Schools Training

How to Become a Mechanic

16 FEB 2012
Career Path : Automotive

In the past twenty years, technology has revolutionized the auto repair and maintenance industry. Now, more than ever, it is important for aspiring mechanics to pursue auto technician training.

Salaries for Canadian mechanics – or auto technicians, as they are coming to be known – can vary widely, from $22,000 to upwards of $75,000 a year, according to PayScale.com. What accounts for this disparity in incomes? Increasingly, it’s knowledge – not experience – that makes the difference between thriving and surviving as an auto technician. Training is more important than ever. Like many industries, auto repair and maintenance has been transformed in the past twenty years by an onslaught of new technology. The best way to stand out as an auto technician? Seek the specialized knowledge that only mechanic colleges can provide before entering the work force.

Carburetor, Front Suspension, Microprocessor

The mechanics of yesteryear could learn everything they needed to know about how to become a mechanic by taking cars apart and putting them back together again. They did not need mechanic colleges or auto technician training. But things have changed. All cars have an electronic component now. In fact, microprocessors control some of a car’s most important safety and environmental features, such as:

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States, “even professional drivers can’t stop as quickly without ABS as an average driver can with ABS.” These brakes, which have been in widespread use since the ‘80s, are controlled by microprocessors. To learn how to become a mechanic, one must learn about these electronic devices.

Fuel injection systems – This part uses microprocessors to maximize fuel economy, i.e., to get the most out of each litre of fuel.

In addition to being used for safety and environmental features, microprocessors and other electronics are also used in:

  • entertainment systems, e.g., in-car audio and communications systems
  • information systems, e.g., global positioning systems (GPS)

Airbags – It is not known who invented the very first airbag – there are a couple competing designs on record for these “safety cushions” from as far back as 1951 – but it is clear that the original technology did not contain the microprocessors that they do today. No wonder they didn’t have mechanic colleges back then! In the event of a crash, microprocessors help measure the rate at which the car is slowing down to help determine when to deploy the airbag. Timing is crucial, because the airbag needs to be fully deployed before the passenger makes contact. Auto technician training must include an understanding of this kind of life-saving technology.

Catalytic converters – This part of your car uses microprocessors to reduce harmful emissions. (Some mechanic colleges offer special courses for students who want to learn how to be emissions inspectors.)

Cars have changed, and so has auto technician training. Once the sole terrain of front driveways, back alleys and neighbourhood garages, learning how to become a mechanic today now often involves mechanic colleges, whether to start one’s career or to stay up to date on the constant technological advances.

Contact the Automotive Training Centre for more information on their Automotive Training Programs.