A master mechanic is a person who is thoroughly and exceptionally skilled in automotive mechanics. An automotive repair shop with a master mechanic will typically state that it is a "one-stop shop" for whatever you may need to have done to your vehicle.
As such, you must receive a good amount of hands-on training and work experience before you can become an ASE-certified master mechanic. Master mechanics have the skills needed to work on cars, trucks, RVs, buses, and a few other vehicle types.
As one, you can essentially repair any part of a vehicle, including the body and the electrical system.
Typical Day for a Master Mechanic
The responsibilities and duties of a master mechanic vary greatly from day to day. You may spend an entire day repairing a vehicle if it's damaged enough or the job is complex, or you may breeze through a bunch of quick fixes.
That being said, master mechanics do the following tasks on a regular basis:
- Repair defective parts on automobiles, including these systems: steering, ignition, suspension, electrical, transmission (manual and automatic), exhaust, engine, braking, fuel supply, cooling, and gasoline
- Repair or replace individual parts such as the rods, plugs, valves, and pistons
- Replace various devices in vehicles such as pumps, carburetors, generators, and starters
- Rewire loose, broken, or damaged wires in the electrical system.
- Repair, replace, and adjust brakes
- Install, replace, and repair various accessories such as a stereo or radio, mirrors, and windshield wipers
- Reconstruct individual parts such as cylinder blocks or crankshafts
- Examine vehicles for damages and discuss the repairs that need to be done with customers
- Perform minor tasks such as replacing or adjusting headlights, replacing tires and aligning the wheels, or changing the oil filter
How to Become a Master Mechanic
Master mechanics must complete vigorous training in order to have the skills to repair cars, trucks, buses, and RVs. To obtain ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) master status, you must pass a series of exams and have at least two years of relevant hands-on experience. You will need to be re-certified every five years.
After taking the initial set of exams and being certified, master mechanics only have to successfully complete the re-certification exams, not the initial ones. The tests are half as long, and the exam fees usually cap at $117.
You can become a master mechanic by passing the tests in a series:
- Exams A1 – A8: topics about general automobile repair and knowledge
- Exams B2 – B5: topics about collision repair
- Exams T2 – T8: topics about heavy truck repair
- Exams S1 – S6: topics about school bus repair
- Exams H1 or H2, plus H3 – H8: topics about transit bus repair
- Exams E1 – E3: topics about truck equipment
ASE also offers a master medium-heavy vehicle certification for master mechanics who want to specialize in diesel engines and medium-heavy automobiles.
The More You Know...
Master mechanics hold a desirable status; they are experienced with the most complicated of repair work, and typically have knowledge that is unmatched. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, mechanics made an average salary of $47,990, and the top 10 percent made $75,100.