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Auto Electrician vs. Mechanic: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Auto electricians and mechanics are both responsible for repairing and maintaining vehicles. However, their job duties and required skillsets differ. If you’re interested in a career in automotive repair, learning about the differences between these positions can help you choose the path that’s right for you. In this article, we compare and contrast auto electricians and mechanics, including their job duties, necessary skills and average salaries.

What is an Auto Electrician?

An Auto Electrician is a specialist in the electrical systems of vehicles. They diagnose and repair electrical faults in cars, trucks and other vehicles. Auto Electricians often work in repair shops and garages, but may also be employed by dealerships or as mobile technicians. They use a variety of tools and testing equipment to identify electrical problems and make repairs. Auto Electricians may also install aftermarket electrical components or systems, such as alarms, stereos or GPS units.

What is a Mechanic?

Mechanics are responsible for inspecting, repairing and maintaining vehicles. They work on cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles with engines. Mechanics use a variety of tools to diagnose problems and make repairs. They may use hand tools, such as wrenches and screwdrivers, or power tools, such as drill presses and lathes. Mechanics often specialize in a particular type of vehicle, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles or boats. They may also specialize in a particular type of repair, such as brakes, transmissions or engines.

Auto Electrician vs. Mechanic

Here are the main differences between an auto electrician and a mechanic.

Job Duties

Both electricians and mechanics have similar job duties, such as diagnosing vehicle issues, repairing vehicles and communicating with customers. However, the duties of an auto electrician may differ from those of a mechanic because of the type of vehicles they work on. For example, an auto electrician may only work on electric vehicles, whereas a mechanic may work on any type of vehicle.

In addition, an auto electrician has specific job duties related to electricity that a mechanic does not perform. For example, an auto electrician may test electrical systems to determine the cause of a vehicle’s issue or install new electrical components. A mechanic typically uses tools, such as stethoscopes and torque wrenches, that an auto electrician also uses.

Job Requirements

Auto electricians and mechanics typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the field. However, many employers prefer candidates who have completed a formal training program at a vocational school or community college. These programs usually last one to two years and cover topics like engine repair, brakes, transmissions and electrical systems. Many auto electricians and mechanics also pursue certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). To earn ASE certification, candidates must pass a series of exams that test their knowledge in different areas of vehicle repair.

Work Environment

Auto electricians work in clean, well-lit environments. They may spend time on their knees or standing for long periods of time while working on vehicles. Auto electricians may also work with hazardous materials and use heavy machinery to complete repairs.

Mechanics work in dirty, messy environments where they often get grease and oil on their clothing. Mechanics may lift heavy objects and perform other physically demanding tasks.


There are several similarities in the specific skills used by auto electricians and mechanics. Both need to have a strong understanding of how cars work, be able to diagnose problems and have excellent problem-solving skills. They also both use tools on a daily basis, so they need to be comfortable using a variety of hand and power tools.

However, there are some differences in the specific skills used by these two professions. Auto electricians need to have a strong understanding of electrical systems, as they are responsible for diagnosing and repairing electrical issues in cars. Mechanics, on the other hand, focus more on the mechanical components of cars, such as the engine, transmission and suspension. As a result, they need to have a strong understanding of how these systems work and be able to identify and repair problems.


The average salary for an auto electrician is $52,438 per year. Mechanics have an average salary of $50,238 per year. Both roles may see their salaries vary depending on the type of work they’re doing, their location and their experience level. Both types of professionals may earn other benefits as part of their compensation package.


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