Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics repair and maintain a variety of heavy and mobile machinery including cranes, excavators, bulldozers and graders. They also work on farm equipment and railcars. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics maintain and repair engines as well as transmission, hydraulic and electrical systems.
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics utilize diagnostic computers and they use a wide variety of tools. Some heavy equipment mechanics specialize in one or two types of repairs such as electrical systems and brake systems. They may also specialize in a particular type of equipment.
Some sample job titles include heavy equipment mechanic, field service technician, mechanic, field mechanic, heavy equipment technician and construction equipment mechanic.
Service technicians perform routine maintenance checks on industrial, agricultural, rail and construction equipment. They service brake, transmission and fuel systems. They perform routine checks to keep the equipment safe and performing properly and also to ensure the longevity of the equipment. They also clean, lubricate and replace parts.
Farm equipment mechanics repair, service and maintain a wide range of equipment including large vehicles used on farms and lawn and garden vehicles used by the public. Farm equipment mechanics also perform routine maintenance on engines and hydraulic, transmission, brake and fuel systems. They also work on electrical problems. Some farm equipment mechanics work on irrigation systems and dairy equipment.
Railcar repairers service railroad locomotives and other rolling stock as well as subway cars, streetcars and mine cars.
- Repair, overhaul and maintain heavy equipment
- Confer with customers to locate and diagnose problems
- Reassemble machines and equipment
- Record details of repair work
- Test and replace electrical components
- Replace or repair defective parts
- Tune or overhaul engines
- Inspect and operate heavy equipment in order to diagnose problems
- Test heavy equipment after repairs are performed
- Inspect parts for excessive wear and damage
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics should have mechanical aptitude and basic computer and math skills. They should also be good at solving problems. A heavy equipment mechanic needs to be able to interpret complex service manuals.
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics typically work indoors. They need to follow safety practices. They usually work a standard 40 hour week. When heavy equipment breaks down at a construction site the mechanics often travel to the site to fix the equipment.
Farm equipment mechanics typically work 6 or 7 days a week and often 10 to 12 hours per day during the busy planting and harvesting seasons. During the slow months, they might work less than 40 hours per week.
The employment of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics has been projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 8 percent between 2008 and 2018. The median hourly wage in 2008 for mobile heavy equipment mechanics was $20.59. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $30.57 per hour.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Community colleges and vocational schools provide certificate and associate degree programs in diesel technology and heavy equipment mechanics. The programs teach students the basics of diagnostic and analytical techniques, hydraulics and electronics.
Some workers qualify for service technician positions by training on the job. Many employers require their trainee technicians attend training sessions sponsored by heavy equipment manufacturers. Some manufacturers provide certificates for working on specific equipment or for specific types of repairs.
The primary employment sectors are machinery equipment and supply merchant wholesalers, specialty trade contractors and highway, street and bridge construction companies; commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental, leasing and repair; and local, state and federal government agencies.
Schools for Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics are listed in the Browse Schools Section.