Skills Autobody Repairer in Canada

Find out what skills you typically need to work as an autobody repairer in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Motor vehicle body repairers (NOC 7322).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Review damage report and estimates of repair cost and plan work to be performed
  • Replace front end components, body components, doors and frame and underbody components
  • File, grind and sand body surfaces to be repaired
  • Mask and tape auto body surfaces in preparation for painting
  • Hammer out dents, buckles and defects using blocks and hammers
  • Remove damaged fenders, panels and grills and bolt or weld replacement parts into place
  • Apply primers and repaint surfaces
  • Repair or replace interior components
  • Repair or replace damaged windows, windshields and sunroofs
  • Inspect repaired vehicles and test drive vehicles for proper handling
  • Operate soldering equipment or use plastic filler to fill holes, dents and seams
  • Straighten bent frames using frame and underbody pulling and anchoring equipment
  • Mix paint, blend and match colors

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

Reading
  • Read instructions on labels, e.g. read labels to determine the safe use and storage of paints and thinners. (1)
  • Read letters and comment cards, e.g. read comment cards by customers to determine satisfaction levels. (1)
  • Read memos to learn about work schedules, performance goals and changes to operating procedures. (2)
  • Read brochures and pamphlets, e.g. read brochures to learn about new automotive paint finishes and equipment. (2)
  • Read text entries in a variety of forms, e.g. read instructions to learn how to complete claim forms and notes from shop supervisors requesting the application of special decals. (2)
  • Read safety related instructions, e.g. read hazardous material handling instructions in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and instructions for the use of personal protective equipment, such as air respirators. (2)
  • May read website articles and trade publications, e.g. read articles on manufacturers' websites to learn about new paint booth technologies. (3)
  • Read instruction manuals for the use of computerized databases and paint systems, e.g. read online user guides to learn how to mix specific types of paints and clear coats. (3)
  • Read a variety of equipment manuals, e.g. read manuals to learn how to assemble, use, clean and service air respirators. (3)
Document use
  • Observe hazard and safety icons, e.g. scan icons affixed to paints to learn about the product's toxic properties. (1)
  • Locate data, such as mixing ratios, drying times and expiration dates, on product labels. (1)
  • Locate data on a variety of forms and tables, e.g. find data, such as dates, times and colour codes, on work order forms and drying times, temperatures and ratios on specification tables. (2)
  • Enter data on a variety of forms, e.g. enter times and dates on time sheets and information, such as times, dates, quantities and costs, on work orders. (2)
  • Use colour chips to locate paint codes for non-standard vehicle colours. They locate paint codes by visually comparing different colour chips to vehicle paint colours until direct matches are found. (2)
  • Use colour wheels, colour charts and code books to determine the various tints required to produce a desired colour. (2)
Writing
  • Write short statements on product defect forms to describe defective materials, e.g. write notes to explain that batches of paints do not adhere properly to primed surfaces. (1)
  • Write short notes on forms, e.g. write comments on work orders to explain what work was carried out and describe irregularities. (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)
Numeracy
  • May pay cash-on-delivery for parts, materials and supplies ordered. (1)
  • May tally hours on work orders to determine the total amount of billable time. (1)
  • May measure the viscosity (thickness) of primers and paints by timing drip-rates using Zahn cups. (1)
  • May compare the actual times taken to complete painting tasks to flat rates. (1)
  • May check quantities, prices and totals on supplier invoices and approve them for payment. (2)
  • May create schedules to plan and control the amount of time spent on vehicles. (2)
  • Use ratio sticks and electronic scales to measure quantities of tints and base colours needed to produce different amounts of coloured paint. (2)
  • Estimate how long it will take to complete repairs and painting tasks. They consider the size of the area to be repaired or painted, painting and drying techniques employed, materials used and special requirements, such as pinstriping. (2)
Oral communication
  • Order parts, materials and supplies, such as masking tape, paint and thinners, by telephone. (1)
  • Talk with co-workers about a wide range of topics including paint preparation methods, application techniques, problems and job task scheduling. (2)
  • Participate during meetings, e.g. discuss production problems and workflow processes with co-workers during staff meetings. (2)
  • May explain procedures to apprentices, e.g. explain techniques for sanding feather edges. (2)
  • May speak with customers about the scope and expected cost of paint projects, e.g. describe the type of paint to be used and answer questions customers may have. (2)
  • May talk to dissatisfied customers, e.g. speak with disgruntled customers to learn about their complaints and to negotiate solutions. (3)
Thinking
  • Select the workplace materials needed to complete painting related tasks, e.g. select the appropriate grits of sandpaper needed to achieve desired surface conditions. (1)
  • Assess the need for additional coats of primer after inspecting the results of previous applications. (1)
  • Determine that vehicles will not be ready for delivery as promised. They inform their shop supervisors and tell customers to expect delays. They change work schedules to minimize delays and work overtime to finish priority jobs. (2)
  • Discover that insurance claims allow for too few hours to complete the work. They review and itemize the work required and submit detailed quotes to shop supervisors for follow-up. (2)
  • Cannot apply paint or primers because of the inappropriate use of chemicals, such as washes, solvents and adhesives. Painters determine the best way to remove or neutralize the chemicals by referring to product information sheets or by discussing the problem with other painters. (2)
  • Notice that paint finishes have defects, such as fish-eyes and embedded dirt. They determine probable sources of contamination, assess the severity of defects and decide how to remove them. (2)
  • Decide the order and priority of painting related tasks. They consider the availability of equipment, such as paint booths, and the priority of unfinished work. (2)
  • Decide how to cure fresh paints and primers. They consider the size of the surface areas to be dried and the benefits of using ultraviolet, infrared or air-drying techniques. (2)
  • Make decisions about which paints to use to create desired finishes. They choose paint products according to the types of surfaces being painted, budgets and the results desired by customers. (2)
  • Decide which personal protective equipment to use when painting. They consider the size of the areas to be painted and the types of paint being used, when choosing between facemasks and air respirators. (2)
  • Judge the adequacy of vehicle preparation to determine if cars are ready for painting. They analyze the quality of sanding, how well primers have been applied and surface cleanliness to assess whether painting should proceed as planned. (2)
  • Evaluate whether paint jobs should pass final inspection by considering the severity and frequency of defects, such as blemishes, lines, paint runs and colour mismatches. (2)
  • May assess the skill level of helpers and apprentices. They consider the worker’s ability to follow instructions and complete work within specified timelines and quality guidelines. (2)
  • Schedule the order in which work is carried out to ensure the efficient use of resources, such as paint booths and labour. (2)
  • Locate information about the products they use by reading product information sheets, container labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and by talking with other painters and manufacturers' representatives. (2)
  • Locate information about alternative paint techniques by talking with other automotive painters, reading trade magazines and brochures published by vendors. (2)
  • Experience production problems when important pieces of equipment, such as ventilation systems and paint booths, break down. They inform their shop supervisor about the breakdowns and complete other work until the equipment is repaired. If the equipment cannot be repaired immediately, they may negotiate temporary access to equipment used by co-workers or by painters in other shops. (3)
Digital technology
  • May use personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • Use electronic hand-held wands to scan vehicle paint colours and determine paint colours and codes. (1)
  • Operate computer programs that integrate database functions with electronic measuring devices. Using touch-screen technology, automotive painters enter data to retrieve paint formulas and then follow instructions to select and mix the correct quantity of ingredients to create the desired amount and colour of paint. (2)
  • Use browsers and search engines to access websites operated by paint and equipment suppliers. They navigate websites to locate information, such as equipment specifications and user guides. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by apprenticeship trainers, suppliers, employers and sector councils, e.g. learn about Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) for the collision shop by accessing videos, learning guides and exams delivered over the Internet by the Canadian Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) Council. (2)
Additional informationWorking with Others

Automotive painters work independently when carrying out their duties, but they may be required to coordinate activities with workers from body repair and vehicle preparation departments to ensure a smooth supply of vehicles to be painted. Automotive painters may also work directly with co-workers who assist them with vehicle preparation duties, such as sanding and masking.

Continuous Learning

Employers and vendors encourage continuous learning because products, equipment and vehicles are constantly changing. Training is delivered by employers, vendors, post-secondary technical institutes and industry associations. Learning is also supported through trade magazines, newsletters and bulletins. Some provinces require automotive painters to participate in mandatory courses each year in order to maintain their credentials. Paint vendors may also require automotive painters to attend training in order to become a certified user of their products.

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