Note that the essential skills profiles were not updated to reflect the transitions to the Skills for Success model and the 2021 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). For more up-to-date information on the skills required for different occupations, visit the Occupational and Skills Information System (OaSIS) website.

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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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Automotive service technicians (7321)

This profile has been developed by Skills Compétences Canada.

Automotive service technicians inspect, diagnose, repair and service mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of cars and light trucks. They are employed by motor vehicle dealers, garages and service stations, automotive specialty shops and retail establishments that have automotive service shops.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read instructions on labels and product packaging, e.g., read instructions on product labels to learn safe storage procedures. (1)
  • Read reminders and short notes, e.g., read notes from service managers to learn about upcoming meetings. (1)
  • Read short text entries on a variety of forms and technical drawings, e.g., read comments on work orders to learn about vehicle repair requirements. (1)
  • Read safety-related information, e.g., read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn how to safely handle refrigerants used in automotive cooling systems. (2)
  • Read sequenced instructions, e.g., read sequenced instructions to learn how to switch internal relays on and off in programmable logic controllers. (2)
  • Read manufacturers' recall notices and technical service bulletins, e.g., read recall notices and technical service bulletins to learn about recurring faults and approved repair procedures. (3)
  • Read magazine and website articles, e.g., read articles in magazines such as CARS to learn about trends within the industry. (3)
  • Read instruction manuals for the use of computerized tools and equipment, e.g., read user guides to learn how to operate equipment such as scan tools. (3)
  • Read a variety of paper-based and electronic repair manuals to learn how to troubleshoot, service and maintain vehicles, e.g., read manuals to learn how to troubleshoot and repair electrical system faults. (3)
  • Read and interpret government regulations, e.g., read regulations to learn about vehicle inspection procedures, hazardous material disposal and the roadworthiness requirements of vehicles. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Observe hazard and safety icons, e.g., use icons affixed to engine components to learn about burn and electrical shock hazards. (1)
  • View a variety of manufacturers' labels to locate part numbers, serial numbers, sizes, colours and other information. (1)
  • Interpret flowcharts, e.g., interpret multi-step flowcharts to learn how to troubleshoot faulty electrical systems. (2)
  • Enter repair and service data into a variety of work orders, corrective action forms and computerized data management systems, e.g., complete work orders by entering time spent, parts used and steps taken to repair vehicles. (3)
  • Interpret graphs, e.g, interpret sine waves generated by scan tools such as oscilloscopes to troubleshoot faults and establish the condition of vehicle components. (3)
  • Locate data in complex tables, e.g., locate data such as classifications, material coefficients, identification numbers, quantities and costs in complex specification tables. (3)
  • Interpret scale drawings, e.g., use scale drawings to locate drive train components. (3)
  • Interpret assembly drawings, e.g., study assembly drawings to determine the position of parts within complex transmissions. (4)
  • Interpret schematic drawings, e.g., study wiring, hydraulic, emission and vacuum system schematics to locate capacities and components, and to troubleshoot faults. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write brief reminders, e.g., write notes to remind themselves of upcoming deadlines. (1)
  • Write longer notes, e.g., describe needed repairs on work orders and vehicle inspection forms. (2)
  • Write brief emails, e.g., write emails to request help for unusual or difficult repairs. (2)
  • May write reports to describe events leading up to workplace accidents, e.g., write about injuries and events when completing reports for workers' compensation boards. (2)
  • Write long notes, e.g., write long notes on warranty claim forms to justify why the repair should be covered. (2)
  • May write short notes on Web forums and technical support sites to request and provide repair information, e.g., provide detailed explanations and descriptions using technical language. (3)
  • May write longer letters for police and insurance investigations to describe the causes and results of accidents. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May use money math, e.g., use money math to calculate flat rate earnings. (1).
Scheduling, Budgeting and Accounting Math
  • Not a requirement for this occupation.
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Take a variety of measurements using gauges, e.g., use gauges to measure temperatures and oil pressures. (1)
  • Take a variety of dimension measurements using basic hand tools, e.g., measure the length of parts using tape measures and scales. (1)
  • Calculate amounts of glycol and water, and oil and gas mixtures, e.g., use ratios to calculate amounts for oil and gas mixtures. (2)
  • Calculate vehicle system operating parameters, e.g., calculate current flows, voltage drops and electrical resistances. (3)
  • Take precise measurements using specialized tools, e.g., measure mechanical parts, such as cylinder walls, brake disks and bearings using calipers and dial micrometers. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare measurements of energy, dimension, speed, horsepower, temperature and torque to specifications, e.g., compare the measurements of amperage to original equipment manufacturers' specifications to determine the operating condition of batteries and electrical systems. (1)
  • Calculate summary measures to monitor the progression of faults and wear, e.g. average multiple energy readings to determine the condition of batteries. (2)
  • Analyze pressure, power, torque, compression and electrical energy readings to assess vehicle performance and troubleshoot faults, e.g., analyze a series of electrical readings produced by computerized scan tools to determine the cause of charging system faults. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the amount of time required to complete repairs.(1)
  • Estimate the useful life remaining for parts, such as tires, brake pads and exhaust systems.(2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Listen to announcements made over public address systems. (1)
  • Speak to partspersons and suppliers, e.g., talk to suppliers to order parts and establish delivery times. (1)
  • May talk to customers to respond to questions and complaints, gather information about needed repairs, explain vehicle maintenance procedures and discuss the results of inspections and repairs. (2)
  • Talk to service managers about a wide variety of topics, e.g., discuss billing procedures, work assignments and methods to enhance customer service. (2)
  • Exchange technical repair and troubleshooting information with apprentices, co-workers, colleagues and manufacturers, e.g., explain complex repair procedures to apprentices and discuss unusual electronic control module faults with manufacturers' technical representatives. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Are unable to meet repair deadlines due to heavy workloads and projects that take longer than anticipated to complete. They ask their service managers to prioritize repairs, enlist the help of co-workers and may work overtime to complete high priority work. (2)
  • Are unable to repair vehicles because specifications and instructions are unavailable. They consult service managers, co-workers, suppliers and colleagues for advice and research websites to locate useable information. (2)
  • Find that work is delayed due to equipment breakdowns and incorrect or unavailable parts. They inform service managers about delays and carry out other work until equipment repairs are completed and the needed parts and supplies arrive. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide the order of repair and maintenance jobs, e.g., give priority to small tasks that can be turned around quickly. (1)
  • Decide which tools to use, procedures to follow and tests to perform to diagnose and repair vehicles. (1)
  • Decide that a vehicle component cannot be repaired. They consider the condition of parts and regulations governing vehicle roadworthiness requirements. (2)
  • Decide the most efficient course of action to complete particular jobs, e.g., determine troubleshooting and repair sequences to efficiently diagnose and repair vehicle faults. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Judge the accuracy of readings taken using equipment such as gas analyzers and dynamometers. They compare readings to other indicators of engine performance, such as vibration and noise. (1)
  • May evaluate the performance of apprentices. They consider apprentices' abilities to diagnose and troubleshoot vehicle faults, locate information such as specifications, and complete repairs effectively. (2)
  • Judge the condition of parts, e.g., inspect sprockets for signs of cracks, missing teeth and loose fit. They examine tires and belts for signs of cracks and exposed cords. (2)
  • Evaluate the severity of vehicle defects and deficiencies. They consider criteria, such as roadworthiness regulations, safety and harm to the environment. (3)
  • Evaluate the quality of repairs. They consider the results of test drives and data from equipment, such as gas analyzers and scan tools. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Technicians may be assigned jobs one work order at a time or as a set of multiple work orders to be completed during a day. If there is flexibility in job choice, they prioritize jobs for efficiency, often taking care of routine or smaller jobs first to allow more time for complex repairs. They may be assigned jobs based on areas of expertise. Most technicians work on one job at a time unless co-workers need assistance or work is delayed until parts arrive. Planning must allow for unexpected occurrences, such as emergency jobs for fleet customers who rely on their vehicles for work. (2)

Most technicians develop daily work plans to strategically organize their time. Sequencing multiple tasks for efficiency is a major part of the job and critical to meeting deadlines. (2) )

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the faults associated with error and trouble codes for various makes of vehicles.
  • Remember previous repairs that give insight into current jobs of a similar nature.
  • Remember the names of frequent customers and the makes of their vehicles.
Finding Information
  • Find information on stickers, labels, assembly drawings, repair manuals and websites to determine proper use, application and installation of parts and supplies. (1)
  • Review displays on computerized scanning equipment, onboard vehicle sensors and hand-held diagnostic tools to gain operational information about vehicles. (2)
  • Locate information about mechanical faults by reviewing work orders, completing test drives and physical inspections, using scan tools and by speaking with customers and co-workers. (3)
  • Locate troubleshooting and repair procedures for unusual faults by calling technical support lines, requesting assistance on Internet blogs and website forums, and by reading repair manuals and technical service bulletins. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology Word Processing
  • May write letters to customers, police and insurance brokers to present the results of mechanical inspections. (2)
Spreadsheet Software
  • May use spreadsheets, e.g., technicians at flat-rate shops may use spreadsheets to record and track billable hours. (2)
Bookkeeping, Billing and Accounting Software
  • Not a requirement for this occupation.
Communication Software
  • Exchange e-mail with other technicians, service managers, colleagues at other locations and manufacturer support specialists. (2)
Presentation Software
  • Not a requirement for this occupation.
Graphics Software
  • Use graphics software, e.g., use graphics software incorporated into scan tools to access oscilloscope data displays such as signal values and ignition scope patterns. (2)
Data Bases
  • Use specialized automotive service databases to access job assignments, input information on new jobs, retrieve and review past service information, and complete work orders. (2)
  • Use databases to retrieve repair information and technical drawings. (2)
  • Access manufacturers' web sites to access recent technical service bulletins, parts and component information, recall notices, frequently asked questions and specifications. (2)
  • Use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by suppliers and employers. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access articles to stay current on industry trends and practices. (2)
Other Digital Technology
  • Use hand-held devices such as mulitimeters to take electrical energy readings. (1)
  • Use electronic equipment to access data such as fault codes from onboard computers and sensors. (1)
  • Use scan tools such as oscilloscopes to take energy readings and troubleshoot faults. (2)
  • Use laptops connected to digital logic control modules to download data designed to regulate a vehicle's operating parameters. (2)
  • Use computerized equipment such as wheel alignment machines to complete repairs. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working With Others

Most automotive service technicians work independently on jobs outlined in work orders. They may assist others with jobs that require two people or are within their specific area of expertise.

Continuous Learning

Constant change in the industry makes it important for automotive service technicians to stay current with the latest technology. They learn on the job, in organized information activities and in work discussion groups. Their training is provided by vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers, employers and associations. They also advance their skills by reading work-related magazines, periodicals and automotive web sites.

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