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While walking into a dealership service area or a garage or a factory, a customer is usually swarmed by automotive technicians and mechanics. In general, due to semantics they are used interchangeably, separately or are treated as one depending on times and situations.

Though in reality there is a very minimal difference in both in terms of skill and work, nowadays, the difference is still crucial. Sometimes it is the name and standards and professionalism, and sometimes it is just perception.

Many people have given many versions of definitions for the difference. From famous YouTubers to University Professors, everyone has their own perspectives on this topic.

WHAT DO THEY MEAN?   

Mechanic: A mechanic, pronounced /məˈkænɪk/, is defined by the Oxford Advanced Leaner’s Dictionary as “a person whose job is repairing machines, especially the engines of vehicles” (countable noun).

Technician: A technician, pronounced /tekˈnɪʃn/, is defined by the Oxford Advanced Leaner’s Dictionary as “a person whose job is keeping a particular type of equipment or machinery in good condition” (noun).

DIFFERENCES BASED ON TERMS

As the word’s definition suggests, Technicians generally use different types of technologies and implement new models. They design the all the technical and electrical circuits and other foundations. 

Mechanics on the other generally do the manual work of fixing engines, with all the basis of auto-repair. They are typically what we imagine as stained in grease workers. We usually imagine them working in repair shops.

SKILL DIFFERENCES

Historically, mechanics were treated lower than technicians. They were just people who would open your engine and fix it for you. But with the advancement of technology, it no longer is the case. Even the basic engines today have some level of integrated computerised systems within them. 

From 1996, car designers began using computers to monitor the system operations, with the introduction of OBD II (OnBoard Diagnostics generation 2). All the latest models of vehicles and engines have sophisticated and refined features including Bumper Retainers to Engine Control Computers. Henceforth, all diagnostic tools to measure and analyse are highly required. And just having these tools are not enough.

Mechanics must also know how to use them. So from now on, Mechanics are not our stained in grease workers anymore. They need to have superior qualities of problem deduction. They must find the most lucid solution and give the most beneficial and accessible solution.

With the advent of the latest technologies, mechanics cannot stick to physical jobs. They must become versatile and be proficient in technical aspects as well.

Technician. This word reminds us of a person who does all the technical work of diagnosis. And yes, that is what an auto-technician does. An auto-technician diagnoses the root problem of any technical component in any mechanical parts and uses latest diagnostic tools in this process.

An auto-technician not only just diagnoses, but also solves the problems.

If both diagnose and solve the problems, then what is the difference? It is mostly experience. A freshman mechanic may work with oiling, greasing and all the basic level repairs. An Auto-technician provides in-depth diagnosis and repair.

But mostly, it is just respect and professionalism in using words. Matt Wetterneck, foreman for BMW Peabody, Massachusetts, doesn’t get bothered when people use the words “technician” and “mechanic” interchangeably. “I personally do not take offense to being called a mechanic. Whether a person identifies as a mechanic or technician might give an insight into what kind of work [they] enjoy.”

An auto mechanic is capable of working on various distinct models, but a technician specialises in one or a few. A technician has in-depth knowledge and is an expert in a few areas. There is vast difference in knowledge and experience. 

Repair shops chose few technicians and a lot of mechanics to keep the costs as well as quality of service in check. When a comprehensive evaluation is needed, a technician is usually referred to. For all the regular checks and regular repairs, mechanics are generally called for. 

In a garage or a repair shop, it is the customer’s choice to choose either a technician or mechanic in general. A customer can go visit a mechanic they have been going to, for a long time. Or they look up for a technician and get all the work done by the expert.

This question is so subtle but asked widely. It is answered in various formats. Even popular YouTubers have dealt with this topic. With the username, “The Humble Mechanic”, Charles Sanville has made a video addressing this question. Another YouTuber, Eric Cook with the username ETCG1 had also made a similar video.

Also, the Channel New Level Auto has given a very exhaustive explanation on the differences making the video over an hour long. Delmarva Life and Josh Share have delved in the lives of technicians and auto mechanics in the recent world and have made “The life of an auto technician / a mechanic” videos.

At the end of the day, no matter what the term used or what the status implies, both technicians and mechanics are widely needed in this competitive and advancing world.

 

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