Mechanical know-how, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to diagnose engine problems are some of the important qualities held by small engine mechanics. These workers inspect, service, and repair motorized power equipment— usually specializing in one type, such as motorcycles, motorboats, or outdoor power equipment. The repairs they work on can range greatly in complexity— from replacing a single part to rebuilding an engine. They work on all types of problems— fuel system, mechanical, and electrical. Small engine mechanics use both computerized and pneumatic equipment, and also a variety of hand tools— which they usually own themselves. Small engine mechanics generally work in well-ventilated but noisy repair shops— from marina docks to the back of a hardware store. When breakdowns happen, they may make onsite repair calls in all kinds of weather. Although most work full time, spring and summer are the busiest work seasons for these mechanics, and many work overtime to keep up with demand. Winter work hours may be shorter. Employers include motorcycle, boat, and other motor vehicle dealers, lawn and garden equipment stores, and household goods repair and maintenance services. Small engine mechanics usually have a high school diploma or certificate and develop their skills through on-the-job training. It takes mechanics anywhere from several months to several years to become fully proficient. Employers increasingly prefer to hire mechanics with technical training.
What they do:
Repair and adjust electrical and mechanical equipment of inboard or inboard-outboard boat engines.
On the job, you would:
Start motors and monitor performance for signs of malfunctioning, such as smoke, excessive vibration, or misfiring.
Document inspection and test results and work performed or to be performed.
Mount motors to boats and operate boats at various speeds on waterways to conduct operational tests.
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
CDI Electronics M.E.D.S.
Outboard engine diagnostic software
Word processing software
certificate after high school or high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.