What Does a Trailer Mechanic Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A trailer mechanic services tractor trailers, large trucks used to transport high volumes of goods. Depending on the kinds of maintenance performed, it may be necessary to have a license or certification from a regulatory agency. Otherwise, job requirements can include formal education in a trade school or several years of apprenticeship under supervision. The job can require travel, as it may be necessary to conduct site visits to address problems that occur on the road. Some employers also expect their mechanics to have their own tools and transportation.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Tractor trailers, like other vehicles, require regular scheduled maintenance to work well. The trailer mechanic can maintain logs and perform maintenance and safety inspections as needed. This can include generating documentation for inspectors who may be responsible for enforcing safety laws. Inspections may require the use of tools like specialized scanners to check for engine problems, as well as routine mechanical evaluations.

When problems arise, the trailer mechanic inspects the vehicle to determine their nature and develop a plan of action. This can include replacing worn or damaged components, changing fluids, or making structural repairs. Tractor trailers are subject to harsh wear on the road which can interfere with doors, electrical systems, and other components. Being able to weld can be useful in this trade, as it may be necessary to make or fix welded components.

Some trailer mechanics work at inspection stations. They can provide assistance with the evaluation of trailers to make sure they are safe before allowing them back on the road. This may be required by law to reduce the risk of accidents and keep other drivers safe. Employers can also ask their truckers to undergo regular inspections while traveling to identify costly problems early. Trucks with complex systems, like refrigerated vehicles, may need more frequent inspection by a skilled trailer mechanic with experience and training to make sure the system is working right.

A license to drive tractor trailers is usually needed to become a trailer mechanic, because it may be necessary to move and test drive trucks as part of the job. Specific licenses to handle things like emissions testing and refrigerants may be required for specific workplaces. Job listings typically discuss the qualifications employers are looking for and indicate whether they are optional. People with more certifications, training, and experience may find it easier to find work, because they can be more flexible as employees.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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