Automobile Maintenance

What Does an Auto Body Technician Do?

According to an IHS Automotive Survey, the typical car on any given U.S. road is 11.5 years old. People are buying new cars, but they are also keeping their vehicles for longer than ever before. The number of vehicles on the road over 25 years old was 14 million in 2015, but it was only 8 million in 2002.

As Americans hang onto their vehicles for longer, they will inevitably see more auto body damage. Dings, dents, and scratches happen over time. But there’s one group of professionals who help keep America’s cars looking like new.

What does an auto body technician do? Keep reading to learn more.

What Repairs Can an Auto Body Technician Make?

You go to your mechanic when your engine starts making strange noises. But where do you turn if you get into a fender bender?

Auto body technicians repair the exterior damage to a car to replace parts, repair scratches, and pull out dents and dings. Their role requires a keen eye for detail and a great deal of creativity.

The right auto body technician can not only fix a fender bender but restore an entire car, even one that’s been sitting in a damp garage for years. However, what’s possible also depends on the tools at their disposal. For example, this auto body shop has tools and expertise to repair hail damage, which is critical in a place like Texas. But not all body shops or technicians can do that. 

It takes real skill to be an auto body technician, and they’re in short supply around the country as people move away from an interest in the trades.

What Skills Does an Auto Body Mechanic Need?

Technical skills are highly relevant, especially in today’s world, where car systems are more complex than ever. Some auto body technicians choose to go to college and get an Associate’s degree in auto body repair. While you don’t need a degree, it can give you a better sense of the car as a system. For example, you might take classes that help you understand the role of the chassis.

Beyond those skills, you also need soft skills. An eye for detail is critical because the appearance and function are closely related when making repairs. Communication skills are also essential, particularly for complex jobs.

How Much Does an Auto Body Technician Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an auto body technician’s median pay in 2019 was $20.36 per hour or $42,350 per year. It’s worth noting that auto body technicians make substantially more than glass installers, who took home a median pay of $35,790 in 2019.

Consider a Career as an Auto Body Technician

As in the case in so many trades, the number of auto body technicians is shrinking thanks to a skills shortage. Yet, the demand is growing. As people keep their cars longer, they are more likely to need auto bodywork.

Have you thought about becoming an auto body technician? Find some great resources in our DIY auto repair archive.