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What is a Brake Mechanic?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A brake mechanic is the person who analyzes automotive brake problems and repairs or replaces them based on her conclusions. Depending on the condition of the brakes, she decides which parts need replacement or repair. She also regularly maintains the brake system to manage its performance and ensure its safety.

Different motor vehicles require specific braking systems depending on their size, weight and engine types. A brake mechanic is normally required to know the different braking systems and how they operate. Distinct systems may be used for semi-trailers, trucks, cars and buses.

After diagnosing the problem, a brake mechanic tests the parts of the system. These include the disc, drum or power brake system parts. Based on the condition of the parts, she determines if the brakes are eligible to be repaired or overhauled.

If the brakes are in very poor condition, they may need to be replaced by the mechanic. This replacement includes her servicing or repairing the hydraulic or air braking mechanisms. Based on the model and year of the vehicle, electric or electronic anti-locking systems may require repair or replacement. All the service procedures the brake mechanic performs commonly involve grinding, bonding friction materials to the brake surfaces, and the machining of brake disc rotors and drums.

A competent brake mechanic normally has excellent analytical, mechanical and technical skills. She should be able to clearly communicate to her customers what the brake problems are and how she will correct them. Being able to clearly explain the written quote to the customer is important. A person in this position should also be able to work equally well independently or as part of a professional team of mechanics.

Following occupational guidelines for workplace safety and health is important for a brake mechanic. She should also properly maintain and store the shop’s tools and equipment. Understanding policies and procedures regarding warranties and guarantees is an important part of her job.

In addition to performing basic brake testing and repair, a brake mechanic may frequently be required to remove and adjust wheels, service steering systems and perform minor electrical system repairs. In some cases, fabricating components and equipment is necessary. This requires skills in thermal cutting and heating as well as in welding and soldering.

An associate’s degree in automotive service technology from a community college or technical institute is normally required to be a brake mechanic. Coursework in these programs usually includes training in electrical systems, steering and suspension and the different types of braking systems and how they work. On-the-job training is commonly part of this degree program.

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