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How to Become a Motor Vehicle Technician

Do you love tinkering with cars? Are you the person friends call when their vehicles won’t start? If so, a career as a motor vehicle technician could be just the thing for you.

What do motor vehicle technicians do?

Motor vehicle technicians maintain and repair all kinds of motor vehicles: cars, lorries, motor bikes, vans, and coaches. Typical tasks include:

  • Performing routine maintenance to help customers take care of their vehicles
  • Interviewing customers to find out what’s wrong
  • Diagnosing faults
  • Making estimates based on the time required and the price of any parts or materials needed
  • Making repairs
  • Driving the vehicle to make sure it works

More experienced motor vehicle technicians may convert engines to liquid petroleum gas (LPG), conduct MOT testing, and work on electric or hybrid vehicles.

 Where and when do motor vehicle technicians work?

  • Most motor vehicle technicians work in a garage or shop, although there are many opportunities with car dealerships, manufacturers, freight companies, construction companies, etc. Some of these employers serve customers that have broken down on the road. That may require travel and/or working outdoors in bad weather.
  • Most motor vehicle technicians work about 40 hours a week, and garages usually operate Monday through Saturday. Some are open 24 hours a day, which means you could work shifts or full-time evening hours.
  • If you work on fleet vehicles – heavy vehicles used commercially – you may always work at night, since some companies don’t take their vehicles out of service during the day.




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 Required skills

  • A solid understanding of vehicle mechanics
  • The ability to do hands-on work in all conditions
  • Excellent communication and customer service skills
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • The ability to explain the problem to someone who doesn’t know anything about mechanics
  • Attention to detail
  • The ability to follow instructions
  • An interest in and willingness to stay current on industry developments

 What education and training are required?

There are a couple of ways to become a motor vehicle technician:

  • Enter an apprenticeship scheme (some require GCSEs in maths, science, or English)
  • Get a college diploma or certificate in the subject (Level 1 Diploma/Certificate in Vehicle Maintenance, Level 2 Diploma/Certificate in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Principles, or Level 2 Diploma/Certificate in Vehicle Technology)

 If you go the diploma/certificate route, your courses may include:

  • Diagnosing vehicle problems
  • Automotive systems (transmission, suspension, braking, and engine management)
  • Automotive electronics
  • Tyres, trim, and general fitting
  • Body repair, spray painting, and finishing

Once you’re working in the industry, you’ll receive more training on the job. In addition, your employer might want you to pursue more advanced certifications, such as:

  • Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Automotive Engineering
  • Level 3 Diploma in Light/Heavy Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Principles
  • Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology
  • Level 4 Certificate in Advanced Automotive Diagnostic Techniques
  • HNC in Automotive Diagnostics and Management Principles
  • Level 4 Diploma for Automotive Master Technicians

You may also want to become certified (Automotive Technician Accreditation) through the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). You would choose modules that interest you or that are related to your current job; then take a series of tests.

If an office job sounds mind-numbinglly boring, and you love working with cars, investigate the opportunities to be found working as a motor vehicle technician.


photo credit: freeimages via SheCat

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