Vehicle breakdown engineers, also known as roadside recovery/assistance technicians, attend to people whose vehicles have broken down. Vehicle owners notify an emergency call centre, who in turn contact the breakdown engineer, passing on relevant information such as the location of the breakdown and the nature of the fault.
On arrival the engineer examines the vehicle, asks the motorist for a description of what happened and attempts to diagnose the fault. If possible, they carry out repairs at the roadside. If major repair work is required, they tow or transport the vehicle to a garage, or arrange for this to be done.
Patrols carry engine spare parts, and a full tool kit, which can be used to check for mechanical, electrical or electronic faults. They may use computer fault diagnosis equipment as part of their job. Administrative records are kept for each job.
Most engineers work a 24-hour shift system, including weekends. Overtime is often available.They drive and work outdoors in all weather conditions. Protective overalls, high-visibility clothing and a vehicle are usually provided.
As a vehicle breakdown engineer, you should:
Patrols are employed by companies offering vehicle breakdown and recovery services. Other companies contract or franchise garages to provide breakdown services, so similar patrol work may be available with local garages.
Increasing car ownership and travel has led to a growth in demand for breakdown services. There are opportunities for qualified staff in most areas of the country. Promotion prospects would normally lead to supervisory, managerial or training posts.
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