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Exploring the 3 Most Common Types of Mechanics

3 Most Common Types of Mechanics

Mechanics are ubiquitous in the automotive industry. They work in auto shops and dealerships all over the country, working on all types of vehicles. But mechanics are rarely jacks of all trades. They typically specialize in certain makes/models and specific types of vehicles, which allows them to focus their skills.

If you are considering a career as an automotive mechanic, you’ll need to choose an area of expertise before you begin your training. You can apply some of the knowledge you learned from tinkering around in your garage to other specialties, but different classes of vehicles use different parts and components, so most of your previous experience may not apply to your chosen endeavor.

Specializing will also inform your business and job opportunities as a mechanic. Learn about the most common types of mechanics and what they do for a living.

Diesel Mechanics

Diesel mechanics work on trucks and commercial vehicles that are designed for industrial purposes. Unlike gas-powered cars, diesel trucks use highly compressed air and fuel to trigger the combustion process. They are extremely durable vehicles, but they contain more parts for you to master than traditional passenger cars.

Each diesel engine contains dozens of electrical inputs that control the air and fuel intake. The timing needs to be precise, or the driver will encounter problems on the road, such as reduced acceleration and poor fuel efficiency. You will need how to learn how to replace the fuel injectors and adjust the inputs on the sensors that control the inputs that keep the engine running.

Diesel Mechanics

Source: Dmitry Kalinovsky/

As a diesel mechanic, you will likely cater to customers that do a lot of towing, including contractors and various businesses, particularly those in the construction industry, which often means steady work. Most diesel truck owners use and maintain the same make and model for years on end, so you should have plenty of repeat customers. You’ll need to stock up on replacement diesel truck parts to help drivers get every last mile out of their trucks. The job outlook for diesel mechanics remains strong with a projected growth rate of 4% through 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are currently 226,972 diesel mechanics employed across the U.S., earning an average of $48,690 per year.

General Automotive Mechanics

These professionals focus on all types of gas-powered vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs and vans. The list of various makes and models can be quite extensive, so you’ll need to brush up on the inner workings of some of the most popular types of vehicles on the road today. A customer could bring just about any type of vehicle into your shop expecting you to repair it.

Most mechanics today use diagnostic tools to quickly find the problem, which can eliminate some of the guesswork. Today’s vehicles are becoming increasingly complex. The arrival of hybrid and electric vehicles has only complicated the situation.

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Gas-powered and consumer vehicles tend to run a wide range of problems on the road, so be prepared to handle a wide range of issues, including bad brakes and oil changes, as well as steering and transmission issues. The process can be similar across different makes and models, but you’ll need to know your way around each type of vehicle.

You should find steady work as a mechanic if you open a shop in an area with lots of drivers around, but the job outlook for general mechanics is projected to stay the same through 2031, so you will likely need to take someone’s place in order to get a job.

Electric Bike and Motorcycle Mechanics

Motorcycles and electric bikes are becoming increasingly common across the U.S., especially in urban areas where items and goods are often delivered on demand across short distances. There are an estimated 15,020 motorcycle and e-bike mechanics in the U.S.

Learning how to repair a vehicle that runs on two wheels is often easier than learning how to fix a heavy-duty truck or a wide range of different cars. The repairs tend to be simpler because motorcycles require fewer parts than their four-wheel counterparts. They still run on gas and require air and fuel for internal combustion, but they tend to run into fewer problems on the road.

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You also won’t have to learn how to fix as many kinds of motorcycles because most of these vehicles use similar parts and engine systems.  You also won’t need as much room to open up shop, considering motorcycles take up much less space than cars and trucks. Each job may not take as long, but you won’t be able to charge as much for repairs. These mechanics earn a median of $38,170 per year, according to the BLS.

Being a mechanic can mean many different things in America where there is at least one car for every person. The economy runs on vehicles large and small, so there are plenty of jobs out there to be had. Choose the right specialty based on what kinds of vehicles you want to fix and where you plan on looking for work.

Kevin Williams is an automotive enthusiast and expert writer with a passion for all things related to cars. With a wealth of knowledge in the world of vehicles, Kevin's mission is to provide informative articles that empower car enthusiasts to make informed decisions about their automotive interests. With extensive experience, Kevin has contributed numerous articles to Cars Cache, covering a wide spectrum of topics from vehicle reviews to maintenance tips and more.


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