Is It Still Worth It To Become A Diesel Mechanic?

Topic 28394 | Page 1

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Jake B.'s Comment
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Is it still worth it given the cost of tools? Would a community college program be the best way to get trained? Is it an extremely hard job? I'm about 80 pounds overweight. Thanks.

Dan427's Comment
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Hi Jake, I haven’t commented on here in a few years but I went to a trade school in Arizona for Diesel engines/heavy truck and also worked as a truck mechanic for about 4 years. I left that side of the industry after our shop was broken into and my tools were stolen. I always wanted to get a cdl and be a driver so I figured that was my sign to go after it.....especially after the company offered no help to recoup our losses. I have been driving for a little over 5 years now so I figured this would be a great opportunity to give some insight from my own personal experience as a driver and mechanic.

Yes, being a truck mechanic can be difficult depending on which avenue you take. Some prefer just to work on the lube tech side to change oil and grease all the fittings while others prefer to stick with chassis components ( brakes, wheel bearings , etc ). There’s also opportunities to specialize in specific brand like Cummins. My uncle was an engine builder with Swift for many years and he got me a job working on their safety lane years ago doing inspections as the trucks come in to the terminal. As an engine builder he made great money, but it is a long road to get there. You’ll do yourself a huge favor by focusing on learning the whole truck instead of just the engine, which is what most students gravitate towards.

I use to replace clutches and it is VERY tight underneath some models between the cab and chassis so that might be a challenge. It’s also very tough on the knees. I honestly don’t miss anything about wrenching on trucks, the sore joints, being covered in oil and grease and the occasional finger smashes. Oh and I don’t miss seeing the tool trucks pulling in the yard every week to collect their money lol. I was paying about $100 a week almost every week of those 4 years on my tool bill. But that’s life, we all have to pay our dues, each step is the foundation for the next step brother. If being one of the best diesel technicians around is your goal, then go for it!

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
DaveDiesel's Comment
member avatar

Jake,

Diesel mechanics can be a great trade and applies to a broad range of industries. It's a stable job and you can live almost anywhere. I've continued working throughout COVID. I'm currently a diesel mechanic transitioning into trucking. I'm a little older and the job can be very rough on the body, I've had an interest in trucking for awhile and have my CDL A so I decided to go for it. I went to a community college for my diesel training and I think it's the way to go. The programs are cost effective and connected with community employers. Less expensive programs= more money for tools. Regardless of where you get trained, the real leaning happens on the job so try to get into a shop as quick as you can. To answer your question, is it still worth it? I think so. It's never a bad idea to learn a trade. Even if you leave the field for a different opportunity, you can always fall back on it. Hope this helps.

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.
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