Do car mechanics get paid well?

I'm thinking of becoming a car mechanic. My cousin tells me mechanics get paid a lot of money, but he's been the top mechanic at every shop he's worked at, now he runs a shop that is owned by a franchise. He is very knowledgeable on fixing cars. Everyone I have spoken to has told me that he knows his stuff, especially when it comes to working on German luxury cars Mercedes and BMWs. So as you can see, he obviously gets paid a lot of money for what he does, and he used to work 7 days a week.

I love cars, and I think it would be cool to work on them, but I have also read a bunch of reviews from mechanics that say the pay is **** for the work that you do and you get no appreciation, you are basically working as a slave in a shop. You are working long hours, just making enough money to get by. I'm thinking of just entering the IT field instead, but I'm not sure.

Mechanics, what are your thoughts and advice?

Update:

Thanks to those who answered. I likely won't pick a favorite answer as it seems most of these answers are from everyone's own experience. Thank you for answering! :)

8 Answers

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  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Several of my friends are ASE certified and/or factory trained mechanics.  One worked for Toyota/Lexus dealerships for years, now he manages a shop for a guy.  Another worked for Chrysler before opening his own shop, and my brother-in-law works for Chevrolet.  All of them make pretty good money - it is pretty hard work (and occasionally frustrating), but they generally enjoy it.

    I also know several people who attempted to go into auto mechanics, some went to school for it, while others went to work at various shops - some are doing fairly well, but others simply don't have the inclination or skill necessary to be good mechanics, and many of them have just ended up being shop grunts (changing tires/oil, etc.).

    One of the ways the guys working for dealerships make a lot of money is that every job they do has a set number of hours allotted to do it - but if they can do it in less time (while still doing it correctly), they can still bill the full time.  The guy who worked for Toyota said he had a bunch of 4-Runners come in with a factory recall on the transfer case.  They had 4 hours/each alloted to them, but it was because you had to disassemble some other stuff - just to get one of the four bolts out.

    Someone figured out that you could simply take three of the bolts out, back the fourth out and cut it off to get it out, and then reassemble with three of the original bolts, and one *slightly* shorter bolt without any problem.  This made it to where they could feasibly knock out 4 of them in a 10 hour shift, and get paid for 16 hours of work (Toyota may or may not have been happy if this got back to them, but apparently it never did).

  • M.
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    If you want to be a back yard or DIY mechanic, you can get by with some basic tools and equipment and some sources for information. 

    If you want to be a general automotive mechanic, you need to learn and understand about mechanical parts of cars and how they work and how to test them and how to remove them and how to install them. 

    Then there are electrical parts of cars.  Wiring diagrams and test lights and gauges and some special tools are necessary.

    Then there are electronic parts of cars.  More wiring diagrams and complicated methods of operation and special test equipment and perhaps more special tools are required.

    Next is air conditioning.  A very specialized area.  Special theory.  Special equipment.

    You can change glass and interiors.

    You can repair and paint car bodies.

    All areas are about knowledge (your understanding of what is involved) and tools and equipment.

    You need to be aware of workplace safety.  You don't want a raised car to fall onto the ground or onto a mechanic.

    You dont want to remove nuts or bolts and have a powerful spring released into your body.

    There is so much involved.

    I'd suggest that you take automotive repair classes in a school of some sort if you intend to have a career in automotive repair. 

    -Engine overhaul mechanic and general automotive mechanic since 1972

  • 1 month ago

    Most mechanics are on flat rate and labor times are getting shorter even though more labor is required. I've quoted labor times on Alldata where a radiator pays over 3 hours to replace on a early 2000's vehicle and it was the easiest thing ever. Just zap the bolts off the top support, disconnect the hoses and cooler lines and out she comes. Took longer to bleed it. Now you got to remove the front wheels, fender liners, front fascia and it's more labor intensive but it pays 1 hour. That's where it's going and it's only gonna get worse. You lose your *** on most all jobs unless you're doing flushes or stuff like that. Get this. On a Ram truck with a Cummins it pays 6 hours to replace the engine and that's cab removal and everything. It pays about 9 hours on a Jeep Cherokee and it comes right out the top. 

  • 1 month ago

    GOOD mechanics can earn a lot of money. Not so good mechanics don't tend to earn as much. FORGET whatever the articles say and talk to actual mechanics.

    Note: With all the electronics in newer cars, an good mechanic IS in the IT field.

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  • Fred
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Training to be a car mechanic is a lot more complicated than 50 years ago as it is all electronically controlled these days.  The big question is will cars of the future require as much mechanical work.  Many countries are planning to stop gas and diesel powered cars being sold in their countries by 2035.  All cars after that in many countries will be solely electric and require much less mechanical work.  Auto electricians likely will be fine but the normal car mechanic may find work starting to dwindle after that.

      It is hard to work out a safe career these days as things are changing so rapidly with new technologies.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Retired after almost 40 years in the trade - bad back, hearing is gone, lungs are full of crap, had to sell my house and buy a condo to retire.

    I worked for dealerships and private shops over the years and never made what I would call a great living and I consider myself at the top end in skills. If you want to make much better money you avoid cars and the public and stick to industrial heavy duty mechanics.

  • 1 month ago

    If you're young and learning about some aspect of mechanics on a daily basis while working for someone else you're the low guy on the pay scale.

    Once you complete all the technical training courses available and get certified the game changes.

    So does your pay.

  • 1 month ago

    Doesn't matter. You wont make your fortune that way. Just another blue collar chump, making someone else their fortune. Doesn't matter either way though

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