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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Transport Trailer Technicians (7321)

Transport Trailer Technicians inspect, diagnose, repair and service mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of cars, buses, and light and commercial transport trucks. They are employed by motor vehicle dealers, garages and service stations, automotive specialty shops, transportation companies and retail establishments which have automotive service shops. This unit group also includes mechanical repairers who perform major repairs and replacement of mechanical units on newly assembled motor vehicles. They are employed by motor vehicle manufacturing companies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read notes from supervisors giving work instructions for a particular trailer. (1)
  • Read service bulletins and up-grade sheets from manufacturers that provide troubleshooting and diagnostic information. (2)
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) guidelines as part of required training. (2)
  • Read a variety of trade magazines to learn about trailer repair. (2)
  • Read step-by-step instructions given on labels. For example, they will read the installation instructions given on a 5th Wheel Rebuild Kit. (2)
  • Read directives from the Ministry of Transport, such as an instruction to pull off all wheels to make an effective safety inspection. (2)
  • Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to locate information about hazardous materials encountered on the shop floor. (3)
  • Read manuals to find service, troubleshooting, and repair information. (3)
  • May read about new product information and procedures on suppliers' websites. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Identify WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) icons on the shop floor. (1)
  • Complete checklists. For instance, they will fill in the Power Unit checklist. Some checklists have up to 50 items. (1)
  • May make drawings. For example, they will sketch the outline of a trailer indicating the part of the trailer requiring structural repair. (1)
  • May use conversion charts when converting from metric to imperial. (2)
  • May construct simple assembly drawings. For example, they will make a drawing to show how one piece of metal should fit within another, providing all necessary measurements. (2)
  • Read and enter words, numbers, codes, and short notes on service/preventative maintenance sheets. (2)
  • Read instructions on work orders and fill in information such as mechanic identification, trailer information, time estimates and actual time of work, part numbers, and short notes about the completed work. (2)
  • Complete government inspection certificate checklists. They fill in vehicle information, mechanic identification, and inspections codes. For each inspection item, a reference number is given that corresponds to a page number in the manual. The manual gives the method of inspection and acceptance criteria. (3)
  • Interpret troubleshooting diagrams and charts in service manuals. Some of the charts may use colour to differentiate information. For example, the Trailer Systems Troubleshooting Guide uses 9 colours, each showing different valves and boosters. (3)
  • Use schematic drawings. For instance, they will look at a wiring schematic for a trailer when checking for problems with a heater. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Fill in words and phrases and write short notes on work orders, service/preventative maintenance sheets and inspection forms. (1)
  • May write notes to the supervisor explaining problems with a particular trailer or repair process. (1)
  • May write notes to the parts department or supervisor requesting service manuals. (1)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Track and adjust the amount of time that has been scheduled to complete various tasks. (1)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure the length of a piece of metal to be cut. (1)
  • May need to convert millimetres to inches when working with parts or manufacturers' specifications from the United States. (2)
  • Calculate the area of an inside trailer wall to be re-fitted with plywood panels. (2)
  • Measure the distance from the wheel rim to the kingpin on the roadside and curbside of a trailer when inspecting the alignment of the front axle on a trailer, keeping the proper tension on the tape measure to ensure an accurate reading. They calculate the difference between the measurements to 1/16th inch, and if the axle needs to be adjusted, they repeat the process until the measurements meet specifications. (3)
  • Measure the width of one light and the length of the filler plate, then determine the placement of the lights on the filler plate based on the measurements taken and the number of lights to be used. After laying out the lights, they measure to see that the lights are evenly spaced. (3)
  • Measure brake lining thickness using vernier calipers and measure brake drum diameter and eccentricity using a dial indicator. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Check reefer unit hours on the control unit to monitor maintenance and inspection requirements. (1)
  • Compare the measurement of wear on a tire tread to Department of Transport specifications. (1)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the amount of time to complete a job listed on a work order based on knowledge of work processes and time requirements. (1)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Ask co-workers for assistance. (1)
  • Discuss with co-workers the work that needs to be done on a specific trailer. (1)
  • Request parts from the parts department. (1)
  • May talk to government inspectors that visit the shop. (1)
  • May talk to a driver about the problems with a particular trailer. (1)
  • May discuss with customers their concerns with a particular trailer. (2)
  • Ask for and receive verbal instructions from the supervisor. (2)
  • May advise the supervisor of inspection failures and may offer solutions to the problem. (2)
  • Communicate with manufacturers' representatives during training seminars about new products and procedures. (2)
  • Provide detailed advice to apprentices learning the trade. (3)
  • May coach co-workers on repair and inspection procedures. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find that they do not have a part they require for a particular job. They will talk to the supervisor to discuss the options, which include using a part from another manufacturer, building a part, or contacting the supplier to order a new part. (1)
  • May find that a job is taking longer than expected. They will advise the supervisor of the situation and give reasons for the delay. They will be asked to estimate the additional time needed to complete the job. (1)
  • May find that they need help with a particular job. They will ask a co-worker to help if the time required is small. If help is needed for a longer period of time, they will advise the supervisor of the number of people needed and an estimation of the time commitment necessary to complete the work. (2)
  • May encounter a trailer with water damage on the inside of the trailer. They first determine the source of the problem from a number of possibilities. If they believe there is a crack or hole, they will use a hose to spray water on the outside of the trailer and look for the source of the problem on the inside of the trailer. They will then make the necessary repairs. (2)
  • May work on a unit where the battery that keeps dying. They check for a bad connection, a problem with the alternator, or dirty terminals. If the cause is not found, they will replace the battery. (3)
  • May work on a trailer where a problem with dimming lights has been identitied. They first eliminate the truck as the source of the problem. Using another power outlet, they check each of the components on the unit to diagnose where the problem is. They then make the repair that is needed. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide what parts are needed for a job. (1)
  • Decide when to leave one job to begin working on another trailer that has just come in to the shop based on their assessment of priorities and availability of parts. The supervisor will have input into this decision. (2)
  • Decide what type of welding machine, material or procedure is best suited for a particular job, based on criteria such as the requirements of the job and the standard needed for the repair. There may not be a set procedure in place. (3)
  • Decide to correct an item on a trailer because they believe there is a safety concern even though the acceptance criteria is met at the time of inspection. (4)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Most job task planning for Transport Trailer Technicians is short range, dealing with immediate needs. Work orders prepared by the supervisor govern the job tasks for each day. The Transport Trailer Technicians will choose a work order and then decide how to sequence the tasks. They organize their tools and the parts required at the beginning of each job. When there is a job requiring more than one person, they will co-ordinate the work with others. If the supervisor gives priority to another job, they will leave the trailer they are working on to do the job, and then return to the first trailer once the work is complete. A weekly schedule may be used, with some jobs being planned for several days in advance. (4)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember where they left off on a job.
  • Remember codes used on work orders, service/preventative maintenance sheets and inspection forms.
  • Remember inspection information they gathered while working under the trailer long enough to write it down on the service/inspection sheet.
  • Remember the number and pattern of a blinking light until they can check the corresponding number and pattern in the ABS blink code diagnostic chart when troubleshooting possible Anti-lock Braking System faults.
Finding Information
  • Access WHMIS and other safety information from materials kept at the safety/ first aid station. (1)
  • Consult the repair manual or inspection manual for information about requirements and procedures. (1)
  • Look up information in suppliers' flyers and catalogues. (1)
  • Ask co-workers and supervisors for information or advice about a particular problem they are having with a trailer. (2)
  • May access service manuals and product information through suppliers' websites. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • They enter number, codes and short notes on work orders, service/preventative maintenance sheets, and inspection forms. (1)
  • They will check a spreadsheet on the computer screen showing each trailer's history when looking for a pattern of problems. (1)
  • They access supplier's websites. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Transport Trailer Technicians work independently on specific jobs, but are generally working with others, such as co-workers and supervisors. They may also work jointly with apprentices.

Continuous Learning

Transport Trailer Technicians are required to take WHMIS training. They keep up-to-date on changes in the industry through interaction with suppliers and from training offered at the workplace. On their own initiative, they will find information about new products and procedures in manuals and manufacturers' written materials, on videos, and from trade magazines. They can locate the information by requesting materials from work or by accessing it on the internet. Apprentices learn by watching and assisting experienced journeypersons. Formal training is provided through technical training institutes or colleges.

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