A career as a mechanic can be rewarding and allow you to work a flexible schedule in a job that continuously challenges your skills. Starting your own mechanic shop gives you even more control over your professional direction, allowing you to specialize in a certain area of auto mechanics and develop your own customer service policies. However, to successfully get your shop off the ground, you need to be prepared with a business plan, shop location and the right tools with which to do your job effectively.
Fixing a car now requires an innate understanding of the computer system that runs it. Technology now has a huge impact on the way cars run, and mechanics must now have the tools to understand -- and repair that technology. Mechanic shop tools for this purpose include a main computer on which to run diagnostics programs and digital manufacturer manuals, a hand-held diagnostic computer, compression gauge and an engine analyzer. These tools assist a mechanic in getting to the root of the problem much faster than traditional diagnostic methods.
While mechanics may use more high-tech equipment to diagnose an auto problem, they still use traditional tools to fix the problem once they discover it. Basic tools for a mechanic shop include power tools -- a pneumatic wrench is one of the more common examples and is used to remove tire bolts. Additional basic tools include wrenches, screwdrivers, drills, lathes, grinding machines, flame-cutting tools, pliers, jacks and hoists. These tools are required for efficient auto repair jobs.
In addition to tools, many automotive repair shops also stock up on products to open a shop. They use these products when fixing cars and they may also sell them retail to the customers. This might include engine oil, transmission fluid, oil funnels and mechanic's rags, freon for the car's air conditioning unit and fuel injection cleaner, among others. Auto parts may also be part of the shop's inventory, including various engine parts, car batteries, brake pads and various hoses and attachments.
While you may have to provide some of the larger tools and all of the diagnostic systems for your shop, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that many mechanics often develop their own cache of tools, sometimes worth thousands of dollars. Therefore, you might invest in larger tools for your mechanic shop, and then require that any mechanics you hire to work in your shop have their own set of tools.
2016 Salary Information for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
Automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a median annual salary of $38,470 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a 25th percentile salary of $28,140, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $52,120, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 749,900 people were employed in the U.S. as automotive service technicians and mechanics.