Heavy vehicle automotive technicians tend to try harder to salvage as many parts as possible this being because the parts for the larger vehicles are a lot more expensive than that of the smaller vehicles. This meaning that the specialist auto mechanics tend to endure more training to be able to fix the parts rather than just replace them. Once fully trained you then decide whether you want to specialise in a certain type of vehicle such as buses, HGV's, Lorries or whether you want to be a floating technician that repairs a selection of vehicles.
The training process usually starts with your GCSE results where employers will look for standard education 4 GCSEs including maths, English and a science at grade C or above or an equivalent standard of qualifications. You can either then become an apprentice for a garage dealing with the kind of vehicles with which you have an interest, where they will provide you with practical training running along side your academic study. Practical training counts for a lot in the auto motive industry as it's a very practical based job but the academic training, usually consisting of a NVQ level 3, you have to complete is just as important and usually runs for around 3 and a half to 4 years, depending on what level you want to reach. If not becoming an apprentice you can finish all your academic training first then go into working in a garage (at a higher level than a basic new starter) or even start up your own business specialising in the heavy duty motor vehicles, however, you will have to make sure you have covered all the basic requirements before opening a garage. When this initial training is completed there are many more short courses that can be taken to train you in areas such as diagnostic training and specialist courses in the maintaining of different types of vehicle. As well as these courses if you are working for any garage it may well be they send you on short courses to boost your training in the safety procedures of the garage environment, as that is a big issue especially with the lager vehicles.
The job entails a great variation of tasks including general maintenance on large, heavy duty vehicles, repairing or in some cases replacing broken or damaged parts and providing a full service on the vehicles. If you want to be able to carry out MOTs on the vehicles you have to take a further course that specialises in training you in that area. To take this course you must have the following:
- Four years previous experience of working with the vehicles you wish to service.
- The correct qualifications, up to a level 3 NVQ.
- Be over 21.
- Have a full clean license for the vehicles you are wanting to service.
- You must also have the support of your garage or employer.
If you don't have one of the above specifications then you won't be able to progress to take the course in heavy duty vehicle servicing.
With the heavy duty automotive technician position you need to have a genuine interest in the area as the training alone can take several years to be completed. Although once finished if you do enjoy the work it can be a very rewarding job as well as a life time career, with different training schemes helping you progress through the different levels within the industry.
Can you imagine driving your car and not being able to stop? That's why the brakes are one of the most important parts of a car along with steering and the engine of course. With them being such an important part of the vehicle it is of great importance that they are properly maintained and serviced every few months to ensure they are running to the best of their capability.
Although most people tend to leave their brakes till they have their car serviced it is possible for you to carry out general maintenance work on the brakes yourself if you have the correct information. For example how many of you would think you could carry out work such as replacing your brake pads your self? Not many I can imagine but it's actually a fairly simple procedure to carry out. Below is an easy step by step guide to follow on how to change them your self:
- You need to make sure you have all the required equipment before starting this consists of; hammer, pliers, jack, jack stands, wire brush, screwdriver, high temp lubricant, wrenches, rubber gloves and of course a replacement brake pad.
- Firstly ensure you have exactly the right equipment for your specific model of car, refer to your user manual, before starting the work as it may affect the performance of your car. Also make sure your wearing the correct safety equipment as the brake linings contain asbestos.
- The first thing you need to do is drain around half the brake fluid that is stored in the main cylinder into a sealed container and dispose of it in the proper manner as you can't reuse brake oil.
- Then with a lug wrench loosen the lug bolts but don't remove completely.
- Then one side at a time jack up the vehicle and support the jack with the jack stand, make sure when jacking up the vehicle it is on hard stable ground not grass or dirt.
- Then remove the lug bolts completely and take off the wheels.
- You will then have to remove the callipers of the car, this is when you will have to refer to your manual to discover the type of callipers you have and the correct way of removing them.
- Once this is done you then remove the pad from the calliper, and using the wire brush clean the holding and area around it to remove any dirt or rust. The brakes operate best when clean so use water to wash down this area to stop dust, then you will have to wait for these parts to dry.
- This is when you install the new brake pads some pads have parts that need crimping you can use a hammer for this process, however, if not crimped correctly they can squeal. To prevent squealing you simply rub the high temp grease to the back of the pads, making sure you don't get ANY on the brake pad material itself.
- Once installed you simply replace the calliper to its mounting ensuring all bolts are replaced and pins some retaining pins may need to be tapped in slightly with a hammer. Make sure not to over tighten the bolts (don't use standard hard ware bolts take the old ones into an auto shop to ensure you get the right ones if they need replacing).
- Then all that's left to do is fit the wheels back into position and refill the main oil cylinder with new oil (checking it's the right oil for your car).
If you learn the correct way to do tasks such as this then you don't have to spend time dropping your car off at the garage, then picking it up when the jobs done and in between that trying to find other means of transport. Also there is the fact you will save your self a lot of money as you won't have to pay for the labour costs as well as the parts. Any work you do carry out please ensure it is all completed correctly and check thoroughly the job is up to safety standards before driving the vehicle again.
With technology in cars advancing all the time there are more and more electrical systems being used by all car manufacturers to keep up to date with their competition. There are electronics in cars today that are as advanced as home entertainment centres with DVD players, cd players with high tech sound systems etc. However, although these systems may be useful in providing entertainment facilities and systems such as electric windows and cruise control making the car easier for the driver to manage, it also means there is more that can go wrong. With some problems you won't be able to fix them unless you are a professional in the trade but there are some electrical problems that you can solve your self, below are some instructions to help you fix some of the more simple problems.
With a simple problem such as a burnt out bulb on your head lights or tail lights there is also the hidden danger that many people don't seem to think about. How many people do you see driving the streets with one of their headlights out totally un-aware of the danger and not realising how simple it is to actually change it themselves? There are many of us who think it will be ok to leave until the car gets serviced, but these days if you are pulled over for having one of your car lights out it is a lot more expensive than buying a new bulb previously. Here are the simple instructions to follow while changing the light bulb in your headlights:
- You need to make sure you have the correct bulb to replace it (most cars use the same kind of bulb, however, there is one called a sealed beam headlight that comes with it own instructions) and the correct screw driver to remove the front of the headlight.
- Once the cover is removed turn the bulb retainer counter clockwise until it is removed.
- Then when taking the bulb out of the retainer note the direction and poison of the bulb as there will only be a certain way the bulb will fit in.
- Then, being careful not to touch the glass with your fingers as this can cause a hot spot from the oils on your fingers and in turn cause the bulb to fail quicker maybe even explode, place the new bulb into the same position as the old in the retainer.
- After the bulb is placed in the retainer put the bulb and retainer back into place in the connector.
- After you have finished this process all that's left to do is replace the cover of the headlight with the screwdriver ensuring it is tightly fitted.
With your tail lights you follow a similar process except firstly you will need to see how you access the light itself it will either be from the trunk where there is a back panel for you to remove, or it will be the same as the head light and you simply screw off the front of the light. Then you just follow the instructions as above making sure you have the correct bulb for your model of car, to be totally sure you can always take the old bulb into the car shop when you buy the new bulb.
With faults such as electric windows failing and other electronics on the vehicle not functioning correctly guides are available to instruct you on how to determine the problem and then how to repair it. Of course there are going to be situations where no matter what you try you will be unable to fix or even determine what the problem is, this meaning you will have to take your vehicle into a professional. When this is the case ensure the person that is carrying the work out for you is in deed a qualified car electrician as they have to have another qualification as well as just a mechanic one before they can carry out the work on your vehicle.