Diesel mechanic are highly skilled service and repair automotive mechanic workers who specialize in diesel engines like those found within diesel powered passenger automobiles, heavy construction equipment, tractors, boats, and larger trucks. Diesel mechanics work within a variety of environments, including repair shops, service stations, construction sites, and garages. Diesel mechanics must be familiar with all aspects of the field, adaptable, and hardworking in order to solve operating problems within quickly changing automotive technologies.
Diesel mechanics must be physically fit as their job requires the ability to work long hours, lift heavy objects, and often travel long distances to repair stranded vehicles. The work of a diesel mechanics is increasingly complex as technology and components advance. Diesel mechanics are required to repair mircroprocessors, emissions filters and catalysts, and utilize computerized diagnostic equipment and tools to resolve problems and perform repairs. Diesel mechanics must also be able to perform routine maintenance, repairs, and services, from brake inspections, steering mechanics, wheel bearings, and to other more complicated systems like adjusting engine function, resolve electrical systems malfunctions, and complete preventive maintenance.
Diesel mechanics use a variety of common hand tools, machine tools, power tools, computerized engine analyzers, and diagnostic equipment to perform job duties and repairs. Most employers provide diesel mechanics with the more expensive power and computerized tools required for diesel repairs and service though many diesel mechanics gradually accumulate most tools over the course of their careers. Common tools used by diesel mechanics include pneumatic wrenches, lathes, grinding machines, welding equipment, flame cutters, jacks, hoists, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and computerized testing equipment. Most states require diesel mechanics to gain and maintain licensure to qualify for employment. Though state requirements vary, most states require diesel mechanics to complete the combination of formal training, work experience, and examinations based in the mechanical principles, ethical standards, and safety precautions of diesel mechanics.
Individuals interested in establishing a career as a diesel mechanic often begin preparation while in high school. Many schools provide students instruction within diesel engine repair, automotive repair, shop, mechanic programs, or electronic programs. High school students may also complete courses like: English, Algebra, geometry, business, physics, physical education, and computer courses. Many students also work part time within construction, farming, transportation, gasoline service stations, or car repair shops to gain the mechanical, customer service, and computer skills required for employment. Many students also may gain their commercial trucking license through the Department of Motor Vehicles to gain the ability to drive trucks or buses on public roads and qualify for employment. High school students often must complete their diploma or G.E.D. to advance to entry level diesel mechanic positions, certificate programs, career diploma programs, vocational school programs, or college degree programs to increase knowledge and skills necessary to advance to employment.
Due to the complexity of employment as a diesel mechanic, most unskilled candidates must begin employment as mechanic or service trainees and advance to positions as mechanic’s helpers as they gain work experience. Finding employment as a diesel mechanic without relevant training and experience is very difficult though some candidates begin employment performing simple tasks like cleaning parts, driving vehicles in or out of repair areas, and fueling and lubricating vehicles. Some may advance to trainee positions and perform simple service tasks or minor repairs after demonstrating competence and acquiring skills. Some candidates may qualify as journeyman diesel truck or bus mechanics after gaining three to four years worth of work experience and gradually gaining experience performing tasks like engine repair, break repair, transmission repair, and electrical systems repairs. Most candidates can accelerate advancement by participating in formal training programs, gaining certification, or earning a college degree.
Certificate programs offer individuals with an interest in establishing a career as a diesel mechanic the ability to increase knowledge and often better their chances of employment. Certificate programs are generally one to two years long and are offered through trade or vocational schools, online programs, or community colleges. Most certificate programs include the following courses: automotive repair, diesel mechanics, mathematics, English, physics, fuel systems, brake systems, alignment, suspension, transmissions, computers, customer service, and other courses. Certificate programs offer students the ability to learn proper operation of tools, electronics, computers, and hand held devices; gain an understanding of how to diagnose, service and repair basic diesel mechanisms; and increase business and communication skills for relations between customers, coworkers, and supervisors. Individuals who complete studies within a certification program often qualify for entry level employment or continue studies within an associate degree program.
Associate degree programs provide students with the ability to increase their educational basis, apply classroom theories within hands on experience, and establish or advance their careers as diesel mechanics. Courses within an associate degree program often include: introduction to diesel mechanics, hydraulics and pneumatics, welding, diesel engine electronics and electrical systems, air conditioning systems, diesel trade and technical knowledge, power train equipment repair, diagnostic techniques for diesel mechanics, and diesel engines and support systems. Associate degree programs also provide students with specialized instruction with construction equipment like loaders, dump trucks, scrapers, bulldozers, and motor graders. Associate degree graduates often advance to employment or continue studies within higher degree programs.
Bachelor degree programs in the field of diesel mechanics offer students an expanded understanding of the field as well as means to increase experience necessary to advance their careers. Bachelor degree programs offer students specialized instruction regarding diesel technology, the operation of and maintanence of heavy equipment, and the means of using, leasing, selling and repairing diesel equipment. Courses at a bachelor level include: diesel mechanics, diesel engine electronics and electrical systems, diesel support systems, hydraulics and pneumatics, advanced fuel systems, and welding. Graduates who complete bachelor degree programs often gain employment as upper level diesel mechanics. Graduates who wish to advance to higher degree programs must select studies within a related field.
Students who complete formal training programs often advance to certification programs offered through the national Institute for Automotive Service Excellence after meeting a 2 year work experience requirement. Certification exams cover six training areas like: brakes, heavy duty truck repair, gasoline engines, diesel engines, drive trains, electrical systems, and/or suspension and steering.
Diesel mechanics are often required to continue training throughout their careers to remain current of industrial and technological changes. Most employers require experienced diesel mechanics to participate in programs offered by manufacturers and vendors to increase skills and understanding of repair techniques and technological advances. Diesel mechanics often advance to sales, supervisor, or manager positions upon gaining relevant training and experience. Many also establish self owned repair shops upon securing adequate funding and relevant training.