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Working As A Truck Mechanic

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $46,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Truck Mechanic Do

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, or overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine.

Duties

Diesel service technicians and mechanics typically do the following:

  • Consult with customers and read work orders to determine work required
  • Plan work procedures, using technical charts and manuals
  • Inspect brake systems, steering mechanisms, transmissions, engines, and other parts of vehicles
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Read and interpret diagnostic test results to identify mechanical problems
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components, parts, and other mechanical or electrical equipment
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
  • Test-drive vehicles to ensure that they run smoothly

Because of their efficiency and durability, diesel engines have become the standard in powering trucks and buses. Other heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, including bulldozers and cranes, are also powered by diesel engines, as are many commercial boats, and some passenger vehicles and pickups.

Diesel technicians handle many kinds of repairs. They may work on a vehicle’s electrical system, make major engine repairs, or retrofit exhaust systems with emission control systems to comply with pollution regulations.

Diesel engine maintenance and repair is becoming more complex as engines and other components use more electronic systems to control their operation. For example, fuel injection and engine timing systems rely heavily on microprocessors to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize harmful emissions. In most shops, workers often use hand-held or laptop computers to diagnose problems and adjust engine functions. 

In addition to using computerized diagnostic equipment, diesel technicians use a variety of power and machine tools, such as pneumatic wrenches, lathes, grinding machines, and welding equipment. Hand tools, including pliers, sockets and ratchets, and screwdrivers, are commonly used.

Employers typically provide expensive power tools and computerized equipment, but workers generally acquire their own hand tools over time.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on automobiles, see the profile on automotive service technicians and mechanics.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on farm equipment, construction vehicles, and rail cars, see the profile on heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on motorboats, motorcycles, and small all-terrain vehicles, see the profile on small engine mechanics.

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How To Become A Truck Mechanic

Most diesel technicians learn informally on the job after a high school education, but employers increasingly prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary training programs in diesel engine repair. Although not required, industry certification can demonstrate a diesel technician’s competence and experience.

Education

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. High school or postsecondary courses in automotive repair, electronics, and mathematics provide a strong educational background for a career as a diesel technician.

An increasing number of employers look for workers with postsecondary training in diesel engine repair. Many community colleges and trade and vocational schools offer certificate or degree programs in diesel engine repair.

Programs mix classroom instruction with hands-on training, including the basics of diesel technology, repair techniques and equipment, and practical exercises. Students also learn how to interpret technical manuals and electronic diagnostic reports.

Training

Diesel technicians who begin working without any postsecondary education are trained extensively on the job. Trainees are assigned basic tasks, such as cleaning parts, checking fuel and oil levels, and driving vehicles in and out of the shop.

After they learn routine maintenance and repair tasks and demonstrate competence, trainees move on to more complicated subjects such as vehicle diagnostics. This process can take from 3 to 4 years, at which point a trainee is usually considered a journey-level diesel technician.

Over the course of their careers, diesel technicians must learn to use new techniques and equipment. Employers often send experienced technicians to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors to learn about the latest diesel technology.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the standard credential for diesel and other automotive service technicians and mechanics. Although not required, this certification demonstrates a diesel technician’s competence and experience to potential employers and clients, and often brings higher pay.

Diesel technicians may be certified in specific repair areas, such as drive trains, electronic systems, or preventative maintenance and inspection. To earn certification, technicians must have 2 years of work experience and pass one or more ASE exams. To remain certified, diesel technicians must pass a recertification exam every 5 years.

Many diesel technicians are required to have a commercial driver’s license so they may test-drive buses and large trucks.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Diesel technicians frequently discuss automotive problems and necessary repairs with their customers. They must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Diesel technicians must be aware of small details when inspecting or repairing engines and components, because mechanical and electronic malfunctions are often due to misalignments and other easy-to-miss causes.

Dexterity. Mechanics need a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination for many tasks, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, or using hand tools.

Mechanical skills. Diesel technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They often disassemble major parts for repairs, and they must be able to put them back together properly.

Organizational skills. Diesel technicians must keep workspaces clean and organized in order to maintain safety and ensure accountability for parts.

Strength. Diesel technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, such as exhaust system components and pneumatic wrenches.

Troubleshooting skills. Diesel technicians must be able to use diagnostic equipment on engine systems and components in order to identify and fix problems in increasingly complicated mechanical and electronic systems. They must be familiar with electronic control systems and the appropriate tools needed to fix and maintain them.

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Truck Mechanic Career Paths

Truck Mechanic
Diesel Mechanic Technician Field Service Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Diesel Mechanic Technician Electrician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Diesel Mechanic Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Owner
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Owner/Operator
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Lead Mechanic Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Diesel Technician Shop Foreman Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Diesel Technician Shop Foreman Service Manager
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Diesel Technician Lead Technician Owner
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Foreman Shop Foreman
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Foreman Maintenance Supervisor
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Driver Electrician
Maintenance Lead Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Field Technician Lead Technician
Service Technician Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Driver Electrician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Fleet Mechanic Lead Mechanic
Mechanics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Equipment Mechanic Maintenance Technician Sergeant
Senior Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Equipment Mechanic Maintenance Technician Hvac Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Equipment Mechanic Maintenance Technician Maintenance Electrician
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Automotive Technician Engineering Technician Machinist Mate
Marine Mechanic
5 Yearsyrs
Fleet Mechanic Lead Mechanic Mechanics Supervisor
Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Truck Mechanic?

Average Yearly Salary
$46,000
Show Salaries
$38,000
Min 10%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Santee Electric Co-op
Highest Paying City
Kent, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Truck Mechanic make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Truck Mechanic in the United States is $46,659 per year or $22 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $56,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Truck Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Diesel Truck Mechanic K.C. Truck & Trailer Service, Inc. Dec 23, 2016 $59,426
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists Tully Construction Co Inc. Jan 03, 2011 $58,510
Trucks Mechanic Greenstar Construction, LLC Dec 13, 2010 $58,123
Diesel Truck Mechanic A To Z Equipment Repair Inc. Dec 18, 2014 $57,491
Bus and Truck Mechanic and Diesel Engine Specialist Mile Square Transportation Inc. Jun 18, 2015 $57,491
Diesel Truck Mechanic Av Carriers Inc. Oct 14, 2015 $57,158
Diesel Truck Mechanic Adz Trucking, Inc. Jun 01, 2016 $57,158
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists Broadway Brake Corp. Jun 25, 2013 $56,971
Truck Mechanic SJ Delivery Services LLC Apr 18, 2012 $55,850 -
$55,860
Truck Mechanic Star Distribution, Inc. D/B/A New Deal Logistics Dec 03, 2009 $55,598
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists W & K Express, Inc. Mar 24, 2010 $53,636
Truck Mechanic South Shore Truck Repair Jul 10, 2015 $53,290
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists Coastal Sunbelt Produce Company Jul 09, 2014 $52,520
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists South Shore Truck Repair Jul 03, 2013 $52,333
Truck Mechanic Dana Transport, Inc. Jul 16, 2010 $46,728
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists JSS Perfromance Inc. Nov 16, 2012 $46,707
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialist Killoran Trucking Aug 24, 2012 $45,906
Mechanic, Industrial Truck Tropical Shipping USA LLC DBA Tropical Shipping Apr 15, 2011 $45,037
Diesel Truck Mechanic Ridol, Inc. Apr 15, 2011 $44,933
Diesel Truck Mechanic BJ Trailer & Truck Repair Jun 10, 2011 $44,933
Diesel Truck Mechanic West Wind Express Inc. Feb 16, 2010 $44,933
Diesel Truck Mechanic USP Trans, Inc. Apr 15, 2011 $44,933
Truck Mechanic Crown Container Corp. Oct 19, 2007 $41,615
Truck Mechanics USA Truck and Trailer Supply Apr 01, 2016 $41,573
Bus & Truck Mechanics & Diesel Engine B & N Inc. Aug 28, 2009 $41,573
Bus & Truck Mechanics & Diesel Engine B & N Inc. Feb 17, 2010 $41,573
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists Sheldon Containers, Inc. Jan 09, 2013 $41,281
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists Holiday World of Houston Aug 06, 2013 $41,281
Truck Mechanic and Diesel Engine Specialist Desert Runner Transportation Inc. Sep 14, 2015 $40,810
Truck Mechanic and Diesel Engine Specialist Desert Runner Transportation Inc. Feb 25, 2016 $40,810

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Top Skills for A Truck Mechanic

  1. Diesel Engines
  2. Preventative Maintenance
  3. Company Vehicle
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Overhauled gas and diesel engines improving performance increasing operational efficiency.
  • Performed preventative maintenance inspections and services, repair any DOT failures and driver related concerns
  • Assisted fellow employee on road calls for company vehicles and dump trucks when they were inoperable in the field.
  • Inspect pneumatic safety devices and temperature alarms.
  • Service and maintain a fleet of tractor trailers as well as 1 and 2 ton trucks, and various trailers.

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Top 10 Best States for Truck Mechanics

  1. Alaska
  2. Kansas
  3. Wyoming
  4. Indiana
  5. Arizona
  6. Idaho
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Mississippi
  9. North Dakota
  10. Utah
  • (58 jobs)
  • (229 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (439 jobs)
  • (717 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (292 jobs)
  • (118 jobs)
  • (115 jobs)
  • (163 jobs)

Truck Mechanic Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,676 Truck Mechanic resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Truck Mechanic Resume

View Resume Examples

Truck Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

94.3%

Female

3.6%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

66.4%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.7%

French

13.3%

German

6.7%

Carrier

6.7%

Dakota

6.7%

Italian

6.7%

Swedish

3.3%

Portuguese

3.3%

Greek

3.3%

Polish

3.3%
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Truck Mechanic Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

33.5%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

9.0%

Ohio Technical College

7.8%

WyoTech - Laramie

6.0%

Arizona Automotive Institute

4.2%

University of Northwestern Ohio

4.2%

Lincoln College of Technology - Indianapolis

4.2%

A-Technical College

3.6%

Lincoln Technical Institute

3.0%

Western Technical College

3.0%

Central Texas College

3.0%

Lincoln College of Technology - Denver

2.4%

Boise State University

2.4%

Jefferson Community College

2.4%

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology - Okmulgee

2.4%

Dakota County Technical College

1.8%

Chippewa Valley Technical College

1.8%

American River College

1.8%

Shasta College

1.8%

Henry Ford College

1.8%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

54.1%

Business

5.6%

Industrial Technology

4.7%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

4.2%

General Studies

4.0%

Electrical Engineering

3.7%

Precision Metal Working

3.0%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.4%

Criminal Justice

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering

2.0%

Management

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.5%

Apparel And Textiles

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.3%

Computer Networking

1.2%

English

1.0%

Drafting And Design

0.8%

Aviation

0.8%
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Degrees

High School Diploma

41.6%

Associate

23.2%

Certificate

14.8%

Diploma

14.7%

Bachelors

3.5%

Masters

1.2%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.1%
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