"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
There is no truer statement when it comes to working on a car. At some point, all automotive vehicles
maintenance and repair. That is just how the cookie crumbles, or, more aptly, how the tire blows.
inevitable need means, unless you have proper training, you should probably consider getting your vehicle
serviced by trained professionals.
Whether you have a flat tire, need a part replaced, or require routine maintenance work, motor vehicles require
upkeep. Repair and maintenance workers help repair automobiles, maintain vehicles, and bring vehicles back
Maintaining and operating a vehicle is a part of any vehicle budget
The quality and reliability of automobiles have drastically improved over the past several decades.
means a greater number of older vehicles are still on the road, with mileage easily exceeding 100,000
miles in many cases. As a result, demand for automotive repairs has increased.
Below, we "look under the hood" and provide an in-depth look at the automotive repair and maintenance
industry, the companies and
workers, the activities, and, most importantly, the hazards these workers encounter.
In total, the automotive repair and maintenance industry generates around $838 billion a year for U.S.
When the economy is good, people buy more new cars. Unfortunately, for this industry, that means
service and fewer repairs are needed. However, when the economy is struggling, consumers begin to hold
back on purchasing larger ticket items, including cars. During slower economic periods, consumers
to repair their current vehicle over buying a brand new one.
You may be surprised by this, but in Cuba, there are cars still on the road that were built in the
1950s. How is this possible? Well, for one, Cuba has not had the free market system the U.S.
has, where new
cars can easily be purchased, so they’ve had to make the old ones last. Second, it is a
auto mechanics and repairmen can fix cars and keep them going some 60-70 years after initial production.
Think about that the next time you want to trade in your “old” car.
Vehicle from the 1950's still operating in 2017
Types of Repair Shops
Before we cover the occupations and activities in this industry, we first want to highlight the different types
of shops. This is important because the PPE found in each will be slightly different. You will find
a lot more
welders in body shops than in paint shops, so it makes sense that this sub-industry requires more welding
Mechanical and Electrical Repair
Companies within this sub-industry repair passenger cars, trucks, and vans. The
forcasted to hit $69 billion in 2019.
When a car requires repair, the first stop is to the mechanic. Mechanics are the
that actually diagnose and repair mechanical and electrical systems.
Mechanics work on a number of automotive systems, including engines, transmissions, and drive
belts. In addition, the need to understand and be familiar with new electrical systems
the rise, since more and more electric cars are being manufactured.
Types of repair include:
- Brake Repair
- Electrical System Rapair
- Powertrain Repair
- Preventive Repair
- Heating Repair
- Muffler and Exhaust Repair
- Wheel Alignment
This sub-industry of automotive repairs refurbishes, refinishes, and replaces vehicle bodies
and frames, windshields, and window glass.
When a vehicle suffers damage in an accident and requires repair from collisions, people turn
to a body shop for assistance. Body repairers restore the structural integrity of car
and bring them back to life. The repairs required after a collision are more
than what mechanics can provide.
The industry had $47 billion in total revenue in 2018. As
long as Americans drive metal,
fiberglass, or carbon fiber automobiles, this industry will continue to exist.
Paint shops repair scratches, scuffs, dents, and bodies of motor vehicles. First, the
exterior of the damaged car is fixed and then the paint is applied, which gets your vehicle
looking new again.
Unlike the automated paint process found in motor vehicle manufacturing, the spray paint
process is a time-consuming process done in paint shops. It involves filling, sanding, and
cleaning the body panels before spraying them by hand. Many times, all a vehicle needs
fresh coat of paint.
You can’t drive a car safely with a busted window, which means drivers turn to those
specializing in glass repair to get them back on the road.
Automotive body and glass repairers use many tools, ranging from plasma cutters to pneumatic
tools, and “classic” tools like pliers, wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers.
This group of
workers also has one of the highest injury rates of all occupations. They often
minor injuries, such as cuts, burns, and scrapes.
Types of repair include:
- Windshield repair and replacement
Oil Change and Lubrication Shops
This sub-industry of automotive repair involves companies engaged in changing motor oil and
lubrication fluids in the chassis of vehicles. Annual revenue in this sub-industry
at around $5.5 billion.
Major U.S. companies specializing in oil and lubrication include Havoline Express, Jiffy
Lube, and Pennzoil.
Overall Key Companies
Most auto mechanics and body shops are likely to be small companies, operating in an independent garage and in a
specific geographic location. Many of them compete based on the quality of their work, their
their price. With that said, there are also some large national companies competing in this market space.
The following is a list of some of the largest companies within this industry.
|Safelite Group, Inc.
|Auto Club Group
|Mister Car Wash
|Valvoline International, Inc.
|Service King Collision Repair
Demand looks strong for automotive repairs, as all machines break sooner or later. There are more cars on
the road today than ever before, which is understandable since worldwide production of
vehicles has been climbing over the past 30 years. This means that more cars will need
service at some
which in turn means there is a need for more and more workers in this industry.
Yet, even with an increased demand for mechanics and technicians, the supply of qualified technicians has not
kept up. The shortage of technicians is starting to affect this industry at
a time when vehicles are loaded with
tons of advanced technology.
Even with a shortage, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) eports high levels of employment for each NAICS in
this sub-industry, which speaks to the overall volume of repairs taking place. Automotive repair and maintenance jobs employ
around 928,000 workers. Body
shops employ around
Here is a closer look at employment in the different types of shops:
|Automotive mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance
|Automotive Parts, accessories, and tire stores
There are roughly 749,000 auto service technicians in the U.S., representing the largest
segment within NAICS 81111. The above table shows the primary areas where they are found
|Automotive body, paint, interior, and glass repair
|Automotive mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance
There are roughly 160,000 body shop repairers in the U.S. The above table shows the primary
areas where they are found working.
|Automotive body, paint, interior, and glass repair
|Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores
There are roughly 19,600 automotive glass installers and repairers in the U.S. The above
table shows the primary areas where they are found working.
Here is a look at the occupations found in this industry.
Cars and their technology are changing at an alarming rate. This means that automotive repair workers find
themselves operating in a challenging work environment and must undergo continuous training to learn the new
technology. The top three occupations found in this industry are the following:
- Maintenance worker
- Service Technicians
A wide variety of career opportunities are available. Here's a look at the various jobs found in this
Machinery Installation, Repair, and Maintenance Workers
Lubricate machines, change parts, and perform machinery maintenance. The automotive repair industry
employs over 445,000 of these workers. You will find these workers cleaning machines and machine
parts. Cleaning solvents, oil, and metalworking fluids are a definite concern for these
Common job titles for this position are Lubricator, Maintenance Man, and Oiler.
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Repair or overhaul mobile equipment, such as cranes, bulldozers, graders, and conveyors used in
construction. There are roughly 8,000 of these workers found in repair and maintenance.. You will
find these workers replacing worn parts and reassembling equipment using hand tools. Common job
titles for this position are Heavy Equipment Technician, Field Mechanic, and Equipment Mechanic.
Automotive Technicians and Repairers
Repair automobiles, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. There are roughly 34,000 of these workers in
automotive repair. You will find this worker replacing defective mechanical parts, disassembling
and reassembling equipment, and rebuilding components. Technicians commonly specialize in
air-conditioning, brakes, and transmissions. Work is typically performed in an enclosed
where workers are exposed to contaminants, and they spend a lot of time using their hands.
job titles for this occupation are Automotive Service Technician, Master Technician, and Mechanic.
Automotive Service Technicians and
Replace defective mechanical parts, disassemble and reassemble equipment, and rebuild
There are roughly 22,000 of these workers in automotive repair. They repair automobiles,
buses and other vehicles. These workers are typically in an enclosed vehicle, are exposed to
contaminants, and spend a lot of time using their hands. Common job titles for this occupation
Automotive Service Technician, Master Technician, and Mechanic.
Material Moving Workers
Around 153,000 of these workers help move material and vehicles in automotive repair. That is a
large number of hands needing to be protected. You will find these workers operating
transporting materials, and operating machines. Common job titles are Laborer and Operator.
Laborers and Material Movers by Hand
Move materials, objects, and stock. There are over 150,000 of these workers in automotive
Machine feeders also fall into this worker group. Common job titles for this position are Line
Tender, Laborer, and Materials Handler. Due to the use of one’s hands in these jobs,
Vehicle and Equipment Cleaners
Wash and clean vehicles and machinery. There are over 149,000 of these workers in automotive
repair. You will find this worker connecting hoses, installing parts, and removing debris.
workers use materials such as water, cleaning agents, and hoses. Common job titles for this
occupation are Auto Detailer and Car Washer.
Automotive Body and Related Repairers
Repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames. There are
of these workers in automotive repair and maintenance. You will find this worker
of objects, cutting materials, removing dents, and installing machine parts. They repair and
refinish automotive vehicle bodies. These workers stand most of the time, spend a lot of time
their hands, and are exposed to many contaminants. Common job titles for this occupation
Auto Body Man, Auto Body Repair Technician, Body and Frame Man, Body Man, and Body Technician.
Apply paint coatings, clean production equipment, and position work pieces. There are roughly
of these workers in the automotive repair industry. They paint and coat surfaces. These workers
are exposed to many contaminants. Common job titles for this occupation are Painter and Spray
Transportation Equipment Painters
Polish work pieces, mix ingredients, and operate painting equipment. There are roughly 27,000
these workers in the automotive repair industry. They operate machines to paint the surfaces
automobiles, buses, trucks, trains, boats, and airplanes. These workers are exposed to many
hazardous conditions and to many contaminants. Common job titles for this occupation are Automotive
Painter, Finish Painter, and Paint Technician.
Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists
Repair and overhaul buses, trucks, and diesel engines. There are around 23,600 of these workers
automotive repair. You will find these workers dismantling heavy equipment, grinding parts,
lubricating equipment. These workers spend a lot of time using their hands to feel objects and
tools. Common job titles for this occupation are Bus Mechanic, Fleet Mechanic, Mechanic, and
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers
Replace and repair broken windshields and window glass in automobiles. There are roughly 18,000
workers in this sector of automotive repair. You will find this worker replacing vehicle
painting surfaces, and adjusting vehicle components. These workers are exposed to sharp broken
glass and need great hand dexterity for removing screws and bolts. Common job titles for this
occupation are Auto Glazier, Glass Installer, Glass Technician, and Windshield Installer.
Supply or hold materials, in addition to cleaning work areas and equipment. There are around
of these workers in the automotive repair industry. You will find these workers attaching
changing machine gears, and handling a lot of material. All of these activities make gloves
extremely important. Common job titles for this position are Laborer, Press Helper, and
Tire Repairers and Changers
Repair and replace tires. There are roughly 7,000 of these workers in the automotive repair
industry. You will find these workers remounting wheels, removing puncturing objects, and
mechanics. Common job titles for this occupation are Service Technician, Tire Buster, and Tire
Building Cleaning and Pest Control Workers
Clean facilities and treat facilities/surfaces with protective substances. There are roughly
of these workers in automotive repair. You will find this worker applying and releasing
solutions/toxic gases, along with setting traps to kill or remove pests. These workers are
to outdoor weather and contaminants. Common job titles are Pest Control Technician and Pest
Janitors and Cleaners
Keep buildings in clean and orderly condition. There are roughly 4,800 of these workers found
automotive repair industry. You will find this worker performing heavy-duty cleaning or simply
cleaning snow/debris from sidewalks. Common job titles are Cleaner, Custodian, and Janitor.
Maintenance and Repair Workers
Keep machines, mechanical equipment, or the structure of an establishment in repair. There are
around 2,800 of these workers in the automotive repair industry. You will find these workers
fitting, repairing equipment, and repairing buildings. Job titles for this position are
Worker, Maintenance Mechanic, and Facilities Manager.
Metal and Plastic Workers
Assemblers and Fabricators
Assemble finished products and parts. There are around 1,200 of these workers in automotive
repair. You will find this worker assembling bolts, using many different types of tools, and
parts. They construct finished products and the parts that go into them. These workers
tools, machines, and, most importantly, need their hands protected. Common job titles for this
occupation are Assembler and Fabricator.
Welding Cutters and Fitters
Use hand welding, flame-cutting, hand soldering, and brazing equipment to weld/join metal components
and to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products. There are around 1,000
these workers employed in the automotive repair industry. You will find these workers welding
components in flat, vertical, or overhead positions. Common job titles for this position are
Maintenance Welder, Mig Welder, and Welder/Fabricator.
Welding, Soldering and Brazing Machine Operators
Operate welding, soldering, or brazing machines that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products.
There are around 1,000 of these workers found in the automotive repair industry. You will find
these workers adding material to work pieces, joining metal components, and annealing finished work
pieces. Common job titles for this position are Fabricator, Mig Welder, Spot Welder,
and Braze Operator.
Construction Trades Workers
Perform tasks involving physical labor. There are roughly 1,000 of these workers in automotive
repair. They operate hand and power tools of all types. You will find these workers
sites, digging trenches, erecting scaffolding, applying paint to surfaces, applying sealants, and
assembling structures. Common job titles for this occupation are Helper, Laborer, and Skill
With such a large workforce found in this industry, there are a multitude of different work activities requiring
PPE to safely perform the job at hand. Here are some activities in each occupation that are performed
- Bonding and riveting
- Cutting materials
- Dry sanding and grinding
- Handling body components
- Inspecting structural integrity of frames
- Refinishing automotive vehicle bodies
- Hammering out and removing dents
- Removing damaged body parts, including bumpers, fenders, and grilles
- Sanding, buffing, priming, and smoothing out body surfaces
- Straightening vehicle frames
- Welding replacement parts into place
- Adjusting vehicle components
- Applying urethane sealant to windshield frames
- Cleaning windshield frames of rust
- Replacing broken windshields and glass
- Removing screws and bolts
- Applying adhesive coatings and sealers
- Mixing ingredients
- Mixing paints
- Operating painting machines
- Painting automobile surfaces
- Polishing work pieces
- Spraying paint
- Joining metal components
- Assembling metal parts of the body
- Attaching cables
- Changing machine gears
- Checking and inspecting parts
- Assembling and disassembling equipment
- Working on gearboxes and transmissions
- Overhauling engines
- Replacing defective mechanical parts and worn-out parts
- Removing puncturing object
- Remounting wheels
Many of the activities found in the automotive industry involve metal fabrication. Be sure
to check out our Metal fabrication industry page for more information and resources.
Body shop work involves sharp metal and engines that have exposed parts. Both environments are hazardous to
working in an enclosed area like a garage or repair shop. The story of Steve Godziszewski reinforces this point
and reminds us why mechanics must always wear proper protection. One day, a battery cable caught his
and tore it off, eventually causing some of his finger to be removed. Today, he wears gloves every time he
on a car.
Don’t let the low number of injuries per worker fool you. Yes, there are only 2.6 injuries for every
employees. However, there are 1,300,000 workers in this entire industry, which means there are close to
people injured each year in automotive repair and maintenance.
||# of Injuries
|Automotive repair and maintenance
Working safely and wearing proper PPE is critical to reducing the number of work-related injuries. And, a
pair of gloves keeps hands free from of all the dirt and grease encountered when repairing an engine or
At MCR Safety, We Protect People! That protection starts by first arming you with knowledge about the
hazards and the PPE that will keep you safe. Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on this industry.
You take care of cars and the people driving them. Now, let MCR Safety take care of you and keep you safe