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Motor mechanic Light vehicle service technician, car mechanic

Motor mechanics repair and service cars and vans. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 45 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need:

  • a Level 2 qualification in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
  • a driving licence for road testing the vehicles you’ve repaired

The most common way to get your level 2 is through an apprenticeship in motor vehicle service and maintenance technician (light vehicle). This will usually take around 3 years. You’ll do on-the job-training and spend time in college.

You could also take:

  • a college course with one day a week on placement
  • a full-time college course with practical exercises

To get onto an apprenticeship or a course you’ll find it useful to have:

  • GCSEs (or equivalent) in maths and English
  • work experience as a garage assistant
  • a passion for the motor industry

A level 1 course in light vehicle maintenance could also help you prepare for an apprenticeship or college course.

Autocity, run by The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), has more information about careers in the motor vehicle industry.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accurately follow written and spoken instructions
  • strong practical and problem-solving skills
  • the ability to quickly grasp new vehicle technologies

3. What you'll do

You may work for an independent garage, or freight, transport and construction companies, fast-fit outlets and car dealerships. You may specialise in one particular make of vehicle.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • telling customers if repairs are needed and whether they’re urgent
  • working out the estimated time and cost for jobs
  • checking stock levels and ordering parts
  • carrying out standard servicing, repairs and maintenance
  • road testing vehicles to check repairs
  • fitting and servicing accessories like stereos and alarms
  • keeping records

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000

Experienced: £21,000 to £27,000

Highly Experienced: £28,000 to £35,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work between 38 and 45 hours a week, Monday to Saturday. You may have to work shifts or work late to finish a job.

If your employer deals with breakdowns, you may be on call and have to travel long distances.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior technician, workshop supervisor or garage manager.

You could work as a breakdown engineer or MOT tester, or specialise in a particular area like motorsport engineering.

You could also work on electric and hybrid cars, or specialise in tuning and modifying vehicles for higher performance.

You could also set up your own business.

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Last updated: 10 July 2017