Modern cars have gotten pretty complex, with computers powering many of the systems that make our vehicles safe, efficient and reliable. Those computers and their accompanying electrical systems can be quite complex. To make matters worse, the average car now uses 30 or more computers that control things like braking, infotainment, cruise control and the safety features you rely on. This equipment all makes a vehicle better to drive, but it does pose a bit of an issue when it comes to maintaining and repairing cars. There’s no such thing as a perfect electrical component, and living in a hot car means that all systems will eventually need to be serviced. That’s where auto electricians come in. Auto electricians are specifically trained to work on the computers and other electrical equipment in cars, trucks and other vehicles and conduct vehicle diagnostic services.
Mechanics Versus Auto Electricians
Since both professions work exclusively with vehicles, it makes sense to wonder what the difference is between a mechanic and an auto electrician. In general, a qualified mechanic has been trained to work on the mechanical components of a car, such as the engine, suspension, transmission and brakes. On the other hand, auto electricians are specially trained in the diagnosis of electrical faults and the installation, repair or replacement of electrical components. At the end of the day, mechanics and auto electricians work closely together. Your local mechanic likely has an ongoing relationship with an auto electrician they can refer you to if they’re unable to make their own diagnosis of an issue.
Another point of difference is that auto electricians tackle lots of installation and upgrade work that mechanics don’t. Installing things like lights, winches, sound systems and aftermarket accessories is usually work for an auto electrician. And, if you’d rather swap four wheels for the open water, an auto electrician will often be able to help with the electrical systems on boats and other marine craft.
What Do Auto Electricians Do?
No two days are the same as an auto electrician. Electrical problems are many and varied, and each requires specialist diagnosis and repair procedures. Auto electricians do a wide range of standard work, like repairing and replacing wiring, but they’re also available for specialist tasks like replacing or remapping ECUs.
Some of the things auto electricians work on include:
Air conditioning diagnosis, repair and regassing
Vehicle alarm and security systems
Diagnosing engine and ignition faults
Installing accessories such as sound systems and parking cameras
4x4 upgrades such as winches and uprated lights
Solar power and off-grid adventure upgrades
Diagnosing, repairing and replacing faulty alternators
Testing and replacing starting and accessory batteries
Installing wiring harnesses for towing kits
As cars get more complex and rely more on their electrical systems, the types of work performed by auto electricians only expands. Increasing interest in hybrid and battery powered vehicles also means that auto electricians are in higher demand than ever before. The batteries and electric motors that power modern cars are best left in the care of qualified auto electricians who can work with the components safely.
How to Become an Auto Electrician
Much like residential electricians, Australian auto electricians are required to complete a 4-year apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship counts towards a Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology. Once they’ve completed their Certificate, the candidate can apply for a licence that allows them to perform electrical work on their own. While many of the electrical systems in cars are low powered and relatively safe, certain parts of a car’s electronics can cause serious injury. That goes double for electric and hybrid vehicles that are currently coming to market. Featuring large battery capacities and high voltages, EVs pose a serious risk when they’re worked on by untrained hands.
Looking For Quality Auto Electrical Work? Contact Access Auto Electrics Today!
Auto electricians work on cars, trucks, buses, boats and other vehicles of all shapes and sizes. We’re specialists in the electrical systems and computers that power everything from your stereo to the most complex safety equipment on board. If you’re experiencing a fault with your car or need an accessory installed, get in touch with Access Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning today! Our experienced technicians can find and repair faults on all makes and models of cars, and we specialise in air conditioning repair and regassing. Contact us online or ring 07 3366 8585 if you’d like to make an appointment!