3 answers

What does it take to become a Auto shop tuner/performance mechanic.

Asked El Paso, Texas

I am really interested in this type of work. I enjoy cars and I do not know what it takes to become one when I'm 18. #engineering #automechanic

3 answers

Alexia’s Answer

Hi there! I'm originally from Austin, TX and my step-grandmother lives in El Paso :) I'm not as familiar with the auto industry, but my advice would be to go into your favorite local auto body shop and ask if you could speak to one of the technicians on their career path and how they got started to see what advice they could give. You probably have to be 18 to work in one, but I would also ask about what jobs might be available or if they offer any training programs that you could get involved in once you turn 18!

G. Mark’s Answer


When I was a mechanic, we had many technicians where I worked who simply started working on cars when they were young, and then got hired by a garage. The garage would typically allow someone to work on what they seemed to be able to do. And more senior mechanics would mentor them, of sorts. They would gradually be given more responsibility for more complicated and demanding jobs. Some were initially self-taught and some went to trade schools. As time went on, larger garages and especially automotive makers would develop their own training programs. A Certified Mechanic was a very good thing to be. And cars -- and other vehicles -- are complicated enough to demand a lot of different talents and areas of knowledge. Especially today when technology used in automobiles is so advanced. So if you're starting out, I would recommend getting some experience from any of those sources -- school, trade schools, personal experience, or doing more menial things in a garage somewhere. At a certain point, you'll be encouraged to get certification from some source or another, and the garage will certainly point you in the right direction. The bottom line answer here is, "experience", and you control how you get that. Besides, if you really like being a mechanic, you'll already have found yourself getting that.

Ed’s Answer

Updated Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

I generally find that Mechanical and Tuners are separate roles. Since others touched on mechanical, let me try to cover Tuners. To become a tuner, you need knowledge and experience like most other positions. Let me be more specific. Knowledge includes strong understanding on modern EFI systems, forced induction, and anything else that the EMS ECU controls for performance. Other skills that are very different to mechanics include electronics, ECU programming fundamentals, and control systems knowledge will help greatly. Experience is where it gets complicated as it is difficult to get access to a dyno and a car to get exposure and experience. Like others, try to sharpen up on above skills to differentiate yourself and try to get a job at a tuning shop as an apprentice.

Ed recommends the following next steps:

  • Speak to the tuning shop about being an apprentice and what would help you land it.