Auto Body Technician Average Salary

Auto Body Technician Average Salary – “I work so hard that someday I can be a master mechanic and run my own shop.”

Auto body technician Justyn Acosta carefully removes masking tape from a BMW after a fresh coat of paint. Photo courtesy of Justin Acosta

Auto Body Technician Average Salary

Auto Body Technician Average Salary

Every morning at 7 a.m., Justin Acosta leaves his home in the Bronx for Sunny’s Autobody, where the 22-year-old works as an auto body technician, but does a lot more than fix fender benders. “I’m the floor manager, the delivery boy and the boss’s right-hand man,” he says. In a typical day’s shop, you’ll find him fixing dents, rocking and repairing bumpers, and even repairing radiators. He once had to sand and paint the entire exterior of a guy’s truck after an ex-girlfriend made sure the entire truck was covered in scraps. Today he starts work on a 2016 Acura ILX with quarter panel damage from a collision with another car.

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“I’ve always loved cars, so I went to college to learn how to build them,” said Acosta, who earned an associate’s degree in auto body technology and took additional classes toward a degree. He earned his inspector’s license in college and is I-Car certified in collision repair and refinishing. Acosta knew nothing about fixing cars growing up. But he remembers seeing the amount his family invests in their upkeep. “I remember thinking, if I know how to fix that bumper or change the oil, I can do it myself,” he said. That’s when he decided to learn how to repair cars and make it his career. He bought a completely moldy 2000 Honda Civic for $1,300 after sitting in a parking lot for months. He restored the car, replaced the engine, suspension, wheels and even repainted the front and rear bumpers.

The summer after his freshman year of college, a family friend offered Acosta his first job at a store. He remembers the long hours of summer sunshine and the sweltering heat, but his favorite part was being able to take a car apart and put it back together. “You have all these individual Lego pieces and they’re not much to look at on their own. But my favorite part is being able to take those individual pieces and build something.”

Technicians and technicians will have no trouble finding work due to the current labor shortage. The biggest shortage is for technicians skilled in repairing highly specialized automotive systems, and “there’s a huge shortage in all skilled trades. Especially in the automotive industry,” said Gilbert Wistrup, assistant professor of automotive at the State University of New York at Morrisville. . “I get an average of two calls or emails a week from shop owners looking for technicians.” You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become an auto body technician, but Acosta says he’s not very good at his job without special training, which includes courses in mechanics. “They taught us about electrical systems and I had to take courses on the chassis, which is the inner frame of a car,” Acosta said. “A guy came in and needed his front string replaced, which is something you take to a mechanic, but I know how to do it, so I did it.” The average auto body technician earns $40,580 a year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and his family and friends tell him he could make more — but he says he’s still learning, so he doesn’t mind the relatively low wages. ropes He started working at Sunny in May after dropping out of college and still lives with his parents. He believes that all the extra work he does will benefit him in the long run. “I’m always the first one to come to work and most days I’m the last one to leave, but I work really hard because I hope to one day be a master mechanic and run my own shop.”

While the shop where Acosta works repairs scratches and dents, does paint jobs and replaces windshields, the rise of computerization in automotive systems means they can’t do some repairs. For example, when a Mercedes was brought in with airbag suspension, the airbag inflation sensor had to be replaced, and a computer had to be connected to the car to do that. Sunny didn’t have the right equipment so they had to call someone to do it for them. “More and more car functions are controlled by a computer or a module,” Wistrup said. “This makes the job of the auto mechanic or collision technician more difficult.” Acosta says he takes extra care when repairing hybrids that have an orange cable in the main battery pack. If you don’t unplug the car while you’re working on it, you could get electrocuted. But some jobs require old-fashioned mechanical skills. Earlier this week, for example, “I spent all day replacing an engine, something that had to be taken to a mechanic, but I’ve replaced engines before, including my own car,” he said. For anyone looking to repair vehicles, Acosta urges them to be patient and not let their inexperience discourage them. “Take your time when fixing a car, if you Again and again, in a hurry, you can make a mistake.” He adds, “If you want to get into bodywork, but you don’t know anything, don’t let that stop you because this industry is booming.”

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Mark Grayston, shop foreman at Otto’s BMW, wearing a TSARA Technical Support and Research Assistant headset at the service center at Otto’s BMW, 1275 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, PA on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. Read more ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ Photographer

Mark Grayston looks like a computer engineer or programmer, with goggles on his head, looking at two monitors and reading commands into his software interface.

Auto Body Technician Average Salary

Grayston isn’t in tech, but his job shares more and more similarities with workers who spend their days grappling with software. Grayston, 40, is at the keyboard at Auto’s BMW in West Chester, looking for repair instructions and a diagnostic action plan on a 2021 BMW X6 40.

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Future Eyes is the TSARA interface – Technical Support and Research Support – BMW’s proprietary software that allows employees in the shop to diagnose and repair cars, even contacting engineers and experts to talk through repairs.

Looking through the eyepiece, Grayston can flip through online shop manuals, view a diagram of an area of ​​the engine or a specific part, and share information with a specialist so the person can see what the mechanic sees.

“Digitalisation has taken over the car industry in the last year or so,” said Auto’s shop steward Greyston, who oversees 26 BMW technicians at the West Chester car dealership.

While many people still think of auto repair as dirty, back-breaking grunt work, today’s field is different from that idea.

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While the trade is changing, the core of the craft, the underlying skills, remain, incorporating more sophisticated tools to diagnose and repair increasingly complex vehicles that can truly be described as computers on wheels.

“Knowledge and practicality and diagnostics are still there,” said Chris Clayton, Auto’s service manager. “You still have to do your due diligence.”

The terms “mechanic” and “votech,” short for vocational school, have long fallen out of favor — it’s “automotive repair technician” and “vocational technical education,” said Mary Lynn Alvarino, director of operations for the auto dealers. Greater Philadelphia. The title upgrade reflects the fundamental transformation taking place across the automotive industry.

Auto Body Technician Average Salary

Consider the complexity of today’s vehicles, said Jeffrey Jennings, senior technical practice manager for Volvo Car Americas. The internal combustion engine will one day be found only in museums, as more and more automakers convert their fleets to electric cars. Most cars already have autonomous driving components — automatic braking systems, adaptive cruise control.

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“All the different radar/lidar systems we have in cars now are more complex than the Boeing 787,” Jennings said.

While the average car had about 10 million lines of code in 2010, that number has now increased tenfold and beyond, according to McKinsey & Co. and Bosch. Ford’s F-150 presentation at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas said the truck had 150 million lines of code.

A 2018 McKinsey report, “Ready to Test: The Automotive Aftermarket in 2030,” said some.

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