I am in the Armed forces but I am leaving this job in a year after.I really want to be a car repair and maintenance mechanic so what is the best idea to be a car mechanic?
Southern California. Because of the weather.
Seriously, there’s need for a good tech anywhere.
Sincere thinks for your military service. May God be with you.
My best advice is to obtain good, formal training as a mechanic, because today’s vehicles are extremely complex in terms of their electronic systems, as well as their mechanical systems. The old days of being just a good “seat of the pants” mechanic are long gone.
But, where does one obtain good training for this field?
As a retired high school counselor, I urge you to avoid the “for profit” schools, such as Lincoln Tech, UTI, and the like. I heard so many horror stories from former students who graduated from these schools that it is clear that they are merely very expensive diploma mills that teach little and have extremely poor job placement rates.
Instead, look to community colleges in the area where you reside in the US, as many of these community colleges have excellent training programs for mechanics, and the cost is only a small fraction of what the “for profit” schools would extort from you. Additionally, many of these community college programs are affilitated with car manufacturers (Ford, GM, Toyota, etc), and are able to set you up in a cooperative education program that involves working part-time at a dealership’s service department while you attend school, and later enables you to be placed in a full-time position at a dealership, following your graduation.
Thank you for your service to our nation!
I think that’s a great idea. For one, it’s a job that can’t be outsourced.
Going to a auto repair school (I concur w/the above post it’s best to use public community colleges for this if possible), or you may be able to find some kind of an apprenticeship with an existing shop. No harm to ask.
@asneil, no offense to UTI, Lincoln, etc. but I’ve seen too many guys come out of those places that didn’t have a clue. Some of it had to do with the fact that the guys were young and immature.
I recommend Delmar Cengage for automotive textbooks. I read them when I want to recertify my ASE credentials.
Do you have any mechanic buddies? Perhaps you could watch them.
Although this won’t help you get a job, I have some advice for later on.
Don’t shy away from any repair. You should say “Yes boss. I’ll give it a shot.” Every day should be a learning experience. You can even learn something from working on a rusted out old POS. Every time you successfully tackle a difficult repair, you gain confidence. Every time you make a mistake, you learn something also. You learn the wrong way to do things, and you won’t make that same mistake again.
One more thing. There are no stupid questions. If you see somebody repairing or diagnosing something, ask them to explain what they are doing and why. Ask people how things work.
When you see someone use a scanner, watch them and ask questions. That will be one of the most important tools for you.
If you do wind up going to a community college or one of those for profit places, ask if they have a working relationship with Snap-On or Matco tools. Sometimes students are entitled to hefty discounts for tools off the truck.
I’ll second the community college idea. Plus, with the GI bill you can probably attend for free (or at least close to it).
I third the community college, some of the for profit schools may not be eligible of the GI bill. In the meantime, if you are stationed at a base that has an auto hobby shop, see if they will let you hang out there, maybe help some of the people as you gain experience and knowledge. Also, if you can find one, get an old Fiat, it will give you plenty of experience.
I forth the community college suggestion.
I’ll say this for the old Fiat idea…if you get one you’ll have lots of practice in rust repair! My dad had a few Fiats.