How to Become a Diesel Mechanic

A diesel mechanic works on the complex engines and machines that power heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. Their job is to diagnose and repair problems with diesel engines and equipment, as well as perform preventative maintenance. A wide range of skills and knowledge is necessary for this type of work.

A high school diploma is the minimum requirement for a career as a diesel mechanic, though some may choose to complete a vocational program or associate degree program to prepare for the field. Some also pursue certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). This can give you a leg up when seeking employment, as employers often prefer ASE certified technicians.

In the field, a diesel mechanic will often work as part of a team with other employees. They work closely with customer service advisors and parts departments to ensure smooth operations. The ability to communicate effectively is important, as Diesel Mechanics must be able to explain technical topics in a way that customers can understand.

Depending on the business in which they work, diesel mechanics will likely spend much of their time working on diagnostic tests and inspections. They will use various tools to examine the engine and equipment, and they often follow detailed checklists in order to complete their tasks. During the inspection process, they will look at everything from the transmission to the brakes, making sure all components are functioning properly.

If they discover a problem, the diesel mechanic will then need to determine what repairs are necessary. They will then take their findings back to the shop in order to perform the repairs. During this time, they will be expected to keep accurate documentation of all repairs and maintenance procedures performed. Afterwards, the diesel mechanic will need to write up an estimate for the customer.

Diesel mechanics will often need to work on a variety of different types of equipment, including trucks, buses, generators and agricultural equipment. As a result, they may be exposed to a number of different hazardous materials and environmental conditions. As a result, they will be required to wear the proper protective gear and follow established safety protocols at all times.

A diesel mechanic will often need to be able to read and interpret schematics and diagrams in order to perform their work. They will also need to have basic math skills in order to calculate parts costs, labor rates and other necessary information. Having the ability to learn quickly is essential for this profession, as technology in the industry changes frequently.

A career as a diesel mechanic can be very rewarding for those who are interested in working on complicated machinery and equipment. The ability to solve complex issues and have a strong work ethic are both key factors in success in this field. Those who are considering a career as a diesel mechanic should research the industry extensively before making a final decision. They should also consider attending a trade school like Universal Technical Institute, which offers a hands-on Diesel Technology program that provides entry-level opportunities and training with some of the largest trucking companies in the world, including Peterbilt and Cummins.