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Automotive Technician

Kaihangarau Pūkaha Waka

Alternative titles for this job

Automotive technicians service and repair vehicles and their parts and systems.


Light vehicle automotive technicians usually earn

$25-$40 per hour

Heavy vehicle automotive technicians usually earn

$26-$45 per hour

Source: research, 2023.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as an automotive technician are good due to a shortage of workers.


Pay for automotive technicians varies depending on experience, the type of vehicle they specialise in, and the region they work in.

  • Apprentice light vehicle automotive technicians and those with less than two years' experience usually start on minimum wage.
  • Light vehicle automotive technicians usually earn $25 to $40 an hour.
  • Heavy vehicle automotive technicians usually earn between $26 and $45 an hour.
  • Foremen and very skilled automotive technicians can earn more than this.

Those running a business may also earn more than this, but their income depends on the success of their business.

Source: research, 2023.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Automotive technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • check faults in vehicles, and work out what is causing them
  • dismantle and rebuild, repair or replace engines, parts or systems
  • service vehicles and change lubricants (such as oil), coolants (such as radiator coolant) and filters
  • carry out Warrant of Fitness and Certificate of Fitness checks
  • upgrade and modify vehicles
  • interact with customers.

Skills and knowledge

Automotive technicians need to have knowledge of:

  • vehicle engines, parts and systems
  • vehicle electronic systems
  • Warrant of Fitness and Certificate of Fitness regulations and safety standards
  • health and safety standards in the workshop.

Working conditions

Automotive technicians:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may work shifts, weekends and be on call
  • work in garages and workshops
  • work in conditions that can be loud, dusty and dirty
  • may travel locally to repair vehicles that have broken down.

What's the job really like?

Automotive technician video

Luke Brown talks about life as an automotive technician – 1.31 mins

People see the mechanic as a very kind of old-school,
they're in overalls covered in oil and dust and grease.
I think it's quite stereotypical,
but the last 10 - 20 years have changed quite a lot. My name's Luke Brown and
I'm an automotive technician.
Brief description of what I do. Vehicle servicing and general maintenance.
And then, yeah,
I guess Warrant of Fitness checks. This is my kind of work station.
Pretty much every car we work on goes on the hoist. Work benches,
all my tools are in my toolbox,
computer there for all technical specifications and that. Yeah,
I got stitched up I reckon. This is like the slowest hoist.
The other ones are fast, but yeah. This is where the magic happens I guess.
This is where we get our jobs from.
Every technician will have a name on the whiteboard. Personally,
I really love working on the European cars. They're more complex,
but it provides a good challenge.
The technology's always changing and improving,
so you've gotta keep on top of the ball.
I have my working week
6 to 4 and then in my spare time I do a bit of speedway racing. So yeah,
it's pretty much a whole bunch of high horsepower race cars,
custom built race cars that race on a dirt oval.
It was kind of a bit of a no-brainer for me to go into the automotive field.
It all just kind of made sense and once I got into the apprenticeship,
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Most workshops will be in a position to look at an
apprentice or they have apprentices etc and then, yeah,
you just start filling out the paperwork.
There's book work and there's online papers, etc.
Favourite thing, I guess would be the
satisfaction when you do like a big job
you finish the job and the car's running fine and the customer's happy. I think it's, you get a lot of satisfaction from that.

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become an automotive technician. However, employers usually prefer you to have a qualification and full driver's licence for the type of vehicle you are working on.

To become a qualified automotive technician, you need to complete an apprenticeship in light or heavy vehicle automotive engineering.

The industry training organisation MITO oversees automotive technician apprenticeships.

Entry requirements for light vehicle automotive technicians – working with cars, motorcycles and other light vehicles

To become a qualified light vehicle automotive technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Light Automotive Engineering (Level 4).

You can specialise in different types of light vehicles such as:

  • cars
  • motorcycles
  • outdoor power equipment like lawnmowers.

Entry requirements for heavy vehicle automotive technicians – working with heavy vehicles such as earthmoving machinery

To become a qualified heavy vehicle automotive technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Heavy Automotive Engineering (Level 4).

You can specialise in different types of heavy vehicles such as:

  • heavy trucks
  • bulldozers
  • farm vehicles like cultivators.

Secondary education

No specific secondary education is required for this job, but NCEA Level 1 with a minimum of 12 numeracy credits and 12 literacy credits is useful.

For Year 11 to 13 students, these programmes are a good way to gain industry experience and relevant skills:

  • StartUp 
  • trades academies, STAR and Gateway.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

To do Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness checks you need to be approved as a vehicle inspector by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Personal requirements

Automotive technicians need to be:

  • accurate, logical and patient
  • safety-conscious
  • alert, with an eye for detail
  • able to provide good customer service and explain technical terms to customers.

Useful experience

Useful experience for automotive technicians includes:

  • work on cars and other vehicles
  • work in an automotive workshop.

Physical requirements

Automotive technicians need to have good general health and good hand-eye co-ordination and hearing.

Find out more about training

0800 88 2121 -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Automotive technicians in short supply and high demand

Demand for light and heavy vehicle automotive technicians is strong because:

  • high rates of car ownership in New Zealand mean a large number of cars regularly need servicing
  • high volumes of freight, such as wood, plants, meat and seafood, are transported by road, and this will likely increase, meaning more trucks will need servicing
  • large roading projects and forestry operations use earthmoving and forestry equipment, trucks and other heavy vehicles, which need servicing.

There are not enough automotive technicians to meet demand, and employers find it difficult to get staff.

As a result:

  • motor mechanic (automotive technician) and automotive air conditioning technician appear on Immigration New Zealand's regional skill shortage list.
  • diesel motor mechanic (heavy vehicle automotive technician) appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list.
  • motorcycle mechanic appears on Immigration New Zealand's Green List. 
  • mechanic’s assistant will appear on Immigration New Zealand's Green List from March 2024.

This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled automotive, automotive air conditioning, diesel and motorcycle mechanics and assistants from overseas to work in New Zealand.

According to the Census, 14,955 automotive technicians (motor mechanics) worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Types of employers varied

Automotive technicians work for:

  • vehicle dealerships and servicing companies
  • agricultural equipment servicing companies
  • heavy equipment servicing companies that deal with machines such as forklifts, excavators and earthmoving equipment
  • road transport (heavy trucking) companies
  • passenger transport (bus) companies
  • workshops that specialise in fixing farm vehicles such as quad bikes.

Twelve percent of automotive technicians are self-employed, and 8% own a business where they employ others.


  • Automotive Employment NZ, 'People Voted and Bought Vehicles in September', October 2017, (
  • Automotive Employment NZ website, accessed November 2017, (
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Changes to Immigration Settings Announced, '23 September 2023 (
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Regional Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (
  • Immigration New Zealand, Transport Sector Agreement Finalised and Green List Changes Confirmed, 26 April 2023, (
  • Ministry for Primary Industries, 'Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry (15 September 2017)', 2017, (
  • National Infrastructure Unit, 'The Thirty-Year New Zealand Infrastructure Plan 2015', accessed January 2017, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Automotive technicians may progress to become self-employed or set up their own businesses. With further training, qualified automotive technicians can become senior or master technicians.

Automotive technicians may move into management or customer service roles, or into related jobs such as automotive electrician.

Automotive technicians train and specialise in either light or heavy vehicles:

Heavy Vehicle Automotive Technician
Heavy vehicle automotive technicians service and repair heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, bulldozers and tractors.
Light Vehicle Automotive Technician
Light vehicle automotive technicians service and repair light vehicles including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and outdoor power equipment such as lawnmowers or woodchippers.
A man wearing overalls is under a vehicle on a hoist, adjusting the undercarriage

Automotive technicians service and repair vehicles

Last updated 26 September 2023