Category: Mechanic

How to Fix the Outside of Your Car By Yourself

Auto body work is one of the most popular do-it-yourself hobbies that countless car owners enjoy. From changing headlamps to buffing the surface to a mirror-like shine, there are a number of tasks which are easy to perform and that can be accomplished in a matter of hours. A brief review of some common repair tips can help you decide if you wish to become involved in this field.

Fixing Dents

The occasional unsightly dent is nearly impossible to avoid. Luckily, smaller imperfections can be removed with a suction device. This tool can be picked up at any local car care store. Two (or four) suction cups will attached to the surface around the dent while a larger one is placed over the dent itself. As the central cup is pulled away, the dent will be removed and in most cases, only a slight memory will remain.

Repairing a Windscreen

A minor chip in your windscreen can turn into a major problem very quickly. Any crack over a few centimetres long should be dealt with immediately. Once again, an auto supply store will offer repair kits which contain a specific resin that can be inserted into the crack. Once the resin dries and the excess is wiped away, it is likely that the chip will be completely invisible. This is a proactive way to avoid having to replace the entire windscreen in the future.

Deflating Tyres

If you note that you have to add air to a tyre regularly, it is likely that a pinhole puncture exists. First, visibly check the walls of the tyre as well as the treads. If you find an embedded foreign object such as a nail, a replacement is warranted. Still, you could see no visible signs of damage. In this case, purchase what is known as tyre foam. This foam is sprayed into the tyre via the same connection that you would normally use with pressurised air. This foam expands when it enters inside. When you drive, the centrifugal force of the tyre will cause the foam to stick to the inside tyre walls. In turn, most minor leaks can be sealed for a very long time. If you note that air is still being lost, it is always best to take the car to a repair shop.

These are three easy do-it-yourself tips that can save you a great deal of time and money. Most importantly, you do not have to possess a working knowledge of cars or boast a mechanical inclination to feel like a true repairman (or woman)!

How to Become a Mechanic

Mechanics, or motor vehicle technicians, are responsible for maintenance and repair of motor vehicles. This is most commonly cars, but can also include motorcycles, larger vehicles and even heavy machinery. With a consistent demand for qualified technicians, there is plenty of scope for work and career progression.

Training as a Mechanic

There are several routes into the profession including apprenticeships, higher education and even self-employment.

Apprenticeships

Currently, the most common way to become a mechanic is by taking up an apprenticeship in vehicle mechanics. In the UK, this will often require basic qualifications (typically GCSEs) in Maths, English and Science. Trainee mechanics can work for either dealerships, specialising on a particular make of car, or at independent garages where they come into contact with a wide variety of makes and models.

Apprentices get paid on the job, earning a stipend which is typically below the national minimum wage as the training provided represents a further costs to the employer doing the training. The training process can take anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the apprentice’s level of experience and desired specialism.

Higher Education

Another common path into the profession is to take automotive courses at a local college. Here are just a few of the courses offered by City and Guilds for automotive technicians:

  • Level 1 Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Maintenance
  • Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
  • Level 2 Diploma in Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair
  • Level 3 Diploma in Auto Electrical and Mobile Electrical Principles

The benefit of training with a college over an apprenticeship is that you can often progress more quickly by receiving more comprehensive training faster that those doing apprenticeships. The downside is that you may have to pay for your training, and when you graduate, you won’t have the same “foot in the door” that apprentices already working with employers will have.

Becoming a Self-Employed Mechanic – Opening Your Own Garage

This is a less typical route into the industry, but one well worth considering if you already have a good deal of experience working in vehicle repair. Technically, automotive repair isn’t regulated in the same way that, say, driving heavy goods vehicles is regulated. Anyone can open up shop and start fixing cars, but there is obviously a bigger financial cost to becoming a mechanic in this way.

Self-employed mechanics can operate on their own premises or operate as mobile vehicle technicians. Being a mobile technician represents a smaller start up cost as you won’t need the space to house vehicles whilst you’re working on them, and you can even manage a home-based office. If you don’t have a level 3 qualification, then you can usually take a test from VOSA in order to become a registered MOT tester as well.

The biggest barrier to entry in this fashion is the upfront cost of diagnostic and repair equipment. If you have some relevant experience and/or qualifications, bank loans can often be made to purchase the essential items like car movers, vehicle lifts, air compressors, tyre balancing equipment, fluid containers, spanners, diagnostic tools and possibly even welding equipment.