JobsNow: High-tech cars keep auto technicians in demand

You don't have to know everything about cars going in because you'll get training on the job from auto manufacturers

Auto technician at Diane Sauer Chevrolet, Warren


WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Auto technicians realize that cars are changing every year, becoming more and more digital and high-tech. That’s why now more than ever, their role is very important in the auto industry.

Open the hood of a new car and you notice it’s not your grandfather’s engine. Most of the components remain the same, but 21st-century features make auto technicians more valuable.

“The youth need to become more interested in this. What I mean by that is these cars are changing every year. It’s not like cars 20 years ago,” said John Maze, general manager at Diane Sauer Chevrolet in Warren. “These cars literally have computers in them. The injection system, everything is plugged in through a computer and you literally see what’s right and what’s wrong with these cars.”

Those diagnostics speed up the process, meaning cars get out of the garage about 10 percent quicker. There are more computer screens in the tech area, helping technicians find the problem sooner.

There are basically three levels of technicians, starting with the entry level — lube, oil, and filter.

“So the oil technician is basically, change the oil, rotate the tires, maybe look at some other maintenance elements, like cleaners,” Matthew Sauer said.

You can get quick training in about four months at a trade school to prepare for that level.

But promotion in the garage is available. Mid-line techs work on things like brakes, spark plugs, and coolant. You don’t have to know everything about cars going in because you’ll get training on the job from auto manufacturers.

There’s one spot that’s the highest in the garage.

“Our ASE Master Technician position. This is where you’re going to do everything on the vehicle from maintenance, to electronics, to complicated systems within the vehicle today,” Sauer said.

The line of progression and promotion shows it’s not a dead end field, but slightly different than it was 20 to 30 years ago.

That’s also reflected in a technician’s paycheck, which starts at around $14 an hour but could easily eclipse six figures if you’re eager.

“The great thing about these positions is they are performance-based pay. The more you do and the faster and better you are at it, the more opportunities are going to be open,” Sauer said.

There are hundreds of technician and auto mechanic positions available at OhioMeansJobs.com.

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