What does being an auto electrician involve?

As cars have become more complicated in recent years, they rely on an ever wider range of electrical and electronic systems. These control the vehicle’s performance, look after safety systems, ensure the comfort of the occupants and more besides.

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The market for automotive systems is therefore huge. The effect of this on the motor industry is that general mechanics often don’t have the specialist knowledge needed to maintain all these systems, so we’ve seen a rise in the numbers of specialist auto electricians. But what does this job actually involve?

The job

In the course of their job, an auto electrician might be involved in using specialist equipment to find faults. On newer cars, this might be a case of plugging in a laptop, but on older vehicles, it might mean testing with a multimeter.

It will often be necessary to consult and understand manufacturer’s wiring diagrams and manuals. Once a fault has been addressed by reinstating a connection or replacing a component, then it will be necessary to re-test to ensure the issue has been fixed. In some instances, this might involve taking the car for a road test, so auto electricians need to have motor trade insurance, from a supplier such as qmt motor trade insurers, to ensure the customer’s vehicle is covered.

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Qualifications and skills

What do you need if you’re thinking of becoming an auto electrician? There are few formal qualifications in this area. Most people enter via the apprenticeship route, which will require GCSEs in maths, English and probably a science subject.

You’ll need a reasonable level of physical fitness, as the job may involve lying under vehicles as well as stretching and bending. You will also need good colour vision, as vehicle wiring is invariably colour coded. Good attention to detail is essential, as is the ability to work methodically through a problem to eliminate possible causes.

Good practical skills are required to work with tools and electronic equipment. You will also be required to keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry and have the ability to read and understand technical documentation. Although electricians generally work as part of a team in a garage or workshop, you also need the ability to work independently and rely on your own initiative when required to.