Becoming a diesel mechanic can be a rewarding job. Anyone can become a talented mechanic with the right tools and experience. Explore what a diesel mechanic is and what they do, why you might want to become a diesel mechanic and the skills and training needed to become certified.
What Is a Diesel Mechanic?
A diesel mechanic repairs cars, trucks, buses and machines that contain diesel engines. They may also perform inspection services while diagnosing problems and resolving diesel issues. Diesel mechanics sometimes complete more specific tasks like troubleshooting for performance issues, inspecting specific parts and diesel systems, rebuilding engines and parts, checking batteries, performing preventative maintenance, adjusting wheels, or doing oil changes.
The job of a diesel mechanic is highly physically demanding, meaning potential mechanics should feel comfortable working in strange positions or new surroundings. Diesel mechanics also spend time standing and bending over to reach small areas. They must be comfortable working with power tools and handling parts with oil and dirt.
As the diesel industry introduces more technology, many mechanics have had to learn to work with new computers and technology. Many diesel mechanics are responsible for diagnosing issues and repairing machines with electric components.
Other responsibilities of diesel mechanics include the following:
- Running diagnostics tests and analyzing the results to address problems and resolve issues.
- Test driving heavy equipment and gauging their performance.
- Replacing broken or worn parts, such as brake, steering, transmission and engine systems.
- Cleaning parts and systems.
Why Become a Diesel Mechanic
From opportunities for advancement to plenty of job openings in the industry, there are many advantages and reasons to pursue a career in diesel services.
- The job is excellent for problem-solvers: If you enjoy solving problems, identifying issues and attempting to repair parts, the diesel mechanic industry is great for you.
- It’s a great time to enter the industry: There is currently a diesel mechanic shortage as older techs retire, leaving a gap in available workers. You’ll have plenty of work if you enter the industry right now.
- It can be a good jumping-off point: Entering the diesel mechanic workforce allows you to build the skills needed for other industry jobs, such as sales, management or parts services.
- Stress levels are average: While you have customer deadlines and may need to work unique hours to accommodate customers, many diesel mechanics prefer the job’s flexibility.
Top Skills Diesel Mechanics Need
Working with diesel engine equipment requires a specific skill set and technical knowledge. Here are five skills and requirements to become a diesel mechanic you should keep in mind.
1. Attention to Detail and Focus
Detail and focus are traits every diesel mechanic should have. Working with powerful and potentially dangerous equipment requires careful attention to detail and knowledge of safety procedures. The detail required to fix specialized equipment leaves no room for mistakes, meaning you’ll need to produce good work and meet expectations at every point.
Proper communication with customers, suppliers and other mechanics can help you establish relationships in the community and build upon your current success. You should be able to accurately explain your process of repairs, answer questions and represent your company well.
3. Technical Knowledge
Modern diesel machines require technical knowledge of part updates and the latest tools. Diesel mechanics must stay up-to-date on trends while understanding how to work with basic electrical systems and modern-day equipment.
Diesel mechanic work involves a lot of problem-solving and multitasking. You’ll be busy throughout the day with various responsibilities, from customer meetings and test runs to inventory checks and repair finishes. You’ll have to be able to think fast on your feet and find solutions quickly if you want to work directly with customers.
The drive to succeed is another essential trait that every diesel mechanic should have. If you want to advance in the industry, receive raises and become successful, you’ll need an internal drive that pushes you to be better, work hard and improve your skills.
How to Become a Diesel Mechanic
If you want to start your mechanic journey, get the proper education, training and certification. Here are three steps to becoming a diesel mechanic.
1. Education and Postsecondary Training
Completing your education and postsecondary training is the first step in becoming a diesel mechanic. Make sure you receive your high school diploma. If you’re still in high school, consider focusing on math, electronics and computer courses to prepare for work in the industry.
Once receiving your diploma or GED, consider entering postsecondary training or taking courses for an associate’s degree. During postsecondary training, you can learn about diesel basics, mechanics and power generation.
Be sure to explore hands-on training and practice repairs on real machines. Due to the rise in technology for heavy equipment, you can also take computer diagnostics and electrical systems courses.
2. Choose a Specialization
The second step to becoming a diesel mechanic is to choose a specialization and take courses according to your interests. For example, some candidates may explore becoming diesel mechanics for heavy equipment and take classes on performing inspections and repairs. They’ll learn how to work with everything from diesel-powered engines to transmission systems, so they can get machines operating at peak performance.
Specializations make you an attractive candidate for potential employers. The more skills and knowledge you obtain, the more people want to work with you or hire you for your services.
3. Get Certified
The final step to becoming a diesel mechanic is to receive your certification. Many employers prefer to see potential candidates with a professional certificate as proof of their training and skills. A certification can also expand your opportunities while improving your career advancements.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Diesel Mechanic?
Depending on your training or educational track, it might take several months to two years. For example, consider what specialization and schooling you want to complete.
Enrolling in a full-time diesel mechanic school may take several months to complete, while earning an associate’s degree requires two years of coursework. Adding specialization courses may add additional months or weeks of study.
Learn About Holt of California Mechanic Jobs and Apply Online
At Holt of California, we work with experienced technicians and new diesel mechanics to build experience and skills for further training. Whether you want to become a machinist, field technician or welder or want to learn about maintenance services and engine rebuilding, our company can provide opportunities for a long-lasting career.
For those who don’t have much experience, consider applying to be a utility person and assist our technicians with projects and maintenance. You can later move into an Apprenticeship Program and take on challenging projects while developing your skills and becoming advanced in your specific area. Diesel mechanics can learn to work with electronic equipment, repair and maintain diesel engines well and perform on-site services.