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A Day in the Life of a Diesel Mechanic

Diesel engines are the big-time power players in our economy. From agriculture, to construction, to the transportation of goods, people, and services, heavy-duty diesel trucks and equipment make these industries possible.

Credit is due to the men and women behind these colossal engines that ensure they’re running at peak performance. We’re talking about the diesel mechanics and technicians of today!

This exciting automotive truck career is a fast-paced and fun opportunity for the right individual. Think that may be you? Learn more about a typical day in the life of a diesel mechanic with the following post by Automotive Training Center (ATC).

8 AM: Ready Tools & Parts

Mechanic Morning PrepFor a diesel mechanic who works in a designated shop or service center, their day usually starts on the shop room floor at 8 AM, or just before the service center opens for the day.

During this time, you’ll make sure you have the tools and parts you need at your workstation, so you’re ready to take on the day’s jobs. Should you notice a task in your work queue later on in the day that you don’t have the proper part for, you’ll want to place an order, so you’re prepared in advance.

Before diving into your work, you’ll want to look over the day’s list of customer appointments. It’s possible that you may be in the midst of an in-depth job from the night before. Estimate how much time you think you’ll spend per job, and take into account appointments vs. drop offs, and commercial vs. personal vehicle customers—this will help you plan out your day.

9 AM to 5 PM: Tackle Jobs Large & Small

Mechanic Working on BusThen, it’s onto your first job! Many times, an inspection will begin by consulting a checklist of frequent diesel engine malfunctions to work toward zeroing in on the issue at hand. The customer’s reported symptoms, the use of diagnostic equipment including scan tools, and the results of a test drive all prove helpful in finding a solution.

However, not every task you encounter will be a system overhaul or require a long diagnosis process. Diesel mechanics’ schedules will often be peppered with routine jobs such as rotating a truck’s tires, performing an emissions inspection, or simply changing the oil. A lunch break at noon helps diesel techs regroup and refuel for the second half of the day.

Because of the size of these vehicles and their engines, diesel mechanics will need to use jack stands, a hydraulic lift, or other motorized platform to get each vehicle raised to a level that makes making repairs easy.  Throughout the day, you’ll be responsible for tallying the amount of hours you spend on each job in order to determine the customer’s payment for the service.

At Shop Closing: Take Inventory

When the last customer has been taken care of for the day, a diesel mechanic will once again take stock of parts, bookmark any in-progress jobs, and ready themselves and their tools for the next day before heading home.

We hope you enjoyed reading about a day in the life of a diesel mechanic! Now, why not see what it’s like to spend a day in the life of an ATC student? Our Automotive and Diesel Technology program, available at ATC’s Exton and Warminster, PA, campus locations, can equip students with the tools and skills they need to pursue a career in the diesel field.

For program disclosure information, please go to www.autotraining.edu/consumer-information.

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