Bus and truck mechanics maintain and repair diesel engines.
The average car's gas tank holds about 15 gallons of fuel. The average city bus gas tank holds nearly 200 gallons. A bus can be as tall as two adults - about 12 feet - and half the length of a football field. It follows that maintaining a bus or truck might take a bit more work than maintaining your average car.
Bus and truck mechanics work on several types of vehicles. In addition to buses and trucks, they work on the diesel engines in heavy equipment such as bulldozers, cranes, or farm tractors.
Some bus and truck mechanics work for companies that maintain their own vehicles. In these jobs, mechanics spend most of their time doing tasks that will help prevent future problems. They examine and adjust vehicles' safety and protective features and check for loose bolts. Bus and truck mechanics also change oil, check batteries, adjust brakes, and grease parts. They also clean or replace parts, pistons, bearings, gears, and valves. These adjustments save companies money and reduce the chance of future breakdowns.
Bus and truck mechanics also repair vehicles that are not working properly. They may use hand-held computers to determine which part of the vehicle is causing the problem. Examples of these computers are motor analyzers, chassis charts, and pressure gauges. Mechanics attach computers to parts and read the gauges to identify the problem. Then they may take apart systems to fix the problem. Some mechanics work on all systems. In larger companies, mechanics specialize in a particular area, such as pumps, generators, brakes, or transmissions.
Mechanics read job orders to learn what work should be done on vehicles. They listen to the sound of engines as they operate. They follow the factory guidelines for upgrading parts or tuning engines. Mechanics install parts and look at how they fit within the engine. They check if there is enough space for parts to operate. Mechanics are also responsible for keeping shop machinery functioning. They maintain and repair machinery, such as pumps and compressors.
Bus and truck mechanics use power tools to weld exhaust systems, to grind brakes, or to hoist heavy engines. They also use hand tools such as pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers.