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A day in the life of a diesel technician – Here's what to expect

A Schneider diesel technician places a windshield on a Schneider truck.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

For most diesel technicians, there’s no such thing as a ‘normal day’ because every day brings something different. The type of equipment to work on, the repairs to make and the tools required to get the job done vary on a day-to-day basis.

We met with maintenance recruiters, Ashley and Brianna, to better understand what a day in the life of a diesel technician could look like, while remembering every day brings unique challenges.

A typical day as a diesel technician

Starting your shift

Like Schneider, many organizations that hire diesel technicians are 24/7 operations. This means you could start your shifts in the early morning, early afternoon or late evening. Your start time will depend on if you apply for a first, second or third shift role.

Many diesel technicians work standard five-days-per-week, eight-hours-per-shift schedules. However, at Schneider, most diesel technicians work 10-hour shifts, four days per week.

You can expect to spend your shift working in a shop environment. Unless you’re a mobile diesel technician – then the location you’ll be working at will vary.

Completing work tasks

What diesel technicians do on a daily basis usually includes something like:

  • Completing preventative maintenance and inspections on tractor systems, such as fuel, engine, transmissions, electrical, brakes, steering, drivelines and tires.
  • Completing preventative maintenance and inspections on trailer systems, such as brakes, electrical, suspension and body work.
  • Performing express-related services like changing oil and tires.
  • Working with computer systems to build, track and complete repairs on equipment.
  • Utilizing a forklift to unload, stock and pick up parts.
  • Communicating with internal customers (like company drivers) about repair updates, wait times and reasons for repair decisions.

As a Schneider diesel technician, for example, time is often split between completing preventive maintenance services and handling repair work. During one shift, your tasks could include working on transmission problems, repairing a low engine power issue and completing other preventative maintenance assignments.

One of the top diesel technician skills is being able to work well on a team. You should expect to frequently complete these tasks with other diesel technicians.

Taking a lunch break

Many diesel technicians are paid by the hour, which typically means they have to incorporate a lunch break into their schedule. At Schneider, many diesel technicians take a 30-minute lunch break.

Receiving ongoing training

Given the rate equipment and technology are advancing, it’s essential for diesel technicians to have the opportunity to learn how to use it. Staying up to date on the most productive and efficient ways to fix truck problems keeps shops running safely and efficiently.

Receiving on-the-job training can look different based on what’s being taught:

  • Introducing a new engine system could start with taking a few hours out of your shift to watch instructional videos from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) about the new technology.
  • Learning about a new technology system in a truck could look like a lead diesel technician on the team walking you through how it works and showing you how to repair it.

Schneider diesel technicians should expect to see training sessions added to their schedules on a frequent basis.

Finishing out the day

As your shift wraps up, you can expect to see the next group of diesel technicians starting theirs. You may be asked to walk through any outstanding work that needs to be done before heading out for the day.

Wondering what the diesel technician working conditions are like?

Now that you know what to expect out of a typical day as a diesel technician, you may be wondering what kind of environment you would work in. Learn more about working in a shop in our recent blog.

About the author
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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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