Become a Certified Diesel Mechanic
Diesel mechanics repair, restore, and upgrade diesel engines which power commercial trucks, buses, marine vessels, trains, locomotives, and other commercial vehicles. To repair diesel engines, mechanics examine the units, conduct diagnostic tests, locate the causes of engine problems, repair damaged parts, and reconfigure engines to provide maximum power or optimal fuel efficiency. Most mechanics take engines apart, thoroughly inspect components, repair damaged parts, reconnect worn out components, and put the units back together again. A diesel mechanic can perform maintenance on diesel generators and diesel motors as well. For example, a mechanic who works on marine vessels will know how to service generators, diesel generators, and diesel motors.
Most commercial vehicles come with a manual that instructs owners and operators how to use the engine. Many mechanics purchase this manual along with the vehicle. They also learn how to troubleshoot and fix various problems using the guide. This gives them experience and knowledge about diesel engines and the different types of issues that may affect them. Diesel technicians learn through practice. They may run short of time when they have to perform maintenance on heavy duty diesel engines or diesel-powered machinery that requires fast repairs.
For most mechanical technicians, two to four years in college will be enough to gain employment as a diesel mechanic. Four years of technical training at a community college also allows plenty of time for continued education. Courses in mathematics, physics, computer skills, and chemistry are important for technicians to succeed in their jobs. A combination of hands-on training and classroom work is usually necessary for working in a diesel mechanic’s job. Diesel technicians who complete their schooling and enter the working world as fully-fledged mechanical technicians often become involved in niche markets or specializing in a certain area of engine repair or manufacturing.
Most diesel technicians start out in small local shops or automotive service companies that need workers. A small shop requires a diesel mechanic to already know some of the basic tools needed for repairing small engines. In order to climb the ladder of success, however, many mechanics will have to work their way up from being assistants or handymen to becoming mechanics in large auto body shops or automotive service centers. These positions require diesel technicians to understand more complicated machinery, such as engines, diesel motors and diesel transmission systems. They also must be able to operate heavy industrial tools like cranes, generators and industrial grinders.
There are several career options for someone who wants to become certified as a diesel mechanic. Some diesel technicians work in large auto body shops and repair facilities. Others continue their education and train to be automotive technicians, doing quality assurance, diagnostics and quality control work on new and used diesel engines. Specialization in a specific area is another option for a diesel mechanic. There are technicians who specialize in troubleshooting and repairing diesel engines; others who perform maintenance and repair on diesel engines; and others still who complete specialized training in the repair of heavy-duty engines and heavy parts for powertrains and generators.
Diesel mechanics must always be on the lookout for problems with heavy equipment, engines and other parts of heavy machinery. Their job requires them to make their work as efficient and timely as possible. This is especially true of emergency situations, since they must be able to help as soon as possible, before potentially compromising the safety of the public. Emergency situations call for quick and reliable work, which a diesel mechanic can provide.