If you want to work on diesel engines, which are considered to be the workhorses that power our nation’s trucks, trailers and buses because they deliver more power and are more durable than its gasoline counterpart, then be prepared for some heavy training. In order to become a diesel tractor trailer mechanic you will need plenty of school and hands-on experience working on heavy equipment vehicles, such as a dump truck trailer, truck engines and buses.
You will also be required to study and learn automotive engines, diesel fuel and ignition systems, brakes, transmissions, emissions, diesel power trains, electronic technology fundamentals and advanced diagnostic systems. Truck trailer repair on a semi trailer tractor is definitely more involved than any other type of vehicle maintenance.
Once you have completed your schooling and have passed your tests, you will have to decide what to do with your skills as a tractor trailer mechanic. Most decide to work for an organization that repairs and maintains their own vehicles and equipment. If you choose this path, then you will more than likely spend most of your time working on their semi trailer tractor fleet, performing preventative maintenance so that the equipment will be safe to operate and to eliminate unnecessary wear and tear on parts that may end up breaking down.
It is common for mechanics to handle many different repairs and they may go from working on major engine repairs one day to a simple turn signal problem the next, but they are all equally important to the safe operation of a commercial truck trailer. Of course engine maintenance is becoming increasingly complex, as more electronic components are being used to control the engine operation. Most of the new shops have hand held computers to help diagnose problems and adjust engine functions, which of course means that the mechanics who repair truck trailer machinery and other equipment must be continually learning new techniques.
In the larger shops the trailer mechanic will get their assignments from a service manager or shop supervisor, who have many years under their belts as experienced technicians. They will also normally still assist with repairs on new or used truck trailers, assist in diagnosing problems and will maintain a high level of quality standards. Your role may be varied, as you may be asked to take on an apprentice, you may work as a team with another mechanic or you may assist someone with heavy work, such as removing a transmission or engine. Many technicians may have qualified through years of hands on-work, yet most employers are looking for those mechanics who have completed school training and obtained their certificate.