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mjm8401's avatar

Is becoming a mechanic worth it?

Asked by mjm8401 (170points) September 9th, 2013

I am currently unemployed. I am good with my hands and fixing stuff but I am terrible with most people. Honestly I think I may have a autism spectrum disorder seeing how I can be so socially autistic. At the end of high school I ended up taking graphic design in school but it didn’t work out in the end. I also took auto in high school and something tells me that is what I should have done all along. However a lot of people online say its not worth pursuing. Others say if you love doing it, do it. I just would like some real insight. If I were to go to an auto mechanic school or motor cycle mechanics school will it be worth it if I like it?

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Our local auto mechanic is considered a genius; many of us choose him over our car brand dealership mechanics. i, for example, only go to my authorized Subaru dealer for the big ones…waiting now for 45, 000 miles. I use my local guy for the every-3000-smile stuff.

He does very little socializing with his customers…an occasional chat over brake pads or fuel lines, but the auto body shop owner is the meet-and-greet guy.

If you have the skills, it can be very lucrative.

Talk to some at the various auto-body shops in your ‘hood. Ask them how long they have been working for the same person.

tom_g's avatar

My uncle has made a great living as a mechanic. He eventually opened his own shop, and now has a few employees working for him so he can vacation and spend time with the grandkids.

If you have the skills and enjoy the work, go for it. Personally, I think they’re magicians. Geniuses. The trick as a consumer is to find a quality mechanic who is honest. When that happens, I will bring my cars their exclusively. I don’t care if they’re socially awkward. It’s easy to tell if they are honest – even if they are awkward.

Seek's avatar

My mechanic is a 65 year old man who had part of his brain removed after a brick fell on his head (construction accident ).

Definitely not good with people, but he can tell me what’s wrong with my car before I’m done pulling into his driveway, and have it fixed before I thought possible.

He works out of his tool shed, his only advertisement is referrals, and he survives well enough for him.

Cupcake's avatar

It sounds like a good possibility.

Can you find a local reputable guy and shadow him for a day? Maybe you can even offer to be a volunteer or low-pay apprentice.

I think spending at least a day doing the job will tell you most of what you need to know to consider a career.

mjm8401's avatar

The way I see it most of the people I know personally do not understand righty tighty lefty loosy. This tells me that there will one day there will most likely be a shortage of mechanically inclined people. Also I am not just mechanical , and I’m artistic and creative too. I could end up making custom rides and choppers one day.

CWOTUS's avatar

I have a young cousin who, though he did well in high school and is smart as a whip, dragged his feet and resisted his parents’ wishes to go to college. He wanted to be a mechanic, and did go to school for that. Now that he has graduated, and since then gone on to his second employer, he’s as happy as he could hope to be. He drives (and continues to tinker with) an older Porsche sports car, and seems to love his life right now. (He might be considering working on adding a diesel mechanic certification to his qualifications, which is a whole level of expertise higher than what he now has.)

Also, like @gailcalled, I have a local garage of independent ownership, and I go to them for everything. They’re quite pleasant and capable fellows, and though I haven’t met any of the mechanics that work for them for more than a quick explanation of what’s up with the car, they are competent – and they seem to stay there pretty steadily, so I presume they’re relatively content.

chelle21689's avatar

My boyfriend is a mechanic at a Lexus dealership. He took classes at a career center, he’s had this job for several years and has been looking to go back to school. I think the cons are the pay depending where you work…it’s pretty good money but the cons are a lot of heavy labor involved which seemed to take a toll on his back and stuff.

Sunny2's avatar

It’s good, honest work and pays relatively well. I’d go for it!

WestRiverrat's avatar

Go for it, but be the best that you can be at it. A good mechanic is never out of work for long.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

It’s stable, always in demand, you don’t need people skills, and can be enjoyable. Just don’t open your own shop. There isn’t much money in it. All the money goes into tools.

johnpowell's avatar

It can’t be outsourced..

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

If you like it and can afford to study it, then it’s worth it.
I have been “a mechanic” all my life. I’ve been working on cars since I was a little kid. I have only rarely done it for money, so I don’t consider myself a “real mechanic”- and as I’ve aged I have become less tolerant of contorting myself into tight spaces, lying on concrete in the rain, skinning my knuckles, becoming covered in toxic fluids, and other stuff you wind up doing when you work on cars without a real shop and proper tools.
In many areas, it’s hard to get a job as a mechanic without some ASE certifications and/or manufacturer certifications. These can be expensive and time-consuming to obtain. If you don’t work for someone else as a mechanic, then you will need to get your own shop and tools. This can cost a lot of money, depending on how deep into it you go.
The work itself can be satisfying. It can also be physically demanding and even dangerous. It’s very important to be careful- cars have lots of parts that can be immediately lethal if you screw up badly enough.
You can make pretty good money as a mechanic, but you won’t ever get rich doing it unless you screw over your customers. Don’t be tempted to do that- small operators can’t get away with it. Also, you don’t want to be that guy.
If you intend to work as a mechanic over the next 20 years or so, learn about electric traction drives. Learn about AC electricity. Lots of cars have electric drive systems these days, and the number will increase (probably for at least the next 5 years.) You might not ever need to work on these systems, but if you are going to work on cars you will need to learn how to be safe around these systems and high-voltage electricity in general.
The more stuff you learn, the more you can do yourself and the less you will need to farm out to the big shops. I don’t know CANBUS well at all, and I don’t have the requisite electronics to interface with most car computers, so I can’t do any of that kind of work (for example). Cars become more computerized over time, not less, so my knowledge becomes increasingly obsolete. I don’t like working on cars anymore anyway, so I don’t care particularly- but you will.

LostInParadise's avatar

As some of the others pointed out, you can do very well as a mechanic, and It fits well with any autistic tendencies you may have. Society places too much emphasis on getting a college degree. The result is a bunch of overeducated people who hate their jobs. If you enjoy doing mechanical work then go for it. It is challenging and provides something very concrete that you can look at and take pride in.

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