Diesel-powered engines are typical in many tractors and are quite popular in smaller vehicles, including pickups, passenger vehicles, vans, and other vehicles.
Diesel engine specialists service and maintain the diesel motors that can be found in transportation equipment. Other diesel mechanics work with combines, mobile equipment, or cranes. It is common for technicians to undertake many kinds of repairs on these machines. In most repair shops, diesel mechanics use hand-held hardware to address issues and adjust engine performance.
A diesel mechanic must be willing to adapt to customer needs and to up and coming technologies. Maintaining a diesel engine is becoming very involved as more electronic systems are being used to monitor the engine. For example, control units now monitor and manage fuel injection and engine timing, increasing the engine’s efficiency. Also, new emissions laws may force mechanics to retrofit engines with emissions control systems, such as diesel particulate filters and catalysts, to comply with pollution rules.
Mechanics who work for companies that maintain their own fleet spend most of their days performing preventative maintenance. During a routine maintenance appointment, technicians use a checklist that includes inspecting glow plugs, intercoolers, and steering mechanisms. During this process, diesel specialists repair systems that are not working within spec or remove and replace components that have broken.
Diesel specialists usually work in the shop, but they sometimes repair vehicles on the road or at the jobsite. Technicians may be part of a team or be assisted by an apprentice or helper when doing heavy work, such as removing engines. Most service technicians work a normal 40-hour week, although some may work overtime, depending on their industry. A growing number of facilities have changed their hours to speed repairs and be more accessible to customers. Several companies provide maintenance and repair service any day of the week.
Most mechanics do an assortment of diesel engine repairs. Others specialize in rebuilding engines or in repairing cylinder heads. Still others repair large natural gas powerplants used for generators and other industrial equipment.
A diesel specialist can do a variety of things on the job. These include ensuring the proper handling of all testing and repair tools, inspecting the engines and detecting malfunctions, leading a team of technicians and delegating necessary work to them, assembling engine parts, maintaining inventory of spare parts, and conducting training activities for junior mechanics.
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