need a qualification in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair at Level 2. There are several ways to achieve this – the most common is through an apprenticeship.
To get an apprenticeship you’ll need GCSEs in at least English and Maths. Work experience in a garage will strengthen your application. A qualification in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair will help you prepare for your apprenticeship. It will take around three years to get your qualification this way.
You can also get this qualification by taking a college course. It is worth noting that you will need a driving license for the type of vehicle you are repairing so you can carry out road tests.
What skills do you need to become a car mechanic?
Problem solving skills: These are essential for diagnosing issues with cars and deciding how best to repair them.
Coordination: You will need good hand-to-eye coordination for more delicate repair tasks.
Communication skills: You will need to be able to explain technical details to customers and help them make decisions about their vehicles.
Attention to detail: You will need a high level of accuracy and an eye for detail when diagnosing issues and making repairs.
Technical mindset: The automotive industry is constantly evolving and you will need to learn to apply new advances in technology quickly.
How much does a car mechanic earn?
Starting salary: £18,000
Experienced: £21,000 – £27,000
Senior: £28,000 – £35,000
These figures are intended as a guide and come from the National Careers Service.
What are you career prospects as a car mechanic?
As you gain experience, you will take on more responsibility and could supervise other mechanics. If you have a head for business, you might want to consider taking on a managerial position.
You could specialise in a type of vehicle or a type of repair. For example, some mechanics are working more on hybrid and electric cars in preparation for the future.