Automotive Engineering Job Description

The automotive industry is an exciting and challenging field for car lovers who want to take the plunge into a professional career. Automotive Automotive engineers work in the motor vehicle industry.engineers design, develop and improve vehicles or vehicle components. These engineers solve problems with current systems and design new ones that are functional and innovative. If you have a passion for cars and design, consider a career as an automotive engineer.

Roles

  • According to the Occupational Information Network, an automotive engineer designs, develops, builds, tests and modifies models. An automotive engineer designs and analyzes car systems, and designs control systems or algorithms. These workers develop methodologies in calibration, engineering specifications and cost estimates for new car design concepts, and control feature specifications and requirements. An automotive engineer may build models and test them. After testing models, he may modify his designs to obtain a certain level of performance.

Salary

  • According to CBsalary.com, a salary calculator by CareerBuilder.com, automotive engineers earned an average salary of $83,446. Salaries ranged from below $65,378 to above $118,068.

Industry and Outlook

  • Despite the news of unemployed workers and plant closures, motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry continues to be one of the largest employers in the country, as well as an impacting contributor to our economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost half of all jobs are located in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan with an increasing number of jobs popping up in the South. Engineers form the largest group of professionals in the motor vehicle parts and manufacturing industry. Employment is expected to decline at a rate of 16 percent through 2018 due to productivity improvements and foreign outsourcing of work.

Hours and Environment

  • According to the BLS, 29 percent of workers in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry work more than 40 hours per week. Overtime occurs during deadlines and peak demand. Engineers can be found in laboratories, offices or industrial plants.

Education and Training

  • According to the BLS, most employers seek at least a bachelor’s degree from entry-level engineering job applicants. An automotive engineer may specialize in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering or industrial engineering. Depending on what an automotive engineer specializes in, he may have received his degree in that specialty. According to the Princeton Review, some schools offer a major specifically in automotive engineering. Some programs also combine mechanical engineering with automotive engineering.

How to Become a Test Car Driver

Test car drivers take new car models out on the roads and test tracks to make sure that all of the car’s systems are working properly and are safe and reliable before they finally land in a dealer’s showroom and are offered for sale to the public. You don’t need a master’s degree to become a test car driver, but it helps if you have a love for cars and excellent mechanical know-how. Test car drivers typically work for major auto manufacturers, drive at high speeds for several hours a day, and traverse obstacle courses that require expert driving ability and quick reflexes. Test car driving, however, can be a hard field to break in to.
Test car drivers should be automotive enthusiasts.
Step 1:Get a valid driver’s license and at least a high school diploma. Take and pass a driver’s education program and become knowledgeable about car safety and the rules of the road. Although a college degree is not required to become a test car driver, you should have a strong grasp of the English language and have above-average mathematical and technical ability.

Get a valid driver’s license and at least a high school diploma.
Step 2:Enroll in a car mechanic’s course at your local college. Start tinkering with your own car and explore all there is to know about the engine, the interior and chassis components and how they work. Get a job as an apprentice with a reputable auto mechanic and work alongside her to get your hands dirty. While you’re at it, take a course in go-karting to improve your driving skills and techniques.

Enroll in a car mechanic’s course at your local college.
Step 3:Earn an associate’s degree in mechanical or automotive engineering. Although it’s not required to become a test car driver, it can give you an edge by showing car manufacturers that you’re highly qualified for the job. A degree that includes manufacturing and automotive design courses will also give you a distinct advantage.

Earn an associate's degree in mechanical or automotive engineering.
Step 4:Take speech or writing classes to polish up your oral and written communications skills. A test car driver must be able to communicate test data and the results of his observations about a car to company team members in a professional and technically proficient manner.

Take speech or writing classes to polish up your oral and written communications skills.
Step 5:Look into Ford Motor Company’s certification program–the Electronic Driver Certification Tracking System (EDCERTS)–which tests drivers at four different tracks, skills and speeds. You can check out certification and job opportunities at Ford by accessing its website at ford.com.

Step 6:Contact major auto manufacturers individually to find out if they’re hiring test drivers or to see if you can get your foot in the door in a lower-level job first. Check out employment opportunities at BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and Toyota and complete their online applications.

How to Remove Small Bubbles in an Automotive Paint Job

A good automotive paint job is something that takes either a lot of hard work or a lot of hard-earned money. Whether you painted your car yourself or you had it painted at a paint and body shop, bubbles can appear in the finished paint job. These can be seen when light shines on them or felt when you run your hand over them. But these bubbles don’t have to stay there.

Instructions

  1. Place 1200-grit sandpaper on a sanding block and sand lightly over the small bubbles. Use a water hose in the other hand to continuously run water over the area you are sanding. This keeps the dust from building up under the sandpaper and scratching the car. Sand until the bubbles can no longer be seen, but don’t sand through the clear coat and into the paint.
  2. Sand the same area again using the same technique, but this time with 1500-grit sandpaper. This paper smooths the scratches made from the 1200 paper.
  3. Use the 2000-grit sandpaper in the same manner as the above steps. Sand until the entire area is dull from the sandpaper. Rinse the car with the water hose when finished sanding.
  4. Apply the liquid buffing compound to the surface of the orbital buffer and buff the entire car, starting with the sanded area. This fills in the smallest scratches made by the 2000-grit sandpaper and brings out a new shine to the surface of the car. The small bubbles should have disappeared.