To be classified as a heavy duty vehicle, a truck must be in the class 7 or 8 ranking. Compared to a class 1 Toyota Tacoma which is a lightweight vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of of 6,500 lbs, trucks in the 7 to 8 class are generally transport trucks, dump trucks or construction trucks which have a GVWR of over 26,000 lbs. If you are interested in a heavy duty truck mechanic program, keep in mind that the parts on these trucks are much bigger than a regular car, so physical strength is a necessity!
Heavy Duty Vehicles
Training as an auto service technician can involve more than just servicing your everyday cars and trucks. Here are some other vehicles you may work on as an auto mechanic:
- Transport trucks
- Dump trucks
- Farm equipment
- Garbage trucks
- Heavy duty off-road equipment
As a heavy duty truck mechanic, you may work on the mechanical and electrical components of the truck. Some common truck repairs include cab swaps and wiring, body conversions (flatbed to box and vice versa), fiberglass repair and frame straightening in the case of a collision. You will need to learn welding in order to repair any frame or structure damages.
Farm Equipment Repair
Being an automotive service technician doesn’t always mean working in an auto shop. If your speciality is heavy duty trucks and vehicles, then you can expect that some of these vehicles will be on a farm, usually in remote locations. For this reason, you will often have to travel for work and work outside—which can be a refreshing change! The truth is that with the modernization of the agriculture business, machinery has become too high-tech for farmers to learn how to repair themselves. As a farm vehicle mechanic, you will perform common tasks like taking apart equipment and cleaning it, repairing and replacing parts, testing the equipment and fixing hydraulic pumps. Some examples of farm equipment you may work on are tractors, plows or cultivators. This job is especially in demand during harvest time in the autumn.
A dump truck is largely used in construction to haul loose material like sand or dirt. An average sized dump truck is 8×4 (8 wheels, four on each side), can haul loads up to 32 metric tons and operates off hydraulics. Another type of dump truck we are used to seeing is Caterpillar haul trucks. These are often used in mines and quarries, and can haul up to 450 metric tons. Safety is a large concern for dump trucks, especially the smaller construction site dump trucks which travel on city roads where there is risk of collision. Because of the safety standards these trucks must uphold, it is important for mechanics to have an eye for attention and good training at a mechanic college before entering into this career path.
If you think you are up for the challenge, consider specializing in heavy duty trucks and vehicles at an automotive school!