what is an auto electrician?

Auto electricians inspect, install, repair and maintain electronic systems in motor vehicles. After working for a few years, you can pursue career advancement as a fleet repair supervisor.

Your job involves using advanced diagnostic equipment, hand tools and specialised electrical instruments. As an auto electrician, typical vehicle repairs include fixing alternators, air conditioning systems and lights. You can also work on electrical wiring, repair vehicle safety systems and troubleshoot the latest electronic devices in new vehicle models.

The driving factor of becoming an auto electrician is your curiosity about how things work. Working as an auto electrician provides a decent salary and great daily satisfaction if you have a natural aptitude for investigating electrical and mechanical problems. You require a variety of skills and knowledge to become an auto electrician. For instance, knowledge of electrical systems results from curiosity about how vehicles work. You also develop creative solutions for fixing various problems.

As an auto electrician, you work in vehicle garages, repair shops or car dealerships. Opportunities are also available in industrial companies that assemble or manufacture vehicle parts or industries that use heavy vehicles like mining.

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average auto electrician salary

As an auto electrician, you earn $24 - $44 an hour. The remuneration package depends on experience and educational qualifications. In an entry-level role, you earn $24 per hour, while experienced automotive electricians receive a remuneration package of $44 per hour.

what factors affect the salary of an auto electrician?

Your remuneration package as an auto electrician depends on your qualifications and work experience. When you are new to the role with prevocational training, you are likely to earn less than an auto electrician with apprenticeship training and a New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Electrical Engineering (Level 4). An apprenticeship gives you work experience and relevant skills to improve your experience and qualifications.

The company you work for affects your remuneration. As an auto electrician, you work in various industries, from vehicle assembling companies to businesses with large fleets of vehicles that require an onsite auto electrician. For instance, when you work in mining industries and fleet operations businesses, you repair and maintain large vehicles and earn a higher salary.

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types of auto electricians

Some types of auto electricians include:

  • front-end technicians: your job involves handling all front-end repairs in a vehicle. That includes arranging the wheels, axles and frames to ensure proper alignment.
  • air conditioning auto electrician: as an auto electrician, you can specialise in repairing vehicles' heating and air conditioning systems. You diagnose the sources of malfunctions and troubleshoot the problems to ensure the systems work as expected.
  • brake auto technicians: since braking systems have extensive electrical connections, you ensure they function as expected. You perform a diagnostic test to identify the source of the problem before performing the necessary repairs.

working as an auto electrician

As an auto electrician, you repair defects in motor vehicles, which requires mechanical aptitude. If you are interested in the role, check out the duties, work environments and career outlook.

Focused male looking down to phone in production site.
Focused male looking down to phone in production site.

education and skills

There are no specific requirements to become an automotive electrician. However, employers usually prefer you to have a qualification and full driver's licence for the type of vehicle you are working on.

Industry training organisation MITO oversees automotive electrician apprenticeships.

To become qualified you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Electrical Engineering (Level 4).

auto electrician skills and competencies

Some of the personal attributes you need as an auto electrician include:

  • knowledge of electrical systems: unless you're an electrical savant, you won't start from scratch. Your intense curiosity about how things work inspires you to learn about vehicle electrical systems, tools and safety precautions. Knowledge of such systems makes you an excellent problem-solver since you know the functions of each part.
  • mechanical aptitude: this helps you quickly absorb new information about mechanical systems. Most auto electricians intuitively grasp theoretical and practical applications of scientific principles like displacement and the results of forces on objects.
  • electronic knowledge: as an auto electrician, you already understand how circuit boards, processors and chips work. Having some computer management and programming skills gives you an extra advantage.
  • understanding diagnostic equipment: diagnostic equipment narrows down electrical problems automatically. Being proficient in using the equipment to diagnose vehicle issues is crucial.
  • familiarity with vehicle makes and models: your knowledge of various vehicle models is critical in making proper repairs and replacements. Auto electricians also identify classes of vehicles and rental agency classification systems.

FAQs about working as an auto electrician

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an auto electrician.

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