From changing the oil to optimizing engine performance, automotive technicians are all-around vehicle experts who get to work on cars every day. And, thanks to a variety of systems to look after, no two days are the same.
If becoming an automotive technician is a future career path you’d like to pursue, ready your tool bag and thinking cap as we check out some of the procedures industry pros get to perform on a routine basis.
How to Rotate a Vehicle’s Tires
Rotating a vehicle’s tires is a crucial routine maintenance service right up there with regularly changing the oil. Based on whether the tires are directional or non-directional, the drivetrain of the vehicle, and the level of wear observed by the technician, new tire locations will be determined.
After loosening the lug nuts, an auto technician will elevate the vehicle using jack stands or a hydraulic lift. This makes the process of removing and replacing each tire at its new location more seamless.
Linking a Customer-Reported Symptom to a System
The jobs in an auto technician’s queue aren’t always as predictable as routine maintenance. Oftentimes, a car owner may bring their car in for service with simply a list of symptoms they noticed that were out of character for their vehicle. An example of this might be hearing a knocking noise in the engine or a squealing upon startup.
It’s up to a technician to pull from their mechanical knowledge and do a little detective work to figure out why the customer may be experiencing these new behaviors. As you can imagine, some signals are more telling than others, and a practicing technician gets to know the repeat offenders pretty well.
Trickier issues can be pinpointed using a scan tool, a handheld device that plugs into a vehicle’s OBD-II port, or onboard diagnostics system. Here, a technician can see diagnostic trouble codes that link back to an electrical or mechanical system failure in order to help inform their diagnosis.
How to Test a Car’s Alignment
Should a customer report that they’ve noticed their car pulling to one side while driving, a technician has reason to believe that there may be an alignment issue. Sometimes thrown off by a bad pothole or a collision, an out-of-whack alignment can greatly impact a vehicle’s handling, efficiency, and most importantly, safety.
Professional automotive technicians will use a 4-wheel alignment system to explore a potential alignment issue and chart a plan for realigning the vehicle. Once the vehicle is driven onto the equipment’s platform, a technician will use the system’s corresponding computer to find the vehicle’s OEM alignment specifications.
From there, the computer will generate a report of the existing alignment angles as compared to the manufacturer’s recommendations. With these in hand, the technician can move forward to make the proper adjustments and restore the vehicle’s alignment.
With Great Challenges Come Great Rewards
As you can see, a practicing automotive technician’s day is filled with problem solving, troubleshooting, and calling up what they’ve learned in their education and training. And we just went over a few examples of the tasks they come to enjoy.
If you’re interested in learning more about an automotive technician’s daily tasks and duties, you’ll want to check out this complimentary Automotive Training Center resource that takes you through six different procedures service center technicians come to learn like the backs of their hands.