Automotive Career Options for a Shadetree Car Mechanic

As a shadetree car mechanic, you enjoy working on vehicles from the comfort of your home, garage, or yard. Your skill levels range from beginner to veteran, and you may or may not earn money from it. A vast assortment of professional jobs are available should you pursue your talent. These opportunities are open to you if you want a career in the automotive industry:

Certified Trailer Technician

You don’t have to work on vehicles with motors just because you’re a shadetree car mechanic. You can go in a completely different direction and choose to work on horse or hauling trailers. You’ll mostly work on suspension systems, tires, roofing components, electrical wiring, and other trailer parts.

A trailer mechanic earns an average of $42,317 a year, according to You can earn more or less than that amount, depending on your location, experience, and the type of trailers you repair.

Job stability will be high in this field because not many people have experience or training in it. It’s possible to get a job like this with a high school diploma, though a degree might increase your chances of landing work faster.

You’ll need to prove your technical skills to get started in the industry. Thus, you may want to start your journey by taking a course at a hands-on technical school. You can also look for work as an apprentice and work closely with someone who can share his or her skills with you.

You will do well if you also take a course on electricity, how it works, how to read the diagrams, etc. so that you can easily fix electrical problems in the trailers.

A shadetree car mechanic can sell parts and tools.

Parts and Tools Salesperson

As a shadetree car mechanic, you have familiarized yourself with various tools and parts for your multiple projects. You can use your knowledge from those experiences to earn an income as a parts and tools salesperson, selling equipment and processing tool rentals.

There are many automotive parts stores around the world, and you can work in a physical location or an online shop. Typically, you don’t need to have a degree to get a job as an auto parts salesperson.

The better your knowledge of tools and parts, the more hassle-free it will be for you to help your employers’ customers. However, the facility that hires you will most likely be willing to train you and show you everything they have in their inventory.

An auto parts salesperson earns a low salary of $34,000 and a high salary of $49,000. Location, industry, and years of experience affect the amount drastically. Those who work in wholesaling and at automotive dealerships earn the highest incomes.

The job outlook for auto parts salespersons looks as though it will increase as much as 7% by 2024. Therefore, it is a promising move to make if you’ve been thinking about starting a career in automotive.

German Car Mechanic

You might decide that you want to continue fixing cars but take your skills to a more professional level than a shadetree car mechanic. Maybe you like foreign vehicles, specifically German cars like BMW, Porsche, or Audi models. While your current skill set is most likely impressive, you will need specialized training and certification to become this type of mechanic.

Suppose you want to be a BMW mechanic, for example. First, you must learn the foundation of automotive repair in general, and that may require a two or four-year degree or a certificate course at the very least.

Then, you will need to get trained and certified in BMW-specific repairs. The BMW Automotive Service Technician Education Program is an example of the type of program you may have to complete if you want to be a certified BMW tech.

Once you get that specialized certification, you will qualify to work in one of the many places that service BMW vehicles. The training will be well worth it because BMW technicians earn between $56,000 and $76,000, according to Zip Recruiter. That’s a healthy salary for doing something you love, and your job will be secure because of the ever-increasing vehicle production.

Junk Car Removal Specialist

Working for a junk car removal company can open a vast number of doors for you as a shadetree car mechanic. You will learn how to assess the values of different cars and pay customers a fair amount for their clunkers and damaged vehicles.

You’ll also learn about the recycling process and how to prepare a vehicle to be crushed. You may even learn a little bit about cleaning cars and how to use grease recycling to make cars look immaculate without spending a great deal of money.

Moreover, you will learn about selling used parts. The facility you work for might allow people to come and take their own used parts off the vehicles on the lot. Alternatively, you might work as the technician who removes the parts and prepares them for the customers. Either way, you can learn a lot, and you might enjoy the job immensely.

The median pay for this job is about $32,000 if you work for another company. Your profits might be much different if you work for yourself and you’re the person who purchases junk cars from customers and then sells the parts or fixes them and then sells the cars. You might fall into an entirely different income bracket that way.

Car or Truck Rental Expert

Another idea for a job to transition into from a shadetree car mechanic is being an auto rental expert. You could branch out into one of many positions when working for a vehicle rental company. You could choose to work behind the desk and do computer work and customer service.

You could also work in the same type of facility as a detailing specialist or a rental car mechanic. You might be the person who performs oil changes, rotates the tires, fills the fluids, and ensures all the cars are ready for someone to rent them.

You might also want to work at a moving truck rental place. This type of facility rents out various sizes of trucks to people who need to move items from their homes or office. The position you work in this type of establishment can vary as well.

You might work as a rental agent and help people secure trucks and items to help them move, like boxes or a car dolly. You could also be an on-site mechanic.

The average car rental agent’s salary is $30,000. However, you can earn more if your position involves repairing vehicles.

An auto glass technician can start as a shadetree car mechanic.

Auto Glass Technician

Have you ever had to turn a job down as a shadetree car mechanic because it required you to fix a windshield? You could diversify your skills and embark on a new career in auto glass services. There are myriad benefits to learning how to install new windshields and repair cracks and imperfections.

First, many such jobs are mobile, meaning that you drive to your clients’ homes. Therefore, you won’t have to sit behind a desk or stay stationary in one location for too long. Instead, you’ll travel to different customers throughout the day.

The pay rates are also quite generous for such jobs. Furthermore, glass-related incidents happen pretty regularly, so you won’t need to worry too much about a lack of work.

You will most likely not have to get a college degree to get a job as an auto glass technician. Many big-name auto glass repair facilities provide comprehensive training for their employees.

Auto glass technicians earn between $48,000 and $71,000 each year. The Labor Statistics Bureau expects the jobs to increase by 3% from now until 2031. While it’s not a super-fast pace, it’s still not a decline, and you will likely do well if you join that industry.

Transmission Specialist

You might have worked on everything as a shadetree mechanic, but maybe you want a job that’s more focused on one aspect of the automobile. For example, you could be a transmission specialist. A transmission specialist knows the transmissions inside and out and can diagnose, strategize, and repair them flawlessly.

To be this type of specialist, it would be wise to take a complete automotive technician program and then take a special course that focuses on transmissions. You may also want to take the ASE certification exam for transmissions and transaxles. The A2 exam will test your knowledge of transmissions and your ability to solve real-life issues with them.

You might also want to get a job as a transmission expert’s apprentice while you continue to educate yourself. One day, you will have the training, experience, and education to do auto transmission rebuilding or replacement.

The median annual salary for transmission experts is approximately $42,000, and the jobs are expected to grow as much as 6% by 2026. Aside from the salary and job availability, you’ll be able to focus on one of the most complex systems in the car. Not many people know how to repair the transmission. Thus, you will be valuable in the automotive industry if you go that route.

Basic Maintenance or General Repair Tech

You can add more consistency to getting paid to fix people’s cars by getting a job at one of the many auto shops. A vast assortment of job positions is available, and they each have different requirements for hiring.

Tire technician and lube technician jobs are typically at the lower end of automotive. However, they can get your foot in the door of this industry if you want to break in. Most oil change facilities don’t require a college degree or ASE certification, though they may have their own system of certifying people for the job.

As an entry-level technician, you will perform oil changes, tire rotations, fluid swaps, and battery changes. If you work at a dealership, you’ll be surrounded by technicians of a higher caliber who can teach you new and exciting concepts. If you want to expand your career to a higher progressive level, you can inquire with your employer about any programs through which they offer specialized training and certification.

General automotive mechanics earn an income of about $28,000 a year at the low end and more than $50,000 a year at the high end. The amount you earn as a technician will greatly depend on the type of mechanic you are, the location of your workplace, and your experience level.

Electronics Installer

A shadetree mechanic doesn’t always have to work on engines. You might choose to do something like electronics installation. For example, you could work for a company as a person who installs radios and speakers in vehicles all day long. You will have to know quite a bit about electrical wiring to do the job, but it can be lucrative for you once you get the credentials you need.

A car audio installer usually earns about $35,000 a year on average. It’s not the highest-paying automotive-related job, but it can be tons of fun for you. The position will most likely be stable because many people need electronics installed in their cars.

Custom Electronic Enclosure Manufacturer

You might want to work for the automotive field indirectly in a job that creates items people in the industry can use. An example is a job as a custom electronic enclosures manufacturer. You can earn an average of $72,000 to $93,000 in this occupation at the upper levels.

You may be able to enter the field without a college degree. You can work as an electronics assembler until you find an opportunity to rise in your position. That might be an exciting occupation for you if you want to work for the automotive industry indirectly.

The above-mentioned jobs aren’t the only positions you can get in the automotive field as a shadetree mechanic. These are just a few to consider. A world of opportunities is available to you, and all you need to do is figure out which options motivate you the most.