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Vehicle Electrician career guide

If you’re a practical person and have a soft spot for repairing vehicles of all shapes and sizes, this could be the job for you.

Safeera Sarjoo
14th April 2016
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What is a vehicle electrician?

Vehicle electricians, or auto electricians, concentrate on the electrical parts in motor vehicles. They fit and repair electrical wiring and computer-based systems in cars, caravans, trailers, earth-moving equipment, marine applications and agricultural equipment. Those who get into this line of work will have to be technically knowledgeable in the use of the equipment and machinery they’re repairing and working with. To work in this career you will need good practical skills and problem solving skills. As a vehicle electrician you would work with a variety of electronic systems like electronic ignition, alarms, immobilisers and tracking devices

What are their responsibilities?

Auto/Vehicle electricians perform a range of tasks such as:

  • Take readings, using a laptop or hand-held device connected to an engine’s electronic control unit
  • Service, identify and repair faults on electronically controlled vehicle systems such as electronic fuel injection, electronic ignition, anti-lock braking, cruise control, automatic transmission, airbags and air conditioning
  • Using readings to find faults
  • Filling out repair sheets detailing the work you done
  • Test, recondition and replace faulty alternators, generators, starter motors and related items such as voltage regulators and batteries
  • Repairing or replacing faulty parts

What are some of the characteristics that suit this role?

An auto electrician should have good practical skills for using a range of tools and electronic instruments. They also have to have the ability to work methodically and pay close attention to detail. In addition to this they should also:

  • Have good problem-solving skills
  • Have the ability to read electrical wiring diagrams
  • Be able to approach work in a systematic and thorough way
  • Have the ability to work alone and as part of a team
  • Exert good communication and customer care skills
  • Have good hand-eye coordination
  • Demonstrate the ability to keep up to date with developments in engine and electrical technology

Entry requirements and Training

In order to gain entry to this career, apprenticeships are available. To get on an apprenticeship you would need four GCSEs, grades A to C, however this varies depending on the college and training provider.

If you choose not to do an apprenticeship, then it is possible to attend a college course in vehicle repair before you look for work. There are some relevant courses like a Level 1 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Systems Maintenance.

Though these qualifications cover some electrical work, you can then go on to take additional courses to increase your knowledge and specialise in auto electrical work. Depending on the vehicles you’re working on you may need a driving licence, which could also include LGV (lorries) or PCV (buses)

You usually receive on the job training once you’re in a job and as mentioned you can then go on to do further training such as a Level 2/3 Diploma in Auto Electrical and Mobile Electrical Principles.

There’s also Level 4 qualifications are available for experienced staff including:

  • BTEC HND Diploma in Automotive Diagnostics and Management Princples
  • IMIAL Certificate in Advanced Automotive Studies for Master Technicians

The Automotive Technician Accreditation programme can help improve your career prospects. This voluntary scheme is run by the Institute of the Motor Industry and assesses your knowledge and skills in your particular niche. If you meet the standards required you are then accredited by the IMI.

There are also other qualifications that you would need in order to meet EU legislation. For example, newly qualified mobile air condition systems (MAC) technicians must have gained in-house training or a qualification approved by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

 

Think you could have a successful career as a vehicle electrician? Find the ideal course now on Training and Courses.

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