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Diesel motor mechanic

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Summary of occupation

These heavy vehicle motor mechanics test, diagnose, repair and maintain diesel motors and the mechanical parts of heavy vehicles. As well as the engine, systems worked on can include electrical, transmission, fuel injection, suspension, steering and brakes. Vehicles worked on can include trucks, buses, plant equipment, tractors and also stationary engines such as generators, pumps and drilling rigs. They may need to work with a variety of welding and processing tools.

ANZSCO description: Maintains, tests and repairs diesel motors and the mechanical parts of trucks, buses and other heavy vehicles such as transmissions, suspension, steering and brakes. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Agricultural Machinery Mechanic, Earth Moving Mechanic, Engineering Tradesperson (Heavy Vehicle Mechanic), Heavy Vehicle Mobile Equipment Mechanic, Heavy Vehicle Motor Mechanic, Heavy Vehicle Road Transport Mechanic, Mechanic - Heavy Vehicle, Truck Mechanic
Specialisations: Automotive Heavy Mechanic
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A diesel motor mechanic needs:

  • to enjoy manual and practical activities
  • good hand-eye coordination and able to complete precise and detailed work
  • mechanical aptitude
  • to be good at mathematics
  • to be free from allergies to grease, oil or petrol
  • to be physically fit.
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Working conditions

Heavy vehicle motor mechanics normally work 38 hours per week, Monday to Friday. If they work on a Fly-In/Fly-Out basis, they generally work longer hours or shift work. Their  work environment tends to be dirty and noisy.

They may also be required to travel to the country if they work on plant or agricultural machinery. They usually wear a uniform and may need to wear special safety clothing. They need to be safety conscious when dealing with chemicals and specialised equipment.

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Salary details

Diesel motor mechanics, classified under motor mechanics, can earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week on average ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation that they work for and their level of experience. As a diesel motor mechanic develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.​

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Tools and technologies

Heavy vehicle motor mechanics are required to use a wide range of tools and technologies to diagnose and repair engines and their associated systems. Computerised diagnostic equipment may need to be used. A wide range of welding equipment, including oxy, electric, MIG and TIG may need to be used, as well as a variety of common and specialised hand and power tools.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a diesel motor mechanic, you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in automotive technician (heavy vehicle road transport). The apprenticeship usually takes between 42 and 48 months to complete. 

To work as a diesel motor mechanic in Western Australia (WA), you will need to obtain a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate, or work under the supervision of someone who holds a current certificate. A National Police Certificate is required to gain a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate. The certificate is available from the Commissioner of Consumer Protection at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety​. ​ 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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