Automotive Technician Kaihangarau Pūkaha Waka

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

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.

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.

Physical Requirements

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

Useful Experience

Useful experience for automotive technicians includes:

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

Personal Qualities

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.


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.


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.

Subject Recommendations

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.

Automotive Technicians can earn around $25-$40 per hour.

Chances of getting a job as a Automotive Technician are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

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.

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.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required.

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.
Automotive Technician