Automotive Electrician

Transport and Travel

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Practical or MechanicalAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 2Skill Level 3


Automotive electricians install, maintain, identify faults with and repair electrical wiring and computer-based equipment in motor vehicles. They may also work with related equipment, such as caravans, trailers, earthmoving equipment, mining equipment, marine applications and agricultural equipment. Future Growth Static

Automotive electricians assess vehicles and find faults using diagnostic testing equipment. They also install and repair electrical and electronic equipment – this can be in passenger and commercial vehicles to marine, and in mining equipment. Automotive electricians often interact directly with a customer; asking for clarification of the problem with their vehicle, and then explaining what needs to be done.

ANZSCO ID & Description: 3211: Installs, maintains and repairs electrical wiring and electronic components in motor vehicles (registration or licensing may be required).

Alternative names: Automotive Electrical Fitter, Automotive Electrical Mechanic

Specialisations: Fuel Injection Systems Specialist, Vehicle Computer Specialist

Automotive Electrician working
(Source: NSW Dept Education)

Knowledge, skills and attributes

An automotive electrician needs:

  • a good background in reading, writing and mathematics

  • good eyesight, colour vision and vision for detail

  • enjoy practical and manual work

  • good hand-eye coordination

  • able to approach work in a systematic and thorough way

  • able to keep up to date with technological changes

  • good at technical activities.

  • good problem-solving skills

  • to be able to interact with customers

  • to be able to use hand and power tools confidently

  • to be willing to undertake ongoing training.

Duties and Tasks Checking electrics with meter

Automotive electricians may perform the following tasks:

  • work with computer-controlled engine management systems

  • 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

  • install electrical equipment such as gauges, lighting, alternators and starter motors in vehicles

  • install electrically operated accessories such as radios, heating or demisting equipment, air conditioners, driving lamps and anti-theft systems

  • use meters, test instruments and circuit diagrams to find electrical faults

  • adjust engine control systems and timing to make sure vehicles are running at peak performance

  • test, recondition and replace faulty alternators, generators, starter motors and related items such as voltage regulators and batteries

  • repair or replace faulty ignition, electrical wiring, fuses, lamps and switches

  • use hand tools, specialised electrical tools, instruments and machines, including drills, grinders, presses and lathes

  • solder or weld when repairing electrical parts Car Battery

  • sell and install electrical parts and accessories

  • install, repair and service air conditioning systems.

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Working conditions

An automotive electrician would normally work regular hours, Monday to Friday. Some work on weekends, and travel to customers' homes or workplaces. If they work in the mining industry, it may be on a Fly In/Fly Out basis.

Automotive electricians typically work in a workshop for a self-employed automotive electrician, vehicle dealership, service station or at a mine site. Work may be completed from within the vehicle itself, or else, at a workbench. They usually wear protective clothing.

Tools and technologies

Automotive electricians need to have a good understanding of electrical and electronic systems so that they can repair and install electrical and electronic equipment. They also need to be skilled in using hand and power tools, for example a soldering iron, drill or lathe.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an automotive electrician, you usually have to complete an apprenticeship. The automotive electrician apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

To work as an automotive electrician in Australia, you will need to acquire a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate, or work under the supervision of someone who holds a current certificate. The certificate is available from the Commissioner of Consumer Protection at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety​. A National Police Certificate is required to gain a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate.

Employment Opportunities

Employment of automotive electricians is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The number of vehicles in use continues to rise, and the increasing lifespan of late-model cars and light trucks will further increase demand for qualified workers.


Did You Know?

In the 1860's, George Leclanche of France developed what would be the forerunner of the world's first widely used battery--the zinc carbon cell.

The anode was a zinc and mercury alloyed rod.
(Zinc, the anode in Volta's original cell, proved to be one of the best metals for the job.)

The cathode was a porous cup of crushed manganese dioxide and some carbon. Into the mix was inserted a carbon rod to act as the current collector. Both anode and the cathode cup were plunged into a liquid solution of ammonium chloride, which acted as the electrolyte. The system was called a "wet cell."

Though Leclanche's cell was rugged and inexpensive, it was eventually replaced by the improved "dry cell" in the 1880's.

The anode became the zinc can containing the cell, and the electrolyte became a paste rather than a liquid--basically the zinc carbon cell that is known today.

Dry Cell
(Source: Dry Cell Battery)



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