Has Anybody Here Ever Considered A Position Other Than Driver With A Trucking Company?

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ravenswood_65's Comment
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For example, are prospects good to be a diesel or fleet mechanic with a firm these days?

Do Class 7 or Class 8 mechanics also need a CDL?

I was an army mechanic, 63B10, LWVM, and have over 5 years experience in that trade.

Are mechanics jobs well paying?

Do some mechanics even drive part time?

Would one need special training or schooling outside of military experience?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Pianoman's Comment
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I haven't personally sought that kind of position, but it seems like Swift is always hiring diesel mechanics. I'm sure there is no shortage of jobs for good diesel mechanics.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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Prime hires lots of in house people from their driver pool. It serves the company well to have former drivers work as mechanics, dispatchers, classroom instructors, claims, road assist, and safety. Its not just a mechanics or truck related availability.

I have considered eventually working in house if and when I decide to come off the road. However it would be a huge adjustment getting used to a set schedule again.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Matt 's Comment
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I can add a little change to this I think. I'm currently a class 8 truck tech. A few things I can tell you are

1) there is always a need for mechanics

2) the pay is there IF you're in the right spot

3) its easy to fall behind in this career and a fleet will limit your future opportunities. With that being said a fleet is not a bad place to start just normally not a good place to stay unless you plan on just doing whatever it is they have you doing.

As far as training goes it depends alot on your background and your willingness to learn and work. You won't start out making massive money and rebuilding engines. Its also a big investment in tools,time,and training.

ravenswood_65's Comment
member avatar

I can add a little change to this I think. I'm currently a class 8 truck tech. A few things I can tell you are

1) there is always a need for mechanics

2) the pay is there IF you're in the right spot

3) its easy to fall behind in this career and a fleet will limit your future opportunities. With that being said a fleet is not a bad place to start just normally not a good place to stay unless you plan on just doing whatever it is they have you doing.

As far as training goes it depends alot on your background and your willingness to learn and work. You won't start out making massive money and rebuilding engines. Its also a big investment in tools,time,and training.

That could be a possibility too.

Start out doing the "hardship tour" with a company. Put in a couple of years of "White Line Fever", "Movin' On", "Eastbound and Down", "Tombstone Every Mile" and "Highway Thru Hell" then gravitate toward a more "stationary" position with the trucking firm. Also, in the army I have had some recovery experience too with a wrecker.

ravenswood_65's Comment
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As a light wheeled vehicle mechanic, 63B10, organizational maintenance, in the army motor pool, 5-ton (Class 5) and below, one works with the same vehicle models and makes every single day and gets to know them like the back of one's hand. One trains and specializes in a select few pieces of equipment and only has to learn a few trucks and trailers.

I imagine today's Class 8 and 7 tractors are much more sophisticated than military vehicles in the 1990's when I was in with all the electronics on board. Today's tractors look more like a Boeing 747 ****pit with all the "100's dials and switches" than an army truck's dash.

In the army, I was issued tools, did not have to buy my own. I had to pay for the one's I signed for and lost on duty, however.

If I were to turn wrenches for Jim Palmer, as an example, I might only have to master Peterbilt 569s and maybe one or two Freightliner models since that is all that's in their fleet, basically.

In the army I had about a dozen truck and trailer models/series I had to work on year after year and that's about it.

Matt 's Comment
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That experience is great. If you would want to do both I would personally suggest driving first. A driver once told me that if you were a good driver in 1950 you will be a good driver in 2020. Now the exact is opposite if your a tech. It is so easy to fall behind the technology that if you really want to get somewhere as a tech you devote alot of time a training to it. Plus a good dependable mechanic with a cdl can get a job almost anywhere as a tech. There is good and bad to both.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Matt 's Comment
member avatar

It also depends on what kind of work you want to do. Lets say you work for a fleet ( I can not speak for all of them but most of them) you will do mostly brakes,pms, lights, things of that Nature most of the in depth stuff is sent to a dealership for warranty purposes. If that's the type of work you want to do a fleet is a good place to be.

ravenswood_65's Comment
member avatar

It also depends on what kind of work you want to do. Lets say you work for a fleet ( I can not speak for all of them but most of them) you will do mostly brakes,pms, lights, things of that Nature most of the in depth stuff is sent to a dealership for warranty purposes. If that's the type of work you want to do a fleet is a good place to be.

pms, preventive maintenance services?

lube, oil, filter, battery, cooling system, clutch adjustments, fan belts, that sort of thing?

AIR brake work was routine in my army MOS as was complete brake jobs with both hydraulic brake systems as well as hybrid air over hydraulic brake systems

I never had the opportunity to tear transmissions and engines apart or even put in new clutches. Unit trucks in the military were sent up to direct support or depot level maintenance for that. Some army mechanics in my unit were 63S series for their MOS, heavy wheeled vehicle mechanics, who would have covered up to the 10-ton models. I think Class 7 and 8 trucks in the private sector fall in that weight-class neighborhood.

What is the difference between a mechanic and a TECH anyway?

Matt 's Comment
member avatar

Yup thats exactly right preventive maintenance and also correct with the type of work probably add in brakes and some drive line repair like u-joints. And with more automatic trucks you see alot less of the clutch replacement or transmission work. There really is no difference between mechanic and tech. Technician is just more of a professional term. However there is more technology related to the term technician . Hooking up to trucks with computers and diagnosing problems. Computers are a huge part of trucks now.

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