what is a diesel mechanic?

As a diesel mechanic, you specialise in working on diesel-powered vehicles and machines. You are tasked with maintaining and repairing trucks or machinery that use diesel engines. That means you perform regular inspections to identify issues in the engines. You also conduct preventive maintenance to improve efficiency. For instance, you change the oil and rotate the truck tyres to make sure they are in tip-top shape. As a diesel mechanic, you require knowledge of electrical systems to repair vehicles and heavy machinery.

From trucking and transportation to agriculture, mining and construction, most of the largest industries in the world rely on diesel mechanics. Much of the machinery and equipment used in the construction or mining industry run on diesel engines, and you ensure efficiency by minimising downtimes and carrying out repairs. As a diesel mechanic, you have a specialised skill set for creating safe roadways, repairing agricultural equipment, maintaining the power grid, and ensuring materials are transported.

As a diesel mechanic, you work with your hands, which involves physical exertion. You spend long hours on your feet since the role involves a lot of walking, standing and bending. Hence, you require physical strength and flexibility to perform your tasks. Having knowledge of mechanics and experience using hand and power tools is also necessary for the role.

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average diesel mechanic salary

As a diesel mechanic, your remuneration package depends on qualifications and skills. When you undertake additional training, you improve your skills and are likely to earn more. Diesel mechanics with extensive experience can negotiate higher salaries due to their expertise.

Your employer also influences your earnings. When you work for a small mechanic shop, you likely handle simple repair tasks. Small companies have limited resources and usually pay lower salaries. However, working for large companies improves your salary prospects. A large company handles complex projects and has more resources, enabling them to pay a higher salary for your skills.

The location may also affect your remuneration package. Working in metro areas increases your earning potential, resulting from the higher cost of living. When you work in smaller cities, the low demand for diesel mechanics reduces your earning prospects.

Want to know what you will earn as a diesel mechanic? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of diesel mechanics

As a diesel mechanic, you can specialise in various engine repair and maintenance areas. Some of the areas of specialisation include automotive, heavy equipment, marine or power generation diesel engine repairs. As an automotive diesel mechanic, you repair and maintain diesel engines in light vehicles and trucks. You diagnose and repair issues in pickup trucks and commercial vehicles. Most automotive diesel mechanics work in repair shops or dealerships.

Heavy equipment diesel mechanics focus on repairing and maintaining heavy machinery engines, like excavators, loaders and cranes. You require additional specialisation to work on heavy equipment used in the mining and construction industries. Most heavy equipment diesel mechanics work for equipment rental companies or service centres.

Marine diesel mechanics work in marinas, boatyards and marine service centres. They repair cooling and exhaust systems and ensure the equipment works as expected. On the other hand, a power generation diesel mechanic specialises in maintaining power plants and generators.


working as a diesel mechanic

Working as a diesel mechanic involves performing repair and maintenance tasks on engines. Discover the duties, responsibilities and work environments of diesel mechanics.


education and skills

To work as a diesel mechanic, you require extensive knowledge of machines and diesel engines. You learn the skills through formal training and apprenticeships. If you want to become a diesel mechanic, consider enrolling for a pre-apprenticeship course like Certificate II in automotive servicing technology. Look for an apprenticeship in your state from the Apprenticeship Network Provider.

Supplement your on-the-job training and apprenticeship with a Certificate III in automotive diesel engine technology or a Certificate III in heavy commercial trailer technology. Some employers require a diploma in automotive technology since they use advanced diagnostic tools.

diesel mechanic skills and competencies

You require the following skills to excel as a diesel mechanic:

  • knowledge of mechanics: as a diesel mechanic, you require extensive knowledge of diesel engines, equipment and vehicles. Your knowledge of diesel engines is necessary for performing repairs and changing vehicle components.
  • problem-solving skills: as a diesel mechanic, you diagnose and resolve problems in diesel engines. You require critical thinking skills to diagnose the machines or equipment and develop solutions to improve performance.
  • technical skills: you use computer software to diagnose problems in vehicles and machines. Besides, heavy machinery has become computer-based and electronically controlled. You should be comfortable working with technology to make an accurate diagnosis.
  • communication skills: as a diesel mechanic, you require written and verbal communication skills. You communicate with clients and fellow technicians, and the skills help you explain concepts clearly.

FAQs about working as a diesel mechanic

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a diesel mechanic.

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