If you’re like most people, you may not have realized that there is a difference between an automotive technician and a mechanic, and that the words are not interchangeable. In fact, there are several differences between an auto mechanic and an auto technician.
The primary difference is that an automotive mechanic refers to someone who fixes the machinery or mechanical parts of a car. Whereas, an automotive technician refers to someone who is specially trained to use use specialized devices and equipment to help diagnose and repair vehicles. Traditional mechanics do not work with computers.
In the mid 1990s, car designers and manufacturers began using onboard diagnostics (OBD) to monitor vehicle system operations. As these systems became more advanced, so did the technology required to diagnose and repair them. Auto repair shops and dealership service departments needed to adapt to the advancements in vehicle technology, so new job titles were created to better describe the level of education required and the type of work the techs were performing. It is also interesting to note that many car manufacturers have unique technology that may require individualized training or brand-specific equipment.