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Automotive mechanic: What I do and how much I make

Teon, an automotive technician, shares his passion for fixing cars and the joy of customer satisfaction. He works at City Auto Body and All Georgia Towing, earning $63,000 annually. He emphasizes the importance of continued education, having the right tools, and being a people person in this profession.

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Video transcript

My name is Teon, I'm an automotive technician. I'm 31 years old and my annual salary is $63,000 a year. I word at City Auto Body as well as All Georgia Towing. That's a towing company here in Atlanta, Georgia. First off, City Auto Body is a great place to work. I've been here for quite some time now. It's a family owned business of my uncles, my grandfather, it's a beautiful place to work. Money was not a piece of what brought me to working on cars to being a mechanic. My first car that I ever worked on was a Isuzu Rodeo. You know, my father and I, we changed the brakes in the front yard of our driveway and that's actually what drew me to want to work on cars. Being an automotive mechanic is more so for me, is more so of a hobby because I enjoy it. It's like an adrenaline rush, you know, to fix a vehicle. So when a car come in, they make tools, a diagnostic tools. If you have your check engine light on, you hook that tool up to the bottom of the dashboard and it reads off whatever the issue is. That's the easy part. The hard part is when you don't have that tool. When your car comes in and the wheel's leaning over, they don't make a tool for that. (chuckling) You gotta know exactly what you're doing. You gotta know the correct bolt size, the correct tool you need to be able to take the wheel off, it can be complicated. But if you enjoy what you do, that complication is definitely worth going through. When a vehicle comes into the shop, first thing, I have to look at that car. I have to look at it as if it was mine. What do I have to do to get that car back to perfect shape? So I do an overall walkthrough of the vehicle. Asses the overall problems. Let's say, if a car came in with front end damage and you know, front end damage you gotta get your headlights and depending on where it was hit, you may have structural damage to the wheel. So if those things need to be taken care of, you gotta jack the car up. You know, get the car up off all fours just so you can have a level ground so you can see it. Take the tire off, take the fenders off, take the broken pieces off. And then if it's bent, put it on the frame machine. You know, you pull the dents out, you pull the frame back so that way you can be able to make sure everything lines up together. When you remove your bumpers, your lights, your tires, you find things that you didn't think was broken. You know, so electrical wires, you gotta put your wires back together, you gotta put your headlights back in. You just have to make sure that everything is secure. I will put in eight hours at City Auto Body. Then I will go drive the tow truck for Georgia Towing for about 12 hours. Overall, it's fun and it's definitely exciting too because it's an adrenaline rush, you know. Like I said, being able to pick up the cars and bring them back to the same place where you work, just overall is just fun. I make about 45 over at City Auto Body and about 18 driving the tow truck for All Georgia Towing. That's my annual salary. But you can make up to about 80,000-90,000 annually with continuing certification. Going to trade school. Continued education is definitely important. The technology is growing, you can hook up your phone to your radio now, you know, you can, man, it's so much you can do now you can talk to your car. That's where school comes to play on the electrical side because you have to learn what goes where to be able to fit today's technology. What other things you would need to be a great mechanic is you definitely have to have the right tools for the job. You have to have the passion for the job. You have to be a people person because when people come in, they are not always the happiest. They want to feel comfortable knowing that when they leave their car here, it's gonna be safe, for one, and it's gonna be fixed, for two. So they want it in the best shape possible if not better. You know, seeing my customers smile is the best part ever you know, for the job. And then seeing the car drive off the lot, that's another great point too, you know. When that car drives off, once again, I can see it, I did that.