Essential skills for success as an automotive service technician
Automotive service technicians use essential skills to complete trade-related tasks. Use this fact sheet to:
- learn how essential skills are used on the job;
- find out the skills you need to succeed in your trade; and
- help prepare yourself for your career.
- Read emails or notes from colleagues.
- Read comments on work orders to understand problems and repair schedules.
- Read instructions and safety warnings on product labels.
- Read reports from manufacturers describing recalls and faults of specific models of automobiles.
- Read repair manuals to diagnose and fix mechanical faults.
- Read safety symbols on movable parts.
- Fill out a variety of documents, such as job estimates, warranties, inspection reports and accident forms.
- Study schematic diagrams for information on electrical, hydraulic, coolant and other systems.
- Use work orders to find information on vehicles to be serviced, such as repair needs and descriptions of previous problems.
- Find automotive system faults by interpreting diagnostic graphs and integrating information from other sources.
- Measure tire pressure using a gauge.
- Monitor levels of oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and engine coolant.
- Calculate the total cost of repair jobs including parts, labour rates and taxes.
- Measure the tightness of bolts and fasteners with torque wrenches.
- Analyze electrical readings to identify faults, such as an engine that will not start.
- Estimate the useful life remaining for parts, such as tires, brake pads and exhaust systems.
- Measure mechanical parts, such as cylinder walls, brake disks and bearings using calipers, dial micrometers and plastigauge strips.
- Write brief notes on work orders describing repairs to customers' cars.
- Write brief emails or notes on web forums and technical support sites about unusual or difficult repairs.
- Write long letters for police and insurance investigations describing the causes and results of accidents.
- Give instructions and guidance to shop helpers.
- Inform supervisors and customers if jobs are going to take longer than expected.
- Explain regular vehicle maintenance procedures to customers.
- Place orders for parts and supplies by telephone.
- Participate in discussion groups to share experiences, discuss problems and learn new methods of increasing productivity and providing customer service.
- Speak to customers and service advisors to obtain information about vehicle repairs.
- Respond to customer complaints regarding quality, cost or duration of repairs.
Working with others
- Work well independently.
- Assist others as required.
- Decide whether to reorder parts or contact alternate suppliers when the parts needed for repairs are not available.
- Decide which tools to use, procedures to follow and tests to perform in order to diagnose and repair vehicles.
- Find information on stickers, labels, assembly drawings and repair manuals to determine the proper use, application and installation of parts and supplies.
- Decide to replace worn parts when repairs are not feasible or economical.
- Assess the condition of critical parts and systems, such as brakes, tires and exhaust systems.
- Interpret displays on computerized scanning equipment and onboard vehicle sensors to find operational information.
- Determine the reliability of information received from customers and its relevance to repairs.
- Decide on the most efficient course of action to complete various jobs.
- Evaluate the complexity of jobs to determine if they can be successfully completed.
- Use the Internet to gather information, such as technical service bulletins and recall notices.
- Use databases for activities such as reviewing past service information or to complete work orders.
- Use communications software for activities such as exchanging emails with other technicians or manufacturer support specialists.
- Use computer applications and computerized machinery such as diagnostic scanners and wheel alignment machines.
- Learn about the latest technology on the job, in organized information sessions and in work discussion groups.
- Read work-related magazines, periodicals and automotive websites.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: