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Job Description for a General Mechanic

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In 2008, automotive technicians and mechanics held approximately 763,700 jobs in the U.S. In such a large industry, general mechanics perform many essential duties to our society. They are responsible for repairing a wide array of mechanical equipment such as cars, tractors and large machinery.

Education and Experience

General mechanics must have a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, most states have specific certification requirements, the most common of which is certification as a Master Automobile Technician through the National Institute for Auto Service Excellence. Previous work as a mechanic or working with cars can increase an individuals chance of being hired as a general mechanic.


These mechanics need to be able to read and understand basic instructions. They should be able to take direction well, have strong decision-making skills, and possess basic math skills. They must have a strong knowledge of automobiles and be able to understand mechanical drawings. Mechanics need to be able to see clearly both up close and at far distances. Most employers require mechanics to be able to lift 100 pounds.


General mechanics are responsible for diagnosing and fixing mechanical issues with equipment such as mowers, tractors, water pumps, compactors, salt spreader and saws. They perform tune-ups, weld equipment and other metals, and maintain files about their repair work. These workers must sand, repair and paint equipment. They may be required to do general car work such as tire rotation, oil changes, and installation of new brake pads.

Work Environment

General mechanics may be exposed to adverse weather conditions. They also may be exposed to dangerous situations and the risk of electric shock, and be surrounded by moving mechanical parts, toxic fumes, caustic chemicals. Additionally, this work environment is typically loud and dirty. Mechanics normally work standard 40-hour workweek.


According to a July 2010 survey, the average annual salary for a general mechanic is $51,000 per year. This equates to these professionals bringing in about $4,250 per month. As with all salary information, however, these figures can vary greatly based on geographic location, employer, years of experience and other factors.

2020 Salary Information for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

Automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a median annual salary of $44,050 ($21.18/hour) in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a 10th percentile salary of $25,790, meaning 90 percent earned more than this amount. The 90th percentile salary is $71,940, meaning 10 percent earn more. In 2020, 703,800 people were employed in the U.S. as automotive service technicians and mechanics.