Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Becoming a Diesel Mechanic, looking for beginner books

I am looking into becoming a diesel mechanic. I have barley any experience with vehicle maintenance besides helping install a engine in a 92 jeep Cherokee and changing oil in my truck, all though that was supervised and I was told what goes where and what goes in what. I have been looking into UTI, Wyo-tech and Lincoln for schools and I want to find some books so i am not going into it completely blind. any books I should look for in particular.

Google it. Lots of info and book names.

There’s a lot more to becoming a mechanic then what’s in books.

I became a diesel mechanic after having experience with lawn mower engines and car/truck engines. Tearing them down and putting them back together will give you practical experience. It will usually give you a great advantage over others in your diesel class and help you become a better mechanic. Books will add to your knowledge but I’ve always learned a better lesson with the hands-on technique.

I’d check the websites of the schools that offer these programs and see if under the course descriptions or course schedules they list the textbook information. If they don’t you can call their bookstores for the information. With that info, you can order the textbooks for the first level courses from Amazon or wherever. You’ll find that the books for the first freshman courses are designed with the assumption that the reader is beginning with absolutely no knowledge of mechanics, and while they can be challenging to understand, they’ll provide far more knowledge that a regular “consumer oriented” book.

Sincere best. You’re taking the right approach by looking for a good educational program.

Any state/city/community colleges near you that offer courses in this? I’d MUCH prefer to use them as opposed to lots of the ‘for profit’ schools out there. You can spend a HUGE amount of money (or get a giant loan) without getting a good education at those places.

I agree with you @texases because I went to a state sponsored diesel school (Vo-Tech) for a year and got a paycheck every week. Not a big paycheck but it was more than my friends were earning while working at supermarkets or fast food restaurants.

I also absolutely agree with Texases. State/community colleges are by far your best choice.

State/community colleges are by far your best choice.

Yea…Except here in NH. It’s cheaper to go to a NY or PA school as an out of state resident then to go to UNH as an in-state resident.

Many diesel beginners will apprentice with a diesel tech to get started.
This is common here at the Ford dealer.
All of these however are already car/truck techs and want to add diesel.

But, check your local brand dealers and indys for apprenticeships.

Mike, I wish I could say it were not true… but it is.

My vote is for your attending a local community college. I think the curriculum will be better and it was cost you far, far less than attending a school like UTI, Wyotech, etc. My view of those for-profit schools is not very high as they promise a lot (BS) and leave many students with no prospects and a large student loan debt to pay off.
In short, those schools are playing the student loan game much like other universities with the students often holding the bag.

I used to work at a dealer touted in a UTI infomercial and I can assure you with no doubt at all that what is shown in that infomercial does not reflect the reality in any way, shape, or form.

The local Technical College might have a program or at least there’s one reasonably nearby, I’ve found at least 3 programs within 100 miles of me here in Western Washington and you could most likely purchase one of the textbooks or possibly even check one out of the library just to see. There might be some grants available that would help pay for at least some of the costs. Worth checking with the financial aid people once you find a program.

I agree about UTI

When I was at the Benz dealership, I was the very last guy hired that didn’t go to UTI

The recruiters for UTI just wanted warm bodies in the classroom, and as many as possible, because they worked on commission

The kids were absolutely lied to . . . the recruiters told them they’d be earning over $100K within a few years of graduation

Then they showed up at the dealer, with an obligation to work there for at least a year

They had to apprentice with an experienced guy for a year

They quickly realized they didn’t yet know squat

They showed up owing a ton of money for the tuition

They also realized they’d have to pony up thousands for tools

They realized almost immediately that the $100k/year figure was essentially unattainable, at least not so soon. To get that, you’d have to be moving at 250mph, have an awesome writer, always get gravy tickets, never get any kind of difficult repairs, not ever have any comebacks, always have a ton of work, etc. Better yet, no warranty work of any kind. In other words, the stars would have to align in just the right way

A lot of the kids quit within just a few years, because they realized turning wrenches wasn’t going to be the career they were told it would be. In fact, a lot of them left still owing money to the school.

I’m all for education, by the way. But the kids need to be informed that this career can be challenging, and it takes awhile before you’re pretty good at it and earn a decent paycheck.

If you don’t have a HS diploma or equivalent, our local community college will help with that so you can attend their diesel mechanic school.

Excellent point, Wha Who. Commnuity colleges have programs designed to help those who haven’t completed HS get their stuff in order. You’d begin with an assessment of your current proficiency in math and English, and from there you’ll have the services of academic advisors who will help you select your courses to get up to speed. Community colleges will provide all the assistance and guidance needed.

Even if you are a HS graduate, if it’s been a while an assessment is a great place to start, and nothing to be afraid of. It’s an assessment, not a test. You cannot fail, and your performance will not affect your college records, only help place you in the proper beginning courses appropriate to your current skill level.

Another issue with schools like UTI is that there is often a conflict of interest involved. There is one member of UTI’s Board of Directors who owns countless car dealerships for example.

This means that not only does UTI cash in on the student loan game, they’re also essentially trying to mold future employees into their line of thinking. When most of the students throw in the towel due to failed, insinuated promises it’s not a problem. The next class is already graduating…

The few I’ve worked with certainly got their eyes opened quickly as to how things actually worked and they also quickly discovered that 1000 dollars worth of Snap-On tools they were issued at UTI doesn’t go very far.