From the time I was young, I have always been fascinated about cars. Most of my childhood memories involve being on the road with my family and traveling around.
Besides that, my family restores old school cars. Therefore, I have spent all my life around cars. I remember when I was little, I used to get so excited when my dad asked me join him in his auto shop.
At that time, I did not fully understand what was going on, but I was just happy to be around cars. Additionally, our family house was just along the road, so I would sit on the balcony and start counting the cars that were passing by.
I grew up with a lot of curiosity about cars. However, with time I came to understand that auto mechanics is a technical subject that needs patience and commitment to learn. Mastering auto mechanics is more than just knowing the latest car models.
What is Auto Mechanics?
Auto Mechanics is a subdivision of mechanics where a mechanic (someone who deals with machines) possesses significant knowledge on various models of automobiles or a specific type of vehicle.
It is about taking time to really learn about cars in terms of how does a car work? What are the different types of engines? It also involves things that would otherwise look simple to others such as how to change a car tire by yourself.
I used to admire my dad in his mechanic uniform (the overall), as he worked under cars. I think this played a major role in encouraging me to learn more about auto mechanics which later led to this auto blog.
As I grew up, it surprised me how very many people know little to nothing about cars. For example when buying a car, some people consider just the color, and other superficial things while others look at engine capacity, mileage, YOM etc.
I realized that it is a bit difficult for someone to learn about mechanics without the right resources. That said, here is a discussion of some of the auto mechanics basics.
Auto Mechanics Basics for a Car Owner
Getting a car can be so exciting especially for new owners. However, within no time, they realize just how much work goes into car maintenance. Sometimes this could be overwhelming, especially if you are not the first owner of the car.
Therefore, what are the basics for a car owner?
1.The first tip is to keep your manuals well and keep referring to them
There is so much that goes into a vehicle with regards to how it operates and how it should be maintained. Do not feel pressured to memorize everything. Just keep your manuals and keep referencing to them when needed. However, you can always find a professional auto mechanic near you.
2. The other tip is to always watch out for the fluids
These include the power steering fluid, the motor oil, and the coolant. Make sure that you always top up these fluids and it becomes an easy way to maintain your car.
3. Always watch the warning lights
Cars always have efficient systems in place that give of the status of the various parts of the car. There are warning lights for when a car tire is low on air, warning lights for when the car is running low on fuel, and such other warning lights. Take time to understand what each warning light is about and the best way to resolve it. Also, if you do not understand the warning lights, keep referring to the owner’s manual. If you still cannot figure out the issue, schedule a visit to the mechanic.
4. Always check the tire pressure on a regular basis
This will prevent premature wearing off of tires and even blowouts (complete tire failure). Even though a car has a warning system for tire pressure, it only engages when the pressure drops too low. Therefore, always keep in mind that tire loses air every day. Never over inflate the car tires as this is also dangerous.
5. The other tip is to get in sync with your car
You need to pay attention to how your car feels when it is operating normally. Once you understand this, it will be easier for you to notice any new noise or new vibrations that could signal a car problem.
Also, in case of any new noises, pay attention to what triggers them in terms of the conditions, time, and temperature because these are some of the questions that your mechanic will ask you.
6. The other tip is to do a lighting check
A car has both interior and exterior lighting. Always do a lighting check at least once every month and refer to the owner’s manual on everything you need to know about the car lighting systems.
7. Take a trip around your car regularly
Check out for any body damage on the car, check out any abnormal punctures or cuts especially on the tires, test out all the windows and locks. If the car has a sunroof, test it out too. Make sure everything is running smoothly and could be useful in case of a car wreck.
8. Maintain cleanliness of your car to extend its lifespan
Regular washing and waxing help improve the appearance of the car and can even prevent rusting. Handwashing is always encouraged to make the paint appear brighter.
When washing, include the wheels and tires, wash all the glass parts both inside and outside – and this includes mirrors. Vacuuming the floors is also encouraged, and remove any debris from the vents. The upside to this is that when your car looks and smells good, it can be worth more in case of a trade-in.
9.Find yourself a mechanic you can trust
It is always advisable to work with the same mechanic throughout the lifespan of your car. With time, the mechanic will understand the ins and outs of your car. They can tell what is normal and what is not.
It will also help the mechanic provide a customized solution for your car since troubleshooting will be easier. Car maintenance has always been a mystery to many car owners because they have no clue where to start. A good place to start is on your manual, and ask questions where you do not understand.
How to Become an Auto Mechanic
Now that you have already learnt what is auto mechanics, you might be wondering how exactly do you become one. There is a lot that goes into becoming a professional auto mechanic.
The first step is to take mathematics and engineering-related courses and books in high school and college. These will give you a good basis for your auto mechanics career.
Work towards getting your high school diploma. Even though it may not be compulsory, but it will help you go further in your career in the future. After high school, go for vocational training to get certification.
Remember that auto mechanics is a hands-on kind of work. Therefore, you need to get hands-on training and the certifications required for you to qualify as a professional auto mechanics.
Growing a Career in Auto Mechanics
Some of the things you will learn in school include Introduction to Automotive Technology, Fuel and Emissions Systems, Diesel Service Techniques, and Automotive Electrical Fundamentals.
Once you are done with your vocational auto mechanic training, you can choose to further pursue an associate’s degree. This is relevant since it also includes both classwork and fieldwork. Therefore, it provides you with an opportunity for an all-rounded education.
It may take longer to acquire an associate’s degree. However, this is more than just learning about cars. It will largely boost your chances of being successful in the job market. Some of the options available for an associate’s degree in this field include Automotive Mechanics Technology, Advanced Transmission Diagnostics, Automotive Service Management, and Alternative Fueled and Hybrid Vehicles.
Once you get your education and certificates, the next step is gain experience and skills. Some of the options for doing this include working as an assistant, a trainee, or a helper.
What Exactly Does An Auto Mechanic Do?
As an auto mechanic, one has to take time to acquire mechanical skills. You should be able to disassemble and assemble various parts of the car. Pay attention to what the lead mechanic is doing and do not be afraid to ask questions. Take advantage of YouTube and look up more instructional videos to help you increase your knowledge base.
Improve your troubleshooting abilities. Keep in mind that the work of an auto mechanic is to identify problems and providing solutions for them. Even when working as a trainee, try to identify the problems with the cars that are brought in for repair because you might meet similar cases in future.
Practice your customer service skills to promote customer loyalty. Always stay organizes to avoid losing some car parts such as screws and other items. Work on your eye-hand coordination. To get the certification and licensing needed, work hard and pass all the necessary exams required by the state.
You can look up the licensing requirements by your state. Get certification in handling refrigerant. Consider getting an ASE certificate. Even though this is not mandatory, it is always an advantage to be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. You can also increase your value by getting manufacturer-specific certification.
Basic Home Car Care Tips During a Lock-down
The world is currently facing the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Some of the simple rules to avoid further spread of the flu is regular washing of hands, maintaining social distancing, and staying indoors or even a lockdown.
Staying indoors means that you will most definitely not be using your cars. At least nor regularly anyway. So, how do you maintain your car and ensure that it is in good condition even when not in use? The first tip is to keep checking for air pressure. This is important because a car can most likely lose about one to three pounds of air in a span of a month.
The other tip is to start the car at least once in about 5 to 6 days. The explanation for this is that your car is used to being driven at least regularly. Therefore, when it is not in use, the battery could go down. Additionally, doing this will help in the lubrication of the moving parts of the car.
The next tip is to invest in a good washer fluid. This will be used to wash off any debris that might have accumulated on the windscreen all the time the car was sitting around. Be sure to keep topping up the wash fluid. Also make sure that you keep the essential fluids on check on a regular basis. A car has four essential fluids, and these include the coolant oil transmission and brake fluids.
In conclusion, if you’re interested in knowing about cars, and if you’re passionate about cars, take time to learn what is auto mechanics, be patient, and trust the process. Invest in books on auto mechanics, spend some time on TV channels that are all about cars. A good example of this is CarsTV.
Read some magazines or journals about cars, and watch out for the latest trends in cars. Start with the basics and work your way up the ladder and you will become a car expert with time.
If you are willing to go all the way, you can consider doing a course in auto mechanics so you can get the education, certification and licensing needed to be a qualified auto mechanic.