Automotive Mechanic vs. Automotive Technician

Automotive Mechanic vs. Automotive Technician

What’s the difference?

People ask, “Do you like being a mechanic?”

I answer, “I’m not a mechanic; I’m an automotive technician.”

The typical reply, “So, you don’t like being called a mechanic, huh?”

 “I would love to be called a mechanic, but I’m an automotive technician,” I reply.

I would love to be a mechanic, but I will never be a mechanic.  I am a trained automotive technician.  I have certificates and certifications.  I have worked on my cars and family’s cars most of my life.  I entered an automotive degree program at the local technical college when I was forty.  It was 2007, the beginning of the Great Recession.  I can diagnose and repair cars, but this does not make me a mechanic.

 The mechanic enters this world to be a mechanic.  The automotive technician trains to be a technician.

Something happened yesterday that defines what I am trying to say.  We have a newer model car at the shop with the check engine light illuminated.  I diagnosed it and found that the camshaft and adjuster are causing the problem.  We must replace the parts.  Since I am the engine guy, it falls on me to perform the replace/repair procedure.  We have completed basic maintenance on this model before, so we are familiar with the engine.  But we have never torn into the guts.

The shop rags help me from dropping unwanted objects into the internal parts of the engine.

The car is new enough to have an after-market warranty.  This warranty company follows through with its promises.  Oh boy, those after-market warranty companies are a scam a minute.  You must be careful with these companies.  I know I am rambling.  We will save these warranty companies for another post.  I have stories, and they are not good ones.  Don’t fret; some of these companies follow through with their promises.  Let’s get back to our story.

Character Intro

The shop owner: The born mechanic. 

Me:  The part of the trained auto technician.

On with our story

The computer sits beside the car, waiting to guide me through my expedition into the unknown.  I follow the work instructions checking them off my to-do list as I go.  Time is of no concern even though I’m on flat rate.  Better to do it once than to have to do it again.  I am standing idle, studying each step, and comparing it to the reality of the engine before me.  I turtle step through the process.

The shop owner is watching me, but I am unaware.  Most days, I know he is watching me.  Today I am absorbed into the job, thinking the next turn of the wrench will be my ultimate doom.  I am filing down every nerve ending in his body.  He cannot stand to watch me work.  I watch him work in awe of his ability.  He walks over.

“How’s it coming?” he asks.

“It’s coming along.  I set the crank at 40 degrees after top dead center (TDC).  I’m ready to remove the injectors as soon as I read the instructions.” 

You would think I scraped my fingernails down the chalkboard from the look on his face.

He politely shoves me out of the way, “We don’t need instructions.”  I’m thinking to myself: you don’t need instructions.

He proceeds to remove the injector rails as if he’s done it a thousand times.  I know you think injector rails are injector rails, but these are different.  I know single-point, multi-point, and sequential injection.  I am dealing with direct injection.  I need to read the instructions.  I can’t rip them off the car like I have done it a thousand times.  He can, though.

And that my friends, brings us to the difference between the mechanic and the technician.

New Intake camshaft and cam adjuster installed.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed this post.  Let me know by leaving comments.  Be honest.  Brutality will help me improve.  Ya’ll have a good day.

That Awesome Auto Tech Guy

The art of the seal

P.S. I attempted to have some fun. I admire people who can do any job with little or no training. Please don’t get too caught up in the labels I placed on my characters in the blog post. Both “techs” and mechanics in this business are talented. I am not one of the “Masters” of the automotive repair field, but I do a decent job. The camshafts I installed in the car mentioned in my story work correctly. Diagnosing an internal issue with an engine can be tricky. I did use all of my resources. (I called my friend at the dealer to verify what I found because it is an expensive repair.) Okay, now I will stop rambling.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.