Auto Body Repair Technician or Car Mechanic? Choosing the Career That’s Best for You

career in auto body repair

Do you want to pursue a career that lets you work on cars, but feel unsure about which career would actually be the best fit for you? There are plenty of interesting auto-related options for individuals with a passion for cars. Students of an auto detailing program, for example, can go on to enjoy careers where they get to give cars a nice showroom finish. Students of dispatching, on the other hand, get to make their mark in the trucking and transportation industry.

But for students who are interested in fixing cars, it can sometimes be a little trickier deciding on the right program and career. Both auto body technicians and automotive service technicians work on cars. However, even though their titles sound similar, the roles they have are quite different.

Are you curious to learn more? Read on to discover the differences between these two career paths, and find out which one is right for you!

Vehicle Aesthetics and Structure Are a Main Concern of Auto Body Repair Technicians

Do you prefer to fix parts of a car that are hidden away, or fix a car’s exterior? For students trying to decide between becoming an automotive service technician and an auto body technician, it’s an important question to ask. That’s because the main role of an auto body technician is to fix dents and other problems that affect the outer body of the car.

Auto body technicians repair vehicles that have been damaged in a collision or neglected for a long period of time. While a large part of an auto body repair technician’s job is to repair a vehicle’s alignment and body panels, another significant responsibility is to refinish the vehicle after it has been repaired. Auto body technicians apply filler, sand, and paint to make vehicles look like new again. Some auto body technicians even perform restorative work on vintage cars. Thus, working as an auto body technician can be very satisfying if you like to see the final results of all your hard work.

Automotive Service Technicians Focus on What’s Going on Under the Hood

Automotive service technicians, also called car mechanics, deal with mechanical issues that are likely not visible to the eye, but are very noticeable when a car isn’t operating properly. Mechanics have a range of duties, from repairing and installing brakes, to replacing spark plugs and making sure engines are functioning optimally. Today’s mechanics are required to not only have hands-on mechanical abilities, but also knowledge of vehicles’ onboard computer systems, which play a large role in how modern day vehicles operate.

Both Auto Body Repair Technicians and Mechanics Perform Diagnostic Work

Both auto body technicians and mechanics perform diagnostic work on vehicles. However, the tools and processes they use are quite different. After a vehicle has been in a collision, professionals with a career in auto body repair must analyze the structural integrity of the vehicle, check that the vehicle’s alignment and body panels are in good condition, and ensure the vehicle is safe to drive. Sometimes damage isn’t visible upon first glance, so auto body technicians must use various tools, like an alignment gauge, to diagnose the condition of the vehicle.

auto body repair technician
Auto body technicians and car mechanics use different diagnostic tools

Auto mechanics, on the other hand, perform diagnostic work using several higher tech tools, like readers that can be plugged into a car’s computer system and display information about parts of the vehicle that are malfunctioning. When technology can’t be used, mechanics will also diagnose problems by cracking open the hood and taking a look for themselves, or by relying on their knowledge of warning signs and what they can indicate about the functionality of certain parts.

Auto Body Repair Technicians and Mechanics Work in Different Shops

When considering whether an auto mechanic or auto body repair technician career is right for you, it’s important to consider the different working environments of each career path. Auto body technicians work in auto body shops, which have very different facilities than the shops where mechanics work, because the repairs performed on the vehicles are quite different.

The main difference between the two is that auto body shops have large painting facilities, which you likely won’t find in a mechanic shop, while mechanic shops have the tools and facilities needed to repair parts of vehicles that you can’t see, like brakes and the engine, as well as tools to repair wheels.

Do car body repair courses sound like a good fit for your career aspirations?

Contact Automotive Training Centres to learn more!

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