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Motor mechanic (general)

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Summary of occupation

Automotive mechanics work on the mechanical parts of motor vehicles, including the engine, transmission and suspension systems. They fix, maintain, reassemble, restore and overhaul these components and also talk to the vehicles' owner about issues they may be having. Common tasks might include the testing and repairing of electrical lighting systems, the replacement of damaged parts in the engine, or the inspection of vehicles in order to render them safe for the road. Automotive mechanics work right across the state, in service stations, vehicle dealerships, for public authorities such as local governments or defence, transport firms, organisations with fleets of vehicles that need to be maintained and for themselves in their own businesses.

ANZSCO description: Maintains, tests and repairs petrol engines and the mechanical parts of lightweight motor vehicles such as transmissions, suspension, steering and brakes. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Automotive Light Mechanic, Automotive Mechanic
Specialisations: Automatic Transmission Mechanic, Automotive Airconditioning Fitter, Automotive Airconditioning Mechanic, Brake Mechanic, Ground Support Equipment Fitter (Air Force), Vehicle Mechanic (Army)
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An automotive mechanic needs:

  • the ability to work well with manual hand tools
  • problem-solving skills
  • good vision and hearing
  • to hold a current drivers license
  • technical aptitude
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Working conditions

Automotive mechanics work mainly in garages, workshops and other areas where vehicles are serviced, repaired or maintained. They work with oils, petrol, greases and other chemical products which can cause skin irritation. Mechanics should also be physically fit so they can lift and move heavy tools or machinery. Work areas can quickly become messy and dirty.

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Salary details

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

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Tools and technologies

Automotive mechanics work mainly with tools and devices used to maintain and repair automotive engines and parts. Safety precautions must always be taken when working with certain machines and devices in the industry, such as when welding. Other tools used in the industry may include spanners, precision measuring devices and spray painting equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an automotive mechanic, you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in automotive technician (light). The apprenticeship usually takes 42 to 48 months to complete, and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

To work as an automotive mechanic in Western Australia (WA), you will need to acquire a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate, or work under the supervision of someone who holds a current certificate. The certificate is available from the Commissioner of Consumer Protection at the Department of Commerce WA. 

A National Police Certificate is required to gain a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate.

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.

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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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Related links

Related videos

Automotive mechanic Video Automotive mechanic Occupation

Automotive mechanics discuss vehicle problems with owners, diagnose the problem through testing equipment and observation and then repair the mechanical issue discovered.

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