Auto Mechanics Physical Condition

Sometimes the car mechanics physical condition can have a direct relationship with how long he is able to physically do the job. This does not mean that you have to be an athlete to be an auto mechanic but if you have a strong core and at least average physical conditioning you could probably turn wrenches for 30 or 40 years if the force is with you.

noise protection device

Noise canceling protection

For me after 26 years of doing it I have developed some aches and pains that may have been avoided if I paid more attention to my physical condition. Now that I am older and continue to do the job I have to be smarter about the way I do it. This means actually thinking through the mechanical operation I’m about to perform and incorporate a plan to take care of my body at the same time.

This could be something like standing on a rubberized mat or in the case of leaning over into an engine compartment sometimes getting a step stool will put me at a better angle so my aching back will be able to stay in the position required for maybe even several hours. My two biggest problems at this point in my professional career would be chronic back pain and damaged hearing. I have written extensively about my hearing issue on the you fix cars website where I discuss how easy it is to wear ear protection.

Car mechanics save your back

Many auto repairs require some kind of lifting. If you do it smart you can do it for a lot longer than if you are not careful. Knowing the proper way to lift and carry heavy objects is important for any job that includes physical labor. My big mistake was not using some kind of Back Protection Belt much sooner in my career.

back support belt image

Back support belt

I use one all the time now! Another important point to make about lifting things is always lift and work within your strength ability. Sometimes mechanics have a lot of internal pride they have to deal with. Sometimes there is so much pride that they refuse to ask a coworker to assist in the lift.

As an example our young transmission guy who is in outstanding physical condition for a mechanic, lifts the transmission on and off the specialized rolling jack by himself. Although it’s impressive to show someone watching these incredible feats of strength, he would probably be a transmission guy a lot longer if he asked someone to grab the tail shaft housing of the transmission and give him a hand.

how to lift with the legs

How to lift with the legs

Some things you learn about lifting heavy auto parts along the way are that a few tricks go a real long way. Things like learning to keep your elbows and back as straight as possible is a good way to avoid injury. When you wear a back brace or lift protection device it helps you do exactly that.

You always hear people say “lift with your legs”. They should take the next step and explain exactly how to do that. Oh then I guess I should explain it. First put on the back protection device. The method I use is to bend your knees until your hands reach the best place to get a strong grip on whatever you’re lifting. Unless your arms are real long you will be standing almost directly over the object. Then straighten your legs to do the lifting

If you’re grabbing a cardboard box make sure it’s in good condition and not saturated with any fluids. You don’t want to grab the box and have what’s inside fall through the bottom and hit you in the foot. Also a good tip is to keep whatever you’re carrying close to your body as this will put more of the weight on your leg muscles as opposed to the back.

How long can car mechanics work

Master car mechanic

Me

Well for me after turning wrenches professionally for almost 27 years I feel like I will probably not make it much longer. Maybe another five years if I’m lucky. I have worked with guys especially in the union shops that put in 35 years to retire with full pay and benefits. I use to work with a World War II veteran that was in his late 70s and still employed as a full-time mechanic.

So if you ask how long can a car mechanic work there is no straightforward answer. The more he takes care of himself the longer he will last in my opinion. There are exceptions to every rule and I happen to know one. A close friend and mechanic got cancer and died at a very early age despite his tremendously strong physical condition. And again just to clear up my point of this article is that a mechanics physical condition is important to his overall health and happiness in the business.

All jobs have pluses and minuses. For sure being a professional mechanic is not right for everybody. In fact I hope my young family members pick something else to do for a living. If you would like to see more about being a car technician visit my page on learning car repair. For more on this subject right here on this website I have information about the auto repair business. Or you could return to the homepage for the auto repair information blog.

4 thoughts on “Auto Mechanics Physical Condition

  1. Rich

    I’ve been in this “thing of ours ” now going very strong for 13 years. I truly feel it is the tech’s them self . If your a lightweight tech you shouldn’t have many health problems versus a heavy tech That plays with engines all day.

  2. Auto Repair Denver

    Thanks for the tips guys! We incorporate most of these in the shop already but I am going to try the step stool thing. I agree that having tools ready and assembled saves me tons of hiking around the shop. It is difficult to get the guys to stop and think about what they will need for the job though, I guess they will start listening when they realize the aches and pains are staking up. Thanks for posting.

  3. Todd

    I was in the business close to ten years, and I know for certain that learning to lift with your legs and not the back is most likely the reason I have next to no back pain. One thing I did suffer from was Plantar fasciitis which is when the long ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed or torn near the ball of your foot. Standing on a hard surface all day in work boots did not help. Investing in a good pair of massaging soles for my boots helped a bunch, but the one thing that helped more than anything was to stretch. Stretching first thing in the morning before grabbing the first RO is key.

  4. Certified Master Tech

    After being in this business for 16years, I have found these techniques save me from quite a few aches and pains later that night. I have also found that having the tools I will need with me while I am under a car helps a lot, it makes it so I am not climbing up and down all day long.

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