An interview with Tim from Redlands, California who works for an auto repair garage.

Q: What is your job title? Where are you employed?

A: I am an auto mechanic at a local mom and pop garage.  We fix cars and sell cars, so I work on cars that are brought in for repair and cars that we get from auction and plan to sell.

Q: How long have you been an auto mechanic?

A: I’ve been working here for about 4 years, but I have been working as a mechanic for about 12 years.  I guess you could say I have been doing it for even longer if you count all the time I spent working on my own cars before I turned this into a job.

Q: What type of training did you have to become an auto mechanic?

A: My high school had an automotive program that I took when I was a junior and a senior.  That was enough to get my foot in the door.  That was good enough for awhile, but I wanted to make more money, so I went to a vocational school for a couple years before I got the job I now.

Q: What was this training like for you?

A: Well, for me, the training was a lot of fun.  I have always loved working on cars. It’s more of a hobby than a job. So, going back to school was interesting to me. Even if I wasn’t going to use it to help me with my job, I probably would have gone to school just so I could learn more about cars.

Q: Did you feel as if the training you received was enough to prepare you for the job?

A: Yeah, definitely.  It helped me learn more about cars and it gave me the piece of paper I needed to prove that I knew what I was doing.  That definitely helped open up more doors for me.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: I just love working with my hands and tinkering with cars. Trying to figure out what is wrong with the car and getting it running smoothly is really satisfying.  It’s like I get to solve some big puzzle every day.

Q: Describe your typical day on the job.

A: It’s kind of hard to describe a typical day because the work I have to do will change depending on the car. If the garage has anyone scheduled, they bring in their car and I take a look at it and try to figure out what is wrong with it. Usually, this means taking it for a test drive and hooking it up to diagnostic equipment. If there are no cars scheduled to come in, there are always cars for the sales lot that need to be looked at. Once I figure out what is wrong with the car, I get to work at trying to fix it.

Q: Is this type of day typical for someone in your line of work?

A: Yeah, I would say so. Some guys specialize in certain types of repairs, so I guess their day might not be as varied.  You know, like they might work on just brakes or on just exhaust systems.  With me, the things I have to work on are not always the same day in and day out.  I prefer it that way. It keeps it interesting.

Q: What career were you in before becoming a mechanic?

A: I have never done anything other than being a mechanic. When I first started out, I was doing pretty basic repairs. With my experience and schooling, I do more complicated repairs now.

Q: Why did you decide to become a mechanic?

A: Like I said, I have always loved cars and I like working with my hands. I also enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out what is wrong with a car and the satisfaction of getting it running again.

Q: What traits do you feel are necessary to be successful as a mechanic?

A: You have to like working with your hands and you need to be coordinated to work with the tools. You also need to be willing to get dirty and to get some bumps and scratches. It can be hard to reach certain parts of the car and you are definitely going to get sore sometimes. I guess you also need to be patient and you need to be good at problem solving because figuring out what is wrong with a car can be difficult sometimes.

Q: Would you recommend this career to someone else?

A: Definitely. If you like working on cars, I think it is a great career.

Q: What is your next career move, if any?

A: I’m pretty happy with where I am. I have thought about opening my own garage, but I am not sure if I am really ready to take that step. I would probably have to go back to school first so I could learn more about the business end of things.

If you’re interested in enrolling in an automotive training program, take a look at our list of automotive schools in California.