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Motorcycle Mechanic vs. Auto Mechanic: What Are the Differences?

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

Motorcycle mechanics and auto mechanics are both responsible for repairing and maintaining vehicles. However, there are several key differences between these two positions. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between motorcycle mechanics and auto mechanics, and we provide helpful tips for those interested in pursuing a career in either field.

What is a Motorcycle Mechanic?

Motorcycle Mechanics repair and service motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and other small engine vehicles. They inspect vehicles to diagnose issues, then they repair or replace damaged parts. Motorcycle Mechanics might work in repair shops, dealerships or racing teams. They use a variety of hand tools and power tools to disassemble and reassemble vehicles. They often use computerized diagnostic equipment to identify issues. Motorcycle Mechanics might also specialize in a particular type of vehicle, such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

What is an Auto Mechanic?

An Auto Mechanic is a professional who repairs and maintains automobiles. They are also responsible for diagnosing and troubleshooting mechanical problems. Auto Mechanics typically work in repair shops, but some may be self-employed or work in dealerships. They use a variety of tools to examine vehicles and identify issues. Once they have diagnosed the problem, they will repair or replace the necessary parts. Auto Mechanics must be able to keep up with the latest technology to be able to properly diagnose and fix newer model vehicles.

Motorcycle Mechanic vs. Auto Mechanic

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

Job Duties

Although both motorcycle and car mechanics perform routine maintenance, make repairs and install new parts, their duties can differ. For example, a motorcycle mechanic may need to troubleshoot issues with the engine, transmission, electrical system and brakes. In comparison, an auto mechanic typically focuses on issues with the engine, transmission, brakes and steering systems.

Another difference between the two jobs is that a motorcycle mechanic often performs more advanced repairs, like rebuilding engines and modifying components. Conversely, an auto mechanic tends to focus on basic repairs, such as replacing tires and fixing flat batteries.

Job Requirements

Motorcycle mechanics typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the field. However, some employers may prefer candidates who have completed a postsecondary education program in motorcycle maintenance and repair. These programs are typically offered at technical schools and community colleges and can take one to two years to complete. Motorcycle mechanics must also have a valid driver’s license.

Auto mechanics typically need a high school diploma or equivalent as well. Many auto mechanics complete a formal training program at a trade school, vocational school or community college. These programs typically last one to two years and cover topics such as engine repair, brakes and electrical systems. Auto mechanics must also have a valid driver’s license.

Work Environment

Motorcycle mechanics work in a variety of environments, depending on the type of motorcycle they’re working on. For example, if you’re working on a dirt bike, you may need to travel to different locations and perform repairs outdoors. If you’re working on a street bike, you’ll likely spend most of your time in an indoor repair shop or garage. Auto mechanics typically work in a variety of environments as well, but their work environment is usually more stable than that of a motorcycle mechanic.

Auto mechanics often work in garages, where they can use tools like lifts and hoists to access vehicles for repairs. They also sometimes work in dealerships, where they can provide maintenance services to customers who purchase new cars. Some auto mechanics also work in car rental companies, where they can perform regular maintenance on vehicles before they’re rented out to customers.


Both motorcycle mechanics and auto mechanics need to have a strong understanding of how engines work. They also both use tools to repair and maintain vehicles. However, there are some key differences in the skills that these professionals use on the job.

Motorcycle mechanics typically need to have a higher level of mechanical knowledge as they work with smaller engines that have more intricate parts. They also need to be able to troubleshoot issues quickly as riders may be stranded if their motorcycle is not working properly. In contrast, auto mechanics usually work with larger engines and may have less time pressure to fix issues.

Both motorcycle mechanics and auto mechanics need to have customer service skills. However, motorcycle mechanics often need to have stronger customer service skills as they may need to deal with irate customers who are stranded or late for an appointment. Auto mechanics may have more leeway when it comes to scheduling and may not need to deal with customers directly as much.


The average salary for a motorcycle mechanic is $45,449 per year, while the average salary for an auto mechanic is $52,235 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of work you do, your location and your experience level.


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